Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Remedy

“Here, drink this.” It was my third attempt in an hour.
Solomon shook his head, “No. It smells funny. Take it away.”
“Come on Sol, take your medicine.” I steadied the spoonful of red sticky liquid and held it to his lips. He knocked it out of my hands.
“Dammit Sol. This stuff is expensive. You can't keep doing this.”
“I'm not sick anymore. I told you, I'm getting better. I... I took care of it.”
“Sol... really? What'd you take this time? That last 'herbal remedy' you took put you in the hospital for a week. I pay good money for the best medical care in the city. I promise, you will get better, but you have to take the medicine prescribed for you by an actual doctor. These snake oil sales pitches that sucker you in are ripping you off, and making you sicker.”
He leaned back and smiled.
“Just fluff my pillows and bring me soup Jillian. No more saccharin pharmaceuticals, okay? I told you, I took care of it.”
“You're crazy. And I can't take it any more. I have been here through it all... the hospitals, the tests, the transfusions... I've bathed you and fed you and changed you... but if you won't do what you are supposed to do, geez, if you won't help yourself, then... I'm done.”
He patted my hand.
“It's okay Jilly. You'll see. I'll be up and dancing in three days.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks. He was a breathing skeleton. In three days my only brother would be dead.
But in three days, sure enough, Sol was up dancing around. And I could have sworn he looked ten years younger.
“Oh my sweet Lord, Sol.... what have you done?” It was a miracle.
He smiled at me, grabbed my hand and twirled me around. It made me dizzy and giddy. I was thrilled. For the moment.
“I'm well Jilly. I've been cured.” He paused and a sly grin crept across his face. “You know, you don't look so good sis. I hope you're not getting.... sick.”
All at once, I felt weak as his face twisted into an evil contortion. My skin was feverish and then ice cold.
I screamed at him. “Solomon, no... how could you?”
He sighed, and a relaxed expression returned to his face. He was Solomon again. But no, he wasn't. He spoke in a gravelly whisper. “It was easy. You see, I wanted to live, and in exchange... all I had to do was offer up the three people I loved the most. You, mom and dad. A tough sacrifice Jilly, but now I'll live forever. I'm sorry Jillian... I truly am. But I just couldn't be sick anymore. It really wears you down. I was given a choice, and well, I chose to live.”
I didn't want to believe it, but I did.
“What? A choice? Who gave you a choice like that? Sol... really... who? What... It's not possible...” My head was spinning and my voice trailed off. I felt ill, suddenly not just heart sick, but physically sick, in the pit of my stomach. I ran towards the bathroom, but didn't make it. I vomited twice in the hall.
Sol was right there with me; he pulled back my hair and wiped my mouth on the sleeve of his shirt.
“Don't worry Jilly... I'm here for you. I'll take care of you like you did for me. And you'll get through it just like I did. But you'll take your medicine won't you? And you'll get better, just like you said I would.”
I couldn't fathom what was happening; it just didn't register in my mind. No....he wouldn't have, even if he could. His own family? I was his only sister, he wouldn't have bargained me away to... to what? He hadn't even said.
He stroked my hair.
“Don't you worry Jilly, you have a choice too. I know the remedy, and it won't cost you a dime.”

©2017 Garden Summerland

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