“I had another demon morning this morning, Doc. ” He wasn’t a medical doctor but he had a Ph.D. and Kristie had called him Doc from the first time they met. “I was on mental overload with all those stupid doubts and suspicions. Ugly little insane things they are.” Those things she referred to had been dubbed her Demons. They were doubts that sometimes overwhelmed her and sent her into what she swore was some kind of madness. She would cry and laugh, hate and love all at the drop of a hat during her brief slides. They only lasted a few hours and by lunch she would have a hold of them but always at the cost of emotional exhaustion.
Kevin listened intently. He knew what caused her demons just as she did.
“I started getting mad at them, really mad, mentally screaming at them to quit between my crying fits. When I was mad enough I decided to turn those little buggers toward a more fruitful focus – coming up with something to toot that sweet of this evil tooth I had sprouted this morning and I found something to do just that.”
These demons were malicious in their battle it seemed and she would harbor guilt later for thinking mean thoughts about people who had hurt her over the course of her life. These demons would gnaw at her goodness begging her not to constantly turn the other cheek. They would whittle away at her inability to fight back, at her acceptance that some people were just mean and taunt her to give back what was dished out. All traits that went against her personality.
“Get this. I would love to purr into Rhonda’s ear “So my dear how does it feel to be feeble and old, knowing you are going to die soon and face that moment when your past will come back for you. My sweet, sweet old woman, do you believe in God? Has He whispered you are forgiven in your ear? Is He waiting to greet you? Is anything waiting to greet you? Do you feel it in your heart – the doubts, the lack of faith, the fear of not knowing what awaits you in the abyss of death?” The words poured out soft and venomously. Kevin could almost hear the clenching of her teeth.
“You are a lot nicer than me.” He replied. Kevin knew that this old wound having recently been reopened distressed Kristie badly. He loathed the idea that this hateful woman would have reason to physically make a presence in Kristie life again after the years she had spent learning to let go of that painful time. Forgiving the woman that had beat Kristie regularly for two years to get back at Kristie’s father, Rhonda’s husband, had been quite a struggle for Kristie. Now as much as she tried to admit it to herself and him, Kevin knew Kristie was struggling with it again.
“Oh imagine the pain a few words can inflict, so much worse than any physical act can in penetrating your very soul. Oh the power of words spewed forth from an authority figure in voracious distaste to a ten-year-old. She said she would kill me if anyone found out.” There was a long silence and Kevin knew she was composing herself before she went on.
She held back the tears as glimpses of that horrid woman face spat out threats to her shaking ten-year-old face. Her lips quivering on the edge before she could take a deep breath. Kristie continued her voice low and methodical in its tones. “Oh the power a few whispered words from that same ten year old now in a 40 year old body to that now 70 plus year old, weak-hearted bitch about her impending death. The power of words spoken and their unspoken message.” She spoke this last thought as if she was listening to the words rather than speaking them.
Kristie smiled. She had learned how to harness the power of words from a young age. She had learned how a few well-meant words had the power to calm and sooth or how just as few could send a susceptible person into a torrential rage.
“Hey Sweets, you still there?” Kevin paused listening to the silence. “Feeling a little better now?” Kevin and Kristie shared an unequaled friendship in most circles. He so enjoyed her bright, light-hearted attitude toward life, it so complimented his rather serious view. Through her he had learned rather slowly to stop and smell that proverbial rose and even the joys of walking barefoot in the rain. He on the other hand lent her the seriousness that was sometimes needed when looking at events in her life, both past and present.
“Hmmm I am feeling a little better now, this one lasted longer than usual. These little demons need to feed I guess and that little ditty seemed to fed them nicely. Might as well have the fun now, right? I don’t think much of what troubles us in life follows us into death, so thinking I will wait and get a taste of her then well … just seems ridiculous. What pleasure would I have in waiting to see her in hell when once we release from our bodies we leave behind all the malice we may have built up living.”
What simple pleasures those few words spoken into that woman’s ear I would have, she thought to herself. Suddenly her mind switched directions as it often did. “Oh Doc you are so sweet. Look here I have been rambling away as usual but it was such a horrible morning and I so needed to share it with someone.”
“Kristie I always have time for you.” He replied and he did. The symbiotic friendship followed equally back and forth between them. “Hey what about brunch on Sunday? They have a nice set-up at the lodge. We could drive up on Friday and make it a weekend at the cabin?” Kevin knew they could both use a little quiet time.
Kevin thought of the Eagles song, One of These Nights, specially the line “You got your demons but I have a few of my own.” His demons were flesh and blood unlike Kristie’s. An ex-wife who blamed everything on anyone else available or even remotely involved. Work was always a mad house and yes his boss could be considered a demon. And yes there were other lesser demons but for all of Kristie’s mental eccentricities she was a breath of fresh air. Fresh air is good for the soul.
“Oh yes Doc, lets.” Even she heard the relief in her voice.
“Why don’t you bring your paints. I will pick up a few canvasses and we can paint demons, then burn them down by the lake. Sound good?” He asked.
Kristie squealed her delight. “That sounds perfect. Love you Doc, I have to run it is time to close up and get home.”
“Ok Sweets, talk to you soon.” Kevin laid the phone in the cradle. A weekend at the cabin would settle her demons for a while. Giving her something pleasant to focus on pushing them back into the cracks and crevasses in her mind till they found strength to mutiny again.