After breakfast on Tuesday Kieran went to the YMCA. He had a good work out, feeling fairly strong and after his range of motion exercises he was able to lift weights and work his arms and chest on the various machines. During his work out he was able to forget about all the strange things and only focused on his body and building his strength.
He wasn’t able to see Erin that evening, so he spent the rest of the day at home. He helped Dominic with some homework and watched TV with the family.
When he laid in his bed later that night she actually called him.
He answered, “Hey Erin!”
“Hi Kieran, how are you?”
“I’m all right I guess. How are you?”
“Well, I spent my evening around a bunch of girls in a stuffy gymnasium and now my ears hurt from all the screeching.” She laughed a little.
“Yeah, I can imagine.”
“What did you do today?”
“I went to the YMCA. I try to go at least three times a week, sometimes more.”
Erin imagined Kieran at the YMCA and she couldn’t really picture what he was doing there.
Carefully she asked, “So, what kind of work out do you do?”
Kieran explained his routine to Erin and she replied, “It’s great that you can do these exercises.”
“It’s all right. It’s important to keep some strength in my arms and upper body.”
Eventually Kieran asked, “So when can I see you again?”
“Well, the girls are going to be at their dad’s house this coming weekend. He’s picking them up on Friday evening.”
“So you are free all weekend?”
“I am and we could spend it together.” He heard a smile in Erin’s voice.
“That sounds good.”
“Why don’t you come over Friday around eight?”
“Okay, I can do that.”
They talked for a few more moments and after Kieran had hung up with Erin he felt good about the upcoming weekend and was looking forward to seeing her.
It was the same thing night after night, at exactly 12:48 a.m. Kieran’s life changed for just a little while. The experience was still confined to the four walls of his bedroom and he imagined how it would be if he could actually walk out of his room one day, out on the street, out in the yard or in the city. Walking with Erin in the mall or along the waterfront were visions going through his head. At the same time he had come to realize that Erin apparently had a certain attraction to his being in a wheelchair and this attraction didn’t go with his vision of walking again.
The remainder of the week Kieran spent in a somewhat good mood. He went to the YMCA again on Wednesday and Thursday, the work outs making him feel good and strong, and he was ready to see Erin on Friday. The evenings were spent with the family and everything was going well. Fiona didn’t bug him anymore about any issues or questioning him about Erin. Kieran didn’t mention anything to her about his nightly encounters, they happened secretly every night and he alone dealt with the feelings that came over him every time it happened.
Friday morning at 12:55 a.m. he stood in his room and didn’t use his crutches but carefully walked around in his room. When he suddenly felt the long forgotten urge to pee he actually made his way to the bathroom. In the bathroom he positioned himself in front of the toilet and lifted the lid. He stood in a good stance and fiddled with his lounge pants and incontinence briefs to pull out his penis. It felt warm in his hands and he was fascinated with feeling the touch of his hand on it. Right away he imagined how it would be if he would ever feel Erin’s hand or mouth on it. His hands trembled as he held it and pointed the tip of it into the toilet, watching and waiting. He felt the urge of having to pee very prominently, his incontinence briefs had still been dry and so it was probably about the time he could urinate. His eyes filled with tears when the first few drops landed in the toilet and soon a stream of urine ran into the toilet. For the first time in two years he felt the relief of urinating and he couldn’t even comprehend that he actually peed right there in his bathroom without the tubing of a catheter coming out of his urethra. It was a surreal moment for him and along with the urine some tears also dripped down in to the toilet. He had missed it so much to know when he had to urinate or defecate.
Not having control of these intimate urges had been the most challenging loss of independence. Being paraplegic he had to catheterize every couple of hours and still sometimes had accidents in between. Usually he didn’t even know until he saw the moist stain in the crotch of his pants, a few incidents had been most embarrassing in public places. He finally had to let go of his ego and he had resorted to wearing incontinence briefs when out and about for longer periods of time and not knowing if there was access to a disabled toilet stall where he could catheterize. The same was true for defecating. It was even worse when it came to not knowing this and for the first couple of months after coming home from rehab he barely left the house longer than two hours always in fear of maybe having a bowel movement out in public. When he finally got a routine down with using stool softeners or sometimes even an enema he became more confident. Now he was down to every two to three days trying to have a bowel movement in the morning which sometimes meant sitting on the toilet for an hour and waiting for his bowels to empty on their own or having to actually manually stimulate his sphincter to trigger a movement. Thinking about the proposition and being in control of these things again with the ability to walk made him cry because at the same time this possibly meant losing Erin again.
