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Conversation With God

By: Karen Kish

It is a beautiful day. How strange; how calm. The sun is peeking through the clouds, leaving the wind cool and refreshing. The hospital doesn't fit the mood of the day. It looks like a penitentiary, something I've always wanted to see for my own amusement, but never actually cared about searching out. The walls are old and brick, uniformed pieces carefully woven together into a flawless design. It seems indestructible, stable, except for the few cracks, hardly noticeable to the naked eye. The missing pieces expose the layered texture underneath, cold and stale. Its vulnerability to the weather has worn it down over the years.

When I walk inside the front sliding doors, I find in myself an overwhelming sense of confusion. Everything looks beautiful. The nurses walking around seem happy. The walls look as if they were just painted, and are a light sky blue. Everything is organized and clean. I would have never guessed that such an awful looking place could be so pleasant. Still, I remember why I'm here. The threat of a smile disappears as I am lead gracefully to Heather's room. She is dying.

I can't believe this is happening, I think to myself, trying to hold back the tears that keep attempting to slide down my face. I shouldn't have stood by while you got worse. I open my eyes to see Heather, still lying on the hospital bed, motionless. The air is so silent. The only thing that breaks through it is the sound of the heart monitor they've cleverly attached her to. The steady beating reassures me that she is still alive, but haunts me with the fact that she is still here in this prison.

"How are you doing, honey?" My mom asks from the doorway, breaking my train of thought. How long has she been standing there, watching me? Watching this? I quickly wipe the few tears away that escaped down my cheek and grab Heather's lifeless hand. I try to sound brave, throwing out "I'm fine." It feels like I'm pushing the words from the pit of my stomach. I sniff. "I want to make sure that I don't miss her when she wakes up." I drift away from this conversation, noticing the expression on Heather's sleeping face. It almost seems peaceful. Maybe she has finally escaped what she's been running from.

My mom seems anxious. I can't see her because my chair is facing away from the door, but I can feel her. I can feel the tension in her. She breaks the silence again by saying, "They said it may take a couple of days for her to wake up. She really hurt herself this time." She walks over and puts her hand on my shoulder, trying desperately to reassure me by her warm touch that things are going to be fine. "Why don't you come home? You need some rest. You've been here for two days watching over her." She waits for any response from me, but I let the silence stream through the air again. I feel like such a bad friend for even considering it. I am so tired, but I can't leave her. It is my fault she's here.

"No," I begin in a defeated tone. "I'm going to stay here with her until she wakes up." My mom squeezes my shoulder and kisses me affectionately on the top of my head. "Okay hunny, but call me if you decide you want to come home. I don't want you driving right now." She starts walking towards the door as she's finishing her sentence. "Okay mom, drive safe." I look over my shoulder at her to catch the last half of her smile as she walks out the door. My mother and I never get along, but her affection comforted me somehow. For the first time since I was very young, I really feel like she is my mom.

I lay my head on the crisp white hospital sheets, right next to Heather's stomach. I'm trying so hard to think of the good times we had had when we were younger, before we started…started seeing them. Tears are trying to escape my eyes, more trailing down old paths after the last fit before my mother came in. I lay in the silence, feeling Heather breathing beside me. I lay here in agony for half an hour. One by one, the trails of tears eventually fade away. Before I know it, I hear nothing but the beeping of the heart monitor again.


I am in the corner of the room, watching silently. No thoughts run through my head. There is no time. We are all stuck in this moment, seemingly for minutes, but it is not a moment; it is only a split second in time.

I have a large kitchen knife in my hand, lowered at my side. I can't use it; I can't move or even breathe. I'm paralyzed with fear and indecision. It's now like the moment is frozen in time. No one is moving, waiting for the others to make their move.

Heather is crouched in the center of the room with the dagger her dad bought her in India, waiting to strike. She was also paralyzed. He didn't know why he'd bought it for her; he bought it for her because he thought it was pretty, and so he wanted her to have it. Little did he know that she'd need it so badly one day.

The spirit is perched on the back of the couch, directly in front of me (with his back toward me), focused completely on Heather. He isn't what you'd think of when you think about evil spirits. He looks like a man, only taller with pitch black skin. The texture of it seems scaly, but I wouldn't know what it feels like because I've never touched him, and I never plan on it. I don't even know if I can touch him. His eyes are clear red and stare through you. They look as though they can read your thoughts if you stare back for too long.

