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I awaken to the smell of fresh pancakes. I groan, sitting up, rubbing my eyes. I notice a mauve blanket spread across my body, presumably put there by Libitina. I glance to my right only to find Libi not there. But for once, I don’t really care. Emotions or not, I still wake up (you guessed it) apathetically.
Nevertheless, I get up and creep across the hall and down the stairs, the wood cold on my bare feet. Crossing Libi’s room, I noticed my stuff had been stored in one of the corners. I had entirely forgotten to change last night.
Entering the kitchen, I first see Libi standing over the oven, eyes squinted like an impatient mother. And then I notice the source of the smell--Libitina Martinez is making pancakes because I’m having a sleepover at her house.
“You know, I would have been fine with cereal,” I chirp from the entrance. Libi jumps, fear in her honey eyes, causing me to laugh.
“God, Yana, you scared me!” My laughter only pursues through her stream of conversation. “I swear, child, sometimes I think you’re more cold-hearted then even how other people perceive you.” She glares childishly. “Besides, I’m not making them for you, I’m making them for me.”
I chuckle. “You’re making them for me, Lib.”
She just sticks out her tongue. “Anyway,” I continue, sitting on the counter. “What movie were we on before you fell asleep?”
She glances to the ceiling, considering my question like it’s a faded memory. “I think we were on The Fault in Our Stars?”
I snort. “Oh yeah. The one about the dying kids.”
Libi gasps. “It’s not just ‘the one about the dying kids!’ It’s a genuine and true-to-life story. And besides, death is serious, Yana.” She glares, grinning still.
“Everyone dies eventually. They just need to calm down--even if they die, they’d find each other eventually in the afterlife.”
Libi shakes her head. “Yeah, but you don’t know what it’s like to be avidly dying.” Her cheeks redden, the smile falling off her face. I cut her off before she can continue.
“What do you mean, Libitina?”
She shakes her head. “Nothing. It’s fine.” She presses her lips in a hard line.
“Libi, tell me.”
“Just forget about it, Yana.”
“What are you hiding? You can tell me, you know.”
Her annoyance is growing. Through gritted teeth, she says, “Leave it alone, Yanamarie.”
“Libi, if something wrong--”
“Look, Yana, I know you don’t have feelings, but could you at least have enough self-control to leave other people’s alone!” she yells. I tremble everywhere, shaking as I hop off the counter. My stomach clenches, my heart heavy. Resentment for my unknown state burns through my body.
“I-I’m gonna g-go use the bathroom,” I whisper. I’m left quaking as I walk upstairs to the purple bathroom. I seat myself on the floor, knees to chest, rocking back and forth.
“It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay,” I whisper to myself. But deep inside, I know it’s not. And for the first time in my life, I begin to cry.
I walk down for breakfast, Libitina waiting for me at the kitchen counter. I sit across from her, looking at my plateful of pancakes instead of eating. My appetite has since been lost. I feel so distressed and worthless by Libitina’s side by now.
“I’m sorry for what I said. That wasn’t right of me,” she says after a long awkward silence. I nod.
“Whatever.” Acting jaded is better than acting concerned.
“I know you were just curious, it’s just…” she shakes her head, her eyes glazing and watering over. “It’s so hard.”
“What is?” I whisper, leaning toward her. And this time I can’t hide the concern in my voice.
She sighs, dropping her fork on the plate as she leans back. “I have congenital heart disease. And soon, my heart might stop functioning entirely.”
I can’t breathe. Libi notices.
“Don’t worry, though—I’m getting a heart transplant pretty soon, so I won’t be as close to my deathbed.”
“You’re dying?” I mutter. Libi nods.
“Not very quickly at the moment, though.” Her voice is soft like she’s talking to a child. “I’m going to be okay.”
I don’t know what to say. My eyes scan the table, not actually seeing what I’m looking at. “Woah.”