Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta end. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta end. Mostrar todas las entradas

miércoles, 28 de febrero de 2018


   The taste of iron was not to be ignored. Maybe it was because of the cold that had swept through the city around those days, the fact was that the gun tasted like pure iron and the taste was enough for Felicia to pull it out of her mouth and put it back on the wooden box her mother kept it in case robbers or someone broke into the house. Felicia’s eyes were flooding with tears, so she ran to the hallway bathroom and thoroughly washed her face, trying to eliminate her feeling while doing it.

 She looked at her own eyes and nose and skin once she was done but everything she had been feeling was still there: her insecurities and self-hatred had not left her body just because she had taste the iron that made up a gun. She did feel a little bit less agitated and her mind seemed clearer, as if she had put on glasses or something. She dried up her face with a small towel, taking her time to appreciate its smell and texture. It felt as if she had never used her senses until that day.

 Felicia then walked to her room again and closed the door. She didn’t lock it though, because it didn’t really seem necessary anymore. She had dropped the whole idea of killing herself, only because of the taste of the gun. But it wasn’t only that, it was also the fact that she wasn’t really sure about what she was going to do. After all, Felicia was still a very young woman and had a whole life before her. Something inside of her told her to wait a little bit longer, to hold on for a while.

 The young woman was in high school and, as with most kids there, she had started feeling anxious when she discovered how things had change from one grade to the other. Now, all the girls in her classroom and age would be trying makeup away from teachers, drinking alcohol, smoking marihuana and even talking about their sexual experiences. Felicia, at first, thought it was all about a little group of girls that had changed in the blink of an eye but then she realized it had affected every single person her age.

 She used to enjoy talking to her friends about the shows she liked, many animated programs among them, and about some games and silly things that they liked because, after all, they were still children. Maybe not like her brother Thomas who was eleven years old, but kids anyway. They couldn’t legally drink or vote and they were still in high school trying to decipher math problems and having homework. The shift that she had witnessed seemed rushed and unexplainable but she soon learned she had to adapt soon to this new state of things.

 Felicia realized this when she started being harassed by some girls in school because of her weight. She had always been a little bit bigger than most girls but no one had ever said anything hurtful to her because of that. Now, things had changed dramatically: some people outwardly said to her how fat she was and that she looked like a pig or a boar. Sometimes it would be in a low register on the school corridors but some other times it would be right to her face, as if they wanted to see how she responded.

 She always walked on, deciding not to engage in any sort of fight. But as the school year went on, it was more and more difficult to resist. She tried to remember what she liked about school and so she decided to spend a little more time in the library. Her best friends were sadly not there for her at the moment because one of them had left for a neighboring city and the other one had just stopped talking to her out of the blue. It was probably the worst part of the whole deal.

 Anna had been her best friend since they were toddlers. They had been in each other’s houses and their parents knew each other very well. They had celebrated birthdays together, as well as spending some holidays in the same place whether it was Disneyland or a cabin in the woods. They loved to go shopping together and make fun of everything and everyone, along with their mutual friend Jeff. They were basically sisters for more than fourteen years and now all of that had disappeared for no apparent reason.

 They had not talked over the summer because Anna had left for a long trip with her parents and she never contacted Felicia after she had arrived. Felicia didn’t think much of it but she quickly realized in school that everything had changed between them. She had tried to come close to chat for a while but it was obvious Anna had no desire to interact with her. So Felicia stopped trying and the relationship died a sad and unexpected death pretty soon. It was devastating for Felicia.

She even called Jeff to tell him about it and he was kind enough to hear about all of it but the thing was that Jeff had some problems of his own. His parents were divorcing and it wasn’t clear what was going to happen with him after that. He had told his parents he wanted to go back to were he had friends and family but his parents didn’t seem to care a lot about what he had to say. They were too busy accusing each other of something, so Jeff couldn’t really be there for Felicia in any way. He just asked her if she was okay and that’s when she realized she wasn’t.

 After that phone call, it was the first time Felicia realized that she didn’t really feel great about the whole situation happening around her. After all, she started feeling alone and without friends, something a young person is sometimes unable to handle, as it is a necessity for them to be social and able to talk to someone if they need help or advice, and sometimes that comes from people their age who have information they personally don’t have. It’s something they need Felicia realize she didn’t have anymore.

