Bill had made many trips to Dan's house, but this one was different. He stared at the door bell in a trans like state. His mind was playing a chess match with his emotions searching for the right strategy. Should he be direct, sympathetic, or encouraging? Just as he pressed the button the door opened.
Jill, Dan's wife, answered the door. She knew it would be Bill.
“How's my bosom buddy of thirty years?”
“Oh Bill, the doctor told him that it won't be long now. The dialysis has taken its toll. His port has been infected so many times, the constant pain, the daily trips, and now his body is shutting down. He is about to give up. If he doesn't get a donor soon....he....he.. will...” Her eyes welled up. “What are we going to do?”.
“God will provide, Jill.”
Bill took her hand and they both walked into the living room where a hospital bed was set up. Dan was propped up, but his head hung low like a whipped dog. With eyes tarnished with despair, Bill's presence was unnoticed.
“Well don't you look down and out?
“Hey buddy, good to see you,” whispered Dan with a raspy voice and words garnished with defeat.
“Jill told me that you are in a bad way. So here I am to rescue you. Again!”
Dan perked up a little and said, “Oh yeah like I hadn't rescued you a hundred times.”
“Rescued! It was more like almost killed me.”
“You taking me cow tipping. Remember?”
Dan had convinced Bill, then 18 years old, that cow tipping was a boy's gateway into manhood. So, as Dan lay prostrate in the chigger infested grass on the outside of the barbed wire fence, Bill bravely positioned himself in a three point stance on the inside. He had the speed down, where to hit the cow, and how to push like a football practice sled right behind her front legs. No moon, pitch black, Bill lowered his shoulder, came out of the blocks steaming like a locomotive ready to clear a cow of the tracks, and over she went.
Bill started doing the victory dance, yelling, “Whose the man, whose the man.” He couldn't figure out why Dan was waiving his arms and motioning for him to run. Dan failed, again, to give him all the details. Like, the pasture not only having Bessie the cow, but also having Ferdinand the bull. Bill turned around and saw a 2000 pound Brahma bull snorting, pawing the ground, and then heading bee line to a bone crushing party. Dan put on his imaginary rodeo clown outfit and was able to distract the bull long enough for Bill to high jump over the barbwire fence. Nearly!
Bill lifted up his pant leg to show the nice long scar. “Now do you remember?”
“Oh yeah, your cow tipping trophy scar.”
They both laughed and then Bill got serious.
“Remember when my wife died four years ago. I was looking as bad....no...worse than you look today. You came over to the hospital, stood next to me before her last dying breath, and hugged my neck. We prayed for what seemed hours. You were there for me. “
“What are friends for?” said Dan with a grin.
“I have some good news for you buddy. I got the results back and it's good news.”
“Got what back and what news?”
“I am donating a kidney.”
Bill didn't tell him about the extensive testing required to be a donor, xrays, dental exams, blood and tissue typing, and so much more.
“Oh man, that is too dangerous. People have died from donating.”
Bill put his arm around Dan's neck and said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 NKJV
They prayed a fervent prayer together. Dan's eyes now had the glimmer of a sunrise.
“Best buds forever?” asked Bill.
It has been a month now since the funeral. The daily trips to the cemetery have not stopped. They eventually will. They always do. They say time heals all wounds. Time also hazes memories. You wouldn't think so now, seeing Dan cry in anguish while raising his hands to God asking, “Why not me? One little blood clot. Why?”
Bill's headstone inscription answered back, “Friendship has a price.”
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