He tried to attack Heather before, but she sliced through the air at him, making them both retreat to the places they stay motionless at now. Why aren't they moving? I suddenly realize the irony of my situation. Why aren't I moving?

She breaks her frightened stare on him to look over at me. I'll never forget the expression on her face; I've never seen anyone this frightened before, and I doubt I'll ever see anyone this frightened ever again. She searches through my dazed expression for an answer, screaming "Help…me…" without making a sound.

Then she looks back at him. He must know what she's doing because he swings his head around, very snake-like, and peers at me. He looks at me blankly for a few seconds before hysterically laughing at me. This isn't about you! I can feel him thinking. He turns his head back around again and flies at Heather. They wrestle on the floor, both scrambling like wild dogs. I can hear Heather's screams and see her shiny dagger flying through the air. She's never fought anyone before; she doesn't know how to fight. My will versus the actuality of the situation are tearing me into pieces. What the hell am I supposed to do?! I consistently ask myself like an autistic child stuck on a thought.

Finally my rage overtakes me. I can't let this happen to her! I run at them, screaming angrily. I stand before the two of them on the carpet and point the ridiculously large kitchen knife at the spirit. At the top of my lungs I exclaim "N'eish de h'eai m'a!" and stab him.

The spirit squeals in pain. He flies back and seizures on the table. When he stabilizes enough to hold himself up, he peers at me with pure anger. Squatting on the table, he closes his eyes to yell at me in unrestrained anger. The sound that comes out of his mouth is a lion and an angry man. It sends chills down my spine. He opens his eyes and disappears into the wall.

I don't really realize what I've done. I blink emptily, standing there with the knife still raised at my side. I'm breathing heavily with my eyes transfixed on the wall where he disappeared. What was that? What did I do? What did I say? I don't even know what language that was…Suddenly I look down at Heather. She's looking at me with a worse horror than she looked upon the spirit with. "No," I started, dropping the knife and trying not to cry, trying to be strong for her. "Please, no. Don't look at me like that." I run to her, dropping to the floor beside her. I hold her in my arms. She is shaking and crying.

I wake up crying out. I raise my head from Heather's side to look at her. Tears begin to well in my eyes, a few slip out down my cheek, sliding down my neck and slipping on my shirt. "I'm so sorry!" I whisper to the sleeping body. "I never meant to scare you."

I start heaving. Oh no, I think, its starting again.As it becomes harder and harder to breathe, I search frantically around the room for my inhaler. But I know the truth…it is already too late. When I try to stand to call the nurse, I fall to the floor. Tears are still trying to escape. I'm so frightened. I'm so sorry, Heather.


My eyes are closed.

I remember…

After that day, Heather started cutting herself. "I have to make sure I'm alive, you know?" She'd always say in a shaky, unsure tone. "Feeling the blood run helps me believe its all real. I haven't been real sure si-since it happened." I hated the way she'd always look at me after saying that, as if asking "Are you you again, or that person I saw fighting?" It's as if she thought that I might have turned into one of those spirits by trying to fight it off. It makes her distrust me some, if not completely. I changed, and I changed what she thought of as real, and she couldn't cope with that on top of all her other perceptions of things changing so rapidly." I hate her for looking at me like that. She makes me feel so guilty. I know it's my fault that things have come to this in her eyes. And I never did anything to help her. I didn't know what to do. I lowered my head to the floor and stared off into nothingness, every time.

My thoughts quiet down. I can feel the silence on the air. It isn't all that comforting; I left the window open, and there was a breeze coming in. I have a sudden feeling that I'm not in Heather's hospital room anymore. I hesitantly open my eyes. It's dark with only a faint light. There are no windows, one door. Why am I lying down? I stand. In the middle of the room, there is a woman sitting cross-legged in front of a small, white, lit candle with her eyes transfixed on it.

I don't know why I can tell she is female; I'm not even sure she is human. Even though she is sitting down, I can tell that she is tall. She is slender and pale. Her skin seems to be-glowing- literally. Her hair and nails peek out from the large black cloak and hood she is wearing. Both are long and well trimmed. But these things fail in comparison to her eyes. They are bright silver; they don't look real. They have some intense mystic quality to their light that draws you into them.

