Friday, June 24, 2011

The Nikki Chapter

I have had many roommates over the years. Actually, I was born with a roommate. My sister, Melanie, and I shared a room until I was a sophomore in high school. I can't remember how old we were when we started wishing we had our own room, but we kept wishing for a long time before it happened. After Melanie came my college roommates. There were five in all, and I loved every one! Three of them are still a part of my life. After college I lived with my best friend from high school for about nine months. Then I lived on my own for a year. Then I lived with Jennifer for a year. Then I lived with Nikki.

Nikki is younger than me. She is actually the age of my youngest sister, Jenna, and they grew up in church together, though were never very close. Nikki and I became close when we began working with the youth group at our church. We were camp counselors together, share group leaders together, and then worked in the middle school choir together. I found myself needing a new roommate at the same time that her mother was getting married and moving away. Nikki still lived with her mom, and her mom, who was moving to Houston after her wedding, was wanting Nikki to stay in the house so she wouldn't have to sell it. Nikki and I were easy friends, so we reasoned that we would be easy roommates, and it couldn't have been more true. She is laid back and easy going. Actually we are both like that... we don't really care what other people do, but we would prefer to be in control of our own lives.

I was a year into my relationship with Brett when I moved in with Nikki. Six months later, Brett and I were serious about saving money for a wedding so I ended up moving back home with my parents so I wouldn't have rent to pay. It was a huge blessing and definitely the right thing to do, but Nikki and I have never managed to see each other regularly since we ceased being roommates. We get together for coffee probably once a season, and it is always as if only days have passed since we've spoken. I love it.

The most interesting thing that marks the time that I lived with Nikki is that she became ill. Almost immediately after I moved in, she started displaying symptoms that she was unfortunately familiar with. Her mom is a long time diabetic so when Nikki started having an unquenchable thirst and bathroom issues and dizziness, she knew what it meant. Sure enough, the doctors told her she had developed diabetes. But as they started treating her, and her systems continued to build, they started to run more tests. The tests lasted a long time but eventually they told her that she had an immune disease. It was affecting her liver at the time, and it didn't stop there. The worst part of this news was that they told her that she most likely had 5 years to live. Her particular illness could be treated, but not cured, and she was worsening rapidly.

I can't begin to tell you what news like this did to her. I'm not even going to try. Nikki has always been a special girl. 5 feet tall if she stands on her toes, but full of life and energy. A sarcastic, joyful, loving girl who had never had a boyfriend and told herself and others that she liked it that way. But being alone probably takes on a different meaning when you are told that you are dying. For this reason, and because she had too much love to keep to just one person, everyone in her life was thrilled when Danny came along.

Danny is a giant. He would probably have to duck to walk into this room without hitting his head. He looks like he could carry Nikki as a backpack. And tomorrow they are getting married =-)

I just got home from the rehearsal. I am in the house party so I helped set up tonight and will be serving refreshments tomorrow. I am so happy. Happy that Nikki is healthy, at least in appearance, despite what her doctors predicted. Happy that she is experiencing a major milestone in life that she thought would never come. And happy that even if her doctors predictions were to suddenly come true next week, Nikki would have a partner to share her load.

Nikki is definitely a chapter in the life of Kim. She wasn't a huge chapter, but she was a special one. I love her so much and am looking forward to seeing her sparkle tomorrow!

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