First Pages

Includes the First 3 Chapters


Part 1

The Worm


Chapter One

Scattered Thoughts





          They don’t know, they haven’t realized it yet. I’m a great actress.  I could win an Oscar with no effort.  I am not like those Hollywood bimbos. Beautiful shells, flawless beauty to cover up a living, unthinking carcass, which is why they are actors, they lack the ability to think for themselves.

          I’m not beautiful, I know that and it doesn’t bother me.  I’m brilliant, so highly brilliant and so very bored.  I am so bored.  Each day that awful golden beast wakes me up from my self-sentenced death.  The sun won’t let me die.

          I sleep later each day, they don’t notice.  I drink more each night, they don’t say anything.  Making coffee once that heartless beast forces me out of my peaceful coffin is an increasingly difficult struggle, a triumph to the beast when I submit.  The coffee and the sun are conspiring against me.  They love to see me tumbling down, to give in to their selfish demands.  I hate them both.

          They love me, my children do and my husband.  I love them too, I do.  I’ve failed them though.  I’ve failed everyone.  But they don’t know it yet.  For them I smile and generously share my love.  They don’t know what lies buried deeply in mind.  Its too ugly for them, they are too good to see that kind of filth.  They have no idea the way the light collapses and refracts in my eyes with the blurred image of their sweet little faces which I try so hard to focus on, to hang onto.  They are so sweet, too sweet for me, I don’t deserve them.

          The man that I love, my husband, he doesn’t know yet that I’ve lost my mind, or if he does he hopes like a common cold my sickness will suddenly go away.  I think he is afraid of me, he has guessed of the lurid sickness of my mind.  I scare him when he catches one of my far away glances of dead water sea green eyes, until I turn and offer him a warm smile.  That makes it better for him.  Like I said, I am a brilliant actress.

          The television is my enemy.  It taunts me with its flashing lights and shapes of recognizable colors. Then when I can’t take anymore and I silence it, it mocks me with its flat black face, its screaming silence that roars through my head wildly, like a derailed train.  The T.V. knows that its silence is my undoing, it knows that after a few teeth grinding minutes, I’ll turn it back on.  Out of its face newly revived with lights and sounds, bellows a commercial.  Bears and toilet paper.  Furry, animated bears dancing with three or four squares of toilet paper, rubbing it over their big furry asses.  I watch the commercial trying to assemble in my mind why some sick person thought it would be cute, attractive even.  After the commercial is over I do not quickly put on my shoes to go and buy toilet paper at the nearest grocery store, I do not even recall what brand of toilet tissue it is.  I stare stupidly at the T.V. waiting for its next message, hoping that it will be better than the last.

          My thoughts are some of the same I have had for years, stupid pointless thoughts that linger on like an obsessed stalker.  Lately though I have these new thoughts adding to the older ones, even stamping some of them out.  I am a prostitute in one of my older thoughts and not a good one.  No one wants me, not even for free.  The shadiest of men, whom I know I would never desire to touch in an intimate way in a real life situation, turn me away like a despised cock roach that keeps rushing in begging for scraps while it spreads its unwelcome filth.

          My mother is beautiful, men have always wanted her.  I remember being a child and seeing men sniffing around her, the Navy wife with hubby often away, sniffing like dogs.  I am an extension like any female child is of their mother but I wasn’t handed down the beautiful, vibrant light she carries around her like a radiant shawl of warmth.

          My mother would be ashamed of me if she knew how crazy I have become.  She is so proud of me because she thinks that I am talented and generally a good person and mother.  I do not deserve her.  She will cry when she knows, when she finds out.  I am so sorry Mom. My brain is rattled and exposed like a rotten red apple with a cute, smiling cartoon worm weaving in and out through the tunnels that my sickness has created.

          I am the most talented loser I know, and I know plenty of losers.  Their problem is that they don’t even realize they’re losers, at least I know I am.

          I am a loser of the highest caliber because I’m intelligent and talented and wasting it all away with my lack of ambition and faith.  While my mind still lives, processes, functions, my heart has died. Like a vegetable I sit and watch the world moving on by without me, and I don’t care.

