by Amy Dennis
I opened the bathroom door and came out to find Mark* waiting at the foot of my bed wearing only his underwear. A few minutes ago, we were acquaintances with potential; now, here stood six feet eight inches of doughy furniture salesman in my girly bedroom, defiling my fortress of solitude with his black boxer briefs. Somehow, our relationship must have progressed pretty rapidly while I was on the toilet. Unsure of exactly what to say, I took a beat and peered at him closely.
In the lamp light, I watched his entire frame sway back and forth. His eyes blinked slowly, and his slack mouth gaped a little. He was plastered. I’d known that, of course. It’s why I told him to sleep at my house. “There’s plenty of room,” I had said. “You shouldn’t drive,” I had said. I’m pretty sure those were my words, but it must have sounded to Mark something like, “Hey, baby, I’m gonna slip into something more comfortable while you get ready to rock and roll! I can’t wait to see you in those sexy, stretched out, cotton underpants you’ve probably been wearing for the last three days.”
by Lauren Young
So let’s start with today.
How is death so terrifying, even when it’s not here yet? I sang karaoke last night, and had to leave Kyle at home because he was so tired. It’s always bad, he’s always fatigued, but he never misses karaoke. For a person so afraid of singing, especially publicly, I’ve become a veritable addict behind the microphone. People laugh when they hear that Kyle and I have a karaoke setup in the house, complete with surround sound, but singing is something we learned to love together. Four years ago. When we met. You know, before the tumor showed up.
But I can’t sing at home now, because Kyle needs to rest, so I just go to the local bar about a block away and serenade my friends. Last night, of course, I drank too much because I can’t close my eyes without thinking of Kyle. He seemed content when I left, lounging in his recliner, watching something noisy on TV. But how unfair, how lonely for both of us – we separate even while we could stay home together, since he is so empty these days, and has little to say.
My mind goes back to the first week in January, when my friend Pam called to tell me the news: She had a hunch. A haunting suspicion had entered her consciousness, which was likely to be accurate in her case. She’s our doctor, after all. My college roommate is our doctor.
“Okay, sit down, Lauren. I have a theory for you. And you may think it’s weird.”
“Oh, yeah? What is it?”