None of them seemed to grasp the severity of the situation.

She was withering away and they were flitting past her like hummingbirds, planning cruises and complaining about Pinterest baking fails. How could they be that blind to the inevitable conclusion? Her inevitable conclusion. Perhaps they weren’t and this was their way of coping. Yet, it still irked her. She was strapped to this God-forsaken hospital bed and they were hitting the mall, going to the movies, planning dinner dates. She would be making better use of her time and freedom, were she granted it. They were, and always had been, a waste of good health.

Her sisters, though well-meaning, tended to vacuousness and self-absorption. Out of the four of them, she was the only one who aspired to graduate form college, or even to attend one, for that matter. The Three Vanities, as she had privately deemed them, were all sparkle, no substance. They delighted in the aesthetic arts. No, that is being too kind. They spent a great deal of their lives attempting to look entirely different thn how they were born to look. Why did curly hair need to be ironed into submission or poisoned with keratin until it hung lifeless, mourning its prior splendor? Why did freckles need to be concealed under cake icing, or the tawny beige equivalent? And why did all evidence of bringing beautiful life into this world need to be obliterated with waist trainers, tummy tucks, and breast lifts? What was the point of appearing to not have lived one’s life at all?

The curls were a birthright from their beautiful mother, as was this unfortunate condition, saved only for her, none spared for her siblings. The freckles were momentos of long, happy days in the sun, frolicking in the mid-summer ocean, not a care in the world. And what she would give to have the silvery stripes across her lower stomach. To nurse a child at her sagging breast. It was a magic that she would never know, despite how much she wanted it or how much she may have deserved it.

They had it all without knowing or caring. And she had this room, these tubes, these pills. But that wasn’t all. By some strange reversal of fortunes, she had him. How was it that he wanted to stay with her, knowing the ultimate goodbye was always only a few days away? He, so full of the life and vigor she imagined but had never truly experienced in her short, difficult life. But he chose her. And that had to count for something.


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