          I can tell you when my heart died, the night, the exact moment.  Rent was due, way past over due and we didn’t have money for it.  My little girl’s faces drifted into my mind as I tightly gripped my bottle of cold beer, my knuckles white with agony.  I had failed them.  I wanted to blame it on him, my husband.  But it was really my fault, I’m smarter than he is, I could have fixed it but I sat back and watched him toil around miserably.  I learned early on to never trust anyone with your livelihood, but now I know that I can’t trust myself with it either.  That’s when my heart died.  I couldn’t even rely on myself.

          We had to stay with friends.  Friends whom I knew didn’t want us there, but even more didn’t want the guilt of seeing us homeless beneath some underpass.  My children with their incredible, enviable optimism were still happy.  They thought it was a fun vacation, staying the night for weeks with their friends.  Our friends’ home was neither small nor large, but it was too small for all of us, too small for me.  Their children came to glare at me when they knew their parents weren’t watching, it was like they sensed the blackness within my mind.  In secret I started breaking their toys, not their favorite ones because they would notice that too soon, just a few toys each day while they were at school.  These children were so spoiled with so many toys that they didn’t even notice.  They are guilty of the Deadly Sin number four, Avarice, or greed to those with less then astounding vocabularies.

          However, I shouldn’t condemn those young children of any sins for I am clearly sinful in my own right.  Envy, sloth, pride, and wrath, I am guilty of all of these and happily so.  I used to also be guilty of Lust as well.  Now my sex drive is laughable and about as strong as my desire to continue with my college education, I am three credits shy from receiving my degree in English Literature and I have not attended college for nearly a year now.



Chapter Two

Broken Ceilings





          We finally had our own place again, it wasn’t much but it was better than I expected it to be.  It had the necessary windows, floors, walls and ceilings. There of course were also the usual amenities.  With it being three bedrooms, my children had the option of having their own bedrooms, they had chosen instead to room together as they had always done before.  My baby girls, nine year old Allison and five year old Brandi were so beautiful sleeping snuggled up together in the bottom half of their bunk bed.

          William seemed happy, too.  He was working harder than he had in years, the construction business was doing well.  From his eyes had vanished that lost, glazed look he had recently taken on, his face glowed with healthy happiness.  It should have made me happy to see my little girls and my husband so happy, but it didn’t.  I was happy for them, but I wasn’t happy.

          I tried to go to bed later and later each night, that meant less time for Will to smother me with his cuddling.  I didn’t want to be touched.  Not because of something he had done, but because I might be contagious, I didn’t want to share my sickness with him.  Will had to stay healthy for our little girls.

          Upon moving into our apartment I cleaned it thoroughly, and unsatisfied with my work, two days later I cleaned it again until the smell of bleach stung the air and my hands were raw and red from chemicals.  Will and the children stared at me curiously but didn’t comment on it.  I had to clean away the residual germs, the mental and emotional energies of the people who had lived there before us. Who knew what types of disorders they had.  I am sure they had disorders, everyone does.

          On our third night there Will strolled in through the door after work with a bottle of my favorite spiced rum for him and me to share.  It was thoughtful of him, it was also dangerous for me.  How could he not know by now that I was an alcoholic?  Was he afraid to admit it, or was he truly blind to it?  I grabbed the bottle of rum and hugged its cold body happily to myself as if it were an old friend.  The rum had the power to make me happy, for a few hours anyway.

          Once the girls were tucked safely into their bed, we cracked open the bottle of rum.  I was quite proud of myself having known of its close proximity for many hours and resisting its silent sirens call.  After a few mind-numbing drinks, Will and I made love that night, I allowed him to become susceptible to my disease all the while hoping that he wouldn’t catch it.  I waited until he fell asleep and watched his strong, handsome face gentle in sleep before I allowed myself to cry.  In his coffee the next morning would be the tiniest dash of bleach to keep him safe and protected from me.

          The first day I was home alone in the apartment, the kids were off at school and Will was at work, the house was too quiet.  I turned on the television out of habit. I knew that I couldn’t concentrate long enough to watch anything more than five minutes long.  As long as I didn’t look at the television, the sounds comforted me.