 Her parents were another problems. They had recently begun showing signs of a certain distance forming between them. There were no family weekends anymore. Mom stayed at home while Dad went away to fish or be with his friends. And when her mom went out with her friends, Dad stayed around to be with the kids. It was nice and all for a while, but Felicia soon realized it wasn’t very normal for parents to simple not talk a lot to each other. She wondered if a divorce was looming.

 So the bullying at school, which got increasingly worse, her lack of friends and the tension at home, had all been enough for Felicia to take advantage of none of her parents being at home to get into their room and grab the gun, to the point she had it in her mouth. After she went back to her room, she started crying and she didn’t really knew why. Maybe it was because she felt weak or maybe it was because she felt very alone. It was then when she heard the door and it was her little brother.

 He had arrived from being with a friend and Felicia could hear him throwing his backpack and turning on the TV. Without thinking, she opened the door and walked to his room. He was watching cartoons and looked at her on the door when she appeared. Felicia tried to seem calm and just wanting to hang out for a bit but Thomas was no fool. It is a common mistake to think youth means ignorance when it’s nothing of the sort. He realized soon something was wrong but didn’t ask outright.

 Brother and sister spent a good chunk of the afternoon watching cartoons and sharing appreciations about them. Then, they grabbed cookies and milk and also some ice cream and ate it all just before their parents came back home. They didn’t look as happy as them.

 But all of that didn’t matter because Felicia realized she still had people around who she could trust and also that she had to take care for. The world was not going to end. She was going to face the tide with the weapons she had at hand and promised herself to survive the whole messy thing that is adolescence.

lunes, 12 de junio de 2017


Rain falls. That's what it does. But it doesn't do it always in the same way. Sometimes, rain feels almost extraterrestrial, as it fell not from the sky, but from some awful place, far in space. Other times, you would think it comes from a land made of candy, created for children or for people that love a nice piece of heaven in their mouths. Wherever it comes from, rain is one of those things that makes us feel truly alive, specially when it rolls down our faces and bodies.
Rain is water but it can also burn when the body it touches is not pure, full of guilt and all those pathetic human feelings that fester inside brain and heart. Water cannot wash way all of our evil. It's not acid, even when it feels like it. Some cannot feel all of its properties. There are people that could swim for hours and never feel clean, not truly. Hot or cold, the liquid is not enough to wash away everything that is wrong with the human soul, and humankind in general. People won't be saved.
Rain won't do It and nothing else will. On other worlds, it rains gasoline and diamonds. So we all have that in common: things will Jeep falling on our heads, no matter what we think about the universe. The brain might have an understanding of how mostly everything works but when we're all dead, that won't matter. Water will still be water and gasoline will keep falling from the sky unto someone else's head. And it won't matter if we were here, if we attempted to understand this place or not.
Rain won't care. Nothing will. Because we don't want to understand that se are all here for a little while. We were given some seconds on the clock of existence and that time will run out. No matter how much we try, we won't be here forever and our existence will leave no trace. No wonder or creation made by our hands will remain to tell our story. This scares us more than we want to admit, but that's how it works, no Gods in question. One moment we are here, the next we're not.
Rain, however, will stay. Until the very end.

viernes, 17 de febrero de 2017


   Out of nowhere, I decided to grab my wallet, put on my pants and go to the street, to the nearest convenience store I could find. Only one was opened, some five blocks away from the hotel. I bought two packs of cigarettes, one pack of gum and a can of beer, just because I felt to. I paid and went back slowly to the room were I had done something I had never done before: I had told someone I would be with him always, for the rest of our mortal lives, forever.

 As I entered the room, I tried not to make a noise. Of course, I didn’t turn on any lights and only put down my small plastic bag once I had crossed the room and reached the balcony. I thanked God that it was such a big room in which he was staying, in one of the best and most beautiful hotels in the vicinity. He would never travel without getting to rest in a really good place, where everything was according to his very high standards. He had a reputation to look after.

 Thankfully, I didn’t have anything to look after. I had no reputation and there was no possibility for me to pay for such a room, not then or now. The balcony had a very nice view of the ocean and the sound of the waves crashing gently against the rocks soothed my soul. Or maybe it was the fact that I smoked two or three cigarettes in a couple of minutes. I hadn’t done that in so long and now, suddenly, I had comeback to an old and nasty habit that I had been praised for leaving behind.