He stood there still holding his penis and a few more drops landed in the toilet and he mumbled to himself, “This is such a fucked up proposition. It just can’t be…it can’t be real.”
And again he wished it was all just some strange dream and he would wake up from it sooner than later, paralyzed and nothing else. No decisions to make, no sensation to feel and no feelings developing for a wonderful woman.
He quickly tugged his penis back into the warmth of the briefs and he made his way back to his bed before he would collapse and all sensations would be taken away from him harshly.
Friday afternoon Kieran got ready to meet Erin again. He was excited and happy to see her and in his bathroom he felt good. After a shower he was finishing up with shaving, brushing through his hair and also cathing once more. After he washed his hands he dabbed on a few drops of Cologne and looking in the mirror he was satisfied with himself. He wanted to spend a good evening with Erin and he didn’t want to worry about anything or anyone.
He made sure he had all his supplies in his back pack and turning the light off in his room, he wheeled out and closed the door to his room.
Fiona was in the kitchen, cleaning up from dinner when Kieran wheeled in.
“You’re heading out?”
Fiona scanned him up and down, “You look nice. I hope you’ll have a good evening. Are you going to come home tonight?”
The question surprised Kieran some because he had not even contemplated spending the night at Erin’s. He really wasn’t prepared for it and for a moment he thought, then answered, “Actually, I haven’t considered not coming home tonight.”
Fiona smiled, “Well, I don’t know but I guess…” She stopped because she really didn’t know where this would lead to.
Kieran had his backpack sitting on his lap, “I guess I need to grab some extra stuff then.”
Fiona walked after him into the hallway, “Kieran, it was just a thought. I mean I didn’t know if you planned to stay at her house or something? But if you don’t feel ready for that, then don’t do it just because. I’m sure she would understand if you want to come home.”
“I’ll just bring some extra stuff, just in case but I’m pretty sure I’ll be coming home tonight.”
Fiona nodded and he wheeled into his room.
Inside his room, he checked his back pack again and stuffed another catheter inside it and then holding one of the incontinence briefs he stared at it and thought about the whole situation. He couldn’t let Erin see him like that or even knowing he wore the briefs during the night so not to wet his bed. There was really no way he could stay at her house. He still packed some briefs, some extra underwear, his lounge pants and his tooth brush and paste. Still he was almost certain he wouldn’t spend the night at her house.
With his extra supplies he wheeled back out into the family room.
Fiona stood at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, “You ready now?”
“I think so.”
“Well, don’t do anything you are not comfortable with.”
Kieran sighed, “Fiona, I’m all right. I’m an adult and I think I know what I should and should not do.”
“Yeah, I don’t know about that sometimes.”
She laughed and lovingly punched her brother in the upper arm.
She then added more serious, “Have fun okay.”
Tyler was watching TV and Kieran quickly waved at him in passing.
Tyler called over, “Have a good time, man!”
Dominic was asking his dad where Kieran was going and Kieran could hear Tyler answer his son. Ashleigh was not at home, but at a Football game at the school.
When Kieran got to Erin’s house, he looked into the rearview mirror once more, checked himself again, then grabbed his Quickie and its wheels, set it up next to his seat and pulled his back pack over and hooked it on the handles of the wheelchair. He transferred over and made his way toward Erin’s front door.
There were the two steps again and Kieran had to make it up the steps once again. He couldn’t leave his backpack on his wheelchair because it changed the weight of the chair if he would lift it for a wheelie and with a little trouble he pulled his backpack off the handles again and threw it up on the small patio on top of the steps.
As his back pack hit the screen door some, it wasn’t very long until Erin appeared in the door with a smile, “Kieran, hey.”
She glanced down at his back pack on the front porch.
“Hey Erin. I am here.”
She looked down to him and with a hop she came down the stairs, “Here, I’ll help you get up.”
Kieran knew he wouldn’t be able to make it on his own, he did need her help getting up the stairs. He spun his Quickie around, facing his back to the door and they got the wheelchair up the same way as the last time, Kieran spinning his rims slowly and Erin pulling him up at the same time.
On the porch Kieran spun around, “Thanks Erin.”
“No problem, anytime.”
