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Holding Hands
Dedicated to Eileena

Submitted by Scott

The plane smoothly ascended into the open sky as Eileena and I watched the buildings getting ever smaller with distance. We held each other's hand. We always held each other's hand, ever since that spring of 1993 when our romance first started. It's hard to believe we were both just kids when we moved to Vancouver to go to college, where we first met. She was sitting on the campus lawn drawing pictures of iris when I walked by. I commented on how wonderful her drawing was and during our conversation, asked if she would draw a picture for me someday. The next day, she gave me a beautiful watercolor painting of some wild flowers which she had painted the night before. The following day, I gave her some real flowers and told her that they were not as lovely as the ones she had given me. She kissed me on the check. That's when I knew. We met every day between classes and went out every weekend. We talked about going away to our own island paradise, about walking hand in hand along the sandy beach and sitting under a palm tree to watch the sun set over the clear horizon. Our friends said that we were so sweet to each other that we made them sick. But we didn't care. We were in love. Then tragedy struck. Eileena had developed a mysterious illness called lupus. She spent that entire summer in the hospital. I continued with school during the day, worked at a warehouse all night, and fell asleep in a chair next to her hospital bed, holding her hand. Lupus is an unpredictable disease with devastating effects. For Eileena, this meant losing the use of her kidneys. The following fall, Eileena was released from the hospital. She had to undergo weekly chemotherapy with all of its brutal side effects, and eventually dialysis. We still had a great time though, we were together and we still had dreams. I graduated junior college and Eileena and I headed to Seattle. I went to the University of Washington, and she went through a kidney transplant and then got a degree in advertising. Being college students who were perpetually broke, we didn't have a lot of money for frivolity, including vacations. Hawaii had always been a dream of ours and we always promised each other, "someday." Finally, that dream was to come true. We had saved and waited patiently. The itinerary was set and the packing had begun, but again the fates intervened. In October of last year, lupus returned, and Eileena's transplanted kidney failed. After a short stay in the hospital, Eileena was back on dialysis and all of our savings suddenly had more urgent uses. Now it is late in the year 2000. We are flying over the Pacific on our way to the island paradise we dreamed of as kids. The sandy beach with the palm tree is waiting and we will watch the sun set...holding hands.


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