          The coffee in my hand woke up my senses, aggravating them into motion.  I looked around and noticed that the curtains weren’t right.  They had been someone else’s at one point, but like so many broken hearts in life they had been abandoned to hang in an ugly lifeless sheet to block out the golden beast.  They were alternating light green and pale beige stripes with a base pattern of small, tightly curled up lavender paisleys.  The shapes hurt my eyes, they distorted in the waves of my vision into larvae ready to explode with more worms to eat away at my brain. I knew that either I had to leave or they had to go.  I grabbed my scissors, scissors I had once stolen from a drawer in a tiny room at the Emergency Room. Stainless steel scissors meant for cutting open thick skin.  Uninvited, the golden beast shined in through the window on their silver fangs, mating into a sharp, arching glow.  I grabbed the hem of the first set of curtains happy to be sending them out of their misery. The sharp scissors slipped up the curtain effortlessly, too effortlessly.  In a quick instant, I abandoned the scissors tossing them to the carpet with a dull thud and gripped the freshly opened seams of the curtains that I had created with my scissors.  The sound was thrilling!  A long rippling, tugging sound.  I loved the taught resistance of the fabric fighting against my hands.  I felt my anger boiling out in fountains of power as the curtains began to tear easily beneath my small hands.  This one obstacle I had achieved!

          I stood back to admire my work, the four sets of curtains now hung in twelve shattered fringes from the curtain rod.  I thought they looked intriguing and artistic, almost deciding to keep them up as they were.  Then I envisioned William, the look of fearful surprise on his face when he arrived home. Without thinking, knowing that I hadn’t bothered to brush my teeth or hair yet and that I was still dressed in my sweat pants and purple t-shirt without a bra beneath it, let alone that I hadn’t showered yet, I slipped into a pair of black sandals and grabbed my purse while sliding on my dark sunglasses and only pathetic defense against the golden beast on my way out the front door.

          The store was only about five miles away, but in the morning traffic it seemed to take me an eternity to get there.  I hate traffic.  Thousands of big and little metal boxes on wheels with no real regard to anyone else on the road and one badly judged move could be the end.  I was unable to accelerate to my satisfaction as I scooted up a few feet here and there.  Forcing myself to remain patient and calm, I smoked a cigarette and just kept creeping forward as much as I could.

          I walked through the store quickly, on a mission. I made sure to deftly avoid the germ encrusted shopping carts and tried to weave my way through the patrons.  Stupid people spending all of their money in a store at this hour.  Snotty nosed toddlers ran around the racks of cheap, discount clothing while their mothers him hawed over which shirt she liked more.  I made sure to avoid meeting anyone’s eyes and moved quickly to the section of the store that would contain curtains, table clothes and all the necessary items to make a home comfortable and pretty.

          I stood in the quiet, germ encouraging discount store which at this hour contained mostly only other house wives like me.  I compared the two different sets of curtains in my left and right hands.  One set was thick linen and black, the other set was a pure white lace with a thin sheer white liner stitched behind it.  I wanted the black ones happily imagining the golden beast’s scorn upon seeing curtains that he couldn’t penetrate through enough to get to me.  But I knew that the white curtains were more rational and much prettier to look at.  I settled on the white curtains and stared at them through the opaque blue bags in the passenger seat angrily during the entire drive home.

          Like a good woman, I quickly put up the new curtains.  They were so pretty with their starched white lace pattern and I hated them.  The golden beast seemed to be laughing at me as he rushed in through their thin, pathetic layers triumphantly even with the blinds pulled down and shut tight.  Again, I had lost another battle to him.  I had however, been able to remember the anti-freeze that I needed from the store. The red anti-freeze that glowed and swirled around in my favorite color.  It looked like thin, running blood as I flipped the gallon sized bottle upside down over and over until my wrist ached from the effort.

