It's the weekend, and I can't wait to see my best friend Lea after a few weeks that we were both busy. Lea still goes to the school where we attend grades 7-10, a public school. Since third grade, we've been solid, and I am sure nothing can separate us apart.

"Mom, don't forget I'll be out later with Lea and new friend Maddox. We have to check on Max in the clinic." 

Mom nods as she coughs, putting on her high heels while getting ready for work on the weekend. She only has Sunday as her day off, making her haggard even more, especially these days. Her cough is quite stubborn some days, it's gone, and the next day it reappears. I'm worried about my mom.

"Mom, take care of yourself; your cough is back again. You should see a doctor and stop self-diagnosing."

"No, I'm fine; I know my body; I will see a doctor when I need to." As usual, she declined my suggestion, like the recent conversations that we had.

"Make sure you bring your handkerchief and meds. Don't forget to take your lunch and snacks at work." I told mom while putting her meds and handkerchief inside her shoulder bag. I can't force her to see a doctor, so I will make sure she is cared for while she's home with me.

"Good morning, guys," a familiar high pitch voice of a girl is on our door.

"Hi, Angel," Lea exclaims as she pushes open the door and closes it behind her. Her voice raises a few decibels like she always does. She is quite an exaggerated girl. Lea is wearing her usual weekend outfit, ripped jeans, and a black sleeveless top which is not so different from mine, except I don't wear a sleeveless. I prefer a bulky top and simple blue jeans paired with rubber shoes and a white cap.

Before I can greet her back, her arms wrap around me like we haven't seen her for a year which never happened. We are close; we are one as a friend, as a sister. I pull her thin body into my embrace, too, missing her slim figure.

"I miss you, Angel," Lea says as her arms still wrapped around my body.

"I miss you too; I thought you'd wait at the lobby?"

"I can't wait to see you, so I thought of giving you a little surprise. Surprise!!" Lea says as she unwraps her embrace. Giving me a surprise facial expression. She's crazy.

"Hi aunt Athena, how are you?"

"Good morning, Lea; I'm well. Thank you for asking. You two may go out, but please don't come home late, okay?"

"Of course, I'll make sure Angel gets home before 7 in the evening."

"Before 6, Angel should be here." Mom emphasizes.

"Sure," Lea replies like she's my elder sister who should take care of me.

"Good, I'll have to go to work. You two take care and keep me posted about Max."

"Sure, mom. We will head down as well. I can't wait to see Max."

It's 8:30 in the morning when we arrive at the clinic where Max is currently confined. Maddox is already waiting at us in the lobby with a dog beside him. It must be Logan. Maddox is wearing knee-length shorts; a white shirt paired with black flip-flops appears homey to me. This is the first time I see him not wearing a uniform that really suits his down-to-earth personality.

"Hey, is he here now?" Lea whispers as we step out of the taxi.

"Hear what?" I pretend not to know though I know she's referring to Maddox, which I already told her on the phone last night.

"Come on, Angel, you know who I mean. Your new friend at Harper International School. What's his name again, Mallox?"

I can't help but laugh at her words. "Maddox, Maddox, not Mallox, say it right, Lea."

"Okay fine, Maddox."

"Hey, Angel, you're here," Maddox greets me upon entering the lobby.

"Good morning Mad, you're earlier than us."

"Yes, I had to have Logan check, so I came earlier than we agreed." The dog in the leash barks to the mention of Logan. He wiggles his tail like a good boy. 

"Oh, that's Logan?"

"Yes, come and pet him."

Lea elbows my ribs when I am supposed to bend down. "Oh, Mad, by the way, I want you to meet my best friend, Lea. Lea, this is Maddox."

The two shake their hands. "Nice to meet you, Mallox," Lea said confidently like it was the right word. Maddox cracks, but she pulls himself not to voice it out loud.

"It's Maddox, Lea." I corrected her.

"Oh, sorry, Maddox."

"No, it's okay. Nice to meet you as well, Lea." Mad answers as their hands separate.

"Hey, good boy, how are you," I ask Logan how I talk to Max like he could answer me. The beautiful Logan licks my hand as I stroke his forehead. He then shows his belly, signaling for a belly rub that I gladly give. How can I resist an opportunity to give some love to a sweet boy like Max? Impossible.

"Oh, my Logan down here is up for a belly rub now," Mad says as he bends down, joining the belly rub.

"Guys, I can't join you; I'm more of a cat person," said Lea, now sitting on one of the chairs.

"I know, girl, don't have to remind me."

Maddox continuously petting his boy, which Logan seems to enjoy. He sure loves his boy just as I am to my Max. And thinking of Max, I have to meet his Vet today for the treatment report if there's a positive response. I can't wait to see Max.

"Mad, I have to see Max's Vet now. Do you mind if I leave you and Lea here?"

"No, it's okay, but are you sure you want to go alone?"

"Yeah, I have to. I'll be back, and then we go visit Max together."

"Okay, I'll wait here with your best friend."

As his staff said, the Vet is attending to some critical patients, so I choose to meet him there. Wasting no time heading to the area where Max is confined, and I found Dr. Mendoza near Max's cubicle checking the other dog. There's my boy, lying in his small room beside where the Vet is. My boy Max gets back up as I am approaching; he probably smells me. He then wiggles his tail the moment he shifts into me.

"Hi, boy, I miss you," I exclaim as I open the door. My heart sinks upon touching Max; I noticed he lost a lot of weight, his skin sags, his eyes are teary, and he isn't as active as before. Although Max tried his best to get up and wiggles his tail, as his way of welcoming me just like every time I get to Susan's house from school to pick him up. I can't help but be concerned. I hug him tight like never before, enough not to hurt him. Max whines a little, probably his way of saying he is in pain.

"Ms. Carpio, you're here."

I turn around to see Dr. Mendoza, wearing his usual Vet attire, white polo shirt, and jeans.

"Doc, I'm sorry I had to disturb you here; I wanted to see Max and talk to you."

"No problem, I just have to see Max quickly for his check-up, and then we can discuss his treatment."

I nod and shift back to Max. "Boy, I'll be out so Dr. Mendoza can check on you." I kiss Max's nose before leaving the room and standing outside observing how the Vet checks on Max. Max is such a good boy, letting the vet do his job comfortably until he finishes. The Vet is so gentle to Max; I can see he dearly loves his profession and cares about the fur babies he handles.

"Ms. Carpio, we can talk." The vet says as he steps out of Max's room.

"Angel would be fine, doc; Ms. Carpio is too formal." I am hesitant, but I said it anyway.

"Sure, Angel, about your dog," he pauses before he let out a deep breath, which makes me really nervous waiting for his statement. "I have to be honest again, just like the first time we talk. Max's condition is critical. Although we have what he needs for treatment, I cannot guarantee that Max will make it."

"Doc, I don't understand. Max is still young; I know some dogs make it to 15-20-year-old, but why Max? And isn't it too early for him to get this kind of disease?"

"I'm sorry that you are going through this, Angel, but sadly not all dogs reach as old as the others. There's a lot of factors we have to consider; early detection is the best. If only we detected the fibrosis earlier, it would have been easy for us to treat him."

No words can describe how painful it is to swallow the truth. For a few years, I have learned how to live with Max; I cannot imagine life without him anymore. I notice beads of tears running down my cheeks as I am staring at Max when Dr. Mendoza left. I wipe my tears as it's blurring my vision, thankful that Mad isn't here. I don't want him to see me in such a mess.

Comments (1)
goodnovel comment avatar
Waiting for updates dear Author, hehehe

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