Isabelle's Last Dance
Izzy Renwick has pancreatic cancer, and she knows she's not going to make it. The only things she truly wants are: to turn 18 and fall in love. But she knows they're both out of her reach.
Peter Gardner has colon cancer, and is angry and bitter. He wants to lock himself in a room and wither away until the cancer works its course, never wanting to look anyone in the face again. And then he meets Izzy. . . .
Chapter 2: Peter
I thought I had my whole life ahead of me; I was going to go to college, play football on a scholarship, meet the girl of my dreams there, fall in love, go to the NFL, and live happily ever after. Now that's all changed to happily never after. I had been through chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and for some reason, neither have done anything. The cancer is worse than it was before the therapy. Now I know what it feels like to have no hope left, because I've heard my doctor talking with my parents, saying that they should just take me home and make me comfortable.
I hate it. I hate this cancer because it's taken my entire future and my life away from me. I'm no longer in control; the cancer is. I've never done anything to deserve this kind of cruel punishment. I've never been a bully, I've never cheated on my girlfriends, I've always been the nice guy, and look where that's got me: bed ridden with advanced colon cancer. So much for the good karma I've worked up.
"Come on Peter, it's time for your group therapy session," Nurse Wills said, coming in with a wheelchair.
I glared at her. I didn't want to go to stupid group therapy, and I didn't need to go either. What was there to say? 'Hello. My name is Peter Gardner and I have colon cancer. It's really bad and I'm going to die. Other than that, I'm in a splendid mood this afternoon.'
Therapy had screwed me over twice before, what would help me this time?
Nurse Wills helped me into the wheelchair, and I felt very exposed in my hospital gown. I didn't looked anyone in the eye as she wheeled me down the sterile corridor of the brightly lit hospital. And no one would dare look at the bald teen in the wheelchair who looked as if he were death incarnated.
And that's when I caught a glimpse of this girl. She was gorgeous, and sick. I could tell she was sick by the tint of yellow in her skin, and how she looked skinny, even though I could tell she was meant to have curves for days. She was the kind of beautiful that made you want to stop and stare, and that's exactly what I wanted to do: stop and stare. But Nurse Wills continued to roll me along, forcing me to lean forward and look back at her blank, pretty face one last time before I faced forward. She truly was attractive, but from the hollow look in her eyes, she had a form of what I had as well.
"See something you like, Peter?" Nurse Wills asked, a smile in her voice.
"I never see anything I like anymore Nurse Wills, only things that I wish I had before I caught cancer," I said wistfully, the girl's face still in my mind.
"I know that girl, she's here quite often. I'd tell you her name if you promise me that you'll participate in the groups session today," Nurse Wills said.
"I must say Wills, you drive a hard bargain," I said. I honestly didn't want to participate in the group session today. What was there to say that hasn't been said already? "I'll do it, just tell me her name."
"Her name is Isabelle Renwick, but she prefers to be called Izzy, that's what she told me when she was here last week. She's a sweet girl, very nice and considerate, though very quiet."
Isabelle Renwick. She looked like an Isabelle: sweet, innocent, and gorgeous.
"She has cancer, doesn't she?" I asked.
"Yes," Nurse Wills said sadly. "Carla, her mother, showed me her junior prom pictures, before she was diagnosed; and she was so pretty with all those curves. Cancer just drained the life and happiness out of that girl. She's so fragile and soft-spoken too," Nurse Wills said as she continued to wheel me toward therapy. "Now Peter, you better keep your promise, or else I'll tell Isabelle all about you and your little crush."
I gasped. "You wouldn't!"
She chuckled. "I would. I can be either the nice nurse, or the evil nurse. Take your pick, Mr. Gardner."
I grumbled to myself as Nurse Wills wheeled me into the therapy room, where several other cancer-stricken teens were sitting in a circle. About half of them, including myself, were in wheelchairs. At least I didn't feel completely alone.
"Welcome Peter!" Dave said, a smile on his face.
"Whatever," I mumbled, slouching in my wheelchair.
"How are you today?" He asked, trying to be nice.
"How the hell do you think I am? I have cancer and I'm going to die. I guess that adds up to just peachy, thanks for asking."
I crossed my arms across my chest, ignoring the hurt on his face.
I kept my promise to Nurse Wills and participated in the session, though I wasn't particularly pleasant. I was quite a downer, to be honest. Every time my thoughts drifted toward Isabelle, I was immediately drawn back into the pointless discussion of how having a positive attitude can make a difference. I, for one, and willing to call bull shit. I've tried having that positive attitude when chemo and radiation therapy happened, and that back-fired.
After group therapy, Nurse Wills returned and wheeled me back to my room.
"Did you participate?"
"Was it fun?"
"Isabelle's going to be back next week, Dr. Ruess just told me. She's going in for chemo, which means she'll be staying here for a little while. Maybe you two can meet," She said, and I could hear the smile in her voice. I even vaguely smiled at the thought. Maybe this girl I didn't even know could at least bring some sort of happiness to whatever life I had left. But I shouldn't get my hopes up. The higher my hopes, the harder the fall. And I fear the fall this time will be my last.