Jax stepped outside the bar feeling the presence of someone behind her. She pressed up against the red brick wall, her head resting on the cold concrete, discovering no merit for her suspicion.
A country tune from inside brought memories of a line dance lesson taken with her sister. Their feet moved left when they were supposed to go right. At the end of the class, the instructor made a strong suggestion they not come back. On their way home they giggled like little girls, reliving the experience.
Gusts of wind had snuffed the flame out on three match sticks before she was able fire up her cigarette. A puff of the uprising smoke mingled with a phantom light. These were the least favorite of her sightings, always escaping before her eyes could latch onto them. She made a mental note to put her pride aside, to tell her therapist about her strange experiences. Dr. Marshall would probably change her diagnosis from depression to unstable. She sighed at the potential stigma.
Perhaps if she reminded the doctor of the upcoming one year anniversary it may help. The visions were coming almost daily of Laurie collapsed on the floor; her long blonde hair strewn across the marble tile. Neither she nor her mom knew what to do. They stood frozen, in shock, feeling helpless. Her dad called for help while doing his best to give CPR, but by the time the medics got there it was too late. There was no time for goodbyes, no exchanges of I love you. The cause of death on her certificate stated, “Unexplained seizure.”
Jax returned to her seat at the table with her friends. “Why do you keep turning around?” One of the girls asked. “Is there some cute guy behind you?” Her only reply was a slight smile. How could she possibly reveal feeling as though someone was following her, watching her all the time?
Some days she wondered if Laurie had become a ghost, although she didn't truly believe in such things. She just longed to see her one last time. Her throat hurt, choking back her emotions.
The rest of her evening was spent tasting a variety of potions. Her sister would have been disappointed in her. She lived her life as a Christian, always reminding Jax how much God loved her, saying, “God bless you,” at the end of each phone call. Jax believed he existed, but felt he was uninterested after taking Laurie.
“Sorry sis,” she whispered, driving home.
All she wanted to do was fall asleep in her unmade bed, fully clothed. Insomnia had become a recent enemy. As soon as her eyes were closed she felt a presence once again, this time presenting itself with a warm sensation on her forearm. She propped herself up yelling, “Go away!”
If only she had the courage to check herself into a hospital for paranoia; she thought. They would at least give her medication.
“Oh, Laurie,” she cried. “I miss you so much. Where is this God of yours now?”
In frustration, she continued. “Why don’t you send my sister back and take me instead? What kind of a God are you? She was the good one, not me. I don’t even want to be here!”
She rolled her body along the bed, collapsing on her stomach, leaving just enough room to reach the photo album her sister made. Laurie’s face would bring her comfort. A pink paper fell out from the book. The heading read, “Remember.”
#1. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. For you are with me. (Psalm 23:4 NIV)
#2. I will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV)
#3. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9 NKJV)
She rested her forehead on her clasped hands. “Oh, my God. Could it be? Could it be you?”
Rising from her bed she hurried to her closet, opening a box of Laurie’s. She tossed item after item on the floor until she found her bible. While looking up the verses her sister had written down a joy filled her heart, she felt peace.
Climbing back into bed, with the bible still in her hand she knew God was interested, his spirit was with her, she could sleep.
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