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The Last Smile
July 5 2009

“Hey baby,” Josh Sutcliffe said planting a kiss on his girlfriend’s forehead.
“Hey Josh,” Mikah Co smiled. She patted the seat beside her and he sat down.
“What’s up?” Josh said gesturing at all the papers Mikah was holding.
“Uh- this? Oh, this is nothing,” Mikah said, blushing.
Josh didn’t see her face turn red. He grinned and looked forward.
“Let’s go out this Saturday,” he suggested, “I really want to see you alone, and we haven’t done that in such a long time, baby.”
Mikah turned away. “Um, Josh, this Saturday? I can’t. I’ve- I’ve got something to do with- with my Mom- uh- yeah, with my Mom,” Mikah said her voice obviously wavering.
Josh scowled and turned away. He didn’t really want to let her see him scowl. But to be honest, he hadn’t seen his girlfriend much these days. The last time he was able to see her alone before this was about 3 weeks ago. That was not a good sign. He did love Mikah, to bits, but it seemed so hard to get with her, recently, he seems to be just a second priority to whatever she was doing. He never bothered much to ask her why; he knew she liked her privacy.
“Josh?” Mikah said in a soft voice.
He turned back to look at her. She was looking at him now, with those big, beautiful green eyes. He couldn’t help getting lost in her eyes. Josh pushed her dark hair from her eyes.
“You look really beautiful today,” he told her.
She smiled and reached up to give him a kiss.
“Thanks,” Josh said, smiling after they pulled away.
“Want me to do it again?” she teased and gave him long, sweet kiss.
“What about another one?” he said softly when they pulled away.
Mikah laughed. “This is not the perfect place to make-out, you know.”
“I know,” Josh said, “I just missed you.”
Mikah smiled, brushing his bangs from his face.
“I missed you too,” Mikah said, “we better get to class, though.” She added.
“Yeah. I’ll walk you,” Josh agreed, a bit disappointed.

**************

Josh sped out of the locker room to the corridor. He ran as quickly as his feet could bring him. He needed to get to Mikah’s class before she had the chance to sneak away again.
“Hey,” he greeted one of Mikah’s friends, panting.
“Hey Josh,” Kate Moriesette said, her eyebrows rising, “What are you doing here?”
“Where’s Mikah?” he asked, still short of breaths.
“Oh, believe me, I really don’t know. Right after class, she ran out and away. I don’t even know if she went home. She didn’t even say a word to us,” Kate said.
“Really?” Josh said, scowling. Great, just great, Josh thought.
“Yeah. You know what? That girl has something going on, I mean, she’s always somewhere, every time I call her she not at home. Every time I go to her house, she’s not at home. And whenever class is done, she just runs out. She seems to have the habit of being late now too,” Kate explained, “I can’t talk to her; she keeps saying she has things to do. I’m really worried now.”
“I know,” Josh said, his voice suddenly wavering.
Kate heard the fear in his voice.
“I’m really sorry, Josh, I don’t know what to say,” she said.
“That’s okay, Kate,” Josh said and without another word, turned and headed for the parking place, to his car. Why was it so hard to get some time with his girlfriend?
Josh slammed his car door close. He was such a wuss. What if Mikah was cheating on him?

*******************

“Mikah, what is it with you?” he cried. Mikah didn’t answer. She looked down.
“Mikah, this has been going on for so many weeks now, and I can’t take it! I know you like your privacy and all that, but can’t you have time for me? What is it with you?” Josh went on, his voice getting louder.
Mikah didn’t answer. She just kept on looking at her feet.
“Mikah, answer me, please! I’m having a hard time too! I’m in love with a girl who doesn’t seem to love me as much as I do to her,” Josh said.
Mikah looked up to speak, her green eyes, twinkling bright with fresh tears.
“Tell me, Mikah, tell me if you’ve got someone else! Just don’t let me hanging by a thread,” he pleaded her.
“I’m not cheating on you, Josh,” she mumbled softly, her voice so small and vulnerable.
“Then what is it?” he hissed, more harsh than he had meant it to be.
Mikah looked taken back, but again, she didn’t speak. Tears were starting to run down her cheek.
“Mikah, what is it?” Josh asked his voice calming down.
“It’s nothing,” Mikah finally said, “I’m just doing a lot of things, right now,”
“Bull, Mikah!” he suddenly shouted, “tell the truth, and don’t feed me with your stupid lies!” he was standing now, and people were starting to look.
“It’s nothing, Josh,” Mikah said, again as softly as ever.
“Then this,” he said pointing to each other, “this, is over, Mikah!”
Mikah looked up, tears running down her cheek.
“No, Josh, please don’t leave me,” she said in a stammering voice, as she stood up.
She pulled on his wrist.
Josh turned to her.
“This is over,” he repeated, in a firm voice. With this, he left the grounds.
Mikah broke down. Tears ran down her cheeks. People looked on to watch her but she didn’t care. She just wanted to cry forever. She was running short of breaths but she didn’t care anymore.
“Come on, Mikah,” Kate said, moving over to help her up.
Mikah didn’t budge.
“Leave me alone,” she said. Her breath was starting to come up hard now. She almost couldn’t breathe. Mikah pushed Kate away and ran through the crowd of people. She ran all the way to the park, until she couldn’t run anymore. She stood, trying to catch her breath. She tried desperately to breathe. But no oxygen seemed to enter her lungs. Her world was spinning and her head pounded with pain. Then everything turned black.
“Mikah!” she heard Kate’s voice yell, just before she black out totally and fell to the ground.

