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  1. A Short Story 

    Visit from an Old Friend … 


    By: LaRochelle Burger


    I suddenly woke from a very deep sleep with sweat dripping from my brow, a shiver going up my spine, chest feeling tight and my breath racing with an unknown chill upon my bear skin giving me goosebumps all over, then this feeling of alertness pulsing through all of my senses and a readiness for anything possible. I slowly start to get up into a sitting position constantly scanning the room trying to find the source of my rude awakening however all i see is the moonlight playing shadow puppets on the room walls as my two dogs are still peacefully asleep snoring like chainsaws on the bed right here by my side. I don't feel fearful, worried or upset, not at all for any other time I woke up in similar situations I never felt safe or comfortable at all. This was different as i knew this feeling, it was so familiar to me yet i could not seem to place it, almost like a distant fading memory that was just a bit lost on the information highways in my brains ever running five hundred thoughts all at once and never ending. Then like a lightbulb moment there is only one being I know who without any doubt could provoke such a violent yet comforting reaction from me…


    An old friend of mine  that I haven't seen in awhile now that i think about it. I completely understand his absence and very few visits to me lately as he is a very famous, wait world renowned specialist in his field of expertise, the only specialist in his field and he really works 24/7 365 days a year non stop, never complaining not even once about this grueling constant work, work, work thing all the time.


    If there is air running through your veins with a beating heart in your chest and a functioning brain I can certainly guarantee that your paths have crossed many times before. His introductions are never the same nor pleasant or appreciated in any way and his visits can differ from a brief moment to lasting for years and not once has he been wanted or welcomed at all by anyone. For most people view him as the bearer of bad news carrier of destruction and despair, too be honest there are very few whom evers been to see the good that he is and importance in what he does and only a blessed few can find a profound understanding and true meaningful purpose of his much dreaded visits which i can swear on my smokes he only makes with reason and cause no other time and then there is not even mentioning the great responsibility and great importance of what he does and the immense burden that it places upon him and his infallible commitment he has too his job and each one of us. I like many others has known him since my very first breath of air in this crazy and wonderful world and believe me when i say that i hated him with all i was inside out until the moment i came to realise that he has been saving my life in more ways than i could ever comprehend and more times than i will ever know of and in so many ways he became my driving force through the messed up times, my motivation to push forward too not stand still keep moving, he has been that inner voice that never allowed me to give up, no matter what he was always reminding to keep on fighting and not give in or up for nothing.


    Let me tell you a bit more about this wonderful friend of mine and see if i can't help paint you a picture of this amazing friend i have… See he is not friendly or kind or gentle and has absolutely no sense of humour at all , none. Then discomfort and unpleasantness follows him around like a bad smell that just won't fade and yes he is known for having driven men of all parts of life to complete insanity. He will always leave you behind with an unforgettable reminder of each visit he made to you within your life. He is definitely not the kind of fellow one can just easily forget nor would he be so easy to ignore or be ignored at all. Many have spent their whole existence declaring and fighting wars against him yet he stays the victor everytime, not one battle lost in his lifetime. He is as old as time itself and has truly been around since the very beginning of creation. A real extreme force of nature at times that can not be avoided unless you're dead. The mere mention of his name has brought great men to their knees and for some even just the slightest thought of him causes a paralyzing fear within. He sounds absolutely horrible, i know however it is all true that i can assure you. No! I am not insane when i call him a friend or the way I see my eldest dearest and the best friend i will ever have. 


