It was a week later— February 4. My eighteenth birthday. London’s seventeenth birthday. The day of my surgery. I woke up at six o’clock in the morning, text London her annual birthday paragraph, and told her I would see her in a little while. She responded within seconds with an even longer birthday paragraph for me. It made me smile from ear-to-ear, and for a second, I forgot what that day had in store for the both of us.

My mom and I arrived at the hospital around six-thirty, and by seven, London and her parents got there. (London would be receiving her bone marrow transplant in the span over next few days. The doctors were not sure exactly when yet, but they knew they wanted to do it as soon as they could.) There was a little bit of time before I had to get prepped for surgery, so, for a little while, the five of us just sat around and talked, as if everything was normal and nothing was wrong. It made me happy to feel that way, despite the fact that it only lasted for a short period of time.

At seven-thirty, the nurses came in and told us that it was time to get me ready for my surgery, which would begin shortly, and politely asked everyone to leave the room. Mr. and Mrs. Scott came over to me first.

“Paris, we could never thank you enough for what you are doing for our daughter. You are such an incredible young lady. We love you as if you were our own.”

“There is no need at all to thank me,” I said, “I love you guys, too.”

Then, my mom. She had tears in her eyes.

“Love, I have been proud of you many times throughout your life, you know that. But I have never been as proud of you as I am right now.”

She kissed my cheek.

“Love you, mom.”

“I love you more, sweetheart.”

Finally, London.

“I know they have to start, so I am going to make this short,” she began, “Paris, you are truly the best friend anyone could ask for. Especially in these past few weeks, I have realized how lucky I am to have you in my life. I have no idea what I would do without you. Love you, soul sister.”

“Love you soul sister” I said back.

She left. It was time.

“Okay, babydoll,” the nurse said, “are you ready?”

I saw the anesthesia mask in her hand. My stomach felt like it was in knots.

“Yes.” I automatically responded, not letting myself think about it.

I laid back and closed my eyes. As I began counting down from one hundred, I saw my dad with that same, huge smile on his face. He winked and gave me a thumbs-up. I instantaneously relaxed, and knew that everything was going to be alright. Before I knew it, I was asleep.