Suddenly I realize I have no idea where I am. Shit, I think, how did I get here? What is this place? The feeling of being lost doesn't frighten me, surprisingly enough, but unnerves me. I look behind me at the door, then ahead of me to the woman. No. I walk towards her to sit across from her (so the candle is in between us) and stare into the candle as she does.

I know you. How do I know you? I obviously have never seen you before. I would have remembered the sense of your being. Are you another spirit? Are you here to kill me too?These ideas pass through my mind like flickers in the flame before me. I feel weak, unable to contain my thoughts while this being before me radiates with perfect calm and clarity. I look at her. She closes her eyes, so I look back at the candle. What is happening?

"Do you know where I am?" She asks, her deep, beautiful voice vibrating through the silence, frightening me. I look at her; her eyes are still closed and she is concentrating completely on this conversation. What a ridiculous question. I feel my inner voice bouncing with laughter. How could I possibly know where I am? "No," I say in a shaky tone, "I have no idea where we are."

"This is not earth." She pauses, letting me grasp exactly what she is saying. My entire body stops beating for a second. This is not possible. She continues, "This is a place between places." What is that supposed to mean?

I look up at her with a lack of a better response. She opens her eyes to look at me. The intensity of her stare sends chills down my spine through my soul. "You are dying, but you are not dead yet." She holds her eyes on me. "You were brought here because you have a choice. You can live or you can die." She closes her eyes again, for which I am thankful. The intensity of the moment dies down a little so I can breathe, until I realize what she said.

My heartbeat quicken alarmingly. I never liked that feeling. It always made me feel as though I'm not in control of my own body, as if there were no way to turn away from the discomfort.

Wh-what? I'm dying? She's mistaken. I'm not dying, Heather is.Then an image of me in the hospital flashes before me. First I searched frantically for the inhaler, then I collapsed on the floor. Oh no, everything makes sense, I'm dying…The tensity in me feels like it is going to explode. I don't know what to do. What can I do? I don't know where I am. I don't know why I'm here. I don't know if I'll ever return.

She interrupts my thinking. "You've already made one choice. You've chosen to live with the guilt." She stops and waits. A lingering silence fills the air. "I don't know what to do," I confess with a long, exaggerated exhale. "It was my fault, it is my fault. The look she gave me," I look back into the flame, "I can never forgive myself for that." I close my eyes, fighting back tears again.

The silence penetrates me as she thinks to herself. All the feelings of guilt, shame, and fear that I've been trying to hide from myself suddenly flood the surface. There is no way to escape it. There is only me, sitting here in this nothingness, feeling the aches of my broken heart. I hate this! I can't bear the burden of this!

She poses an idea that I don't want to consider. "Perhaps she's been 'alone' all along? Perhaps her seeing you as you truly are only helped her to realize that she is different from everyone. Is that not a wonderful thing?" Everything in my mind suddenly stops. What? How profound. How could it be wonderful to be hopelessly different? She opens her eyes and stares into me. "Does this not release her from the obligation to try to be like everyone else, if she knows she can't?" She keeps staring, waiting for an answer as I blink emptily at her. I stumble over my words. "That isn't how she observed things. She thought it meant that she is secluded from the world, being punished for her difference." I look down, surprised at being winded. She breaks her gaze by closing her eyes again. Calm floods through us both.

"Is her misinterpretation of things your fault?" She poses. I look down at the candle, choking. The tears start flooding my eyes, down my cheeks, and I'm unable to contain them. I smile through the river, wiping my cheeks. She stays motionless in front of me. It doesn't matter. I need to cry. None of this is my fault.

Suddenly, I feel an overwhelming sense of compassion for myself. I understand why I feel so much sorrow, and why I don't have to. We say together, "all I can do is try to help her see the obviousness of my truths."

She smiles.

I awaken.


I can breathe. I take in huge, exaggerated gulps of air as I try to stumble back to my chair from the hospital floor. As my eyes open, I shield them from the light. The sun is coming in through the window.

I climb into the chair, still panting. I calm as I look at Heather. The heart monitor is still beeping steadily, and she is still alive. This time I look at her with compassion, the same compassion I looked upon myself with.

I rise to open the window a little more. As I do, another cool morning breeze slips in through the screen. The sky is so beautiful. I've never seen one so beautiful. This is the reason I'm still alive.

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