          I knew that now I had to find a place to hide the anti-freeze.  The trunk of my car seemed like the most rational place until I considered that when I was ready to use it, I would alert my family with the heavy sounds of the trunk closing and the loud bleep-bleep of the alarm when I locked the car.  In Florida there isn’t much of a use for anti-freeze so I knew that I would look suspicious having it around.

          My brow was sweating with urgency and anxiety as I scurried around the apartment trying to find the perfect hiding place.  I paused in the bathroom considering the tank of the toilet.  I could place it there where it would happily float in the water until I was ready to use it.  The worm in my head paused from his grazing, his smile quickly disappearing from his cute little face as his somber voice leaked through into my mind.  There were germs in the toilet, my precious anti-freeze would become as contaminated as I was.

          Tears sprang to my eyes when after a thorough search, I had found no acceptable place to hide my anti-freeze.  I sat on the couch with it cradled in my lap and stared around the room, the misery descending upon me with its laughing darkness.  I fought through the sludge of my misery and forced myself to be patient and calm as I searched through the apartment for a second time.

          An idea of complete inspiration struck me with sparkling brilliance!  I would make my own hiding place!  We had a lovely large family portrait hanging above the couch.  The entire family was smiling in it. The photograph was about two years old and I had been well then.  I fought back the tears while refusing to look at the portrait a moment longer.  I stroked the chrome frame gently as I placed it on the couch face down.  Stealing a glance of the time and finding that I had plenty of it, I set off towards the small laundry closet where Will kept his extra carpentry tools.  It wasn’t long before I found the small skill saw that would do the job perfectly.

          I cut out a square in the dry wall just big enough for the bottle of anti-freeze and admired my straight lines.  The space between the interior wall and exterior wall was just large enough to contain the circular width of the bottle.  I kissed the ridged, locking lid once and then quickly placed another kiss on its full belly before I placed the bottle in its cubby hole and stood back to stare at it for a moment.  It looked beautiful but lonely.  Thinking quickly, I poured a shot of left over rum in a faceted crystal shot glass and set it next to the anti-freeze.  Stepping back to view it again, I realized it was still missing something, there was no balance.  I dashed outside leaving the front door flung open behind me, oblivious to the germs that greedily gathered into my sterilized home and dashed over to the planted red tulips that surrounded the base of the apartment complex sign.  I plucked one single red tulip knowing that it would be lifeless the next time I saw it.  As lifeless as I would be the last time I saw it.  It seemed so perfect.  I charged back into the apartment, slamming the front door shut behind me and gingerly placed the tulip next to the anti-freeze on the opposite side of the shot of rum.  Its scarlet red nearly matched the color of the anti-freeze, it was perfect.

          Reverently I replaced our family portrait over my new hidden window.  I sat in the rocking chair across from the couch satisfied to see that my anti-freeze was cleverly and completely hidden.  The smile dropped off of my face like a ripe orange falling from a citrus tree when I noticed a single thin staggering line which ran up from behind the portrait and onto the ceiling where it intersected in five short but different directions.  I knew Will would notice it, hell even Allie would notice that.

          Again the tears sprang into my eyes without warning.  I had found the perfect place but the wall had belied my sweet little secret.  I knew that we didn’t have any spackling putty and I didn’t want to go back to the store which by now would by crowded with even more brainless house wives.  The wheels in my mind grinded further, breaking down the existing worm tunnels.  I remembered something my mother had taught me, hairspray is good for runs in pantyhose, white out is good for small drywall cracks. I knew I had white out, I had used it to make copies of my latest poem.

          The computer desk was organized to both mine and Will’s expectations.  On the top self was the office caddy which among other clerical tools had a barely used container of white out.  Taking no extra time, I stood precariously on the soft couch cushions with the white out in my right hand, while my left hand braced the wall to balance me.  The white out quickly filled the drywall valleys on the wall and ceiling.  I was done almost as soon as I had started.  I stepped down off the couch and stood back to once again admire my work.  Not a single crack of betrayal remained visible, and only I knew that they had ever existed.  I smiled a secret smile, happy for the moment.



