Factor IX.

Muscle tears, heavy plates clinking, and laughter. That’s when it hit me. The first drop in the drought. My body is a phenomenal machine, collaborating and oxidizing and pumping in order to follow my demands, to move exactly how I want. My mouth, which had cracked from the dryness of exhaustion, both mental and physical, began to sip. The books flew open again. Knuckle clenching nerves, pyramids of neurons tied in knots, and then the blaring red alarms; so many of them. The foreign symbols of my score. The sunshine after felt too hot and blaring, the smiles around me equally as blinding, until the bowling ball knocked me over once again: I am attending my favorite medical school. Failure only applies in quitting. I am chasing my dreams. I am fulfilling my purpose. The ripples in the water appeared again. I sipped. Pens scribbled, pages turned. Hurriedly typing away notes, laser-focused on my glaring laptop screen, my busy fingers froze and hovered above the keys. Bellowing words continued pouring over the class, the furious clicking of keys whirring around my paralysis. The cursor blinked back, poised and ready, unaffected by the words it had just regurgitated: Hemophilia B. Treatment $300,000 a year.

I sat back, stunned, and the rain poured down.

2

‘Steamed’ by Alyssa Monks.

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