"Please come in," they said,
In a reassuring voice.
What would I do instead-
Like I really had a choice.
They put up the x-ray
On a brightly lit screen.
I could tell right away
Something was wrong under my knee.
My heart filled with dread-
I didn't know what they'd find.
"It's a tumor," they said.
"But we can't tell what kind."
They rattled off tests:
The best of the best,
But was there room for much hope?
When they left I sat dazed,
For at a minute or two.
My mom, just as fazed-
What the hell would we do?
I stayed at home for a day,
Because I couldn't stop crying.
None of my friends knew what to say-
They ended up just not trying.
The next day I went to school.
I felt so detached.
How could God be so cruel?
What sin did this match?
The hospital waiting room
Took the place of my clubs.
I felt I was doomed
To be surrounded by scrubs.
Test after test after test,
Hour after day after week.
I was so overcome I couldn't rest,
I couldn't even think of sleep.
What would happen if I had-
I couldn't bring myself to say it.
Somehow, it wouldn't be as bad
If I could lie to myself a bit.
Would they cut out the bone?
Would I grow week and fade?
Then chemo- staying sick at home?
Would I wear the prom dress my mom made?
My friends- would they stay?
Would Andrew leave, too?
There must have been a mistake.
This couldn't be true.
It was an x-ray mix-up-
It must have been that.
Someone else would bear this cup
Of suffering I'd had.
A month later, they called.
They said I should come in.
Late that night, I sobbed-
They wanted to tell me in person.
At school, I was a nervous wreck.
The day of reckoning had come.
Though the day, I felt so very sick.
All I wanted was to go home.
As I left school, my eyes filled with tears.
Though I prayed, I knew it was true:
I was destined to only sixteen years.
God, there was so much I had wanted to do.
Eons passed in the consultation room.
At last, someone came in.
My mom held my hand, and her breath, too:
The doctor's expression was unreadably grim.
"It's a tumor," he said,
"But it's definitely benign."
I swallowed; my heart stopped dead.
My mom loosed the tears she had held all this time.
On the drive home, I looked around.
Nature was with beauty imbued.
The colors were never so rich and profound-
My lease on life had been renewed.
Note: this is based on what really happened to me in the final months of the 2001-2002 school year. I had sprained my kneecap and had gone in for routine x-rays, to make sure I had not injured the bone. They found a tumor in my right tibia but couldn't tell me if it was cancerous or not, for at least three weeks. It ended up that the tumor was just an error in the cementing of my growth plates, and benign. I didn't know how else to write about it, so I wrote this kinda dorky poem.