Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Haphazard Conversation with a Merciless God

I grabbed my omnipresent comfort items for Dialysis and was about to slam the door to my truck when He appeared out of nowhere.

At first I thought he was a homeless guy just milling about under a tree. It was giving way to the eventuality of Autumn.

I decided to close my door softly so as not to startle him. I was about to turn away and scuffle into treatment, but our eyes managed to catch.

There was an amazing energy to his eyes, so I couldn't turn away. I placed my blanket and DVD case in the bed of the truck and timidly walked closer.

He just continued to lean against the base of the tree, grinning as if He didn't have a care in the world.

"So here we are again."

As the leaves were losing their grasp on the branches, they would somehow land, one by one, into his outstretched hand.

"No, here I am again. I've never seen you here before."

He just smiled a huge grin from underneath a tattered beard and chuckled to himself.

"I'm always here. The problem is, you never look."

The leaves started to pile up, one atop another, defying gravity in his open palm.

"I don't usually hang with middle aged bums." I wanted to head back to my truck and get the entire affair over with, but the leaf trick was interesting. The entire time this fellow is chuckling.

"I always loved that about you Stacy. No politically correct bullshit censor built in."

My mind searched wildly trying to explain how this guy knew my effeminate name.

"Are you a cop? Or a lawyer? Am I going to receive some paperwork telling me I'm being sued? Because whatever it is, I was probably too tired and weak to do it."

The red and gold leaves started from the top of the pile and started swirling like a tornado, faster and faster until the final leaf was swept up in this minor weather anomaly.

"You know who I am. You've just forgotten how to speak with me. It's pretty easy actually."

The hyperactive leaves suddenly left his vicinity and began to spin around me. It was hard to decipher whether I was entertained by this or just hallucinating. I had skipped treatment the previous day.

"This whole 'Dancing With the Leaves' deal is highly impressive, but I don't see the point."

I grabbed one of the leaves and immediately the remaining ones fell to the ground. I glanced down to witness them scamper away like ants. I opened my palm and felt an extreme cluster of burning pain.

"What the hell? Was that really necessary?"

He stopped leaning and stood upright, looking concerned.

"What did you just feel? Just now?"

He started to approach me and I took a few steps back. Even though his flannel shirt was stained and his jeans were torn, a smell of lilac filled the air.

"That's a ridiculously annoying question. It felt just like my needles do most nights."

He stopped moving forward, but His look of concern didn't waver.

"I ask you again Stacy, what did you just feel, once the pain subsided?"

My eyes moved downward as I searched for an answer. The leaves from earlier were dancing slowly with one another.

"Anger."

"And what else?"

"Frustration."

"Anything else?"

"Bitterness. Oh crap. God damnit. I'm going to be late. You made me late. They're going to dock my treatment time now."

The self assured smile from earlier slowly came to His face. He placed both hands on my shoulders and held me with an extremely firm grip.

"I know you're suffering. And I know you're in pain. Once you let go of it all, only then will you begin to heal."

I paused for a moment and allowed my eyes to wander. Eventually, they came back to His.

"You realize you sound like a fortune cookie, right?"

He let go of my shoulders and began to turn around.

"Divine wisdom comes from the strangest of places."

"Like an old guy loitering around at tree?"

As he shuffled back to his original spot, I could hear the leaves shuffle around still. They eventually came to a rest in the shape of an arrow, pointing to the clinic.

"Now you're just showing off."

My head darted around to find that He was gone. I began to grab my stuff as a realization entered my mind.

"That's a really ABC Afternoon Special kinda move, you know that right."

His voice came from above.

"Yeah, I know."

From the top branch of the tree I could see Him, playing with the leaves again.

"One thing I do know." I stopped walking to the clinic doors to turn back to the tree.

"You're not going to follow me inside. Admit it, you've never been in a Dialysis clinic in your life."

This time, He was gone. I turned back to the clinic to face my fate when I heard more scuffling on the ground.

The same dancing leaves from earlier had formed a smiley face, with the right eye appearing to be winking.

I just shook my head and laughed out loud. I stopped short as I realized I hadn't done that in a long, long time.

The Old Man just might have something left for me after all.

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