Drip Drop Teardrop
Copyright © 2011 Samantha Young
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with the written permission of the author. This work is registered with and protected by Copyright House.
This sallow-faced creature with the sunken cheeks and hollow eyes bruised with unnatural tiredness could not be her vivacious Aunt Caroline. Only a year ago her aunt had run the New York Marathon, power walked to her job as an editor at the Greener World Magazine, and had proclaimed Sunday, not a day of rest, but ‘Rock Climbing Sunday’.
But like a blood-sucking vampire that enjoyed playing with its food, cancer had stalked Aunt Caroline and now taken her hostage, drawing her life source out of her day by day.
“You sure you’re going to be OK?” Avery asked for the fiftieth time as she tucked her aunt into bed. She put her meds beside her and made sure her favourite book was on her bedside cabinet along with her reading glasses, a glass of water, her cell in case she needed Avery, and the remote to the ancient mini television that sat in the corner of the room.
Aunt Caroline smiled wearily and made a shooing away gesture. “I told you, today is a good day. Will you please just go? Your friends are waiting for you.”
Ignoring the knot of anxiety in her chest, Avery pressed a light kiss to her aunt’s cheek and made her way quickly out of the apartment before she changed her mind. She had gone through this every month since her aunt’s diagnosis. But it stopped her aunt from feeling unnecessary guilt, and truth be told Avery needed the break sometimes.
“There you are.” Sarah grinned at her, throwing an arm around her as she stepped out of the apartment building.
Jemima winked at her and stubbed out her cigarette with the toe of her six inch yellow heels. At five ten with dark chocolate skin, unusual hazel eyes and a figure to die for, Jemima belonged to the world of modelling in New York City. She smoked because she swore it kept her skinny, but knowing how much Avery hated it (and everyone was taking it easy with Avery these days) she tried not to smoke around her.
“How you doin’, girl?” Jemima asked, rubbing a hand up and down her arm affectionately.
Despite perks such as Jemima not smoking in front of her, this is what Avery hated: everyone treating her differently because her aunt was dying. It had happened when she lost her parents and it was happening again. She forced a smile. “I’m all dressed up and ready to party.”
“You don’t say.” Sarah took a step back from her, her little sequined clutch purse winking in the cast of the street lights. “Josh is going to blow a gasket when he sees you in this get up.”
Rolling her eyes, Avery pulled on the hem of her black dress. “Is it too much?”
“Nuh-uh,” Jemima assured her, already moving off the sidewalk to flag down a cab. “Just enough, I’d say. With legs as short as yours you need all the help you can get.”
“Excuse me if some of us aren’t Amazonians.”
Jemima snorted in response.
Avery frowned as a cab pulled over and she shuffled into it with her friends. “Where are the guys?”
Sarah shrugged. “We’re meeting them at the club instead. So, your aunt’s still OK about these club nights?”
Avery smiled humourlessly. “She practically forces me into it.”
Jemima grunted from the other side of Sarah who was packed in between them. “Don’t need to sound so thrilled to be with us, girl.”
“You know that’s not what I meant.”
“Jammy is just teasing.” Sarah glared at Jemima, and the girl narrowed her exotic eyes on her.
“I told you to stop calling me Jammy.”
Sarah grinned unrepentantly and turned back to Avery. “So seriously, she’s OK?”
No, her aunt wasn’t OK. She wasn’t going to be OK ever again.
When Avery first found out about her aunt’s terminal diagnosis she was a freshman at NYU, studying journalism just like Aunt Caroline had. It had been a struggle for them to afford it anyway; Avery hadn’t moved out of their tiny one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, she was commuting. And she had a part time job at a coffee chain since they were one of the few corporate companies that Aunt Caroline didn’t have a problem with.