Chapter Three






          It is quite easy once you have decided and committed yourself to the decision.  I thought it would be hard, but I felt at peace.  My little girls would be safe.  As female children they carry many of my same traits.  I knew that the earlier in their lives that I am gone, the less chance they had of contracting my disease.  I see them bounce in through the door from school, their nearly identical blonde curls bouncing with their hopping little bodies and smiling faces.  I draw each of them into my arms kissing their sweet lips, their soft hair. It is for them that I must stay committed to my decision.

          “Mommy, mommy!” Allie chants in her sing song voice, “Alex who’s in my class kissed me today!”

          I couldn’t immediately reply in the way that I wanted to.  The germs he may have spread to her, my own germs from me to her and then passing on to him.  It made me sick to my stomach.

          “Oh he did, did he?” My voice was forcefully warm and casual.

          “Yup!” And before saying another word, she bounces off to her bedroom to put away her backpack.

          Brandi is my quieter child, her eyes shine back at me silently.  She reminds me so much of myself and at times it frightens me.  Brandi is a seer, she knows things.  She silently contemplates them for hours on end in her quiet little world.  I have to work extra hard to block Brandi from my mind, to protect her from my ravaged thoughts.  I never want her to blame herself for my descent.  She crawls onto my lap and warmly lays her head against my chest, almost as if she senses that the time is drawing near and she must spend as much time with me as possible.  I force back the tears that fight to spring from my soul, rushing to my heart and over flowing from my eyes.  I cannot let Brandi see me cry, for she has such a strength and resolve, she needs to remain strong for Will and Allie. I silently apologize to her in my mind for having been given such a pathetic mother.  I don’t want to leave her, but I must do it for her own good.  I think that Brandi is the only one who will easily grasp my solution.

          She sidles off my lap and runs to sit by her older sister in front of the television.  A glance at my watch tells me it’s time to start dinner.  Time to be the perfect mother and wife.  My shift is not over until the children and the man are safely tucked away in bed.  It restarts again early in the a.m. when they all rise, happy to be alive.

           For dinner, I cook in daily bleached pots and pans.  We eat off of plates dunked in a solution of bleach and water after they have been rinsed free of detergent suds.  And still, I worry that my sickness will stubbornly linger on one of the dishes that Will or the children eat from jumping at the chance to crawl into their intestines and travel even further on into their brains.  One of my crystal plates has the tiniest chip along its rippled edge, I try always to eat off of it and avoid letting the others use it.

          As a microscopic parasite the disease started in my intestines.  I am not sure where it originated from or how it managed to work its way into my body, but I know that it started there.  I could feel it as my tummy gurgled and churned trying to dissolve it with the growing, announcing pain of it.  I remember often placing my hand over my taught stomach wondering what the trouble could be.  It was so painful at times that I thought I might collapse from the ripeness of it. A trip to the doctor’s office confirmed that there was nothing abnormal or wrong with my gastrointestinal tract.  But I knew that the doctors were missing it or simply overlooking it and lying to me in their effort of a cruel little joke.  As medical professionals they could sense my poison and acted as judge, jury and executioner rationalizing that I was not worthy of proper treatment.

          With the departure of my stomach pains, the headaches and waviness in vision began almost directly after.  Lights became abstract surfaces and anything brighter than a forty watt light bulb burned the over sensitive corneas of my eyes.  There were times when the floor or ground at my feet would radiate and then melt into pools of corrugated circles, slowly shifting patches of light.  I was clumsy at times and found myself averting my eyes away from the solid ground on which I walked.  I would slow down my breathing an unconsciously count each step I took in silence.

          I didn’t bother to go to the doctors again about this new ailment.  I knew that they would just be encouraged by this new latter, progressing stage of my death.  Only it wasn’t the physical illness that would finally eliminate me, it was the psychological fracture caused by the parasite crumbling my brain, that would be my eventual demise.

