The disease didn’t have an established ‘life-cycle’ if you’ll pardon the pun, it was more like walking under pouring water and as the water fell away I was changed, most particularly I no longer had to breathe and I had no pulse. I could think, I was aware, but the ability to react to my surroundings was dulled, no sense of touch, heat or cold, probably the no pulse thing. I could only speak accidentally, without breath to moderate them my thoughts were reduced to ragged grunts and strangled squeals.
All in all I failed to see how this recent change of circumstance should dampen my spirits. My wife, Karen, did not share my rosy outlook. My recent ‘up-cycle’ had spot-lighted a lack of communications in our relationship and she had taken the opportunity to take up with Chad, the next-door neighbor and owner of the most annoying animal in creation. Part Pomeranian and part Shih-Tzu, the thing was so ugly and deformed you could only tell one end from the other when it was eating. And while I am on the subject, who would intentionally breed an animal called a Shihtzuranian, and why would anyone buy one? Well Chad, of course. I don’t wish to be judge-y but Chad was the most useless person in the neighborhood with the exception of Larry the troglodyte at the end of the street, but I digress.
Things had come to a head between Karen and I the morning Chad’s dog had snuck in the cat door and tried to take off with my fibula, I had had enough. Karen burst into the kitchen as I was finishing him off and informed me that she was leaving with Chad and there was nothing that I could do about it. After twenty years of marriage this is what I get? What did Chad have that I didn’t? Skin? I was an apex predator by Rob! By the time Chad showed up to carry her stuff to the car I was over it, no matter how many times I told her ‘Wharr-blaaa commmbleragh’ she wouldn’t move. Chad bumped into me on the way out the door and I casually wiped some of the dog’s brain batter onto the back of his shirt. He didn’t notice, he just loaded her stuff in the trunk like it was any old day. Larry noticed, he was on him in less than a minute, whoopsy.
With Karen gone my days had settled into a routine and I used the time to reflect on things. I resolved that my dog-mangled leg would not be an impediment, it was not a disability, it was my swagger! And I was not alone, the woman who lived on the other side of me came out to mow her lawn regularly. She was a normie and had become adept at chasing Larry away with the mower if he was about, good for her. I was listening to the rise and fall of the mower’s vibrations, she was making good progress today, and then it stopped. I had to force myself not to watch her every time she mowed, because, creepy, but I had to wonder what the matter was.
There was a knock at the front door, that hadn’t happened in a while. I made my way to answer, making a mental note as I did, the swagger was really coming along. Oh my Rob!!! It was her! My mental excitation did not translate at all, several minutes of trying were required to get the door handle to cooperate. We had never been introduced but I had given her a name to pass the time, Maddy O’Doul-Apollongata, homey and down-to-earth with just a touch of hyphenated enchantment.
I had never seen her up close, she looked amazing. Such a wide forehead and a tiny nose, you know what they say, small nose, small sinuses, more room for you-know-what! I couldn’t help but wonder, I’ll bet they are big. Big and round, nice cleavage, shapely curves ending in a single, slender stem…
“I said, Excuse me!” She repeated. Oh my Rob, I hope she hadn’t caught me staring.
I said/She heard: “What can I do for you today?/Mrrflgoob”
“My mower quit, do you have any gas?”
I said/She heard: “Certainly, just inside the garage door./Grrnddgaabrainnnzzz” I pointed.
She leaned in a bit closer, “What was that?”
I said/She heard: “Would you like me to swagger out there and show you?/shluuudrabrainssss!”
I should have quit when I was ahead. Skinless fingers and polished brass door hardware make for a friction based disaster and I was it, in a pile on my front porch, Maddy long gone now. I don’t see this as a setback in our relationship though, we have time. I know I do.