 As the soft warm wind made my hair move around, I regretted having bought only one can of beer. Then, I remembered that room had every kind of alcoholic beverage one would like to drink. The only problem was money but I guessed that he wouldn’t be very mad if I just drank one of them, as it could last me for the whole night. The can of beer went back to the plastic bag, empty after I drank it in a couple of minutes. I was decided to get myself drunk that night.

 I went inside, grabbed a bottle of vodka. Then, I decided to grab an orange juice bottle too, to make myself some nice little cocktails. I took both bottles to the balcony and used the empty beer can as a glass. I mixed both liquids there and started drinking, watching the apparent never-ending blackness that lived just above the ocean. It seemed so attractive, so beautiful somehow. I kept drinking, slowly, as I thought of the best way to get down to the beach in the next couple of hours. After all, I wasn’t going to be sleeping and he wasn’t going to wake up any time soon.

 I had gone to that hotel in hopes to find him but now, I realized I had done exactly what I shouldn’t have. He had been my only chance of happiness but now I didn’t want to see his face ever again. I had spent every single coin I had in my bank account to get there, to tell him I loved him and that I regretted not telling him that earlier. But hearing the waves, I realized I had done so because I was afraid of being alone, of being a failure at every single level a human male could be one.

 I had nothing to offer him, nothing at all. My so-called feelings were just angst and fear disguised in a week fabric of love and devotion. He would notice soon enough that I was empty, devoid of everything he thought he needed from someone else. Besides, I had no stability, no money, I did odd jobs to survive and I loved to look at the darkness and sleep during the day. I wasn’t what was expecting me to be, not even close. I had lied and lied and now there was no turning back.

 When we met, the first time, I was actually pretending to be someone’s friend in order to crash a party. I had done so with a friend that wanted to meet this girl, who ended up being his best friend. A strange coincidence that made us get acquainted. I remember clearly that, in those moments, he never seemed interested in me at all. I think he didn’t have any of the veils in front of him then, the ones that had clouded his judgment when he had decided to go out with me weeks later.

 Some may think I give myself to little credit but that’s not what’s happening here, not at all. What happens is that I don’t feel anything anymore, for him or for anyone. I actually doubt I ever felt anything for anyone ever. I guess I cared for some time and maybe I had an interest but my feelings were never involved in anything. I just played along and now that game has brought me to a place I have no idea how to get out of. What do I do now that I’m into so deep? Is it possible to go back to where we were before?

 I don’t think so, just hours ago I told him I would be with him forever and he cried and told me that’s what he had always wanted from me. But somehow, I feel that he knows what I really feel and think. I remember those first looks he gave in that party in which we met. He knew then who I was and that I couldn’t be trusted with something so important as his heart. Why does he think that has changed now, especially when we already tried and failed? Maybe he has a thing for failing, or maybe he’s one of those people that think they can fix other people.

 If that’s the reason, I think he means well but it would be an uphill battle. I have never changed anything about me. I have always failed or passed by without getting noticed. He cannot change that, not even if he wanted to do it with all of his energy and money. Not even power can change the fact that I am me, whoever that person may be. Yes, it’s sad for me to admit that there’s no chance for me anymore but I do believe it’s best if I don’t get my hopes without any good reason.

 I decided then to go down to the beach and walk on sand, which I guess feels nice on your body, unless you enter the water too. The people working in the hotel don’t see me walking down with my last can of cocktail, passing the swimming pools and walking into a small but nice little beach. I walk around, trying not to think anymore but that’s impossible. My brain cannot stop telling me things, almost yelling them at me as if I didn’t now them. It’s decided: I’m leaving him and never coming back.

 I have no idea how to get back home but I guess I can always steal some money from him and at least buy a bus ticket back to my city, back to my little and ugly apartment which I pay cleaning floors and serving people in awful little restaurants. That’s what a bachelor’s degree would do for you. Or maybe I could grab some more money and just leave for another city, a new place in which I can begin again. But the dream dies soon, because I’m incapable of really dreaming.

 I sit down just out of reach from the water. There’s no more alcohol in my can, which I throw to the ocean. I looked at the waves, angry with them because they refuse to take me away. I’m angry because this is not the way thing were suppose to go down like. This is not the life I should have had. Or I at least I don’t think anyone should have this life in any way shape or form. It is too cruel and empty, with no rewards and nothing to look forward to. Empty as the blackness of the sky.