          Will walked into the apartment tired but smiling, he was always smiling, he is beautiful like that.  After lifting each of the girls up in a rambunctious hug he sauntered into the kitchen and with a gallant grace swung me into his arms searing my lips with a loving, humorously loud kiss.  I smiled and brushed him away quickly turning back to stir the potatoes boiling in the pot.  I saw the immediate flash of wounding jet out from his eyes and turned to swat his ass playfully. At least my hands weren’t contaminated; I could still safely touch my loved ones with them.  The light instantly shot back into Will’s golden eyes as he took my playful actions to mean I wasn’t brushing off his affections, just busy preparing dinner.

          When my shift was finally over for the day, I stood outside drinking a glass of dark rum and soda while staring defiantly at the night sky.  It was my time to be triumphant, the golden beast whose own shift was over couldn’t taunt me in the blackened sky. The moon, so much softer and peaceful stared down at me curiously.  I toasted her silently with my upraised glass.  She and I were old friends, friends going back to even before the illness had started to take over.

          The worm decided to break into my peaceful moment. ‘You’re just a drunk, Dana,’ it snared. ‘A stupid, crazy drunk.’  He laughed happily. I jumped back trying to escape my own mind and dropped my glass, it’s shiny facets sparkling sharply along the sidewalk.  I couldn’t take his voice at that moment. He was huge in my brain, his laughter loud and raucous.  I plugged my fingers deeply into my ears and tried to stomp him out of my mind as I was stomping loudly on the cement.

          “I hate you,” I whispered out to the night.  “I hate you, you stupid worm.  Go away!”  I screamed on ragged breath, the adrenaline pumping through me fast enough to make me sweat and shake against my anger.

          I dashed into the house to get the dust pan and quickly clean up any traces of the glass and my embarrassing up roar.  I hurried back inside the apartment when I heard a door softly close a few doors down.

          When I had finally calmed down, I decided a night time walk was in order.  Barefoot, I walked through the darkened parking lot of the apartment complex with a fresh glass of rum and soda in my hand as my only companion.  The autumn night contained only the slightest hint of a chill which I loved rushing so vividly over my skin in a caress of aliveness.  There were only a few lights on in the numerous windows of the apartment buildings.  All of the normal people were sleeping at this late hour. Sleeping at night from a habit taught to them by their parents and their parents before them.  I could never understand sleeping in the night when it is so peaceful and inspiring.  I would much prefer to sleep in the contrasting blunt, brightness of the day where the colors and textures are too harsh and dominant.  Under the shadow blankets of the moon, everything is smooth and rounded, soft on the eyes.

          I stared up into one of the lit windows on a second story when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye.  There was a naked man practically parading around in front of the uncurtained window.  I bit back a giggle and quickly knelt down behind a bush to watch him.  I could tell that that he was singing and pacing in front of the window in spectacular, enthusiastic animation.  Although he wasn’t model material, his body definitely wasn’t hard on the eyes.  I watched as with each step his penis seemed to be galloping up and down happily.  It amazed me that he was so completely oblivious to any audience he may be holding court to.  I watched him and a small part of me wanted to do more than watch him walk around nude.  I couldn’t help but enjoy this secret that I shared with no one but the moon who watched me as I watched him.  It disappointed me when his performance was over and he turned away from the window out of sight, the light streaming out of his window winked out.  I had to wonder if maybe he had discovered me staring up at him, but before I could assure myself that he hadn’t, I decided that I didn’t care if he had.  Maybe it gave him a thrill to be watched, some people are like that.

          I turned to walk back towards my apartment and it wasn’t long before I was standing in my unlit doorway.  I sighed in regret feeling my responsibilities intruded into my train of thought and pulled out my last cigarette for the night.  The light that sprouted out from the tiny metal hole in the lighter briefly scorched my eyes.  A joke from the golden beast even if for just a millisecond he reigns superior over me during my night time bliss.  I watched the gentle ever changing swirls of white grey smoke that quickly made up for the little jab from the beast.  I watched them spiral, fan out and then softly disappear into the night and on beyond to the moon goddess.  The heavy sounds of the southern night comforted me, lolling my mind into a peaceful deep place of rare contentment.  I made sure to avoid looking at the scarlet cherry of my cigarette that was too closely related to the fiery rays of the light and the golden beast himself.

