I suppose the Disney writers re-invented me as a mermaid in order to be more appealing to children
The harsh reality of how such a wonderful world could be sad, isn't exactly a children’s story
This is what really happened
Yes, I have red hair.
Yes, my name is Ariel.
I was diagnosed with cancer when I was sixteen years old.
And all I really wanted was to be happy
Ever since mom died, Dad never lets us go near anything unknown, and never the ocean.
He gave us everything we needed, not necessarily to spoil us or make us happy, but to keep us safe.
I was never happy back then
No matter how hard Dad tried to keep us healthy, but I still got sick
Cancer made me weak, and depressed
Yet seeing all of the volunteers, doctors, and nurses being so happy and doing something amazing with their lives, motivated me to live whatever life I had left
I dream of being able to run, dance, play with others and most of all
Swim and feel the cold water reaching my toes and the warm sand beneath my feet,
But since I got sick dad made sure I had constant supervision
I was always with my dog, Fighter
And dad's assistant Alfred
They were both always at my side making sure no one came in my room
One day there was a volunteer in the hospital
He wasn't allowed to come into my room
So he just stood at the door and waved but he didn’t leave
“Hi my name is Derek, I’m a volunteer here”
He wrote on the whiteboard at the door
Before I could reply to him he got called away by a staff member
I was shocked, confused, and excited
Volunteers come in all the time, but they always left after Dad or Alfred told them to go
He was the only one who stayed
He came back occasionally and we communicated by using the whiteboards
As we got to know each other something was growing between us…
I was doing one of my singing lessons, I didn't notice anyone had even entered the room
As I finished singing, I took a deep breath
“Wow,” he said, “that was…”
And before I could reply, Dad and Alfred came into my room,
Furious, Dad forced Derek to leave slamming the door behind them, leaving me alone in shock with Alfred
I don't know what happened after that, but I didn't see Derek for the next few weeks
I gave up on seeing him after all, what could happen
I could never leave the hospital
The chemo made me have good and bad days
I remember crying wanting to get out and live my life like everyone else, then out of nowhere
Derek knocked on the window and wrote on the white board asking me “whats wrong?”
“I just want to get out and live my life,” I told him. We looked at each other and something clicked
Before I knew it he had put me into a wheelchair, loaded me into his car
And we were driving away
I was so caught up in surprise I never had time to process anything that happened.
“Are you okay?” he asked
“I'm better than okay, this is the best thing anyone has done for me” I replied
“Let's make it even better,” he said
We drove up to a place with a big red sign that read “Santa Monica Pier”
It had roller coasters and all kinds of people doing all sorts of tricks, it was spectacular
He offered to take me back to the hospital that night, but I told him “no let's just stay out the for weekend”
The next 2 days we spent going to all sorts of places we went hiking, horseback riding, snorkeling, amusement parks, but always come back to the beach
It made me feel so good, close to mom
Then on the last night, he took me for a boat ride along an old river during the sunset
I started to get really cold, my legs began to feel numb
Derek pulled out a blanket and wrapped me with it,
We rode in the boat along the river until we stopped under a weeping willow tree
We sat there in complete and comfortable silence
The more still and quiet we stayed the more wildlife came alive around us, it was beautiful
I could feel someone looking at me I turned and Derek was just staring at me smiling
I hugged him and told him
“thank you, for everything, I have loved every second of it”
We broke away from each other and as he started leaning towards me as if he was going to kiss me, my head went fuzzy and I started to panic and as Derek realized something was wrong I fainted
I woke up to a hospital room again
I was heartbroken that such an amazing weekend would end so fast
The doctors told me that I had gotten worse that they were surprised I made it to the hospital
Dad was furious yelling and crying, asking me
“what were you thinking? You could have died!”
Before he could say anything else I asked everyone to leave the room except Dad
I explained to him that with Derek I was the happiest I had ever been, I explained to him how I thought you should live your life happily
Dad was a lot calmer now, he told me that I sounded like my mother,
Smiling he left without another word and returned with Derek, I realize now that Dad was just trying to hang on to me as long as he could,
Now at my bedside, Derek asked me “What would make you the happiest?”
I told him “being with you in this moment is all I could have ever want”
Dad stayed silently watching.
Derek grabbed my hand and asked me “ Would being together forever make you happy?
Tears began to fill my eyes
“yes of course” I replied
He got something out of his pocket... a ring
As he got on one knee, I sat up in my bed
Tears began to fill everyone's eyes
Derek’s, Dad’s, and Mine
“Of Course” I replied as a smile finally broke through
We were married that afternoon
As we said our I do's we looked into each other's eyes
And in that moment I was amazed at how much happiness and love I had experienced in the last 3 days
I couldn't imagine how anything could be any better
We were married for about 2 weeks
He came to visit me every day, bringing me new trinkets and collectibles for me to add on my shelf. The last thing he gave me was an antique fork from the 1800s, I thanked him.
Suddenly my head began to go fuzzy again, this time it was peaceful.
Derek realized something was wrong and went to go get my Dad
As they entered the room together, Dad and Derek grabbed my hands, one on each side of me.
I felt at peace and as I began to close my eyes I saw their eyes filling with tears.
I thanked them for the life they had given me and closed my eyes one last time
I woke up beside mom, riding away on a boat towards the open ocean
I understand why they changed my story to be a happy one, where “They lived happily ever after”because it's a much simpler and happier story than mine was.
Most people don't understand how or why a girl would be willing to sacrifice her life for a slim to nothing chance to be happy even if it was only for 2 weeks, but for me, I was willing to risk it. My “happily ever after” was being totally and ultimately filled with happiness after I had experienced so much sadness. That's what I wish for everyone, to be willing to take a risk, because you may never find happiness if you never give it a chance.