Speed. Definition: the distance of an object that moves per unit of a time. The distance and speed I need in order to reach her in time, before it’s too late.
Life. Definition: something given to when born or grown. She only has a certain amount of life to spend with me before she leaves.
Time. Definition: something that I don’t have on my side.
“Daniel, Daniel wake up! You’re going to miss this!” she exclaimed.
I rose from the lovely place blanket on the ground to see the face of my beautiful girlfriend, Mariah Lewis staring at me. She was a twenty-four year old college student from Richmond, Indiana who moved to Ohio to attend Wright State University. Mariah loved animals, and she was hoping to get her bachelor’s degree in vet science or zoology. She and I met in the cafeteria at college one afternoon, and somehow we hit it off so well, that we began our relationship a few months after meeting each other and getting to know each other so well. Tonight I was going to propose to her, but she had other things on her mind that she needed to tell me that night.
“Daniel isn’t it beautiful? All the stars in their constellations, making the most exquisite design ever!” Mariah said looking up at the sky.
I agreed with her, the stars above were very beautiful tonight, but that didn’t explain why SHE wanted me out here in the first place.
“It is most exquisite. So why such the secrecy, why did you want me to meet you here?” I asked with a tilt of my head.
Mariah turned to me with tears running down her face, and her make up all ruined. That I knew something was definitely wrong with her, and I needed to know what.
“Mariah, you can tell me anything. What is wrong, babe?” I asked again.
Mariah handed me a doctor’s notice from two weeks ago. I read it over and over, and the one word that was bolted into my head was: Cancer. The doctor ran scans, and multiple tests on Mariah to see if the symptoms she was having were cancer symptoms. And, well they were correct. From what the doctor’s notice said, Mariah had some sort of brain cancer developing near her ear, and they couldn’t do surgery because she could have an aneurism during the surgery. I handed the paper back, and fell apart inside. I-I just couldn’t believe it. After all these months of being together, I never once could see my own girlfriend get cancer, let alone die from it.
“Daniel, it’ll be okay… We can spend these last few weeks together, okay?” Mariah reassured me.
But I couldn’t, not after hearing this horrible news. I couldn’t just live each day together like nothing happened, and then realize that one day Mariah won’t be able to pick up her phone to call me. No! I am not going to live each day of my life like it’s my or her last one, that’s not how I was raised! I am going to do everything in my power to stop this, stop this from ruining our lives, from ruining my life.
October 8th, 2013. I was speeding down a highway, on my motorcycle, in Dayton, Ohio. I recently got a call from Mariah’s mother saying she only has a few hours to live, and if I didn’t get there in time I would miss my chance, miss my chance to tell her I love you. My time was running out, and her life was giving out, and all I needed to do was get there. I was continuously getting stuck in traffic and freezing my butt off in this almost forty degree weather at nine o’clock at night. As I sped down each and every highway, I remembered the night we shared, the night she told me about her cancer. The stars aligned in the sky, and how exquisite they looked; beautiful is the word she loved to use. It was glorious design by God, and how he created the stars one by one.
“Lord, please allow me to make it to her on time. Give her the time she needs in order to see me,” I prayed, “I need to see her, just one last time.”
I could see the hospital in the distance from where I was, and I just knew the Lord answered my dire prayer, but that all went down the toilet when an officer pulled me over for speeding.
“Sir, step off the bike please” the officer ordered.
“Please officer, my girlfriend is dying from cancer. Can you let me go, I need to see her this last time.” I cried.
“Sorry kid, orders are orders. I’m going to write you a ticket for speeding down this highway here” the officer said.
He writes a ticket for me, and hands it to me with a nod of his head. As he leaves, I receive a text message from Mariah’s mother saying: I am sorry Daniel, but you didn’t make it in time. And at that point, I fell down on my knees and cried, I cried out to God for taking her away from me, and for giving her this cancer. I was angry at God, I felt like I couldn’t trust him anymore with anything in my life anymore. I simply gave up on God… I texted Mariah’s mother back, and told her I would be arriving soon to pay my condolences; Mariah was gone…forever.