She looked beautiful, this time wearing jeans, a short top and fluffy house shoes on her feet. Her hair was up in a ponytail and earrings were dangling from her ears again.
Erin was very happy to see Kieran again, “Come on in.”
Kieran wheeled over the threshold of the door and behind him Erin closed the two doors again. He stopped in her entry hallway and she came around to him. He was surprised when she just took his back pack and set it down, then leaned down, and kissed him gently on the lips.
He replied the kiss and she smiled, “It’s good to see you Kieran.”
“Glad to be here.”
“The girls are gone already. Their dad picked them up earlier and I think Chloe was actually meeting Ashleigh tonight for the Football game at school.”
“I think so.”
“Come on into the living room.”
Kieran followed her into the spacious living room. He was able to wheel comfortably into the room. The French double doors to the back patio were open and the late evening summer breeze was flowing into the living room. Birds were chirping outside and in the distance someone was mowing their lawn.
Erin looked over at Kieran, “What can I get you to drink?”
“What are my choices?”
“Well, I made some Margarita but I also have red wine, beer and of course Soda and water.”
“Coming right up!”
Kieran watched her walk into her kitchen, he could see her from the living room as she poured Margarita for herself into a large glass and then grabbed the bottle of Heineken for him.
She came back, “Let’s go outside on the patio, dinner is almost done. About 20 more minutes.”
“All right, sounds good.”
She held on to his beer, aware that it was easier for him to wheel outside without the beer in his hands or between his thighs. He followed her to the doors and she turned around watching him as he maneuvered over the slight threshold again.
Outside she had set the table with the dinner plates and silverware already, nicely folded napkins on each plate, a large candle in a glass in the middle of the table. It was still warm outside and she seated herself on a lounge chair as Kieran wheeled up next to her.
Erin handed him the beer and he thanked her.
She then held her glass up and they cheered each other, then drank from the beverages.
Kieran looked out into her yard, “You have a nice back yard.”
Erin had her legs crossed over and looked out, “Yeah, it’s a nice yard but the trees in the fall can be annoying with the leaves. Lots and lots of leaves.”
She looked back at Kieran and he smiled at her, “How was your week?”
Erin told him about her work week and then asked him the same thing. Kieran didn’t have much to tell about his week besides his visits to the YMCA.
Erin replied, “I need to start working out again. I’ve been getting lazy.”
Kieran held his beer in his hands, resting it on his thighs, “You don’t look like you need to work out.”
Erin laughed and looked away, “I don’t know.”
They were quiet for a moment, then she said shyly, “Well, I can tell you work out and I think it’s great.”
Kieran now smiled and looked down, “I’ve to stay somewhat strong to be able to lift all this weight around.”
Erin felt her heart beat in her chest thinking about Kieran and how he lifted himself around all the time.
She took a sip from her drink and Kieran moved closer with his wheelchair.
“Maybe I can take you with me to the Y sometime. I can bring a guest you know.”
At those words her heart beat sped up and she smiled shyly, not knowing how to respond. Kieran watched her reaction closely because that had been his intention and he could tell she was nervous at the outlook of him and her at the Y.
She replied lowly, “I don’t know if I could handle watching you.”
She laughed and he then moved his hand over to her holding it out for her and hesitantly she laid her hand into his and he wrapped his hand around it, smiling, “It may be fun.”
Erin was happy Kieran had reached out to her and she laughed at his comment, “I feel like an elephant when I work out.”
Kieran smiled, “Believe me I don’t feel much better working out. Just imagine an elephant with hind legs not working.”
They laughed together. Erin was nervous looking at Kieran and being in his presence. He triggered emotions inside of her she couldn’t ignore. Her heart was beating quickly, her hands were sweaty and her breathing was shallow as she tried to act normal around him.
They sat for a little while until the oven in Erin’s kitchen beeped.
“Let me check on that casserole.”
When she got up Kieran didn’t let go off her hand but instead pulled her to him. She smiled and leaned down to him, letting him kiss her quickly.
She then slid her hand out of his and disappeared into the house while Kieran sat there, drinking another sip from his beer and looking out into the yard.
When he heard Erin behind him he spun his chair around just as she was setting the food on the table, “It’s all done. I hope you are hungry.”
Now he kept the bottle between his thighs as he slowly rolled his wheelchair over to the table to the spot that was obviously meant for him with no chair in the way.
