“Give it to me straight doc. Just rip the band-aid off. How long do I have left?” I asked, the panic raging inside me barely noticeable.

Alice, my friend and doctor looked at me, the look on her face telling me all I needed to know before she even spoke. I didn’t have much time.

“Six months, give or take,” she said, staring intently at me as if expecting me to burst into tears.

“Oh, wow! Six months isn’t short. Gotta spend all that time wisely,” I said, way too cheerfully.

“Liv, are you okay?” Alice asked, concern written all over her beautiful face.

“I’m fine. I gotta go!” I said

She came around to my side of the desk and gave me a hug without saying anything else. A part of me wanted to cry, to tell her that this was unfair, to reveal how scared I was and just let her see how shrunken I was on the inside but I didn’t. Alice didn’t deserve that. Nobody did.

I disentangled myself from her, kissed her on the cheek and walked out of the office as fast as I could without looking back. She didn’t call out or try to follow me and I was grateful for that.

I breathed in the fresh spring air, filled with the sweet scent of sprouting flowers. Damn! I would miss this. I greeted a few people as I walked, patted a few dogs and hummed a tune or two. After a few minutes, my thoughts shifted again.

If only I had gone to the hospital a long time ago, maybe my illness would have been discovered earlier and perhaps I would have had a fighting chance.

A chime from my phone indicated I had a message. It was from Henry.

Henry, my sweet boyfriend of five years who just became my fiancé last month. Henry, who didn’t know I was really sick and dying. Henry, who had been the most supportive man I had ever met, and who I didn’t want to put through the trauma of having to care for a person with cancer. I just couldn’t bear to see him suffer. I had kept the secret from him and warned Alice never to tell him. Whenever he asked why I was pale, I would reply that I was just stressed because of work or having a mild flu. My heart ached for him.

I quickly sent a reply with several heart emojis and put my phone away.

After several minutes filled with thoughts of what ifs, I came to an abrupt halt, a resolve planted firmly in my mind.

I would no longer feel sorry for myself and wallow in self pity, neither would I give this illness the satisfaction it craves. I would live my life to the fullest and do all the things I always wanted to do. I would finally take Henry on that trip we had been been planning for the past year. I would make good use of the few months I have left and when it’s time to go, I would leave with a smile, knowing I was here and that I truly lived.

A genuine smile crept into my face and I skipped the rest of the way home, all the while thinking of the man whom I had agreed to spend the rest of my life with.


Just saving this story here in case. To anyone who comes across this, I hope you live to the fullest each day.


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