Gracie | Teen Ink


May 24, 2016
By mem228 DIAMOND, Attleboro, Massachusetts
mem228 DIAMOND, Attleboro, Massachusetts
80 articles 5 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.

"You have a visitor, Mr. Courtier."
"Another one, Jodie?"
"I think you'll enjoy this one." She winked at me and left.
I liked Jodie. She treated me like a human being.
I heard the buzz and the clang of the door.
"Hi, Mr Courtier."
"And who might you be?"
Or at least that's what I meant to say, but the words never came out. I looked up to see who had dared visit a prisoner, expecting another lawyer. Instead, I saw the most beautiful child I had ever seen. She was wearing a smile and a neon green dress with white flip flops and hoop earrings. But none of those were what made her look stunning.
There was not a single hair atop her head.
"Who are you?" It came out rougher than I meant for it to.
But her grin did not fade even the smallest bit. "I'm Gracie Chivel. It's nice to meet you, Mr. Courtier."
I cleared my throat. "Please, call me Michael."
"Michael...I like that name."
"Miss Chivel-"
"Please, call me Gracie."
I laughed as her smile grew.
"Gracie, I don't mean to be rude, but, well, I was just-"
"Wondering what happened to me?'
I nodded my head slightly.
"Well, Michael, I promised myself that I would not talk about it outside of the hospital, so if you want to find out, you're just gonna have to visit me, aren't you?"
We talked for a while until the guard came back, but I couldn't let her leave without asking one more question.
"Why did you come to visit me today, Gracie?"
"That's a secret between me, myself, and I, Michael, and I don't tell secrets." She spun around and exited my cell.

I jumped on the next lawyer who came to see me and sent him on an errand.
He came back the following day with good news.
"The judge is going to let you visit Gracie. But you must wear an ankle monitor and be accompanied at all times."
A sigh of relief escaped my mouth.

The receptionist smiled when I asked for Gracie, but it quickly turned into a frown when she noticed the police officer. He nodded at her, and she then told me the room number.
"Hi, Gracie."
She was connected to tubes, with patches covering her skin, but her eyes were filled with more joy than I had ever seen.
"Michael! What are you doing here?"
"You said that I had to come here to hear your story, so here I am."
"You must be Mr. Courtier."
I realized that Gracie and I were not alone. There were a man and a woman sitting on the other side of her bed.
"Yes. Who are you?"
"We are Gracie's parents."
"Oh, well, it's, uh, good to meet you." I turned my attention back to Gracie. "So how about that story?"
And she told me. She told me about her cancer and her treatment and her journey, but she swore me to secrecy.
"I don't want anyone to think I'm weak."
She had no idea how wrong she was. She was the strongest person I had ever met, and she was only nine years old.

There were four more visits. Two months after the first visit, I entered her room, not knowing it would be the last time. There were no more tubes attached to her, and her mom and dad were holding her. They were both crying. I was about to get excited when I saw her face.
It was tired.
I rushed over to her.
"It's okay, Michael. It's time."
"No, Gracie, no, it's not okay! You have to fight, you have to-"
"Michael," she murmured. "Come here."
I put my face close to hers, so that she could whisper in my ear.
"They cannot confine us, Michael. We were meant to be free."
I held her hand as the life left her eyes.

"Why am I here?" I muttered to my lawyer.
"You'll see," he whispered back.
"I am sorry to call you all here the day after Miss Chivel's funeral," the judge voiced. "But on account of a letter I received a few days ago, I have decided to make Michael Courtier eligible for parole fifteen years early. This ruling is final, and was made only after much thought and consideration."
It didn't register until a few seconds later.
"Wait, that would mean that I'm eligible this year."
She chuckled. "Yes."
"I'm still confused, Your Honor. Who sent this letter?"
"Gracie Chivel, Mr. Courtier. Your daughter."

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