My Silvery Friend by Susan Mellsopp
I have a new friend. She is tiny, slim, and a silvery ball of energy. Her name is unusual, Acalia. We have become very close in a short time, her positive attitude makes me feel really special as she constantly checks that I am well, happy and content.
We met one cold morning in early September last year. I quickly began to admire her wiry nature, ability to always be switched on and aware of everything around her, yet she was quite unusual in her opinions and actions. Initially I found Acalia’s constant attention quite difficult and overwhelming, if not rather painful. I was used to being totally independent, not having someone else moderate and watch me continually.
The first few weeks of our relationship were taken quietly. I have always believed that a restrained introduction to a new connection is essential. A few days after meeting her I asked Acalia to accompany me to an important yet very stressful meeting. Although supportive, it was probably not a good idea as Jay tugged on her incessantly and strained our fledgling friendship. After the hiccup with Jay we left him at home sometimes, other days we took him out just on a lead. Acalia and I began to attend concerts together where we swayed in unison to the beautiful rhythms, went shopping for new clothes, shoes, and tried the menus at trendy cafes with other close friends. We became hot chocolate connoisseurs.
As we got to know each other we were extremely surprised how much we had in common. She loved books and reading as much as I did, enjoyed spending time in the garden, and we began to plan an overseas holiday together. Acalia’s personality quirks matched mine, though she seemed to have more energy than I did, always pushing me to try harder or go further. I began to relax when realising this was a friend for life, someone who would look after my best interests and help me when I was stressed, or times became difficult. Her constant presence seldom worried me.
Occasionally we did have a difference of opinion and she really hurt me. I would wake in the night and toss and turn unable to get comfortable as I felt compromised by her proximity to my wildly beating heart strings. My mind wavered between friendship and modifying my soul response. In the depths of the night I listened to quiet music, a book, meditated, and soon slipped into thankful oblivion.
I tried to explain to Acalia that I was not quite who I normally was. I had experienced two bad concussions when my heart rhythm had stuttered and stopped causing me to black out. Recovering from the second concussion was still a focus of my life. I had cancelled a long dreamed of trip and my whole lifestyle was still on hold. She seemed to understand and offered to help with my recovery and overarching disappointment. Assuring me that I would not black out again she vowed that concussion would be a thing of the past. Acalia promised she would keep me on an even keel, something no friend had offered to do for me before.
As the days, weeks then months passed we became increasingly comfortable in each other’s presence. I began to sparkle again. I was wired for fun. One or two of my older friends became concerned at her role in my life, reassurances failed to abate their worries. Several still don’t believe my thin, energetic silvery friend will be there for me when I need her the most.
Acalia and I began to take longer and longer walks together, arriving home hot but refreshed. Jay began to realise she gave me more vitality so slowly accepted this interloper into his life. She had taken a little of his place in my heart. He bounced and bounded around us both and begged for attention. His love for Acalia grew despite his own failing health and subsequent retirement.
In February I made the decision to travel with Acalia on holiday. We needed a life affirming break from the realities of daily life. Exploring Christchurch we walked miles, got soaked in a downpour, grieved for the loss at the mosque, became very lost in Hagley Park, travelled on the trams and punted on the Avon. Life was good.
As concerns about our close rapport abated I was aware when Acalia hugged me close to her it made my chest ache. On a visit to the hospital for a check-up I explained how this exclusiveness was impacting on my life, how my feelings were changed, how uncomfortable I still was in her company. Told to accept it, nothing could be done about it, I gave in and decided to adjust.
Acalia is a great companion. She is my Accolade Medtronic pacemaker, my life saver, heart regulator, my lover and responsive best friend. She keeps me alive.