I am here again, in the same room, at the same time with the thoughts that haunt my every night. Darkness filled the sanctuary of my bedroom. My hand slipped across the bed to touch his arm. My fingertips grazed along the bumpy fat, so warm. How many times had I longed for his touch? He never denied me in all the many years we spent together but now, it was I who pushed him away. Ethan with his stubborn streak and wild hair was my beautiful disaster.
The whine of the bed echoed in the silence between his snores as I brought my legs over the side of the bed remembering the fateful conversation just weeks before.
“So, what’s wrong with me doc?” I queried biting my lower lip.
He flipped through the pages of my chart perplexed as he approached the bed. Over his glasses that slid down his nose, he peered at me with an agonized stare. My pulse seized as he placed my limp hand in his, “Rebecca, it’s not good. With your symptoms of muscle weakness, spasms, mobility restrictions and fatigue I had my concerns, as you are well aware.”
My mouth went dry and I wanted to scream at him to blurt out the bad news already but I kept my mouth shut tight and shook my head in acknowledgment of what he said.
“From all of the tests we conducted we found no root cause for your symptoms and have ruled out anything similar to the diagnosis I am about to give you. You have ALS Rebecca, I am so very sorry.” He whispered sweetly while his hand squeezed mine.
“Oh my God, are you serious?”
“Unfortunately I am, are you familiar with the disease?”
“Somewhat, isn’t it called Lou Gehrig's disease?”
“Yes, here are a few pamphlets…”
Water fell in drops down my cheeks as the memory faded. I planted my socked feet onto the hard floor, the window sill I used for balance. My muscles cramped with every languid step I took toward the closet. My hand grappled with the cold knob as I swung open the door looking for the sacred book. I snatched the small Bible; I hid in the back of the closet, and held it against my chest. Ethan never knew about this small token of Faith I kept for if he did, he would surely brow beat me with his atheist ideals.
My body slumped against the paneled wood…. “Dear Lord, please help me. I can’t do this on my own.” My hand convulsed and the Bible fell to the floor, open. I picked up the book and read the passage from Ruth: “Wither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me”.
My heart hammered in my chest and I breathed a mumbled, Thank you.
"Hey mom, can I come home?” I whispered in the phone.
“Always, what’s wrong?” She questioned through her cotton mouth. “I can’t stay with Ethan…” I began looking sorrowfully at the rise and fall of his chest. “I found someone else.”
“Well, I’ll be here, when will you be coming?”
“Be careful and I’ll see you in a few hours.”
My finger hit the red button and slid the cell into my pocket. I could not tell her of my condition over the phone. I needed her arms and warmth when I broke down. I picked up my bags, grabbed my keys and left a scribbled note of goodbye on my pillow. The gravel crunched under the weight of my feet as I turned to look at the house one last time. I loved Ethan as sure as my heart beat but the love for my soul was greater. In a few years I would die, that was certain but not before I returned to the house I had left years before; the house with the steeple standing proud atop its roof where my gateway to everlasting life waited for me.