I was almost thirteen when I watched my mother die. And while the cancer was killing her, the mafia was trying to kill me…
Kids my age were enjoying their summer vacations, but I was in a hospital cafeteria feeling somewhere between nauseous and suicidal. I had tried to eat somethin...
<p>I was almost thirteen when I watched my mother die. And while the cancer was killing her, the mafia was trying to kill me…</p>
<p>Kids my age were enjoying their summer vacations, but I was in a hospital cafeteria feeling somewhere between nauseous and suicidal. I had tried to eat something, but food had no taste anymore. I couldn’t smile and I couldn’t sleep, because I kept thinking about how Mom had gotten worse and worse.</p>
<p>That’s what cancer does. It’s a hurricane that goes after anything its path. And by the time it’s done, you don’t recognize what it destroyed. All you can do is try and clean up the mess.</p>
<p>I hated going up to that room. I hated how I couldn’t recognize my beautiful mom anymore. I hated that she had become this frail, unrecognizable thing that had to be doped-up 24/7. I hated that I couldn’t see the sharpness in her eyes anymore. I hated that I wanted her to die just so her torture could stop. I hated myself for feeling that way.</p>
<p>Dad was upstairs with her. He was already drunk off his ass, but Mom was done-up on meds, so it evened out.</p>
<p>I sat in that cafeteria staring at my food and wondering what my last words to Mom were gonna be. Would she even recognize me? She barely did anymore, so I didn’t know. The not knowing made me wanna cry and scream at the same time. But then someone walked up and said “hey”, and my night took a different turn.</p>
<p>The nurse was blonde, mid-twenties, and she would’ve been beautiful if it weren’t for the busted lip and the black eye. She was nervous, and her Brooklyn accent was just as thick as mine:</p>
<p>“I’m sorry to botha’ ya , but I recognized ya from the newspape-a’. Yer her, right? Yer Private Ivy.”</p>
<p>Oh, how I hated that goddamn nickname! It was stupid and obvious, and it always made me cringe to the bejesus! Even still… I didn’t have the heart to get flip with a broad that had gotten slapped around, so just I said, “Yeah. I’m Ivy.”</p>
<p>“Wow,” the nurse said. “I read about those bank robbas’ ya caught. And that pickpocket at the opera. And that child slavery ring. Ya did all that, and ya ain’t even thirteen, are ya?”</p>
<p>“In about a month,” I said. “Look, I don’t mean ta’ be rude, but –”</p>...