When we finally left the school, Dad didn’t look at me or talk to me. I started to think he was mad at me. I started to get nervous so I played piano on my knees. I looked over briefly at my Dad. His jaw was clenched. I went back to playing.
Then I started crying. The little voice in my head was telling me to stop crying because it was completely embarrassing. But here I was, with my forehead on the dashboard, crying like a baby. “Abbey, don’t cry. I’m not mad at you. I just want you to do better.”
“I can’t! Don’t you get it? I can’t do any better and I can’t concentrate and I can’t make friends!” I shouted through my tears. Dad sighed. “Okay, we’ll get a tutor. And sure you can make friends you just need to try.” My Dad was trying to comfort me. I started getting more angry than sad.
“Why are you doing this? This is why Mum died!” I screeched at him. “Abigail, don’t you dare.” My Dad was on the verge of furious, but I was already there. I knew I shouldn’t have said that, but I didn’t apologize. I guess this would be a good time to explain.
You see, when I was younger, my brother used to call me ‘symptoms’ because I would always figure out what was wrong with people. Well, I would spend hours on the internet, searching for the answer after I was given a list of symptoms. It was something that held my attention when I wasn’t playing the piano.
So when my Mum started to complain about her chest aching, I was intrigued. Then she had a cough, a cough that never went away. By the time she started having shortness of breath after playing with us, I had diagnosed her. I went up to Dad and told him. “I think Mum has lung cancer.” I said slowly. My Dad just furrowed his brow, and then laughed. “Don’t be silly, Abbey. Off to bed now.”
Three months later, my Mum was diagnosed by her doctor on her check- up.
I looked up as the car lurched into the driveway. I hopped out of the car and ran into the flat. “How was the interview?” Evan asked before I pushed his out of the way and slammed the door to my room. I dug my face into my pillow and listened to Dad’s footsteps coming down the hallway. Then I heard the muffled voices of my Dad and brother talking.
I lay on my bed, and remembered the day I had diagnosed myself. It was the day I had argued with the teacher, broken Evan’s bed by jumping on it too much, and gotten my report card. It was a pretty bad day… That night, after a stern talking to from my Dad, I went on the computer. I typed in my symptoms. “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” I had said to myself.
I snapped out of my flashback as I heard the muffled voices of my Dad and Evan getting louder. I realized they were arguing. This was strange because Evan was so chilled all of the time. That was my favourite thing about him, actually. He contrasted me quite well. “She is suffering because you refuse to accept it!” I heard Evan shout. It was unnerving to hear all of that. So I got off of my bed and went to my keyboard. I sat down and played as loudly as possible. I closed my eyes and hoped that the fighting would end soon.
After a few minutes, Evan walked into my room. He calmly sat on the floor next to me. I peeked at him and his cheeks were flushed. “It might not be…” I started to say. “NO, it might not. But it would be nice to know.” Evan replied. I stopped playing and turned to him. “Doesn’t he care enough to find out?” I asked. “Of course he cares. But that’s the problem, he cares too much.” Evan sighed.
I wasn’t sure I understood what he meant by that, but it still felt good. I felt comforted. That night, as I lay in my bed, my Dad came in. He crouched beside my bed as I sat up. “I’m sorry.” He said. “I am too.” I replied. “I will get you whatever tutor you want, and you will try at least to make a friend. Is that a good deal?” My Dad asked. I was a little disappointed. I thought the argument with Evan would have gotten Dad to accept something. Or at least get me diagnosed.
“That’s a great deal. And I pick Miss Karen. She works at my school.” I said. At least I would have games and flashcards to look forward to.
My Dad rustled my dirty blonde hair and left. The one thing we didn’t know was that making friends would be the worst decision of all.