(Note, the paintings included here are not the paintings talked about in the story, I no longer have rights to them, so I painted these representations for the benefit of her story. I know they are of low quality, but I needed something for the story. Thanks for reading)
It’s very early Tuesday morning, and already exhausted, I’m outside painting under the RV awning. The already hot sun is burning its way across this desert city, and very few others are moving about, preparing for yet another busy long day. I take another sip of my morning coffee, and as I lean back to light the day’s first cigarette I see her. Such a small thing, moving across the parking lot toward me in her ‘space suit.’ She stops at the edge of the awning saying “Can I come in and see Mr. Man?” I jump up and grab my other two folding chairs out of the RV behind me, but as I do she sees my artificial leg and exclaims “Mr. Man! Mr. Man! Be careful! Your leg’s hurt!” As I sat her chair up for her and started to help her into it, I assured her it was okay being I was part ‘robot.’ She actually giggled a little as I helped her sit down saying “I think you’re very silly Mr. Man.” “What ‘cha painting? Can I see please?” I said “You don’t have to call me Mr. Man, you can call me Easy, that’s what most people call me. What’s your name my newest friend?” She gave me a wonderful smile and said “My name’s Amy Mr. Easy” I pulled the nearly finished landscape off the easel and turned it to her. “Oh pretty,” she said, “And look, it’s all the stuff out here, even the trees and people and stuff. I like it,” finishing with her big beautiful smile again. “Can you paint me Mr. Easy? Can you? Will you? Please” “I will try my hardest my new young friend,” I answered as I tossed the landscape to the ground behind me and pulled out another canvas. “Can you paint me without my space suit showing Mr. Man, can you?” “You bet” I said, “I can’t even see it.” I tried to work as quickly as I could, all the while chatting with the little girl. As the canvas began to form she got excited saying “Is that what I really look like? You’re making me look pretty, do you really think I’m pretty?” “I surely do” I answered, and kept working away. Finally it seemed done, and I asked her “So, what do you think, is this what you wanted, is it OK?” She was smiling so brightly and said “Oh, I love it! It’s wonderful. Mr. Easy, can you make one of me again, but this time give me hair?” “I sure can” I answered, as I carefully sat the painting down, and grabbed another canvas. I started again, this time perhaps a little slower, still chatting with Amy as I worked. “So, what have you been doing for fun?” I asked. Amy responded “Oh, I don’t get to do much fun stuff, I’m always with the Doctors and doing stuff that makes me really sick. I throw up a whole bunch, all the time. I don’t like it, but Momma says I have to do it cause I’m real sick. Why do kids like me get this cancer stuff Mr. Easy? Was it because we’ve been bad or something? I wasn’t bad, honest Mr. Easy, I wasn’t.” I thought for a moment and said “No Amy, I think kids like you get sick with cancer to teach grown-ups like me the meaning of strength and caring. God gave you little kids the hard work of making the world around you better. And I know how hard it is, but you all do it so well, because you`re all so special, and you bring out the biggest love in everyone that is blessed to get to know you. For myself, I want to thank you so much for the joy you’ve brought into my life in this short time, you are truly inspiring, and it’s an honour to have met you and been able to share this little bit of time with you. You need to know I love you now Amy, and I love what you’ve brought into my life.” She just looked at me for quite a while, glancing over at her mother a few times, and then staring back at me said “I really like you Mr. Easy, I think maybe I love you too!” And gave me the biggest most beautiful smile I had ever seen. Her mother said “That’s really nice Amy, I think you may have found a special new good friend.” Amy said “Is it all-right momma, can Mr. Easy be my friend?” “Yes Amy, you can be friends with Easy, I think he’s a good man, and he will be a fine friend for you.” I kept working on the painting and talking to my newest little friend. I had to ask he a few times to please try to set still so I could see her well, and she seemed to try. Finally it seemed I was done, and I turned the canvas where she could see it well. “Oh mamma look, he made me have hair again, and look mamma, he made me beautiful! Oh mamma look! Look and see mamma!” Her mother said “I see Amy, and it is beautiful, almost as beautiful as you! Come look Paul.” Amy’s father came over and took a look. He said “That’s really nice Amy, you need to thank this man for doing this for you.” Amy said “It’s not Man Dad, it’s Mr. Easy,” and turning to me continued with “And I do thank you Mr. Easy, I thank you a whole lot! Is it really mine, I mean can I keep it and everything?” “You most certainly can Amy, it’s your painting, and you can keep it forever.” I answered back. There had gathered a rather large crowd