Monday, August 1, 2011

Flashing Red Light

Jimmy woke with a start, breathing heavily, holding back the tears. Oh my gosh, it was a dream.

He lay there propped on one elbow, sighing at the blue sky, the light fog over the distant hills, the trees tapping at the window.

"Thank goodness, it's a new day, I'll call her today, see if she's still alive."

It was a month since 'the elusive one' told Jimmy why she believes she's dying. It'd been a while since they'd last seen each other. To Jimmy, each time was a little treasure.

"I'm not happy any more. I'm NOT going to change how I live, and I HATE doctors! I can hardly get around and one of these days, I'm going to not be able to catch my breath that one last time."

She spoke about all the negative stuff involved in staying alive, and as they talked, she started talking more positively, just a tiny bit, as if all the weariness finally found a place to steam off, a heart open to her vent. She never did have many friends, two of the three loves in her life died long ago. Family was gone.

Jimmy thought over this all morning long, as he did almost every day. He finished some work he had at home, took a shower, had a smoke, a deep breath, and a good strong drink. Slowly, slowly, he finally dialed that number.

"Oh, good you're still alive. It's the one of your third loves you haven't outlived yet." He told her his experience a few hours earlier. "I was taking a shower, listening to some tunes, feeling good, and all of a sudden - - I felt this terrible pin-prick in my finger - I thought maybe you'd just died."

"Oh, no," she laughed, "I have a few good months, maybe a few good years left. 'just taking it easy, that's all, trying not to wear myself out."

They talked, paused, listened, a little give, a little take, one foot forward, two steps back.

"Can I come visit one day?"
"Well, you know I don't like company. And I guess if I say no, I'll hurt your feelings."
"No, you won't, I know you, I know how you live, it's okay if you don't want company."
"Well, I guess a short visit sometime would be okay."
"Short visit's good, a little talk, some time to see each other. How about one of these next Fridays, in a couple weeks?"
"Oh, oh, well, now you're making plans. I suppose if it's going to be any day, Friday's good. Happy Hour for me - Monday, Wednesday, Friday, my Happy Hour, anytime after 3 o'clock. Red wine time. The only time I'm happy."
"Okay, if I'm coming up, I'll give you a call and let you know."

And that was it. A simple short phone call. Jimmy hung up the phone, smiled, breathed out a heavy long sigh, feeling good for the first time since waking up. He got on his bike, rode that seven miles to the gym and back, had a nice long swim, dinner with the boys.

It was a good day. One more day of life. And another night of biting his lip and holding back the tears.

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