Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Young adult or teen  ➡  Social Issues

Candyland: An Internet-ional Story


Dedicated to the Boa Flouncer for inspiring this story, and to all the Mazys in the world fighting for tomorrow.


Some days, Mazy forgot what life was like outside the hospital. Six months into her stay, she had grown accustomed to feeling trapped inside the boring beige walls of the children’s medical wing.

Some days, she would journey down the hall to play dress-up with the younger girls. They would put on high heels, oversized sunglasses, and flounce feathered boas around their necks. Before coming here, Mazy might have thought herself too old for such things. Now, Mazy fluctuated between feeling far younger and far older than her fourteen years.

Some days, she longed for the sense of security she’d felt when her father and her four-year-old self would tie blankets around their necks as capes, scaring off monsters with a confident shout. “Creepy and crawly creatures beware! You’re no match for the Amazing Mazy and her Dynamic Dad!”

Some days, she longed for the comfort of her mother’s arms around her after a fall, and the simple belief that a kiss could cure any ill.

Some days, Mazy feared she would never feel normal again. She scrolled through her Facebook feed, straining to remember a time when her worst fears had been failing a science test or getting a zit on picture day. She wondered at her peers’ ability to talk about the future.

Just got back from vacay. The beach was nice, but next year we’re going to Europe! Is it 2018 yet?!

Only one month till school starts back? Where did my summer go?! At least we start high school this year!

They were so carefree. So certain what the days, weeks, and months ahead would hold. So certain that those times would come.

Some days, Mazy sat in stiff chair, eyes focused on the floor so she would not see the needle enter her arm or the blood leave her body. Sometimes, she still caught site of the vials of blood, dark red in clear tubes that someone would open, examine, and test.

Some days, her best friend Cora would stop by. Most of Mazy’s classmates had stopped calling, stopped texting. Perhaps they’d stopped caring. The flowers first sent had all withered and died. The colored balloons had deflated. Mazy had turned the “get well” cards into confetti, shredding them piece by piece when the frustration and unfairness of her situation became too much to contain.

But Cora still called. Cora still came. Cora could see past that the doctors and nurses and equipment, the plain white sheets that were not Mazy’s, and the room that was not Mazy’s, and the illness that was Mazy’s but wasn’t all there was to Mazy.

Some days, Cora brought new CDs or DVDs of their favorite girl group Daydream. The friends would listen and watch together on Mazy’s laptop– the one piece of home she held on to.

Some days, Cora would paint Mazy’s nails in bright colors. Mazy examined the purple polish on her nails, glad for the little bit of color in an otherwise sterile space.

Most days, Mazy sat in her room with either her mom or dad at her side. They traded off in shifts, each trying to work or sleep when they could. Mazy did not much see the point of them always coming. They spent most of their time waiting. Waiting for doctors to check in. Waiting for test results. Waiting for someone to bring Mazy her medicines and something to eat. Occasionally, Mazy would rise to use the bathroom adjacent to her room. It had a doorway large enough to let a wheelchair through for those patients that required one. A big, outdated shower with moss-green tile. A toilet. A sink. A door that could close, but could not be locked. The nurse brought Mazy a fresh razor so she could shave her legs and underarms during the showers she took twice a week, but then the nurse took the tool away again. Nothing sharp could stay.

Most days, Mazy let her mind wander through a digital world. She pushed herself up on shaking arms, propped herself up in her bed, put the laptop stand over her extended legs so the computer sat on eyelevel. Then she reached for the wireless keyboard and mouse on her bedside table and put them in her lap.

Younger children turned to sweets as a source of comfort after a visit to the doctor’s. Mazy was always surrounded by doctors, though, and could not eat much sugar for fear it would compromise her recovery. So she immersed herself in the candy-like qualities of [+ Daydream’s music+]. The pretty pastels and the bright, summery hues of their music videos. The addictiveness of their songs. She pieced together look-alike outfits [+ on Pinterest+] based on the personal styles of the members, and Mia and Audrey’s designs for the group’s stage fashion. Mazy dreamed of where she might wear such clothes. On a runway? On stage? On the streets of Paris? To school? To the mall?

She ran her fingers over the screen, determined that someday she would wear clothes like that. She would have a place to wear them to.

Mazy did not dwell on [+ Daydream’s impending disbandment+]. For her, the group was a fresh discovery introduced to her by Cora in the early days of Mazy’s hospitalization.

Mazy logged into the fan café and picked up where she’d left off the day before, opening to a page saved to her Favorites list. The page was dated 2014. Mazy had decided to enjoy her exploration of Daydream’s journey as if she’d been with them from the beginning. Each song, video, or update felt like a new adventure unfolding. Wondering what the next song would sound like, the next dance might look like, tracking the girls’ growth as musicians and performers, learning of new cultures and places through their travels…it kept Mazy looking forward when she had little else to look forward to.

And online, Mazy found a community among other Dreamers. The fans welcomed her. Talked with her. Shared her interests and her excitement. Online, no one knew she was sick. Online, she was just another teenage girl. Online, she was free.

Candyland: An Internet-ional Story

Mazy sometimes forgets what life was like before coming to the hospital. Six months into her stay, many friends have stopped calling, stopped texting, stopped visiting. Physically trapped inside the boring beige walls of the children's hospital, Mazy lets her mind escape into the digital world where she can live in the bright, bold colors and addictive melodies of global girl group Daydream. Online, Mazy finds a community of fans that share her interests. Online, no one knows she is sick. Online, she is just another teenage girl. Online, she is free.

  • ISBN: 9781370521722
  • Author: Ren Ellis
  • Published: 2017-07-08 18:40:08
  • Words: 1042
Candyland: An Internet-ional Story Candyland: An Internet-ional Story