Last Goodbye

 

“Why do you think it's okay for you to lie to me like that? Do you think I'm stupid?” I felt my face flush with anger and stormed off.

“Anna, wait! It's not what it sounds like, I swear. What Louis saw isn't what exactly happened.” Joel grabbed my arm firmly, making me stop.

“First off, you blew off our plans for the weekend and lied to my face, saying that you were going to go camping. Next, Louis said that he saw you with another girl. I think that's exactly what happened. What Louis said about you is true. You're a lying, cheating person with no respect for others.” I felt tears filling up my eyes.

“Look, I know that it was wrong for me to lie to you, but can't you just stop and listen to what I have to say?” Joel pleaded.

I scoffed. “No, I'm done with whatever this is. There's no need for you to explain anything. I'm leaving you.” I removed my arm from his grasp and turned away. In a way, I was satisfied with what I said, but I also felt a pang of sadness.

“Anna, please. I'm being serious right now.” Joel caught up to me and tried to grab my arm again, but I pulled away before he got the chance.

“I'm serious, too. And I mean it when I say that I'm leaving. Don't ever talk to me again.” I tried not to let my emotions get the better of me.

Joel didn't listen to me, though. “The only reason I told you that I was going camping was because I didn't want you to know that I was meeting up with my old doctor.”

I couldn't believe this. Is he really lying to my face again?

“Are you kidding me? You think that you can cover up your lies with even more lies? You must be really dense to think that I'll believe you again. You're just digging an even bigger hole for yourself.” I retorted with a hint of mockery.

“Anna!” Joel grabbed a hold of my shoulders and turned me around. I looked at his face for the first time and saw both anguish and despair. “I was meeting up with my doctor to schedule my chemotherapy. I have cancer, Anna. I wasn't going to tell you until my first session was over, but I guess it's out of the bag now.”

I studied his face and saw a sad smile. It's that same smile that first caught me and made me fall for him, the smile that broke through my clouds of darkness and helped me love again. But this time, that smile was a lie. It wasn't going to fool me again.

“I don't know anymore, Joel. You've lied too many times for me to trust you again. I can't be with someone who lies and cheats his way through relationships. I'm sorry, but this is goodbye.” I looked up into his eyes and saw an even deeper sadness than what was in my heart, but I broke away from his gaze. I walked away before he could say more.

 

-----

 

Months later, I received a call.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Hello, Anna? This is Tori.”

Great, Joel's sister is getting involved now, too, I thought. But why is she calling now?

“Yes, this is Anna. Hi, Tori! How are you?” I said back, noticing how fake my voice sounded. I still wasn't over Joel, but breaking up with him was the best decision I've made. I think.

“I'm fine, I guess. I'm just calling to ask if you're going to be attending Joel's funeral this Saturday. My mom wants you to make a speech.” Tori's voice changed from a pleasant tone to one of sadness.

“Joel? A funeral? Why is there a funeral for Joel?” I asked, fearing the worst. I wanted to hang up the phone.

Tori sounded as confused as I was. “Didn't Joel tell you? He went through a lot of chemotherapy, but I guess even that wasn't enough. I figured that you would find out about the news on your own, since you were the only person he wanted to see, but...” her voice trailed off.

A million thoughts raced inside my head. I couldn't believe this. I dropped the phone and fell on the floor.

“Anna? Anna, can you hear me? What happened? Anna?! Anna!” Tori's voice was as faint as my pulse.

 

© Vida May Kotico

Bio:  Vida May Kotico is a high school student attending a school in the suburbs of Cerritos. She enjoys traveling, eating, and taking pictures of food, people, and people eating food.