          I kneeled down and stubbed out my cigarette slowly, savoring the death of the golden beast’s cousin, taking my time to elongate my moments of peace.  Before turning towards the door, I glanced at the moon one last time and silently thanked her for her understanding and loyal company.

          My feet were quiet as I glided through the apartment and stopped to check in on Brandi and Allison.  I kissed their hair followed by my caressing hand and whispered that I loved them before watching them continue to sleep on peacefully for a moment before I left their room.  In the bathroom, I brushed out my shoulder length, light brown hair, brushed my teeth and gargled a strong antiseptic mouth wash.  I pulled out a small container that I keep hidden of Vaseline that I had mixed with a tablespoon of my beloved bleach and painted it thickly on my lips before wiping off the thickest consistency of it.  I was as safe as I could be to sleep next to Will, minimizing my chances of contaminating him.  I curled my body into his and kissed his brow, his cheek, his slightly parted lips.  I wanted to be absorbed into him, to merge with him in a way that physically isn’t possible.  At times I felt that I could not get close enough to him.  I wanted his love to be able to cure me, to cancel out the toxicity that rankled through my body.  Will barely moved, softly sighing in his sleep as I loved him more in his slumber than I ever showed him while he was awake. I didn’t want Will to hurt too badly upon my passing. I kept my distance as much as possible during the day so that it would be easier for him when I was gone. Finally I turned on my opposite side spooning myself into his much larger body, loving that his arms automatically wrapped themselves around me, locking me into his strength.

          I cried softly, gently, careful to not disturb him in his sleep as I did every night.  I was at least satisfied that once I was gone, I would be gone so completely that I wouldn’t be able to feel the agony of our separation.  I would be dead, peacefully, silently, mindlessly dead without any feelings or thoughts.

          I remembered the first time I saw Will.  I was at a party and there he was the center of attention, his voice like a batch of dangling diamonds entertaining and enticing every woman in the room.  He paused in his story as his golden amber eyes fluttered over to mine.  He smiled quickly and kept eye contact with me as he hurried to finish his story.  Feeling a paranoid sense of impending rejection, I turned to go once the crowd between and amongst us laughed at his ending words.  I hadn’t even taken two full steps yet when I felt his solid hand land on my shoulder.  I knew before I turned to look back that it would be him.  He was beautiful with his villainous black hair and shining amber wolf’s eyes.  His glance was a breath between a seductive leer and a mirthful teasing.  I couldn’t take my eyes away from his and was surprised to realize that he was experiencing the same thing.

          I learned early in our relationship that Will and I didn’t have much in common, but there was a powerful connection between us that couldn’t be denied.  It was soft and warm one moment, burning and bright the next.  Will wove himself into my life so easily that I hardly noticed it happening until I woke up one morning realizing that we had not slept apart for over two months.  I was proud that I had claimed this man over all of the women that just naturally seemed to flock to him.  I was comforted by his peaceful attitude, his casual ways of handling problems, the easy way he handled stress.  His innocence and vitality was exciting to me, almost contagious.  I fell happily into the love that I felt nearly instantly for him.  He was my hero, my protector, my weaver of tales so grand that even if they were fictitious I had to love their humor and zest.

          Now I find that I alternate in my mind the good of having met Will.  I am divided in thinking it would have been better to never have met him, then he couldn’t contract my disease, he wouldn’t have to witness my end.  On the other hand, together we have created two beautiful little girls that are priceless to me and have kept me straight for so long.

          Then the worm had crawled its way into my intestines and first destroyed my mind and would eventually destroy my life.  Some might say it was karma due to the many worms that I had slaughtered by cutting them into as many pieces as possible with a sharp edged rock as a small child to see how long their freshly segmented body parts could live in their new condition.  The science of watching a sawed in half worm that had simply meandered off in opposite directions from itself had fascinated me.  I didn’t consider myself a murderer but a benefactor, a creator; I had given the worm an extra life.

          I found that it was ironic now how I envied the little worms that I had amputated from their complete selves.  If only I could cut out my sickness leaving only the healthy parts of myself to live on.  In the end, however, the worm would win.  It and I both knew it.






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