    I call him my friend for he is truly loyal and brutally honest with me at all times and has never just left me or betrayed me in my hour of need. I call him friend for the insight, understanding and strength he has always shared and freely given me. He is my friend for helping to open my mind to a world so amazing and wonderful, yet very few ever get to see as the darkness around it can be somewhat blinding to the majority. He is the greatest friend for showing and reminding me how precious life truly is and how wonderful and incredibly the human body was engineered and delicately pieced together and self maintaining and failsaves with every function imagenable. He is a true friend in his support and understanding of my beliefs in a Higher Power, a Creator of me who loves and protects me unconditionally always. When i start to doubt this in anyway he is the who helps me remember why i have this believe to begin with and helps me restore my faith once more, everytime no questions asked… for this i thank my God each day for this amazing and true friend He blessed me to find however unconventional and misunderstood he may be a blessing in disguise he truly is. In times of chaos and confusion, times of fear and untold darkness, pure evil, my friend has been my voice of reason and logic pulling me through getting me out and calming me down to great surprise as it at times even confuses me how reversed to the world i seem to experience him, this man of great mystery. He has never failed or left me in times of great distress and life threatening moments, like when my body falls in harm's way, he sticks with me to the end, helping and guiding me like a tracker of note not missing a beat to each place harmed and on the way diagnosing and indicating the areas that is most critical and needs most and immediate attention, then leading me to the areas less harmed that can still hold out abit and lastly the one’s i can self treat or my body can sort on its own until help arrives. With all this information he makes known to me I can then make an informed decision to move or stay put in waiting for reinforcements. While all may seem lost in confusion and my eyes feels like closing, he is the one keeping me awake keeping me breathing and never leaving my side even when finally safe he is still right there as i finally can allow myself to slip into a deep sleep so my body can continue in its own great battle still going on and when i finally start to slowly return to the world eyes heavy and sluggish opening my eyes my friend without fail is still right there next to me, always reassuring that i made it and that he shall not leave until im completely healed again.


    My friend is one of the greatest teachers of life lessons and in some cases also played a part in my biggest mistakes made. Yet he has been one of my biggest motivation to keep moving forward whether im busy doing good or bad things he will be there in one of his many incredible ways and no matter what happens or the outcome he has never allowed me to give up on myself ever reminding me how i always walk away stronger and wiser, once more receiving the precious and most honorable gift of seeing the glorious sun rising again and the blessing of one more day of life. 


    My friend is a very serious and precise being with no room for error, not as messy as me which i think can make him secretly wanna cry at times, yet i understand his ways for one small mistake from him can lead to death, destruction and despair of millions with harsh and terrifying consequences left behind to be felt by all living things with no surety or guarantee of ever fully recovering or being restored.

    Mistakes? That is it! My friend never makes mistakes nor does he ever visit without reason or cause. Wait, now i'm really confused as every cell in my body says that my old friend was definitely here for a visit yet there is absolutely no sign of his presence even near, not even a whisper. So why am I so sure that he was here on a visit? He is not the kind to pop in for coffee and a chat, just to check on how one is doing. This has never and will never happen as far as he is concerned. Then like a ton of bricks it hits me, the answer to my great mystery. My friend once told me about these kinds of visits he gets to make, his favorite and most fascinating amazing visits according to him. 


    As i was falling to sleep something must have triggered a memory that was still very vivid and strongly formed and made by my adrenaline overloaded senses at the time of the event which made it such a powerful memory that once i entered dream like state it started playing like a movie with real like animations that then activated certain nerves and senses deceiving my body in thinking that it is really experiencing those sensations again. This all led to my sudden rude awakening and the cause for my old friends very brief and unknown visit which ended the moment i woke. 


    A smile began forming as I started to once more think about my eldest, dearest and best friend and all the things good and bad, even ugly at times that we have shared and survived over the years. My friend's name is PAIN, yes you read correctly. Pain is my friend and I would not want it any other way, for without him I would have died a long time ago. This i know without any doubt that without pain i would never honestly be able to say “ I really lived!”. I wish i didn't miss the visit he got to make to me tonight as crazy as that might sound. 


    So without giving it a second thought i pinched myself just hard enough to get his attention for a quick visit, a visit yet brief it lasted just long enough for me to say 


    “Goodnight old friend”        


    “The Hardships in life are not there to hurt us, instead it is there to strengthen us, teach us, help us… The key in it all, is all about your Point of View.”        


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