He set his bottle down on the table as Erin asked, “Do you need another beer?”
“I’m good for right now. Maybe some water would be good.”
“Sure, I’ll be right back.”
Soon Erin was seated across from him, the sun was disappearing behind the trees and in the dusk the candle cast a flickering light on their faces and the table.
“Can you hold your plate over for me?”
Kieran lifted his plate and Erin put some food on it for him, then some salad on the smaller plate next to the large plate.
Kieran mentioned, “It looks good. What is it?”
“It’s an Italian Macaroni Casserole. I hope you like it. It’s mine and the girls’ favorite dish. We make it at least twice a month.”
Erin was very happy to have Kieran there. She loved looking at him as he sat there with her, one with his wheelchair and so attractive to her. She couldn’t get enough of him and she had missed him since their last meeting on Monday, which had been somewhat emotional. She knew there were things they would have to talk about still. She also wondered about Kieran and what he needed to tell her. She was slightly worried it would be something difficult to process or something that could endanger their newly blooming relationship.
Kieran met her eyes when he looked up and saw her looking right at him.
Shyly he stated, “It’s really good.”
“I’m glad you like it.”
After dinner Erin cleared the table and since it was still nice outside she came back out to Kieran who was still in his wheelchair sitting on the deck. There was a swing on the deck that could seat at least three people.
Erin sat down on the swing and Kieran wheeled over toward it and watched as she swung back and forth slowly with her legs crisscrossed on the seat, “Do you think you can sit over here next to me?”
Kieran watched the swing for a moment, “I don’t know, not when it is moving. Maybe if you could hold it still.”
Erin stopped and got off the swing, “Okay, I hold it for you.”
Kieran was nervous at the prospect of transferring into the somewhat shaky swing. He pushed his rims slowly over to get as close as possible to the swing seat. He touched it with his hand and was worried about how much it still moved even with Erin holding it.
It didn’t seem very sturdy.
He looked up at her, “You sure you got it?”
Erin nodded and watched as he took his legs and feet off the foot rest with his hands and placed them on the ground. He scooted his butt forward on the wheelchair seat and placed his one hand on the swing, which moved some right away under his hand.
He looked at Erin again, and said somewhat nervous, “Erin, you have to hold this please, okay? I can’t do it if you don’t hold it still.”
Erin gripped the swing seat tighter and held it as still as possible.
Kieran had his hand on the swing seat and took a deep breath before he moved in for the transfer, somewhat unsteady and nervously. The swing seat still moved some and he made it over without much grace and almost lost his grip, barely stayed on the seat but his body just fell over to the side.
A curse escaped from his lips, “Fuck!”
Somewhat embarrassed he quickly looked at Erin who still held the seat as steady as possible but felt bad already for having asked him to transfer over onto the swing, “I’m sorry Kieran. It was a stupid idea.”
Kieran was breathing quickly as he was basically laying halfway on the swing seat, his legs scrambled under it, his feet dragging as the swing moved slightly. He couldn’t get a good grip and balance with the moving contraption and when Erin let go to come to his aid, the swing moved even more and his legs just dragged oddly under it.
Kieran demanded lowly, “Erin, please hold the thing again. I’m trying to sit up.”
She grabbed the swing frame tight again and as Kieran scrambled on the seat some it moved even with her holding it. He had a hard time balancing his trunk as he tried to sit up.
She felt bad for the ordeal he was going through. With his legs dragging without any control under the swinging seat Erin was confronted once again with the fact that his legs indeed didn’t do anything to help him sit up or get a good balance. His legs always looked flawless when he was in his wheelchair, his feet perfectly aligned side by side on the foot rest, his legs angled just right and still but seemingly peaceful. Now she saw them dragging under the swing as the lifeless limbs they were and she held the swing tight again so Kieran could somehow sit up. He seemed annoyed and nervous as he found a balance to finally sit upright without looking at her.
Erin felt bad, “I’m so sorry Kieran.”
He didn’t want her to feel bad and as he finally sat and his legs were somewhat aligned he looked up at her, “It’s okay. I should have known better. Moving seats are not really a good combination with paralyzed legs.”