 I noticed that I’m walking towards the water, slowly. It feels kind of warm, which is very nice. When it reaches my waist, I am tempted to look back to the hotel but I decided not to. There’s not for me there and there’s no way I’m going back,

 I keep on walking until the waves push me around, hitting me on the face several times, making me tumble and fall to my knees. Under the surface, my body attempts to swim upwards but my mind decides to make us swallow a good gulp of water. Better to end it here.

martes, 23 de agosto de 2016

End of a marriage

   The alarm of the oven rang right when it was expect. Linda wiped her tears out of her face and turned from the window to the oven. With her oven mints on, she took out a pretty big glass container in which a very thick lasagna was still bubbling in. The cheese had melted beautifully and the top was golden and just perfect. Through the glass, it was easy to see that the lasagna was made of several layers of vegetables and grinded beef and cheese. Linda was very proud of herself as she put the container on a wooden surface in order to let it cool down a bit while she served the rest of the dinner.

 Her husband entered the kitchen in silence. It was very obvious he didn’t know what to say. She didn’t really wanted to speak so she focused her attention on two medium sized plates, where she served a copious amount of salad made of a variety of green leaves, tomatoes, olives, cheese cubes and other small elements. She put the two plates on the table in front of the kitchen and her husband sat down immediately, without saying a word. He didn’t started eating or anything, he just waited there, turning around to see through the window every five seconds, as if he was afraid someone would appear out of nowhere to steal his food or something.

 Linda also turned around a lot while cooking, but she seemed to be better at ignoring whatever it was they were ignoring. She then started cutting the lasagna into pieces, placing two big squares on each of their plates. She put those two plates on the table too and then paused for a moment, to think what else she was supposed to do. It was her husband who stood up and ran towards a cabinet to take out a bottle of wine some friend of theirs had given them several months ago, after said person had returned from a trip to France.

 Linda remembered the bread. She took out of the cupboard, sliced some pieces and grated a lot of garlic into each piece. Then she put the bread in the microwave, as doing it in the oven would take much too long and she was seriously hungry now. Her husband Matt poured the wine into two glasses and put them on the table with the bottle, in case they wanted to have a bit more with their food.

 The sound of the microwave cooking the bread was the only thing they heard for a while. Matt sat down again, looking very tense. Linda looked at the floor as she waited for the sound. She just looked at a very small ant that was crossing the floor and she the imagined the life of that ant, all that that it had done in its short life. The microwave’s ring brought her out of her imagination. Linda put down the bread on the table, which smelled delicious, and finally sat down in front of her husband. They finally looked at each other.

 Both of their reactions were to cry. But they didn’t do it loudly or anything, they just had tears coming down their faces like a small river pouring out of their eyes. Their nose got congested and then each one of them had to stand up and run to the nearest bathroom to get some toilet paper. Once there, they just hugged. They hadn’t done that in a long time but it felt really good to finally do it, to finally feel they were together in this and that nothing could change that. They held hands and tried to tell each other how they felt but words seemed to be lacking power in those moments. Words were not important anymore.

 They went back to the table and decided to eat as if it was a normal dinner, although this one was much earlier. Outside, the sun was bright and even some birds sang. There was not a soul in sight but that was very understandable. Around there, only Linda and Matt had stayed behind in order to have one last beautiful romantic dinner and they did try to make it very nice and delicious. Actually, the first thing that Matt said when they came back from the bathroom was that it all smelled delicious and it definitely did.

 The first course was the salad. It had every single vegetable that they had left so there were pieces of onion, carrots, pepper, cucumber and several others of which there were only small pieces in the fridge. Linda had grabbed all those pieces and had cut them and put them together on a big bowl. She then had put on them some salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil to make it taste even better. Matt said it was the best salad he had ever eaten and maybe he was being honest because in all the years Linda had known him, he had never eaten a salad, not even a piece of tomato.

 As they ate, they remained in silence but it was Matt, uncomfortably clearing his voice, who asked Linda if she liked fruit in her salads. She thought it was a very strange question but the moment that they were living was much too weird and particular to ignore any questions. So she thought of her answer for a moment and then told her husband that she had eaten some salad with fruits on it and that she had liked them but that not all combinations worked. For example, she liked a Moroccan one that came with couscous and raisins, which were basically sweet as fruit, and she had loved that. But in a wedding when she was young, she was served a salad containing lettuce and other such common things on a salad but with strawberries, mango and apple. She almost vomited that salad.
 Matt laughed hard at her anecdote, as he hated salads with fruits on it too. So, while they ate their salads, they discussed how disgusting it was too find something too sweet on a plate that wasn’t supposed to be sweet. The ambiance got much more relaxed.

