"What Is The Weather Like Before I Die"
"You ask about the weather?" Lisa tilts her slender neck, strained tendons, keeping her head floating on air.
" Stan: you talk to me about comfort I don't feel anymore. You look outside this window and ask me if I enjoy the warmth of the sun, or feel the breeze. You know what I feel? I feel the emptiness of knowing I will not be here for my children. I know I will pay for my sin of heroin. Look at the tracks on my arms. When you are a scarecrow like me, you don't think about the weather, or how nice it is to have, Spring." Her silk strands of blonde hair dress the pillow "The food taste like chalk. My body feels like tingly pin pricks floating inside me. I don't feel the weather. I don't feel the seasons." Exhausted, she collapses, caving in to her pillow.
I catch myself looking outside the window of the fourth floor hospital as I listen, perhaps to imagine how she feels, as a breeze gently brushes my face. I look to her wet eyes, sky blue and a ridge of gray.
My mind is caught in a web of selfish thoughts. My topic of conversation: Spring?
" I want so badly to make you feel better. My wife and I know God has a purpose." I said bravely.
The room grows silent, until she clutches the IV pole and the wheels dig closer to my listless chair. She flexes the wreckage of her twisted flesh and bones. " I know you and Mary love my kids. I see it in your eyes Stan. It's not something you can hide."
By now I feel a dam of water breaking in my eyes. My fingers are like useless plugs.
Her eyes grow wide. "I know it has only been a few weeks. But we have no one. You know my husband and I are in a race to die. We both have AIDS. We don't know who gets their first." She relaxes her grip on the IV pole as nourishment trickles down from a puckered up pouch.
" Who will take care of my babies? They need a good family. My mother is too old and broken. My sister considers me dead."
I am trapped deep in my own mind. Can she afford a moment for me to reflect? Weeks ago I challenged God. I failed to be a Pastor. I failed at everything, but making a buck. Who was to blame? I told God I was no quitter. I did my part. I tried. I was driving to my job at the utility company as a cleaning manager, asking God if I still have meaning and purpose in this world.
I could hardly forget the day I stumbled in to the office, only to see the panic stricken face of my secretary. "You said you were in the ministry once. Can you help my friend? She is in the hospital." My challenge comes back now like the release of an eclipse, suddenly burning all focus.
"Stan, are you listening?" Lisa bends over. "Who will take care of my babies!? Who?"
The cavern of my mind feels the echo of her words, as a strange fiery fluid rises in my lungs. "We can raise them." There I said it. Tears and sweat mingled at my neck.
A feverish smile swims across her face. "I know God saved me. I can't feel good anymore. But it's what I know that counts. I'm so tired. Hug my children for me. Tell them I love them. I can rest for now."
Just like that. I leave. I slowly back away and turn to the sterile hallway until I see the lighted buttons of the elevator. No one else needs a ride. White coats pass me by as I walk into the elevator like a time machine. My world is gently falling.
Waiting for me outside the entrance, Stormy, is nine, and Tyler the pistol of a boy, who is five. My wife gives chase to him around the potted plants that circle a large blue rock with a waterfall. Stormy, Lisa's daughter comes up to me. Freckles shower her face, but the eyes have it, same as her mom's, baby blue, ridge of gray, she is my Spring season.
I pay no mind to the weather.
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