Recordings of Gianna’s Family: Part Six – Arianna

short stories about cancer patients

Short Story

June 20th, 2015. Ari’s Room.

…That’s dumb.

“Five minutes. Just talk about your day or something.”

“…Alright. it’s there if you need it. I’ll be with Darcy.”

Have fun.

[pause]

End Recording.

June 25th, 2015. Ari’s room

…No.

June 25th, 2015. Ari’s room.

Ok, screw it. Whatever. Um…

We had to move mom to the hosptial today, so the house feels kinda weird? That’s why I’m doing this, I guess. I keep expecting to see her walking around grabbing her groin area, but… she’s just not here. It feels empty.

[pause]

I guess that’s it.

…It’s the same way when Dad died. Only… he’s dead, and not in a hospital. So I get to think of Mom stuck in a hospital bed every time I pass her room. With a catheter. And… those things are disgusting. Mom can pee, she’s not brain dead.

…Ok-

[door opens]

What do you want?!

“…Laundry. You’re welcome, Ari.”

You could knock.

“Do I look like I have a body part to knock with?”

Your foot.

…I’m just busy, alright?

“Doing- oh…”

Can I be left alone, please?

“Um… yeah! Yeah, I’ll be in the garage if you need me.”

Ok, cool.

Leave me alone, Nancy.

[door closes]

[door opens]

“You know you can-“

NANCY-

End Recording.

July 1st, 2015. Ari’s room.

[faint yells, most likely through the walls]

[sighs] Yeah… yeah.

Vinny’s not that smart. He thinks he’s smart, but he thinks that because he’s the quiet one. He’s… well, he’s not stupid, but when it comes to girls, he’s pretty dumb.

Like, he lives with three of us. He should probably be a little better with it, but…

[more yelling]

Yeah.

I mean, it’s also kind of her fault. She’s just dating him out of pity. Literally, she doesn’t know how else to deal with him, so she just, like… [sighs] if one of my friends did that, I would slap them. I actually almost slapped Olivia for that, I think…

[yelling fades away]

I mean, it’s like “oh, my parents have cancer, date me!”? Are we 9? Like, I get that you are going through shit, but don’t, like… drag someone else into your life, that’s fucking stupid.

[door opens]

“Are you talking about us?”

…No.

[pause]

“Ari, are you talking about us?”

“You know, you’d just tell her anyway, Vinny! You know she’s 14, she’s not a genius.”

“I don’t- don’t drag my sister into this-“

“You went to her room!”

[door closes]

I’ve been able to avoid drama ever since summer started and he’s the one bringing it home. If mom were here, she wouldn’t yell at him. She’d yell at me, but not him.

I wish she was here, but still. That’s what would happen.

End Recording.

July 3rd, 2015. Ari’s room.

[pause, crying]

I- …fucking-

End Recording.

July 3rd, 2015. Ari’s room.

Ok, um… shit. Vinny and Nancy don’t know yet, but…

[sighs] Olivia’s been texting me all day, she’s going crazy, she’s worried I’m gonna do something, but I’m not…

Raelle tried to kill herself, and…

She, um… she took a bunch of pills, and tried to kill herself. And apparently, she left a note. And my name was in it. And… FUCK!!

…God.

I can’t even look at my phone right now. I literally want to puke just looking at it, I feel sick. I gotta go over to Olivia’s house to make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid. Mom’s gonna get a heart attack, Nancy’s gonna hate me again when she was just starting to leave me alone.

Apparently she’s saying it was me? made her do it? I didn’t do anything!

I shut it down four months ago. FOUR MONTHS! I went to her house and I apologized in front of everybody, I was- I was sorry, and Mom grounded me for a month, and I had to go to counseling…

[long pause]

She put fucking playboys in my locker room as a joke, fuck her. I went into a locker room and Patty called me a dyke. Everyone thought I was trying to get with Olivia because we were fucking friends. Now everyone’s just gonna feel bad for her.

I don’t even remember what I did. I pissed her off, I just don’t…

I really feel like I have to throw up-

[door opens]

“Ari?”

What?!

What, Vinny?

“Ari, what happened?”

Were you listening to me?

“Well I heard you say something about killing yourself. …Ari-“

I don’t wanna kill myself, I’m not… it’s not me.

“It is one of your friends?”

Raelle did. The twitter girl. She’s fucking… depressed, or some shit, and she…

“…Well it’s not your fault.”

“Ari, it’s not your fault.”

Is Mom still gonna think I’m a sociopath?

Stop, Ari.

She called me a sociopath, Vinny-

“She was in a bad mood, she took it back. Do NOT get like that.”

Like what?

“You know what. It’s not gonna help.”

“Ari, come on-“

No.

“Turn it off. Talk to me about this.”

Did you hear me crying?

“I might’ve. I had my headphones in, I couldn’t hear much.”

Ok, well-

End Recording.

July 21st, 2015. Ari’s room.

I remember Dad joking about how our family was cursed. It was at one of his doctor’s appointments, and he just joked about it. And then I remember I made the joke at dinner, and Mom got furious, like… she’s yelled at dad, but this was, like… I don’t even know. I always thought she was being overdramatic, but, like, right now?

The doctors gave her 2 weeks to live. Now, they gave her 3 months, like, a while ago, and now they’re saying she has 2 weeks. And that was on the 5th.

I don’t know, it’s just weird like that. Mom always told me those diagnoses or whatever could be bull shit. My birthday’s in a week… Mom’s terrified that’s the day she’s gonna go…

[pause]

[sighs]

This isn’t helping.

This isn’t helping, I’m done.

End Recording.

next story: Recordings of Gianna’s Family, Part Seven – Gianna

previous story: Recordings of Gianna’s Family, Part Five – Gianna/Stacy

all chapters: Recordings of Gianna’s Family

more by CHRISTIAN DEANGELIS

photograph by Thomas Leuthard

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Christian DeAngelis

Renegade extraordinaire. Only by nights, though. And only on Tuesdays.

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