around us while all of this was going on, and one man suddenly said “I’ll bid $5000 for the paintings.” I’ll admit it shocked me, I mean I know George had gathered together all of us artists to provide things for all the rich to bid on to raise money for the Children’s Cancer fund, but this was quite unexpected, I mean this wasn’t the work of the old masters, this was just some of my simple work. I looked at the man and said “I’m sorry, these are not a part of the auction, These belong to Amy here. They are for her, and belong to her. I am sorry, but they’re not for sale.” I finished. Suddenly another well dressed man said rather loudly “I bid $6000.” Now I did feel faint, and I saw George looking a little shocked too. I heard Amy say “Momma, is that a lot of money?” and her mother said “Yes Amy, that’s a lot of money.” The two men went back and forth until the bid reached $100,000, Now I really thought I was going to pass out, but I repeated, “I’m sorry, but these painting are not for sale, they belong to Amy.” One of the men said “Are you insane? Do you know what we’re offering here?” Amy suddenly said “Mr. Easy, if I sell these paintings, will the money go to the place that is trying to help kids like me?” “It can Amy, but you don’t have to sell them if you want to keep them. It’s all-right. I painted many and I can paint more for the auction to raise money.” She just looked at me for a moment and the said “OK, if the money going to help the other kids like me, I’m going to sell them.” As soon as she finished one of the men said “$200,000.” And a man who hadn’t spoken before said “$500,000.” I was truly dizzy now. One of the first of the two men said “900,000” And they all went back and forth until the bid had reached $1,200,000” when quite suddenly a well dressed thin man, who had been standing behind me to my right for quite some time spoke quietly saying “$20 million” I saw even George staggering a bit when the man said it, and Francesca moved to steady him. Everyone went quiet, then one of the men that had been bidding said “Bill, what do you think you’re doing, this isn’t some Rembrandt or something, this is just a simple painting by some unknown artist done for a little girl. You’ve got more sense than to spend money like that, Come on now.” The man called Bill said rather quietly “The reason we’re all here is to invest money to help these children with their problems, and perhaps someday see and end to this dreadful disease. besides you all know as well as I, that it all comes off your taxes, and it really may make a big difference in some child’s life. My bid stands.” I heard Amy say “Momma is that really a lot of money?” Her mother seemed to have a hard time answering, but said “Yes Amy, that’s more money than I’ve ever thought of, it’s really a whole lot of money!” Amy turned and looked at the Bill fellow saying “OK Mr. Bill, I will sell them to you as long as the money goes to help kids like me, and on condition that I get to keep them until God comes to take me to live in heaven with him. Is that OK Mr. Bill?” Amy’s mother started to say “Amy, I don’t think” But got cut off as Bill said “Yes Amy, you may keep the paintings with you until then. I agree to your terms.” Amy just smiled her big wonderful smile. And said “OK then, Mr. Bill, I’m selling them to you, and thank you Mr. Bill” and she stuck her space suit covered hand out to him to shake. I saw how unsteady Bill was as he walked over, knelled down, and gently shook Amy’s hand. There were tears in his eyes, in mine as well. Amy’s father and mother both also came and shook Bill’s hand, saying “Thank you so much, and this is a wonderful thing you’re doing, such a wonderful thing.” I got up and also shook his hand saying “Thank you so much sir.” and George and Francesca came, with George shaking Bill’s hand and telling him “Thank you so much Bill, it’s a fine thing you’ve done today.” and Francesca crying as she gave Bill a big hug and kiss also giving him thanks. I admit to being pretty much lost now, I really was, I mean 20 million dollars, there was no way, I was at a loss. George got busy with Bill, taking care of the money stuff, and as I signed and dedicated the paintings, I said to Amy “Amy, you are truly a very special little girl, this is a fine thing you’re doing, a really grown-up thing. You are a truly wonderful, and I am so proud to have you as my newest friend.” She got up, and staggering a little , came over to me and asked “Can I have a hug from you Mr. Easy, can I?” And very gently, and carefully, I hugged a true wonder. As she turned to go back to her chair, she staggered badly and started to fall, I caught her, dropping painfully to my knees on the hard lot, and her mother and father were right there, helping her up. Her father picked her up carefully as her mother said “I’m sorry, it’s been too much for her, we’ll have to go, but thank you Easy, thank everybody for us.” I said “No, thank you, and thank that wonderful little girl. You guys take care, and if you need anything, anything at all, I’ll be right here.” they moved off with Paul yelling “Thanks” to everyone as they did.
