Monday, August 14, 2006

A Deal's a Deal, even with a Dirty Dealer. Pt. 1

When I was 19, I sold my soul to the Devil for the life of my then true love.

I was young, brash, and desperate. She was beautiful, kind, and terminally ill. A match made in heaven.

They say the Devil's in the details. Who would think that behind the cliched phrase so many people would find the truth? I'll tell you dear reader, if more people took that sentence to heart, there'd be a lot less pain in the world today.

Everything feels so much colder these days...there are less colors, less happiness. It's been that way for six years. Ever since she/he/it came into my life. I wander the streets now; not because I don't have a home or a life, just because I can't find anything else to do. The hours just seem to drag on now. I don't sleep anymore, couldn't really find any point in it. All those restless hours waiting for sleep to come, lying there, making patterns in the ceiling. So now I walk through these streets, drifting listlessly from place to place. I'm the one your mother warns you about, the young kid with ancient eyes and a blank expression. I've seen parents yank their kids out of my path with a fearful glance towards me.

Not that I really care. I just wander the streets, looking for somewhere to rest.

I pause for a moment; I could've sworn I saw her on the street. But I'm mistaken and I keep walking. The sky's blue today, a clear, riveting, electric blue. Like her eyes. Those huge blue eyes that seemed stare straight through me. I shiver and look down again; I still remember the endless nights those first couple years. The only thing on my mind, in my soul, was her. Then, as the years passed, the memories and the pain faded, but never the emptiness. The terrible ache is always there. It's like six years ago, someone slipped in during the night and stole my heart. Oh wait, they did, only thing is, they did it with my permission.

Something catches my eye and I glance up; my stomach drops out from under me. I'm standing in front of my old building. I haven't been near this building in six years. In a split second second, the memories flood back into my consciousness. My knees almost drop out from the force of the onslaught. I didn't think I had it in me.

Six years ago to this day, I signed away my soul for the life of one Kathryn Marie Sanders, age 20 at the time and diagnosed with a cluster of gioblastoma tumors in her brain. At that point, she had about a month to live. By that time, the doctors and everyone else, including Katie had given up all hope. She'd been taken out of the hospital and sent home to die in the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings. Most people had already been by to express their condolences, assuming she was already gone. After a while, I just got tired of contradicting them and just nodded and smiled.

We were all exhausted in those days, myself, Katie, her mother and father. At that point, we all just wanted it to end in one way or another.

It was Febuary 10, four days to Valentine's Day and we were all on edge. I came straight over from the little university she and I'd been attending before she was diagnosed. An icy, yet sunny day with the threat of a storm, the wind sliced through the thin coat I'd just barely been able to afford. The doctor's predictions had been becoming decidedly darker, her lifespan shrinking from a month to maybe a few weeks. No one could really blame them, Katie had stopped all forms of coventional medicine nearly five months ago. She said she just wanted to slip into the other world free of all tubes and needles and drugs. It was an argument she and I had been having ever since she first decided.

But I trusted her opinion.

Shedding my coat, I slipped through the little apartment we'd been sharing, careful not to make any noise in case Katie was sleeping. Jeanette, her mother glanced at me from the sink, as I checked the fridge for a smidgen of something to eat. I grimaced at the prospects. An ancient carton of yogurt or an rotted banana. Foregoing the food, I gave Jeanette a kiss on the cheek and a hug. I know that by this point, I would've been out on the street screaming at light poles without her. Jeanette smiled, it was a tired smile though. She'd been taking care of Katie while I was at school; I'd wanted to quit and be with Katie full time, but both the Sanders women had adamantly refused on that one.

I gave Jeanette's shoulder a final squeeze and headed down the hall to the bedroom Katie and I shared as well. My shoes were left by the door and I tiptoed in, poking my head in; my breath was stolen away once more at the sight of her. She was sleeping, curled up tightly under the comforter, head tucked neatly in. Her golden blonde hair shone in the light from the small window near the sofa-bed. The shadows played over her face in an interesting pattern. Quiet as I could, I crept over to the bed and slipped under the covers. Gathering her into my arms, I gently kissed the crown of her head. Katie stirred for a moment, looking up at me and giving me the smile I'd fallen in love with before nestling her head in the crook of my neck. Clenching my jaw, I held my love tight and willed the tears not to fall. I could not lose her.

With who I assumed was God as my witness, I vowed to find some way to keep her alive and well. No matter what it took.


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