One City One Story 2016 Writing Contest: “A Vivid Memory”

1st place

Category 3: Grades 9-12

“Vivid Memory”

by Marlene Romero-Cortez

Grade 9

Blair High School


On February 2, 2016, I was informed my aunt, Lydia, was diagnosed with Sarcoma. I was the type of cancer that began in the blood vessels and muscle. It had been excruciatingly hot in my house and I’d been lounging around all day. The day was passing by and it had already come to midday when my mom’s phone rang. She had just prepared lunch and was setting the table while my brother was being annoying as usual. She answered the phone in her cheerful tone and then landed her eyes on me. Gazing up at her, I had known something hadn’t been right. Her face masked with worry as she ended the call. I asked her what was wrong. My mom shook her head and said nothing and continued setting the table.

At 12:10 in the morning on February 2, 2016, I found my mom sitting quietly on the brown loveseat. I had just made myself a bowl of cereal due to lack of sleep. She was crying and I knew it had something to do with the phone call she had received. I felt sick to my stomach, since we had already gone through the passing of my grandfather. My dad had yet to come home because of his late shift. I sat next to her and she smiled at me, then told me the very distressing news. We sat there in silence, and somehow the silence seemed to connect us in a way words could not.

February 16, 2016 was our first visit to see my aunt in the hospital. It had been ninety-one degrees and an hour long drive. The hospital smelled of lavenders and had blinding white walls that reflected from the lights. The receptionist wore red glasses and a black attire. She informed my family that Lydia was on the third floor, room thirty-six. We packed ourselves in the small elevator with another family who, as they chatted on their way, went up to the third floor as well. Complete coincidence. My aunt’s room was slightly decorated with small red hearts and had “tlc” printed on the window. There were various tubes connected to her. She looked physically and mentally drained. The small faint sound of the monitor filled the air. I’d never felt so helpless in my life, knowing there was nothing I could do but sit and observe. My mom held my aunt’s hand as they conversed and I silently watched not knowing what to say. Her hair was darker and lost weight. Her eyes carried dark bags beneath them. The she motioned me over, gave me a hug, and squeezed me tightly, then whispered, “Estoy bien, mija, estoy bien, Mira.” She kissed my cheek and her lips were slightly chapped and smelled of lavender. Although she said she was fine, I knew better.

View:  One City One Story Contest 2016 Winners

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