It was very, very early Thursday morning when I awakened to the realization that someone was in my trailer, someone was standing at the foot of my bed. I jumped up, jerking my leg on yelling “Who’s there!” I heard Francisca’s voice saying “Easy, you need to come, you need to hurry!” I jerked the leg back off, and pulled on some pants, getting dressed as fast as I could, while saying “ Francesca, what is it, what’s wrong?” She just said “You need to come.” and she was crying hard. Dressed I quickly followed her out of the trailer. There was a policeman right at the bottom of the steps, and another one standing by a cruiser holding the back door open. We hurried over to the car, but as I started to get in behind Francesca I turned saying “I forgot to lock my trailer, wait while I lock up.” The policeman standing by the steps said “No need, I’ll be right here sir, it will be safe.” So I got in the back of the car, really worried now. The officer got in and we flew out of the parking lot, with the sirens blaring and lights flashing. Right down the strip faster than I could believe, The car whipping back and forth through the early morning traffic. In just a few minutes we slid to a stop by the emergency room of the hospital. To orderlies were waiting as we jumped out of the car, they quickly led us into the hospital, and to an elevator. Francesca still hadn’t told me what was going on, she just kept sobbing. The elevator reached a floor and we all hurried out. I saw George standing outside a room crying, with a nurse standing with him. Francesca moved to him, saying something too quiet for me to hear. The orderly motioned me to the door and I went inside. There were three What I assumed were Doctors and four or five nurses inside. I saw Amy laying on the bed, without her space suit, and I looked around quickly and found a box of masks. As I started to put it on Amy’s father Paul put his hand on mine saying “Easy, there’s no need.” I looked at his face and saw the pain and loss in him. I went to the side of the bed. Amy had needles and tubes in both arms, and two in her neck, but as I looked at her I realized she was gone. It hit me harder than anything ever had, my special little friend was gone! I dropped to my knees holding her little hand in mine, and I prayed “Merciful Creator, please take extra good care of this poor young one. Please allow her to find happiness in your loving realm. Hold her close to you, and love her as only you can. I pray and beg of you to do this, and Creator please tell her that I will join her at some future time, and we can spend eternity talking and sharing as only friends can do. Please help her parents meet with understanding, and help them suffer as little as possible, making peace with their grief. This I beg of you merciful Creator, as only I, as your humble servant can. Thank you merciful for all your continuing blessings, and for allowing this little one to touch and fill my life, as have so many others, even for so short a time. Know that my memory of her will live on, and the lessons I learned from her have made me a better man. I will try hard to continue doing the best that I can to make this journey as great and peace fulfilling as I can. Thank you again for your blessing.” As I finished, Amy’s mother dropped down with me, holding on to me tightly. Her father also came down, and held us both saying “Yes, bless my daughter, and bless us all.”
