Here is the first chapter of the sweet, heart-wrenching book, Lucky.
By Kiran Mathew and Grace Westpfahl
The water is nice and cool. Small bubbles rise to the surface, and disappear from sight. I dive underwater, watching the rays of sun that cut through the water and illuminate the bottom of the pool. By ‘I’, I mean me. Lucky Hassler.
It is calm as I move through the pool, legs kicking and arms pushing, propelling me forwards. I can see the long legs of adults, three of them.
One -a girl- has a purple bikini on. There are two men, their swim trunks are green and blue, one with a stripe pattern, and the other man has half and half; green on one side, blue on the other.
There are four kids, Michael, Bell and Josh. Josh is fourteen, and Michael is ten. Bell is five. They are my (slightly insane) siblings. The fourth is me. I glance down at my pink bathing suit. Two girls, two boys.
Josh turns and smiles at me underwater, before swimming away after Michael, who has reached the other side of the pool.
I swim to a wall of the pool and grab onto the ledge of the wall above water, without even lifting my head from the pool. I have become an expert at holding my breath.
I move into a sideways crouching position against the wall, feet pressed against it. I wait until nobody -kid or adult- is in my way, then push off the wall, moving fast towards the pool. I let the momentum carry me, until the need for breath finally reaches me.
I swim up, until my head breaks the surface. The water falls from my face, and I just stand there and breathe. As the last of the water falls back into the pool, I am pulled into reality. A reality where I am dying.
♢ ♢ ♢
I rip off my pink bathing suit and step into the shower, turn the handle, and wait for the water to warm up. It doesn’t take long, And I step under the water. For a couple minutes I just stand there, letting the water run over me.
I take the bottle of shampoo and squirt it into my hand. I begin to think about life. About life with leukemia. Knowing that chemotherapy might not work, and I might die. When I look down, the whole contents of the bottle is in my hand.
It’s ironic my name is Lucky, I guess. I was born with my mom’s umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. I survived, (duh) and so my parents named me Lucky.
I put the shampoo in my hair and set the bottle on the ground. I’ll pick it up later.
Suddenly, my head begins to throb: another headache. I quickly wash out the shampoo, step out of the shower, towel off and throw my clothes on. I feel dizzy, and I sit down on the couch in our living room.
Josh walks over to me.
“What’s wrong?” I turn to look at him. He takes one look at me, and runs to the bathroom. Seconds later he’s back with a bucket, just in time. I throw up.