Shadow Walker

September 19, 2012
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*One thing that I can guarantee*

You hate me.

I hide in the dark. I lurk in the shadows. Most people are even blind to me being there...for a while. Then I rear my angry head, and I strike. There are three parts to this story. Like there are three parts to every story. Well, every story that I’m a part of.

The Three Parts
The diagnosis
The fight
The victor

To fully describe myself, I shall use a metaphor. Have you ever spilled something? For explanatory reasons, let’s call it a bottle of ink. The moment before the bottle hits the ground time turns into something like cooled molasses. And then, I hit. The bottle hits. The bottle will smash and the ink will run. Then the battle begins. You may spring for sponges and wash clothes. In the meantime, the ink is spreading. And in the end, even if the stain has been conquered, the ink is still there, just below the surface. I am the ink. And once I attack, I am with you forever, even if just in your mind, which, is equally terrible.

Part One

The Diagnosis

I am here in the room with her. In this big, empty, white room. And finally, the words are said out loud. They come out of the doctor’s mouth in slow motion, and they are heavy like lead. They crash to the floor and stay there, sitting in the silence of that heart breaking moment. The room is engulfed in sadness. The woman sitting before me is named Louise Lance. We have met before, and I hold a grudge against her. She escaped my greedy grasp once before, just a few years ago. Aside from a few more wrinkles here or there, and a couple more gray hairs, she was the exact same person I had met before. She was strong, fierce, and still had the look in her eyes that showed me that I had met my fair match. I knew in this moment, as I had known the time before, I was not going to win without a fight. She asked some questions, and the doctor answered them in a matter-of-fact voice. Then she got up, with her head held erect, and walked out. I was just a couple paces behind her.

Louise had made a promise to herself in the doctor’s office that she would not cry. She promptly broke that promise when she got into the front seat of her car. I was sitting right next to her. Once she had composed herself, she pulled out her mobile phone and made two calls.

The two receivers of the calls
A fifty year old man named Johnathan. He lives in Idaho, with his wife and two sons.
A forty five year old woman named Kate. She lives in California with her son and daughter.

Her children.

Part Two

The Fight

The News of the Week

“The Artist” wins big!
The best and worst dressed of the Oscars
Beyonce and Jay-z’s new baby!

Kate idly flipped through the gossip magazine, only pausing for a brief moment when the flight attendant asked her if she was interested in a drink. She was not. She tried not to think of the illness that had returned to her mother, but as she cruised at 23,000 feet, her mind could not help but drift away from the frivolous movie stars to the more important matters. She left the kids with a house sitter. Although, they did try to argue the point that at 12 and 15 they were plenty old to stay at the house alone. Over her dead body would she let that happen! After sitting in the seat a while longer, with her legs cramped to her body, she nodded off.

Kate awoke to the sound the captain announcing their descent, and going over the local time and weather of the beautiful state of Ohio. She had checked no luggage, just a carry-on, so she did not have to wait for any bags. Kate got off the plane and went strait to the car rental. She got into her new, leather scented car and drove onto the highway, not looking around at the lovely scenery of corn fields and factories.

The welcome turtle on the front porch smiled at her as she lifted it, snatching the spare key concealed beneath its stomach. With her hand ever so slightly shaking, she unlocked the door and stepped inside. “Hi Mom,” she called out tenderly.

Louise sat in her fluffy armchair as she stared out of the window. It was disconcerting for Kate to see her mother wearing a wig again. There was a mutual understanding between the women that Louise hated that wig. No, that is not a strong enough word. She loathed it.

*The true meaning of the wig*
She was sick again.

It had been a very long year for all of the Lances. For the children, it had been full of flying across the country, taking turns being the caretakers for their mother. For the grandchildren, it meant hearing of their grandmother’s deteriorating health, and not being able to go with their parents to see her. Louishet want her grandkids to see her in that state. She wanted them to hold onto the memories of her when she was strong and independent.

I had taken so much from her already, but I was now stealing one of her most vital faculties, her speech. She could no longer talk. All those surgeries to her throat took that away. I am aware that I am playing dirty...and winning. But Louise’s will never wavered. She wanted to live, everyone wanted her to. I quote a famous rock band: “You can’t always get what you want.”

Part Three

The Victor

The realization came suddenly; it was too hard for Louise. Her determination to live and fight had pillaged the joy of life. It was no longer worth the day to day pain and fatigue. The word acceptance comes with the clashing feelings of peace and sorrow. The bitter truth was simply that it was time to let go. I can assure you that Louishet die an unhappy and uncomfortable death. No, she found a place of warmth and tranquility.

*The definition of Hospice*
A health-care facility for the
terminally ill that emphasizes
pain control and emotional support
for the patient and family, typically
refraining from taking extraordinary
measures to prolong life.

Slow, melancholic tears of agony and joy rolled down the cheeks of Johnathan and Kate. Louise lay in her bed. Finally ready to be taken away. She was just so tired. Both Jonathan and Kate said their goodbyes, and told their mother how much they loved her, and how much she meant to them all.

It was almost over, or it had almost begun. I do not know what comes after life. It is not my job to know that. My task is to escort people to the end. To the emptiness. But, if I were to tell you the truth, I like to believe there is something more. Something beautiful. Perhaps, then it does not make me quite so terrible. Just a bad thing on the way to good thing. I am not defending what I do, but simply trying to make sense of it. But that is a futile thing to do. I am an enigma to everyone and everything. That is the plain and simple truth. Now,just as quickly as I had come to Louise, I left her.

I walked away, not stopping to look back, at the now unoccupied body of Louise Lance. I had done my job. I stepped back into the shadows, and left the hospice center. I did not have time to loiter. As they say, “No rest for the wicked.” And, with 7.9 million people to visit each year, I had to keep on moving...


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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Carter13 said...
Sept. 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm
I really loved it. The writting style was interesting and very engaging as was the plot. I also loved how you incorporated facts and the feeling given by the story told by the disease it self. :) Very well written.
I.R.B replied...
Sept. 25, 2012 at 6:28 pm
Thank you! I very much appreciate that. 
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