My name is Debbie.
The moral of the story I’m about to tell you is this:
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
Eric and I have been friends since kindergarten.
We always went to the same schools.
We’d say hi when we saw each other.
Sometimes we’d say “How’s it going?”, and chat for a little.
In high school, we were in the same class, so I started seeing him every day.
But we still didn’t talk much beyond just saying “hi how are you.”
Once I noticed him staring at me in class.
But when I looked at him, he immediately looked away.
I didn’t think for a second that it may be
because he liked me since he was one of the most popular guys at school.
He didn’t have a girlfriend,
but a lot of girls liked him.
As for me, I was definitely one of the losers.
One night, something really unexpected happened.
I had just gotten out of the shower.
As I was drying my hair, I got a message.
Did he even have my number?
I was so surprised.
He must’ve gotten my number from one of my friends.
Why did he text me so late in the evening?
We had a math test the next day.
Did he want to ask me something about that?
“Eric, you can call me if you want.
I’m going to bed soon, but I can talk now” I said.
He read my message, but didn’t reply or call.
An hour or so passed.
It was time to go to sleep.
But I was still so curious.
I just typed “Eric?” and sent it.
Right away he replied with “I’m here”
“Is there a problem?” I asked.
My face got completely red when I read his message.
“I can’t gather my courage.”
I waited for a bit.
“Can you please call me?”, I wrote.
This time he called.
We talked on the phone until dawn.
He said he’d liked me for a long time,
but that he couldn’t open up to me
because he didn’t get any positive signs from me.
We became boyfriend and girlfriend that night.
I went to school after not getting any sleep,
and ended up getting a really bad score on my math test.
The rest is a frog prince story.
Except the frog in this story is me.
Eric kissed me and made me a princess.
Love came when I least expected it from the person I least expected.
The weird part is that we were not very alike.
In fact, we couldn’t have been more different.
We fell more in love as we discovered how different we were.
I was so grateful that God had given him to me,
and I was sure that we were going to be together for the rest of our lives.
Days were going by so fast.
It felt like we just got together yesterday,
but we were about to celebrate our first anniversary.
This whole year I had been the happiest person in the world.
We decided to celebrate by putting a candle on my favorite food instead of cake.
Pizza, of course.
Our anniversary happened to fall on a weekend.
We were going to meet at the pizza place at 7.
Eric didn’t call me all day.
“He’s probably busy preparing a surprise for me”, I thought,
and so I didn’t call him either.
The pizza place was not far from my house so I walked there.
I thought Eric would arrive before me, but he wasn’t there yet.
I waited until 7.
He still wasn’t there.
His phone was off.
He didn’t reply.
I started to get worried.
I calmed myself down, and decided to wait a little longer.
Eric finally came an hour and a half later.
He looked really sad.
“Did something bad happen?”, I asked.
He said no.
It was the worst night of our whole year together.
He wasn’t talking at all.
I asked him “What’s wrong?” so many times.
He just brushed me off.
He said he was just having a bad day.
But I knew there was something else.
I had never seen him like this before.
He was sitting across from me, but he wasn’t really there.
His mind was somewhere else.
The next day Eric didn’t come to school.
I called him during lunch.
His phone was on but he didn’t pick up.
He’d never done that before.
He never left me in the dark.
I called him every hour.
I sent countless messages.
He didn’t respond to anything.
You can’t imagine how worried I was.
I decided to go to his house after school.
“Are you at home?
I’m coming over” I wrote.
He replied quickly:
“Please don’t come”
I called again.
He still didn’t pick up.
“Eric what’s going on?
Will you please talk to me?”, I wrote
and this time he gave me a one-word answer:
I cried all night without stopping.
At some point my eyes dried out.
I was just sobbing without tears.
Why did Eric start acting like this all of a sudden?
Did I piss him off?
Was he sick of me?
Was he having problems with his family?
I thought of hundreds of reasons, but nothing made sense.
He was my soulmate.
He wouldn’t want to hurt me.
He would talk to me no matter what.
He’d always explain himself, even if briefly.
There must be another reason,
and I had to wait until the morning to find out.
I didn’t sleep all night and came to school with swollen eyes.
Eric wasn’t there again.
This was just too much.
After the first class, I angrily packed my stuff.
I was going to go to his house no matter what.
The moment I stepped out, I saw him.
He was just standing there across the street.