He adjusted his feet on the ground but Erin saw his upper body wanting to fall forward and she wished he wouldn’t have gotten out of his chair. His shoes dragged under the swing because it was really too low and he couldn’t move his feet along with the swing or even place his feet on the ground to control the swinging motion. She sat down next to him and with her feet stopped the swing from moving too much. She still felt bad and looked over at him and could see he was still trying to sit steady. When he looked at her she saw he was a little sweaty on his face but he smiled.
“I’m so sorry Kieran, this was not a good idea.”
He tried to hold himself upright with his hands by his sides and he smiled, trying to make Erin feel better, “Maybe not but now I’m on here. Talking about feeling like an elephant…yeah, I definitely felt like one a moment ago. A really clumsy elephant trying to get on a swing.”
Erin smiled at him and they looked at each other.
He smiled and stated lowly, “I can’t take my hands off the seat. With this things moving I will probably fall over.”
Erin’s facial expression was apologetic and sad, “You want to get back in your chair?”
Kieran shook his head, “I’m on here now. You just have to hold me down, how about that?”
Erin asked unsure, “What do you want me to do?”
“I want you to sit on my lap and put all your weight on me, so I can’t fall out of this thing.”
Erin took a deep breath but nervously moved over onto Kieran’s lap, her legs bend on his sides. The swing was still moving and she heard his feet dragging and scraping on the ground.
When she looked down they were scrambled and twisted and she looked back up at him, “Kieran, your feet are all funny down there.”
He laughed, “They are funny all right. Don’t worry about it…I’ll just have to buy new sneakers if those are going to rip through on the toes.”
He put his hands around her waist and they looked at each other.
Kieran felt he needed to confirm again, “Don’t worry about it Erin. It’s no big deal.”
He put his hand to her cheek, “I’m happy to be on this thing with you. Your weight keeps me in my seat and my legs just have to deal with it.”
She smiled and he pulled her to him and said lowly, “I’m just happy to be here with you. Thanks for dinner. It was really good.”
He leaned back some and with Erin on him, his body was pinned down in the swing seat. He couldn’t fall forward or out of the swing.
Erin’s hand travelled up and down his arms and she could feel his muscles flex. They looked at each other and eventually Kieran pulled her all the way down and kissed her long and hard. Erin felt her whole body react to her positon on Kieran and his kissing. His hands ran up and down her back and when he let go off her he kept his green eyes on her.
Erin looked down shyly, “I love seeing you transfer though.”
Kieran smiled, “Even if it’s just a clumsy disaster like a while ago?”
“Yes, even then.”
He stroked his fingers over her cheek and asked lowly, “So all of this stuff going on with me…you are okay with it?”
She nodded, “I’m more than okay with it. I love watching you. I can’t get enough of it.”
“Have you always felt this way about guys in wheelchairs?”
Erin was nervous at the question, “I don’t know. The first time I saw you, something hit me. I’ve never been with a man in a wheelchair but meeting you was like….” She stopped and took a deep breath, “It was like something happened inside of me. I felt emotions I haven’t felt before ever and it confused me. It still does.”
In the setting darkness she couldn’t see Kieran’s green eyes but they were on her curiously, “Why does it confuse you?”
Erin shrugged her shoulders and felt a knot in her throat when she answered lowly without looking at Kieran, “It seems wrong to be attracted to you in that way.”
“To be attracted to me because I’m paralyzed?”
She nodded and with a shaky voice she said, “Yes, but that isn’t the only reason…”
She was very nervous talking about this. Kieran sensed her reaction to the question he had for her.
He asked lowly, “What if I could walk? Do you think you would have felt the same way about being with me?”
Erin wasn’t sure what he meant and looked at him questioningly.
Kieran explained, “Like when we met at the mall. Would you have wanted to go on a date with me if I would have been on my legs like any other guy?”
“Of course I would have wanted to go on a date with you. I would have been stupid to decline your offer. You are a very attractive guy, Kieran. It wouldn’t have mattered if you were walking or not, either way I would have gone out with you. But there’s something about you being in the wheelchair and not walking that makes me crazy and wanting to be with you very much. It draws me in with an enormous force and I don’t know what it is and why.”
Kieran saw a tear run down her cheek and he wiped it away with his finger, then asked lowly, “What if there would be like a cure or something I could get to walk again?”
Erin thought for a few seconds, then replied, “I would still want to be with you of course. I really like you and I care about you.”
Another tear ran from her eye and Kieran took a deep breath, “I have to show you something. It’s going to be really strange and I’m scared of how you will react.”