****************************

“Where am I?” Mikah asked, blinking her eyes to clear her vision.
The familiar walls of the hospital finally came into vision. She turned and saw Kate and her mother by her side. She tried to smile.
“Hey, girl,” Kate greeted her
“You’re in the hospital, honey,” her mother told her.
“How long have I been here?” Mikah said, ignoring the awful pain banging in her head.
“You’ve been asleep for 48 hours, already,” Kate said.
Mikah could see that Kate’s eyes were swollen and red.
“Now you know why I’ve always been gone,” Mikah told Kate, her voice still slightly weak. Kate nodded, sadly.
“Why didn’t you tell me, Mikah?” Kate asked, tears springing to her eyes.
“I didn’t want anyone to know. Especially you or Josh,” Mikah explained.
Memories of the break up with Josh flashed through her mind and she couldn’t help crying again.
“He left me, Mom,” Mikah said, swallowing hard, “Josh left me because of this.”
Mikah’s tears turned into sobs.
“Honey, stop that,” her mother said, “you’re not allowed to cry, remember?”
Suddenly, Mikah’s echocardiogramic monitor beeped and Mikah began to run short of breaths.
Her eyes looked sad and still, as she tried desperately, to calm and watch her breath. It was such agony for her loved ones to look at her suffering like that.
“Oh my god, what’s happening?” Kate cried.
”Call the doctor!” Mikah’s mother yelled and Kate ran out in search for a doctor.
“Honey, honey, relax, you can’t leave us now, you just can’t!” her mother cried, begging at her side. A doctor ran into the room and started to check her. Flocks of nurses followed and a few came to take both Kate and her mother out.
Both watched outside the door, as Mikah suffered inside.
They watched as the doctor desperately tried to keep her alive.
“Mrs. Co,” the doctor said, a sad look in his eyes.
“Doctor, tell me Mikah is safe. Please, tell me,” Mrs. Co pleaded.
“Mrs. Co, she’s not safe. And you know that. I’m really very sorry. There’s nothing we can do anymore. The cancer cells have spread throughout her body and her red platelets is continuing to lessen its presence. She may live, with a miracle, but other than that, her life span is shorter than a week. It can even be shorter than a day,” the doctor explained, “I’m really sorry, Mrs. Co,”
Mrs. Co stood, jaws dropped, eyes swollen and tears running down her face.
She saw Josh coming into the corner.
Mrs. Co couldn’t help it. She ran to him and started punching his chest.
“She’s suffering! Can’t you see? She’s dying and you’re the one to blame!” she yelled at Josh’s face.
Josh’s eyes filled with tears as he pulled Mikah’s mother into a hug despite her fighting back.
“I didn’t know,” he whispered, as Mrs. Co finally resigned and cried into his chest.
“I’m so sorry,” he whispered again. Kate pulled Mrs. Co away from him and let him enter Mikah’s room by himself.
Josh pushed the door open, slowly. His knees were weak and he couldn’t stand steadily.
Her eyes flew open and she saw him. Filling with tears, she looked at him through her eyes filled with love.
“I’m sorry,” was all Josh could say. He approached her bedside and took her hand.
She had never seen him cry. Ever.
“I’m so sorry,” Josh repeated. He held her hand close to his cheek and kissed it many times. Mikah swallowed hard.
“I’m sorry too, baby,” she whispered.
Josh sat beside her and pulled her into his arms. He held her like he had never before. He held her to his heart.
“I love you so much,” he whispered, tears running down his cheeks.
Mikah smiled.
“I love you too, baby,” she replied and he reached down to kiss her.
He kissed her with so much love that he had failed to show. The love that he had always had for since the day the first met. The love that continued to grow, as each day passes by. The love that he chose to forget just because he was selfish.
“Don’t ever give up, baby,” Mikah whispered, “I won’t be around to watch you. But I’ll always be looking down on you.”
He put a finger to her lips.
“No,” he said, “You’re not going to leave me, you’re not right, tell me you love me and you won’t leave me, ever,” he demanded.
“I love you and I won’t ever leave you. So go on with your life after me. Never lose hope. And when you do, I’ll always be by your side,” Mikah continued, her voice dying.
Then the echocardiogramic monitor began to beep again.
“I think that’s my call,” she whispered and he shook his head.
“No, I’m going to call a doctor!” he cried, his eyes bright with tears.
“No, baby, just call Kate and my mother,” Mikah pleaded.
Josh called Mrs. Co and Kate in.
“Mom, I love you so much,” Mikah said and Mrs. Co’s eyes filled with tears. She held on tight to her hand.
“Thank you so much, Kate,” Mikah said looking at her best friend.
Kate leaned over to give her a hug.
“Josh, I love you so much,” Mikah said finally and both shared a long, sweet and loving kiss.
“I love you too,” Josh whispered and gave her his last kiss.
Mikah’s eyes began to drop.
“NO!” Josh cried and hugged her, “No, Mikah!”
Mikah’s fingers, one by one, let go of her mother’s hand. Her echocardiogramic monitor beeped faster, and the curved high lines were slowing down to a line.
Mikah took her last breath. With a last smile, she left.

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