Prompt: Create a lottery where the prize is not money.
I pushed open the heavy glass doors and was hit with the strong scent of antibiotics covering the still-present odor of infection and disease. My parents trailed behind me, their eyes bloodshot from crying and barely sleeping, their energy and hope depleted. In my opinion, the time for crying has long gone, now what keeps me up a night is the determination to keep my little sister alive. It is my duty, no, my dying wish that she holds on long enough.
The inside of the waiting room is bright and cheery, but photos of smiling kids and neon blue plastic seats cannot disguise the dread and horror of the sick and injured people behind the sweet pink door leading to the infirmary. The chipper, young secretary greets us as we walk in, her mood so different from the atmosphere in this small room cramped with loved ones that it is almost funny. But it would be a great accomplishment to make me laugh. We clip on our visitors badges, and I hold my breath as we step out of the room, knowing the smell would be worse and the sights sickening. I automatically manuever through the complicated hallways knowing exactly where I am headed. I stop in front of the door, building strength before I enter. Knowing that if my face reflects the pain and anguish I feel that it would not do her any good. So I put on a strong expression and push open the door.
My composure cracks as I see the needles, wires and tubes plugged into my sister’s skin and hear the beeping of her heart, sometimes shuddering before it goes back into its normal pace. I quickly turn my grimace into a smile and greet her. “Hey Ave, how are you?” I ask hoping she doesn’t hear the crack in my voice. “Better now that you’re here!” She says, squirming to sit up and face me. I go by and sit on her bed, brushing her honey-blond hair behind her ear as I do so. She tells me about her day as I try to look happy but all I can think of is that they are numbered. She was just about finished and my eyes almost spilling over when the doctor walks in. “Hey Avery, How’s my favorite patient?” He says cheerfully as he strides in. “Better Dr. Martin, but a little hungry.” She says as her stomach rumbles to back her up. He smiles and says, “Well, I’ll get right on that, I just need to have a bit of a talk with your family. We’ll be right back.” My heart leaps at this news, last time we had visited, the doctor had informed us that her health report would be coming in soon, and we would know her fate. I give her a half-hearted smile and follow him into the small hallway.
I feel jumpy, like I have a lottery card determining my sister’s life; I may win or I may lose. I hear my heart sputter as he hands us a clipboard without a word. There are a lot of numbers and writing I don’t understand so my eyes skip down to a line graph at the bottom of the page showing her health over the past few weeks. I see the decrease in the line and am unable to process it. My mom understands before I do, and I hear her quiet gasp. My brain finally functions and the tears start. My lottery numbers were wrong. I have lost. I choke out a pathetic “no” and everything goes black.