“Daniel, Jadon is having a midnight party and he invited you and I. Want to come?” she asked.
“Heck yeah, I’d love to attend!” I exclaimed.
Mariah and I always enjoyed campus parties like Jadon’s. He would have themed parties every year at midnight for the closest friends he had. This theme was a costume party theme, and Mariah and I were dressing as our favorite TV show characters. It was getting closer to the day Mariah was going to die, and the fear and the hurt curdled inside me. I felt selfish about keeping her to myself but I didn’t want to leave her side, because she could go anytime now and I didn’t want her to endure that alone.
“You doing okay?” I would ask Mariah.
“Yeah, yeah just a nasty headache. I think it’ll go away.” Mariah responded.
But me and her both knew that wasn’t the case at all. The doctor’s said that Mariah would endure migraines and pain in her head until she passes on; the medicine she was given wasn’t helping her migraines or the pain.
“Do you need me to do anything for you?” I asked.
“No, I think I can use the restroom on my own, Daniel.” Mariah replied.
As I watched her walk into the woman’s bathroom, I start to feel that curdling guilt in the pit of my stomach; the feeling that I messed up, that this is my fault. I’ve known Mariah for almost seven months now, and not once have I noticed anything wrong with her, until that night under the stars. After that night, she stared doing chemo therapy, taking mediation that made her throw up, and so on and so forth. It was the most horrible thing in the world to see. But get this, the only person who could calm me in the time of pain and suffering was God. I wasn’t a person who pursued my faith like most Christians did, I was just some ordinary Joe who found Christ and accepted him as Lord. Strange I know, but still I felt at peace when it came to seeing Mariah without her hair, make-up and a beautiful smile on her face. That didn’t change how much I loved her, how much that I wanted to be with her forever.
Mariah and I attended the midnight party for a while, until she felt very ill from her medication, and we decided to head back to our dorms. Even in all this, she still was positive, she was happy with her life. I didn’t quite get it. I mean if I was to a point of dying, I would feel horrible, I would want to see every living person that was important to me. But for this girl, she goes out on the campus to be at a midnight party instead of resting at her dorm. Silly girl. I am guessing that is why I have God, you know? To keep positive in the negative moments of this part of my life, to show Mariah that I can be there for her, even when I am busy with school. I am really glad that I have her, I am glad God placed her in my life; Mariah is a huge blessing to me.
Midnights. A beautiful, yet dangerous night for most young adults like myself. Parties going on, students walking around the campus drunk or making out. But for me, I am silently sitting in my dorm studying for my classes the next day. I had been a week since Mariah passed, and I still couldn’t get over it; I lost hope. I was invited to go to one Jadon’s themed party, but I declined and stayed inside for the night. Midnight parties reminded me too much of her so I didn’t want to go anymore. Whilst me studying, a knock came upon my door. I wasn’t really expecting someone at ten o’clock in the evening, but I shrugged off the thought and answered the door.
“Hello son may I come in?” my dad asked.
“Sure dad, come on in. What brings you to Wright State?” I asked.
My dad sat down on my small sofa near my TV and sighed deeply at me. Something was wrong, I knew it. Normally my dad wouldn’t come all the way from Hamilton County to see me, but after the week I had, I figured he needed to talk to me.
“Son, I heard about Mariah. But, that is not why I am here” he said.
“Okay? Why are you here?” I replied.
“You’re angry at someone, someone who gave breath into your lungs and parents who love you. Hope and faith are what you lost son, and I am here to assist you with those.” Dad explained.
I looked at him for a moment. He was right, I lost hope and faith in God, I was angry and selfish at God. He took Mariah away from me, and left me with nothing. Tears began to form in my eyes, and then…I began to cry.
“I’m sorry, dad. I lost her…I lost the only woman I loved in this world to cancer!” I shouted.
“You need to ask for forgiveness, Daniel. Seek God and He’ll heal your grief and suffering. That’s what I did when your sister was hit by that drunk driver.” Dad said.
“Alright… Thank you dad, I appreciate your guidance. It’s been a rough week…” I replied.
“I know, son, I know.” Dad smiled.