 Then came the lasagna and they were surprised to realize that they were very hungry. The two pieces Linda ad put on each plate were just the beginning for each one of them as they cut and served even more pieces as their conversation changed subjects once and again. They talked about Italy too and how its food was probably the best in the world. Then they chatted about spicy foods and how spicy they liked their food, if they actually like to feel that burn in their mouths.

 As they ate their pieces of lasagna, the couple became more like the people they had used to be all those years ago when they had first started dating. They were deeply in love but also very interested in each other, so much so that they had every single kind of question to make to the other person. It was so much like that that they switched their conversation from food to their teenage years. Matt wanted to know how young Linda was the first time she kissed a boy and she surprised him by saying that the first person she had kissed had actually been a girl in her class when she was around nine or ten years old. She explained that they were really good friends and that it had seemed natural at the moment. No one ever knew about it until then.

 Matt was surprised and even toasted to that anecdote as he found it very cute. He told his wife that his first kiss with a boy had happened very late in life, in college. She was amazed to know that because she had met him in college but he explained it had been in the first few years in a party. He never saw the guy again because he retired or something but he had kissed him out of a drunken stupor.

 Linda also toasted to that, happy to know more about her husband, even if at that moment that knowledge was going to be useless. They finished the lasagna and decided not to clean the dishes and, instead, they took the bottle of wine and one of champagne to the second floor of the house, where they had a nice little deck overlooking the street and the sunset. They drank the whole bottle of wine as they talked and talked and by the time they opened the champagne, they were able to hear a far away alarm.

Then, they saw it in the sky, as night had fallen. It could be seen clear and so close, much closer than they had thought it would be. They poured they champagne into their glasses and toasted to their life together and their love, just as the ball of fire passed above them making a very loud sound. They drank the whole glass and then kiss passionately for the first time in a very long while. The ball of fire touched down several kilometers to the south but the result of the impact was instantaneous: an very violent earthquake, a cloud of smoke and dirt and then, nothing.

martes, 14 de junio de 2016


   The first day, he went alone. He didn’t wanted to get anyone involved in his personal life and he wasn’t ready to share his fears with someone else. He was even unsure about the whole thing but finally decided to go because he had to now. At last, he was making some money and he was about to go and live by himself. He already had a new place, his first ever in which he would not be sharing space with his family or with other people. A tiny apartment just for him. He had made the calculations several times and he knew he was able to pull it off.

 When he arrived to the hospital, they made him wait in a small room where all chairs were empty. No one else came that early to get tested. It was better like that, because he had no intention of running into anyone he knew and, besides, it was the only time he could pay a visit to the doctor without leaving his job. There was no way he was going to loose money to do that. He found a way to do it anyway and, after some time waiting, a nurse came for him.

 She led him to an office were a doctor asked him several questions. They were all very personal questions but he understood why those questions needed to be asked. He wasn’t offended at all but he did feel a bit embarrassed because it was the first time he really discussed these things with someone. The silly conversations with his friends, didn’t really count because there was always a certain amount of lying involved in that.

 Next, he was left alone in the office for a couple of minutes, time he took to take a look at the paintings in the room. There weren’t many. Most of the frames concerned some diploma or a family picture. But there were two actual paintings: one was the image of a field, probably wheat. The image seemed to have no end. In one side, little in the big space, there seem to be a couple of peasants, working in the field. Probably cutting some of the wheat or maybe taking care of something else.

 The other painting was an abstract work. It had a few read lines and dot among a jungle of black geometrical figures. It was very tiring to watch because it was obvious the red in the picture was being overwhelmed by the black. He didn’t have to be a genius to know what the picture was about. He was about to get nearer to the painting when the doctor came back with all his equipment.

 One by one, the doctor filled three small flasks with his patient’s blood. The process didn’t really took that long although it did seem longer for the man being drained out of blood because he suddenly felt dizzy and very weak. The person on the phone had told him he had to come without having anything to eat or drink. And now the doctor said he should do the opposite.

