And I did what any 13 year old would do if they heard that sentence. I flat out denied it.
"You're not going to die, Violet."
"Yes, I am."
"Well, yeah--someday. Everyone's going to die, someday."
"My someday is probably closer than yours."
Now she was ticking me off.
"Yeah? How do you know?" I stopped. One hand on my hip, dangling the Walmart bag, wondering how death got into this conversation in the first place. Violet turned and looked up at me. She sure was short. "I know I'm going to die before you because I have C.F. And people who have C.F. don't live very long. I think the record is 32. Or something like that."
She sat down on the curb, so I sat down next to her.
"What's 'C.F.'?" I asked, repentant now.
I scooched a bit away, and she laughed "It isn't contagious."
"Cystic Fibrosis." I spat. What an ugly sounding disease.
Violet launched into a spiel that I could tell she'd given before. It sounded like something straight from a thick pamphlet you would get at the pediatrician's office. It might be called "CYSTIC FIBROSIS: A CHILD'S GUIDE." She was talking about mommys being a plus or minus and daddys being a plus or minus, and if you get two plusses then you can get a kid with cystic fibrosis, which means you get a whole ton of mucous, which is snot, so you cough a lot and your parents have to smack you on the chest and the back so you can cough into a tissue. And you have to take pills when you eat. That's what I got from her explanation, but it still made no sense.
"So, you got it from your parents. But I can't catch it?" I summarized.
"Is this why you're so short?"
"I'm not short," she sniffed defensively, "I'm petite. And yes."
"Oh. I wondered. Because you pretty much look like you're 7."
And then we cracked up laughing. Hysterically. Sitting there on the curb, with tears rolling down our cheeks, laughing like it was the funniest thing in the world that she looked like a 7 year old. When we finally ran out of steam, I opened the plastic bag and handed her a sandwich. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a tissue that had some pills wrapped in it. They were huge, but she swallowed them without any water, then took a big bite of sandwich.
I was chewing my own sandwich, with the morning sun warming my back and my hair. I could tell it was going to be smothering hot today. I hoped we'd find a semblance of a meadow soon so I could go swimming.
I finished my sandwich and brushed the crumbs off my Bugle Boy jeans. My mom had handed me these jeans and said "They're name brand! Bugle Boy. They're cool." I wondered what year purple baggy jeans with a high waist and tapered legs were cool in.
Next to me, Violet clapped her hands together, dusting off crumbs. "Let's find that meadow brook."