Erin didn’t know what he was getting at as he moved to pull out his phone. She sat up some, detaching her body from his slightly. Kieran brought up his picture gallery and he found the pictures he had taken the night before. His fingers visibly trembled as he tapped on the first picture of himself standing in front of his mirror and he turned the phone so Erin could look at it.
Erin leaned back some to focus her eyes on the photo. Kieran pressed his lips together, watching her face, and awaiting her response.
She stared at the picture and after a moment asked lowly, “Was this before you got hurt?”
He shook his head, “No, this was on Tuesday night.”
He was very nervous at her reaction.
Erin was breathing quicker and asked him tensely, “What do you mean Kieran?”
Kieran cleared his throat, “This is me on Tuesday night in my bathroom. I took pictures of it….” He was breathing quicker now, “This happens to me every night at the same time….”
Erin didn’t understand and was speechless for a few moments.
She looked at the picture again and then asked suspiciously, “Kieran, what is this? Why are you standing up?” She took a deep breath and added tensely and lowly, “Are you not really paralyzed?”
He answered quickly, “I’m 100 % paralyzed but this has been happening to me ever since we met. The first time happened after we met at the mall.”
Erin was taking quick breaths and her whole body was trembling, “What do you mean? What kind of game is this? Are you leading me on or something?”
She moved away from him slightly.
Kieran tried to explain with a shaky voice, “Please Erin, hear me out….I don’t know why it’s happening and it has been the hardest thing for me to experience this over the last two weeks or so. Every night I go through this and it’s hard and it hurts so fucking much. I’m trying to understand and I want to know why and there is this old guy who appeared to me and told me these things….I know I sound crazy but please believe me, I’m not crazy…I haven’t told anyone and it’s so hard for me. I needed to tell someone because it’s bringing me down…”
When she moved off his lap he got scared, “Please Erin…”
He held his hand out to her but she looked at him in disbelief and her eyes had a fear in them, “You’re not well Kieran.”
Now he felt his heart beat speed up and his eyes filled with water.
He was desperate to explain to her, “Erin, I’m not crazy….but…I don’t know why this is happening. I can’t deal with it on my own…I wanted to tell you, you are the only person I trust with this. Anyone else will think I’m crazy and I’ve been dealing with so much crap in the past, I can’t do this anymore and I’m terrified that they will lock me up in the Psych ward if I tell them….the old man says he’s like….like an angel or something and he….”
He stopped talking because every word he said sounded even crazier to him and he saw Erin’s terrified look and it scared him more than anything, “Erin, please…I…I know I sound like a freaking maniac but it is happening every night…and he, the old man…he said, I made like a deal with him…the night I got injured in Afghanistan…a fucking deal about giving up love for not being paralyzed…and as soon as I met you…it started…every night..”
His chest was rising up and down quickly, his vision was blurry. Erin got up and stared at him in disbelief and he was afraid she would walk out on him or kick him out at any moment. Her lips quivered as she tried to keep from crying and she looked at Kieran terrified.
He shifted some, tried to sit upright, and looked over at her, pleading. He was stuck on the swing, his feet dragging under him as he felt that any moment everything with Erin would be over.
“Erin, please…you have to believe me. I’m so scared and confused about it all….I can show you tonight…”
Erin stepped back a few steps and he shifted in the swing, preparing to somehow make a quick transfer back into this wheelchair.
She asked under tears with a trembling voice, “Why are you doing this to me?”
He shook his head in panic, “Erin, no…I’m not doing this to you on purpose. I just don’t know who to tell and I feel so fucking alone with it…I don’t know why it’s happening but when he said I made a deal….what kind of fucked up deal is this? I could lose you over this if I’m not already…Please believe me. I need your help with this. I tried to find out from my friend Andy who was with me the night I got shot…I asked him if there was someone there with us and he said he didn’t see anyone but only that I was screaming in pain…”
He stopped talking, because he felt whatever he said didn’t make a difference at the moment. He knew he sounded insane to Erin. His eyes filled with tears, ready to escape.
Erin now said louder, “What are you talking about Kieran? You are scaring me.”
He shook his head and with a trembling voice he said, “I don’t mean to scare you…Gosh, Erin…please believe me. I’m telling you the truth.”
Erin put her hand up to her mouth and crying she walked into the house and left Kieran behind as tears started running down his face too and he hit the swing with his fist, “Fuck!”