 As he stepped out of the hospital, he had to walk very slowly. He didn’t feel good at all. Not only was his brain aching, his arm was in pain too. After all, the man had used a needle in it three times. He had no idea the amount of blood they needed for testing but he thought that, at least, he could assume the results were going to be accurate with the amount of blood they had to double check any findings.

 He grabbed a taxi, which he never did, and asked to be taken to his work. He had money to pay but that expense meant he couldn’t so other things that week. A taxi ride was too much for him to handle on his low income and now more than ever, with the new place coming and the bills for that place and everything related to it. He was very happy to move out of his parents’ home but he was also worried that he would fail as an adult. After all, it had taken him thirty years to leave the nest.

 Once he arrived at work, he was greeted by people who told him how bad he looked. He told them he had being at the hospital for a flu he was feeling coming, and that they had asked him to come without anything on his stomach. So he ran up to his desk, left his bag there and then ran to the kitchen where he poured himself some coffee and looked around for the messenger boy, who was normally around the office at that time.

 He finally found him flirting with a secretary. Interrupting the conversation, he asked the boy to please go for him to the nearest store and buy him some things to eat for breakfast with his coffee. He gave the boy a bill and told him exactly what to buy. He also told him that he could have the change, which made the boy stand up fast and run out of the office in a huff. He returned to his office, a cubicle in corner of that floor, and started working. Yet, he realized he couldn’t do any working.

 The boy returned soon and he was able to eat and feel a bit less weak but he didn’t do much that day at work. He felt very dizzy and even thought he was going to vomit at one point. He ran to the bathroom and, thankfully, no one saw him do that. He stayed in the bathroom for several minutes, drinking water and sprinkling his face too in order too cool down. It didn’t really work that much but he had no idea of what else to do.

 That night, at home, he fell asleep fast. He was very tired. He just left his clothes all over the place and didn’t bother to have any dinner. When he woke up, he realized he had bled out of his nose, his pillow stained with a big puddle of dried blood. He was surprised he hadn’t been awake by the bleeding; yet he had been so tired that even that accident wouldn’t be significant enough to wake him up.

 He threw away the pillow and washed the pillowcase. He threw that too after he realized the stain wouldn’t come off. He didn’t tell anything to his parents about it and they didn’t ask why he didn’t have a pillow in the following days. After all, he was about to move and maybe he was throwing the things he was going to replace once he was in his own environment.  It was only a couple of weeks later when it happened.

 His mother cried a lot, as if he was going away to the other side of the world. True, the apartment was not very close to his family’s place, but it was in the same city all the same. He asked them to visit once he was ready to receive visitors, in other words, once he would have furniture and glasses and plates and all that stuff that make some place a proper home. He moved out a Saturday and the following Sunday was a hard day to put everything in place and buy a lot of things, including a new pillow.

 Mom and dad had given him some money to start and he was grateful for that because there was no way, with his salary, that he was going to be able to buy everything he needed for the new place. With that small help, he was able to make that place something he could be proud of. However, the weekend ended very soon and he had to work as he finished putting everything where it belonged. But by the third week there, he decided he could have a small gathering of friends and then ask his parents to visit him.

 Those two couldn’t be done at the same time because of the size of the place, but he was thrilled to do it. He asked his friends to bring their own bottles of alcohol. There was no way he was paying for those. They had a very good time, joking around and even dancing in the small space. They had to end the party when a neighbor complained about the noise. Ironically, it was a neighbor that was always kind of drunk.

 It was the following day, a Saturday and more than a month after his blood had been taken out, that he received a letter in his house. It was the first letter that he received there and it was kind of awful it had to be one from the hospital. Once he saw it, he wanted to open it. But then he remembered his family was coming for lunch. And he didn’t want that on his mind while he ate with them. So he put it away for the day and enjoyed his family.

 He cooked that day. His mother tried to help every so often, but he wouldn’t let her. They had the best day ever, looking at old pictures, eating a lot and giving decoration ideas for the whole place. His parents wanted to be involved in some way and he wasn’t rejecting the idea at all. He needed them by his side.

 The following day, alone, he opened the letter. He had known what it said long before he ever got tested. But to know was exactly how he thought it would feel: like a hot knife piercing through the skin. His life had been on a path for a long time and now, his eyes had been opened. What to do next?