Hey everyone! Welcome to the first segment of the year (the 52nd segment altogether) of my fictional story, When Life Hands You Lymes.
I was looking back at some of what I wrote at the beginning of last year and… Wow. There’s a lot of rewriting that needs done. That’s ok though, because this is the first draft. And first drafts are messy.
There’s actually going to be a big jump between the last post and this one. There’s probably about an eight month jump in the storyline, because I’m still trying to figure out just what I want the story to cover.
So, please, sit back and join Madalyn on her 17th birthday. I hope you enjoy, and as always, comments, suggestions and ideas are welcomed.
My seventeenth birthday dawned with swirls of pink in the east, then brilliant sunbeams breaking through creating a majestic picture. I watched it as I gently rocked back and forth in the hammock Darrick hung on my balcony. I considered pulling my phone out to take a picture, but the mere thought makes me close my eyes in weariness.
I’d watched every sunrise that week so far, my sleepless nights piling up one after another. A symphony of birds singing makes me smile and a take a deep breath, soaking it in. Somewhere along the way I had come to enjoy watching the sunrise. The sleepless nights? No, those were far from pleasant. The sunrises though, were like a little gift handed to me each day to make up for all the pain I would endure during the next twenty-four hours.
Learn to treasure the little things. The picture of my phone screen flashed through my brain. Jason had changed the background one day when he came home for a visit and knowing that he cared enough to try and help made me feel loved.
My family didn’t talk about my sickness much any more. We were all at a loss for what to do, where to turn next. The doctors and specialists I’d visited over last fifteen months had varying responses. Some said it was just a malfunction of the thyroid, others prescribed elaborate lifestyle changes, some told Mom I was just a lazy teenager and nothing was wrong. They all took tests. They all came up with the same conclusion We just can’t figure anything out. Well, wasn’t that helpful.
I peeled my eyelids open, determined to stop thinking about doctors on my birthday. The sky was awash in pale hues, reminding me of the colors in our churches nursery. Our church that I hadn’t been to in several months. The thought of being around so many people nearly sent me into a panic attack. I took another deep breath, then let it out.
“Ok, God. It’s my birthday. I’ve only gotten five hours of sleep in the last two days. That means I’m not exactly brimming with health and vitality like I’d been hoping to.” I stretch my arms above my head and then rub my face. “Crazy thing is, I’m not in any pain right now.” I stop talking and think hard for a moment, wondering if that statement is actually true. The last year has been so filled with pain I sometimes forget what it’s like to be pain free. Finally, I give my head a nod. “Pain free, what a gift for my birthday. Thank You.” I grin while looking up toward heaven. “A good nights sleep would have been nice, too, but I guess it’s too late for that now.”
The door leading from my balcony into my living room draws my attention. A moment later Dad steps out, a stunning picture in his suit and tie, holding a bouquet of bright orange tiger lilies in a milky-white vase.
“Happy birthday.” Leaning over Dad kisses my forehead. “How’s my night owl on this lovely morning?”
I can tell my face is lit up with a smile and a warmth surrounds me. I have the best family ever. “Thank you, Dad.” I reach up and rub my finger along one of the silky petals.
“You were awake all night again, weren’t you, sweetheart?” Dad pulls one of the porch chairs over and sits down, setting the flowers on the floor.
“Yeah.” I try to make light of it, but I can feel a sigh deep with in me, just waiting to be let out.
Dad glances at his watch. “Do you want us to call off the party for tonight?”
Tears build up in my eyes and I clench my teeth, willing them away. I will not cry on my birthday. I close my eyes, thinking about what Dad asked. Which decision will I regret the most? Having people over and then being forced to be around them when I’m sleep deprived or looking back later on and wishing I had seen some of my friends on my birthday? “Let’s not cancel. Who knows, I might actually be able to take a nap today.” My laugh comes out sounding more like a snort.
“Stranger things have happened.” Dad’s joke shows me that he’s more concerned then he’s willing to admit.
I press my lips together to keep from blurting out a silly question like “What in the world is going on with me?” because of course Dad doesn’t know. If he did, then surely, surely he’d figure out a way to help make it better.
When I was a child I had thought adults had cures for everything. I could take Dad anything from a broken bike to a broken leg and somehow it would all be better. Now it’s different. Now he can’t fix my problem. Every once in a while I catch him studying me from across the room, a sad expression contorting his normally happy features. Guilt would eat at me, as I realized I was making his life harder.
“Do you want me to get you anything before I head to work?” Dad stood up and scooted the chair back to its original position.
I shook my head, “No.” I just wanted him to stay. My interactions with people seemed to be dwindling and I clung to all the daddy time I could.
As if sensing my thoughts, Dad looked down at his phone, then gave me a frown, “I really wish I could stay longer and talk with you.”
“It’s ok.” I gave an awkward, lying down, one-shoulder shrug. Really, it wasn’t ok, but there wasn’t anything we could do about it. Dad had to work. I was stuck in a non-working body.
Dad gave my hand a squeeze, then closed his eyes to pray for me. Tucking my chin, I closed my eyes, too, letting his words of peace wash over me.