I ran over to him and hugged him.
But he was being very cold to me.
“Do you want to sit somewhere?”, I asked.
He said he wanted to walk.
I didn’t know what to say.
We were walking in silence.
Eric finally spoke.
“Debbie I want to break up.
Please don’t ask me why” he said.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“You want to break up?
You have to give me an explanation”, I said and started crying.
“My feelings for you have changed.
I don’t want to talk about it anymore”, he said and started walking faster.
I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t talk between my sobs.
Suddenly, he started running.
I just stood there and looked at him.
It all felt like a bad dream except I knew all too well that it wasn’t.
Eric didn’t come to school that week.
I couldn’t help myself and called him a few times.
He didn’t pick up.
So I stopped calling.
Summer break was starting in a week.
I was sure that I wouldn’t hear from him.
Something unusual must have happened,
but for whatever reason Eric didn’t want to involve me in it.
I was more hurt than angry, and of course really surprised.
I bought a notebook.
I started writing down everything that I couldn’t tell Eric.
Sometimes I’d write only a paragraph and sometimes whole pages.
It didn’t matter how much I wrote because it always ended with “Why Eric?
A month had gone by.
I was still a mess.
I was no longer crying but I always felt like I was about to cry.
I couldn’t sleep.
Each time I got a message on my phone, I hoped it was from Eric.
I tried to distract myself with other things,
so that I wouldn’t think about him, but nothing really worked.
Each part of my body missed him.
My hands wanted to touch him.
My lips wanted to kiss him.
My head wanted to lean on his shoulder.
My ears wanted to hear him.
And of course my eyes…
My eyes wanted to see him.
Even if he didn’t want me, he still meant everything to me.
I came to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore.
I had to see Eric.
I had to see him, even from a distance.
Once I made up my mind, I couldn’t wait till the morning.
I put on a hat.
I wore my largest sunglasses and thought I had disguised myself.
Eric’s house was really far from mine.
I had to take several buses to get there.
I was so excited.
My heart was going to explode.
There was a café right across from his house.
We’d been there together a bunch of times.
I went in and got a table.
I locked my sight on his building’s entranc and started waiting.
Hours went by.
So many people came in and out of the building,
but there was no sight of Eric or his family.
I was so disappointed.
I paid the bill and left.
I was going to come back the next day.
I was crying as I walked to the bus stop.
I felt so helpless.
Just then my phone started ringing.
I was in no shape to speak so I didn’t even look.
As I got closer to the bus stop, it started ringing again.
This time I looked.
It was Eric.
I answered in panic.
“Can you walk a little slower?
I can’t catch up” he said.
When I turned around, I saw him.
He was wearing a hat and a surgical mask.
We went to a park nearby.
We found a bench by the trees and sat down.
I took his hand and kissed it.
He had lost so much weight.
I almost cried as I kissed his frail fingers.
I was trying really hard not to cry.
“You should have told me” I said.
“What? That I was going to die?” he replied.
Something broke inside me,
but I was determined not to cry.
“Why are you wearing a hat?”, I asked.
He took it off angrily.
“Because I lost my hair due to chemotherapy.”
I reached out and touched his bald head.
“I assumed it was because of the chemo.
But why do you think you’ll die even though you’re getting treatment?
“I could still die” he replied.
I kissed his head.
I looked him straight in the eyes.
“No, you’re not going to die” I said.
The next day, we went to the hospital together.
That day, I learned that chemotherapy medicine is given through the veins.
Eric had stomach cancer.
The morning of our anniversary he had heavy bleeding.
So he was rushed to a hospital.
The symptoms were so obvious that they diagnosed him after the first examination.
Even though he was devastated,
he still came to our pizza date that evening.
When he went home that night, he cried a lot.
“I don’t have a right to ruin Debbie’s life.
She’s going to mourn me all her life”, he thought.
He decided that the best thing to do was to break up with me.
He didn’t tell me that he was sick because he knew I wouldn’t agree.
That is exactly the kind of thoughtful thing Eric would do,
but I never thought that the reason behind the breakup
could be something like this.
Eric now gets chemo twice a month.
We go to the hospital together.
It’s not an easy treatment.
But it has to be done for him to get better.
Eric will get better, I’m sure of it.
He’ll get better and when it’s our anniversary,
we’ll celebrate our relationship
as well as his triumph over cancer.
Thank you for listening to my story.
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