Chapter 13 - this boy's hand

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POV Jake (Mao's father)

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I was in this hospital room for the first time.

Mao always went here alone because I always had work and because she always told me that she was able to take care of herself.

I remember when Mao was 4 and she had to stay a a few weeks at the hospital because she had an infection.

I was so scared... I couldn't leave the hospital, not even for a second.

I wasn't prepared for that. And I was far from knowing that a few years later I'll be in the same hospital in New York, hearing the doctors tell me that my daughter has cancer.

I don't think anybody can be prepared for that.

At that moment you stop thinking about anything else but that. It's your top one priority, your top one preoccupation. It's your worst nightmare.

I went with Mao at all of her appointment after that. She was only 12, I couldn't let her walk in a big hospital in the middle of Brooklyn by herself. She was scared. She needed me. To hold her hand, to tell her everything was going to be okay, to tell her that I wasn't leaving, that I was right here, next to her. Forever.

She was too small, too fragile, too young.

And now that New York is far in my memory, it all happens again.

She looks so small in that hospital bed.

She looks way younger than she normaly does and her hand looks so small in this boy's hand.

Ethan was like me when Mao was 4.

He never left her room once, he kept her hand in his, afraid that if he let it go, she'll disappear.

And the worst part of all that is that he had no idea what was going on. Mao never told anyone.
And he had no idea why he was here, holding this girls hand in this hospital.

Grayson and him asked me multiple times to tell them what was happening to her. But I think she is the one who should told them.

I think that's what's right.

I think that's what Mao would have wanted me to do.

You can't decide for other.

It's not about the boys. It's not about what they think is right or what they think should be right. It's not about what they feel or what I feel or what we want.

No. She needs to speak for herself.

Because this is about her.

It's always been about her.

It's always been about her

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