I’ve often thought of Kristi as a guardian angel sent to intervene in the wasting of a life. I remember when we first got together,— we made a deal. Kristi would keep me alive and healthy. I would try to creatively find a way to generate an income from within our home that would be capable of comfortably supporting both of us long term. That was 37 years ago! What a deal, what a team, thanks Kris!
Time and the Catalyst, a short story. By Dennis A. Francesconi
On a warm summer day in 1980 my neck was snapped as if it were a dry twig beneath a hiker’s boot. From that brief isolated flash of time emerged a young man who had no idea that his world had just been turned upside down. I am that young man. Perhaps a few years older, certainly wiser– I found out in a hurry just how difficult it is to hang on to a fast pace world with no hands.
Paralyzed is one of those words that ranks right up there with cancer. Although it doesn’t come along with the earth shattering co-word terminal, usually associated with cancer, it does pack along its own vicious companion that can stand the test of time as we know it. That word is permanent.
At age 17, healthy in every sense of the word, I had seen other people who were physically less fortunate either by accident or birth defect. I remember thinking that I was one of the lucky ones, but my luck soon ran out. I had become one of them.
Are the words terminal cancer any worse than permanently paralyzed? At the time I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that I had just received a life sentence and my body was going to be the prison. Time had taken on a whole new meaning, and suddenly it was in great abundance. My experience of life had become foreign and was cast into memory. I was now an alien in my own world.
During the next three years I found myself doing little more than hanging out with friends (a reestablishment of social acceptance so to speak) especially one named Jack Daniel’s. Even though I had a wonderful family and plenty of friends, nobody was going to tell me that what I was doing was wrong, not to mention dangerous. I’m glad they didn’t, because after all, none of them were in my shoes, and I think they understood this.
I was traveling down a one-way street that was all down hill, and I was flying. I wasn’t constructively consuming time, it was destructively consuming me. Perhaps I was searching for something in the future, or maybe the end in disguise. I didn’t know, I hadn’t a clue, I had no purpose.
Then she appeared, as if a guardian angel sent to intervene in the wasting of a life. She had everything to offer me, and every reason not to. Yet she did, and by doing so she embarked on a journey far more demanding than most.
It’s been over three decades now since she made that decision. And during that time I have watched a strong willed young lady unselfishly devote her time, effort, and encouragement towards the rebuilding of another’s life. As my caretaker, partner in life, and most importantly my best friend, Kristi has been the catalyst responsible for many of my hard fought victories.
For this, once again I count myself among the lucky ones. A sort of paradox perhaps, nonetheless a reality. The search is now over. Time and the catalyst have restored my purpose. Life is no longer downhill, in fact it’s quite the contrary. Time is no longer abundant, nor would I ever trade back to when it was. A new outlook has been realized. Our common goals have been carefully mapped out.
Time and commitment are the elements of change, and sometimes when it seems as if there just aren’t enough hours in a day, we remind ourselves…”If time is life, then life is time, and we must make the best attempt possible to use that time wisely.”