Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Life and Death

Longtime readers may remember that I met my now-ex-girlfriend Jan through her brother Greg, who happens to be one of my roommates. You probably won't be surprised that since Jan and I broke up, things have been a little awkward between Greg and me. It's not that he's angry at me for breaking up with his sister--she's the one who broke up with me, really, and it just wasn't that kind of break up--but rather... Well, I don't know. Things are weird. Even weirder after this morning.

I went to get breakfast and Greg was at the kitchen table, staring at the wall. His Colossal Berry Crunch looked like it had been soaking in milk for a while--there wasn't much crunch left. Things may be awkward between us, but I wasn't about to ignore his obvious distress while I ate my breakfast. "What's up?" I asked.

"Huh?" He looked like I'd jerked him out of a trance.

"Are you okay?"

"Oh. Yeah, I guess. I've just been up all night. Worried about..." He looked to me tentatively.


Greg nodded. "She's at the University of Utah Hospital. She woke up from her last healing a few days ago, but hasn't even been able to get out of bed. She asked the nurses to bring the next person waiting to be healed to her, but they refused. And after seeing her last night, I don't blame them. She's in no condition to be healing anyone. She looks like a ghost, Ben. So pale, and hardly anything but skin covering her bones."

I remembered how she looked the last time I saw her. With that in mind, what Greg was telling me didn't surprise me.

Greg pounded the table, knocking the spoon out of his bowl. "Why is she so hellbent on killing herself? Believe me, I'm as pro-mutant as anyone--I'm the one who encouraged her to accept that part of herself, years ago--but using a mutant power that's killing you is just stupid. I don't care how many other people she's helping. I wish she'd never..." He looked at me and seemed to reconsider saying he wished she'd never used her healing power in the first place.

Considering that the first time she used her power intentionally was to save the life of my current girlfriend, it was kind of Greg to hold back. But he'd already said enough to make me think. Is it really fair for Jan to die so that Lucy can live? I'm not even going to try to answer that question. But what if I had never convinced Jan to heal Lucy? She wouldn't have decided to become the Mother Theresa of mutants, devoting her life to healing others. She'd probably still be here at BYU. With me. And Lucy would be dead. The thought makes me shudder now, just as it did this morning. I wouldn't want, not in a million years, for Lucy to die. But I don't want that for Jan either.

"Do you think," I asked Greg, "she'd be okay with me visiting her?"

He shrugged. "I don't see why not. She'll probably try to convince you to bring her someone to heal."

So I guess I'm going to visit Jan tonight. Lucy's coming too. Not because she has to chaperone me while I visit my ex-girlfriend, but because she's worried about Jan too. Lucy owes Jan her life. Hopefully we can convince Jan to value her own.

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