Never Grow Up: Prologue

“Peter is going to die.”  The words burned from Edmund’s hoarse throat as his face crumbled with grief. The adults were in the study, discussing the news the doctor told Peter’s father. Peter was eleven years old and had recently suffered from dizzy spells and horrible fevers. His skin always appeared bruised and his stomach was never settled. He often complained about terrible pain in his arms and legs, and for a time the warning went without regard, as it was expected of boys to experience a fair bit of pain as their bodies stretched and grew in length and girth. The men, Peter’s father Edmund and uncle Patrick, exchange nods and tears among grumbled words.

“Impossible! How could such a thing come upon such an active boy?” Uncle Patrick

“Peter has Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. The doctor were very concerned and had repeatedly informed me that there is no available cure.” “I fear there is anything we can do.”

“How long does he have?”

“With treatments he may have a six months. However, the treatments would risk comfort and mobility during the entirety of the time and would only at best, prolong suffering. Without treatments, Peter is expected to live maybe half that time, but he’d feel more himself.”

“My Lord!” What do you plan to do?”

“I’m uncertain.” Edmund shuffled nervously in his office attire, picking at the buttons on his shirt beneath his tie. He had debated himself for the last few hours over what steps should be taken and how. The fear of all parents, realized as the veil of possibility tore among the shrouded reality that a child, Edmund’s child, was going  to die, and the unsettling truth that there was nothing anyone could do to stop it. The fear actualized in a painful state of choices, to either let the boy live as a boy would without the fear of time, or cling to time, allowing both boy and body to exist in a faded haze, without resemblance of a wild youth.

Whatever you decide, May and I will do all we can to help.”

“Thank you, Patrick, but I fear there is nothing we can do.”