Chapter 2

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I can't let dying, keep me from living. Even weeks after meeting the older teen, Glenn's words kept replaying in Noah's head over and over again. At first, he had thought it was the dumbest thing he had ever heard. Of course dying would keep a person from living. That was the definition of dying, right? But now, Noah wasn't so sure. Maybe he'd meant, dying didn't mean his life was over quite yet.

Was that what Noah was doing, allowing his impending death to keep him from living? If he was completely honest with himself, that was exactly what he had been doing. In the past two weeks since he had learned of what he was now calling his 'expiration date,' Noah had sat at home and done nothing but feel sorry for himself and re-read some of his favorite comic books.

He couldn't help but wish his life was like those graphic novels. That maybe he could be bitten by a radioactive insect or have the power to heal from any wound just like his favorite heroes. But it was not meant to be, and no amount of wishful thinking was going to change that. With a deep sigh, Noah got ready to head to the hospital for yet another lethal dose of radiation. He didn't see the point anymore, but it seemed to make his mother happy to see him putting up a fight. So he did exactly that.

"Noah, hey," Glenn greeted the younger boy with another painfully enthusiastic smile. Feeling sick to his stomach and weak from the treatment, Noah responded with a merger nod of his head. Afraid that if he opened his mouth, he might empty the contents of his stomach all over the hospital rec room."I didn't think I'd see you here again anytime soon. Last time we talked you seemed to be throwing in the towel."

Noah took a deep breath trying to settle the torrential storm happening within his stomach.

"I have, but putting me through this torture seems to make my mom happy. So here I am," he said once he felt confident that he wouldn't throw up. "What has you here again?"

"Never left," Glenn replied with a shrug. Noah stared at him wide eyed.

"Never? So you've been here for the last two weeks?" He asked shocked.

"Technically, I've been here for the last four months. I'm what you might call a lifer," Glenn explained.

"A what?"

"A lifer. You know someone who lives the remainder of their life at the hospital."

Noah knew Glenn was sick, but he hadn't thought he was that sick. After he had met him, Noah had googled Cystic Fibrosis out of curiosity. And though it was considered a fatal disease, the average life expectancy was thirty-one years old. Glenn couldn't be older than eighteen, twenty at most.

"Oh, I didn't realize. Sorry," Noah apologized, feeling horrible for prying. Now that he was paying more attention, he couldn't help but notice the definite wheezing coming from Glenn, and the smoker's cough that made an appearance every ten to fifteen minutes. Glenn chuckled.

"There's nothing to be sorry for, I chose to stay here. It's better than my parents having to watch another of their children slowly whither away. Plus, I get to meet all kinds of people here, and they give me jello with every meal. What's not to love?"

Noah couldn't contain his laughter. He had had the displeasure of eating the gelatinous goo this place passed off as jello, and it was most definitely not a perk.

"How do you do that?" He questioned before he could stop himself.

"Do what?"

"Have such a positive outlook on everything? I mean, we got the short end of the fricken stick. We're going to die before we even get a chance to live," Noah said becoming angry all over again.

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