I remained there few quite some time, kneeling next to the bed, holding Amy’s hand, while Marne and Paul held me. I dropped deeply into myself, began to meditate, and allow myself to begin to grieve. I had an image of Amy basking in her new home. She was a little overwhelmed at all the love and caring she had now, filling her, holding on to her, and knowing she was now without sickness and pain. She had long beautiful hair, and her smile was lighting up eternity. It was a good vision, and it was already helping me feel better about my losing her so fast. I silently said “I will see you soon my young friend, soon.” And in the vision I could see her turn to me, smiling even brighter. At long last, I struggled to my feet, and leaving Marne and Paul to their grief, eased out the door into the hall. I found George still there, still crying a bit. I went to him, and holding him tightly said “She’s happy George, and she’s not sick any-more, she’s happy, and basking in the loving care of the Creator.” He sobbed a bit and said “Easy, how do you do it? How is it your faith can be so strong, so positive, so knowing?” I told him “George, I quite simply allow the Creator in, I let the gifts fill me, allow myself to feel the wonders I’ve been given. I cannot but believe, for it isn’t a belief, but more so a matter of knowing.” “I’m going outside to smoke a bit,” I finished. I moved past the police officer, nodding a hello, and got on the elevator hitting the button for the main floor. and arriving there, I went out the emergency room doors and was surprised to see that the policeman that had brought me, and the police car was still parked in the parking lot. I moved over to the left and with my back against the building, sat down on the now hot pavement, lighting a cigarette and completely enjoying that first deep drag. In just a short time George and the other policeman came out, with George coming over and setting down on the hot ground next to me, while the officer moved out into the parking lot to the other officer. George surprised me by asking for a cigarette, and as I gave it to him, and lit it I said “George my friend, have you forgotten you quit ‘these damn things’? He just answered “Shut up Easy!” We sat there quietly for quite some time, and upon lighting the next smokes for each of us, George suddenly pulled out his cell phone and punched in somebody’s number. I heard him tell someone where we were, and tearfully what had happened. I realized who he was talking to when he said “No Bill, it will be all-right, she’s at peace now, happy and healthy. I wanted to tell you I’ll be bringing the paintings to you shortly.” Then after a pause he said “Bill, are you sure? Is this really what you want done?” He was crying again and continued “Bill, I’ll tell them, you need to calm down, it’s all-right, Easy has helped me understand, and she’s happy Bill, she’s happy.” He hung up the phone and said to me “Easy, That was Bill,” and sobbing a little hard said “Easy, he wants me to tell Amy’s parents that the paintings are theirs, for as long as they need them, Easy, he’s giving them the paintings in the hopes that they will help Marna and Paul in their grief. Easy, I never knew what an upstanding, good man Bill is, and a truly wonderful human being Easy, truly good.” I hugged him and told him “George, there are many good people walking this world, many George. We just miss them sometimes because we have to deal with so many that aren’t.” “We spend our lives surrounded by the uncaring, and self-centered so much so that we begin to believe that we’re the only ones that care, and we’re not George. I believe that for the most part, a majority of the people do care George, they care just like you and I.” His sobbing eased, and after begging another smoke said “Easy, I hope you’re right, I really do. I think I’m going to start looking closer at the people filling my life, start looking for those that are truly like me, start really sharing with more of the good ones that fill my life, start building better relationships with them.” We sat there in the hot morning sun, quietly lost in our own thoughts, for quite a while. At long last one of the police officers came up to George saying “Sir, I’m sorry to disturb you, but we need to be going Sir.” George said “Oh yes, I’m sorry, It’s been difficult, but I want to thank you, and ask you to tell the other officers how much I appreciate what all you fine men have done for us this hard night.” Turning to me as he struggled up, he went on “Come on Easy, we need to let these men get home to their families, and get some rest.” I found I couldn’t get up without both of them helping me, but up I went, and together we walked across the parking lot, and to the patrol car. Getting in I said to George “Shouldn’t we tell Amy’s parents we’re leaving?” The officer said “Already taken care of Sir, I told the officer still on duty up there, and he’s telling them.” The car took us back to the casino, Though this time much slower. Arriving at my RV and getting out, I found a different officer sitting under the awning, guarding my ‘house.’ I thanked her and told her “I appreciate your service fine woman.” She just smiled at me saying “No problem Sir, We’re here to serve.” and she moved off. George came over, after talking to the other officer for a time, and said to me “Easy, why don’t you let me get you a room inside, They’re really nice rooms, you would be comfortable I’m sure. I answered “No George, but thanks for the offer. I’m going to get cleaned up, change my stinking rags, and head on in to work the auction, but thanks. I’ll see you inside my friend” Looking a bit startled he said “Yes, the auction, I need to get my butt going with it. I have people making sure it goes well of course, but I do need to be at it myself. Thank you Easy, I’ll see you inside,” and he moved off.
I’ll see you again soon Amy.
I’ll have you all know, this was not an easy write for me. Bless all the little children, especially those fighting for their lives against this deadly Cancer plague. For that matter, Bless us all…
There’s more to this story a year later, I’ll start chapter two in a bit.