Kieran feared the worst at Erin’s reaction to his confessing his secret and now he was almost certain it had been a big mistake to tell her these things but he had been desperate and he didn’t know who to turn to. With his whole body trembling he pulled his wheelchair closer to attempt the transfer out of the slowly moving swing as his feet dragged under him, twisting oddly and his vision was distorted from the tears.
When he went for the transfer the swing seat moved out from under him and instead of into his wheelchair he fell to the ground hard and the swing even hitting his head at the sudden movement. He had no strength at the moment and he just laid there under the swing, hitting the wood panels of the deck with his fist.
Erin sat inside on the couch still processing the things Kieran had said as she heard the thump outside and when she rushed out there she found Kieran on the ground. He didn’t move and she could see his body shaking as he cried. She ran over to him, still crying herself and quickly pushed the swing set out of the way.
She fell on her knees next to Kieran, “Kieran, baby, are you all right?”
She laid down next to him and moving the hair out of his face she looked at him with her own tears blurring her vision, “Baby…I’m here.”
Kieran looked over at her face next to his now and his voice was weak, “Erin, I swear I’m not lying to you and I swear I’m not crazy. This stuff is really happening to me and I can’t explain it. It scares me so much and it hurts like hell to go through this every night, not only physically but psychologically it is almost impossible for me to process. Above all of it, I’m just so angry and terrified that this could come between us…that is why I acted stupid. I’m so scared to lose you over this but…I’m faced with this so called proposition…between walking again or experiencing love again. I don’t know what is happening but I need you…I’m breaking down under this shit and I know it won’t be good if I can’t figure it out…I need your help.”
He barely got the last couple of words out as his voice broke under his tears. Erin moved closer to him, as she laid on the deck next to him, and she wrapped her arm around him, “Kieran…I’m going to help you. We will figure it out…whatever is going on or whatever this is…I’m here for you.”
They held each other close for a long time, laying on the hard patio ground. They cried until it was dark and only the candle on the table was still shedding a dim light into the yard and over them.
Kieran’s legs were spastic then, twitching and moving involuntarily and Erin was worried about him. He was weak as they finally slowly sat up and he could barely hold himself up. She moved his wheelchair over and she held his Quickie on the spot as it took him three tries to finally be up in the chair.
He didn’t talk, and as Erin blew out the candle on the table she said softly, “Let’s go inside.”
Kieran quietly wheeled into the house after her. Erin closed the French Doors. The living room was lit up dimly by a lamp in the corner. Erin’s house was cozily furnished and had a rustic appeal to it, almost like a cabin in the mountains. An air conditioner regulated the temperature accordingly in the house, it wasn’t too hot.She asked him lowly, “Kieran, you want something else to drink or is there anything I can get you?”
Kieran was dealing with stronger spasms in his legs now and he knew he would possibly have to take some medication. Erin watched him adjust his legs on the foot rest as they moved themselves off with the spasms.
Kieran was dealing with stronger spasms in his legs now and he knew he would possibly have to take some medication. Erin watched him adjust his legs on the foot rest as they moved themselves off with the spasms.
He looked over at her wearily, “Just water.”
“May I use your bathroom?”
Erin nodded, “Yes, you know where it is, right?”
He grabbed his back pack and wheeled into the hallway to the girl’s bathroom. Inside he looked at himself in the mirror. His eyes looked tired, and the green color of his pupils showed prominently with the white of his eyes somewhat blood shot from the tears he had cried. He looked like he had been through a rough patch, his hair was stringy in his forehead, and his skin looked flushed. For a moment he let the water run and splashed some in his face. It felt good.
He catheterized and washed his hands, then put his things back into his back pack and wheeled back out to Erin. She was on the couch and had a few candles lit on the mantle of the fireplace. There was a glass of water and another Margarita on the table.
Kieran wheeled up to the couch and he looked up at her unsure, not knowing where they were standing at now with his break down earlier.
Erin looked at him and she padded the couch next to her and said lowly, “Even though I love looking at you in your wheelchair and I know you had some transfer issues a while ago, I would love for you to sit next to me. Do you think you can do another transfer?”
He nodded and wheeled up to the couch. Transferring onto the couch was a lot easier than the swing. At least the couch didn’t move away under him. He transferred over and adjusted his sitting position quietly next to Erin. She moved closer to him, as she pulled her legs up onto the couch. Kieran was still nervous at everything that had happened.
