He passed through my life in a moment, a fleeting seventy-two hours, like a song lingering in the twilight. I was transported back to the days before the arrival of the old lady; energy flowed through my body, fatigue was only a fictional entity, and I moved with fluidity, like a young stallion racing through the wild grass of the earth. It was over in the blink of an eye; he vanished, and despite his unscrupulous ways, I knew I would miss him…
He came into my life after a stay in hospital, when a bad allergic reaction kept me captive overnight. The stain of the reaction hung over my skin, a crimson bumpy rash, free of itchiness thanks to the Benadryl given during my visit. The doctor handed me a prescription, a short-term high-dose medication designed to defeat the remaining inflammation left behind. I took it to my pharmacy and was given a small bottle with three tiny pills. I looked at them through the clear plastic; they didn’t look malicious, not like the stories I heard about the trouble he could cause. He had a reputation for being a bad boy, but it was hard to believe looking at him – he looked so innocuous.
I was addicted to his charming personality on the first day – how delightful he made me feel. I woke in the morning, free of the rigidity in my joints that met me each day over the past four years. The swelling was gone, the aching pain absent, driven back to the cold dark world from whence it came. I didn’t see the old lady for three glorious days; in fact, I had completely forgotten her existence. Time had moved backwards and I was healthy once again.
On the third day, he vanished like a drifter in the night, taking his vigour with him; on the fourth day, the old lady moved back and, once again, took up residence in my joints.
I knew in my heart he wasn’t good for me and, sooner or later, I would have to let him go; I knew the longer he stayed, the harder it would be to eliminate him from my life. He is gone now, hopefully never to cross my doorstep again – but I will always remember the glorious whimsy of those three pain-free days.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.