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Young talents - Vaccines

I sat in the first chair of the students waiting row. We were all scared or in some strange cases, exited to get our vaccines.
Meningitis, Hepatitis B, and HPV. Yes, I knew that these were terrible diseases, everybody had told me this; however, I’m a healthy kid and contemplated the idea of really needing to get the vaccines.

I had already gotten my Meningitis vaccine the year before, and in spite of my terrible fear of needles, I discovered I felt absolutely nothing.
As I sat there waiting and thinking, I wondered if the Hepatitis B vaccine was going to be as easy as the Meningitis.

Suddenly, the door burst open and a girl I knew as Anna Solvi strolled in. She looked miserable.
She signed in to reception and took the second seat away from me.

Anna wasn’t a very friendly person. She made fun about everyone and always seemed to get away with it. When she walked past you, she would have her head tilted upwards as if she was looking at something in the clouds, but her gaze was still on you like an arch in the sky perfectly landing on its target. And no matter how tall you were, she made you feel small and tiny compared to her giant ego. No one liked being in her presence, of fear that they would be humiliated by her sharp tongue that stabbed you in the back. For this reason, everyone avoided her, making her quite lonely and self-sufficient.

In my case, every time I made a mistake in class, she would call me “blondie” with an evil grin. It made me feel embarrassed and sad. I wanted to dye my hair a different color when she made those mean comments out loud.

There was no doubt that I was not her friend, but that never brought me to the idea that I should be mean back to her when she would say rude things about me. This led me to do what I did next, thinking I would make her feel better.
”Which ones are you getting?” I asked thoughtfully.

It took that simple question to make her burst into tears and burry her head into her hands. I sat there looking at her a little shocked. I had never seen Anna crying before and suddenly, the image of the cruel girl I knew, disappeared. And even though she was rude and mean, it didn’t bring me any joy seeing her in this state. Quite the opposite, I pitied her.
“Oh don’t cry please, I promise none of them hurt,” I said, “sorry I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

Anna sniffled and looked up at me, her cheeks were redder than tomatoes and her eyes were watery and moist.
“Do you promise that they don’t hurt? Not even Meningitis or Hepatitis B?” She asked me tearfully.
“I promise you that Meningitis doesn’t hurt at all. As for Hepatitis B I don’t know because I’m getting that one too. We can go together!” I said trying to raise her spirit the best I could without lying.

She flopped in her seat and whipped the tears from her face.
“I’m so scared Bianca. So, so, scared,” Anna mumbled.

I was about to say something else but the receptionist got there first. She called both me and Anna into the nurses’ room to get our vaccines. We were sat next to each other with separate nurses asking us the same questions. What’s your last name, how old are you, when was your date of birth, questions like that. And while my nurse was writing down the information, Anna’s nurse was preparing the needle for Meningitis. Anna’s eyes were shut tight and tears were pooling by the edge. She took in a deep breath.

“Bianca will you please hold my hand?” she murmured.
I hesitated for a moment and then took her hand to which she squeezed her thank you.

“Ok, ready?” asked Anna’s nurse.
Anna nodded squeezing my hand hard. Suddenly her eyes went wide and she smiled once the needle was out.
“That didn’t hurt at all! You were right, Bianca!” she cheered. Then her face fell. “Now, Hepatitis B.”

This time Anna squeezed my hand a lot harder. It felt ready to explode from how hard she squeezed it!
When she finished that needle, she crinkled up her nose.

“That one hurt just a little,” she said.
“It seems like it hurt a lot.” I said rubbing my soar hand that hurt more than the injection itself.

After the shots we were sent back to the waiting room to get our papers. As we walked down the hallway chatting to each other, Anna suddenly stopped me on the side of the hallway and looked at me seriously.

“You will not say a single word about what happened today, do you understand me?” she said pointing her finger threating at me.
I was about to say ‘Of course, that’s what friends are for,’ but, before I even got the chance to open my mouth she turned around and strode of the hallway, back to her original self.

And as I sat there in the empty hallway watching her get farther and farther away from me, I couldn’t help but think: ‘Yeah, that’s what friends are for…’

Bianca Neagoe, student
Bradford, Ontario

Bianca Neagoe    1/6/2024


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