She started lowly, “Kieran…I’m sorry about walking away from you a while ago but….” She stopped, thinking about why she had really walked away.
Kieran didn’t look at her and finished her sentence, “But I know it sounds like some really weird, crazy shit and that is actually how it feels to me too. Erin….”
He turned to look at her and he took her hand in his and looked at her fingers wrapping around his hand, then looked up at her, and explained lowly, “Erin, I’m not crazy but I don’t know what to do. It’s like I’m in a freaking nightmare I can’t wake up from. These nightly scenarios have been happening ever since the day we met. Even at the mall that day, the old man appeared to me for the first time and said weird shit. I got angry and everyone thought I was having some kind of episode….”
“Show me the photo again”
Kieran pulled his phone out with shaky hands and found the pictures again and showed them to Erin. She looked at the pictures for a long time and just shook her head in disbelief, “So how does this happen every night? How does it feel?”
Kieran lowly explained to her how he dealt with the situation every night, how he had fallen down, how he had peed standing up the night before, and how he had walked around in his room. He also told her about the first night they had gone out, how he had the experience down by the waterfront and how the old man appeared to him there, how he had been taken to the hospital. He told her how Fiona and Tyler had found him on his bathroom floor and how he had lied to them about it all. He told her about driving up to the mountain, the situation at the VA hospital and during his talking about these things his eyes filled with tears again. Erin just sat there, watched him and listened to him talk and she could feel the enormous relief he was feeling by telling her all of those things. He also told her about his meeting with his friend Andy and how the meeting had been nice but he hadn’t gotten any answers as to the appearance of the old man either.
The whole time he tightly held Erin’s hand and she felt the trembling of his body go into her as he told her everything that had been happening to him for a few weeks now. His legs were still twitching under spasms but during his talking he forgot all about that.
When he finished a single tear rolled out of his eye and he looked at Erin pleading, “I really need your help Erin.”
Erin nodded and squeezed his hand, “I’m going to help you Kieran. I also want you to stay here tonight.”
They looked at each other and Erin moved closer to his face, “Kieran, I care for you a lot and I want to be with you through all of this. Whatever this is and whatever is going on, I want to figure it out with you and I want to be here for you.”
Kieran looked down at their hands and said lowly, “So according to the old man, I made like a deal with him and it is something like me proposing that I will give up love for walking…”
Erin felt his hands shake and when she looked at him, his eyes were glistening with tears again, “How can I be put in a situation like this?”
She shook her head and still tried to process all the things Kieran had told her, “I don’t know Kieran…I don’t know. It seems so harsh and so painful.”
She looked at him with sad eyes, “Have you thought about what you would do?”
A tear ran down his cheek, “No, of course not…but when I stand at night, when I walk and when I feel things in my legs and my body, it’s just amazing of course but at the same time it’s painful, because it gets taken away from me every time. It’s like I am getting a small taste of it every time and then my legs just give out under me again and it hurts like hell to go through this night after night. And now I have met you and all of this is happening but with this weird proposition hanging over me. I don’t know what to do.”
Erin looked him in the eyes. She wanted to say many things about her feelings for him because if it was really true what Kieran had told her, she feared she could be losing him over the ability to walk again.
Instead of expressing her emotions and fears though she said, “Tell me about the night you got shot.” Kieran took a deep breath.
Erin added quickly, “If it’s too difficult you don’t have to.”
“No, it’s all right.”
He thought for a moment where to start and then told her about the fateful night, taking breaks in between when he collected himself to not cry again or when it just hurt too much to keep talking. A few times he took a sip from his water. Erin just sat there listening to everything he told her and she was devastated at what Kieran had been through and he ended with his moving in with his sister and her family. Tears were streaming from Erin’s eyes the whole time whereas Kieran had somehow been able to stay collected now and didn’t shed tears anymore.
When he was finished Erin laid her head on his shoulder and silently let some more tears run over her face.
They didn’t speak for a few minutes until Kieran said lowly, “I know I come with a hell of a lot of baggage! It sounds crazy and overwhelming even to me. I really don’t know how I’m sitting here like this.”
Erin replied lowly, “I will help you get rid of some of that baggage.”
They sat there, close and holding each other and Kieran kissed her again and she kissed him and they tasted each other's salty skin.