When she was first diagnosed Shelley’s friends came every day to see her. But in time their visits dwindled. One by one they dropped off. Her prognosis worsened and the walls of the ward began to feel like a lifer’s cell. Only Lenny kept coming. Every second day he’d pop in on his way to work. Sit with her a while. They’d talk about what was happening at uni. Sometimes he’d bring in a new track he’d mixed and they’d share his headphones. He’d always seemed like just one of the crowd. But now he represented everything she’d imagined about leaving school and leaving home and finding her way in the world. And though she’d always been the one with attitude—the one with the weirdest hair and the weirdest taste and the knack for staying just the right side of trouble—when he said, ‘Hurry up and get better, I’m gonna marry you one day,’ she only wanted to smile and smile and smile, so much that the nurses were worried she’d taken a turn.

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