They say dandelions are weeds. So I guess I’m doing the environment a service by plucking one from the ground. But then I pucker my lips and blow the seeds into the wind.
A sudden gust shifts, pushes the fuzzy whites, imitating snow, into my face, dries the tears on my checks stiff.
I hate winter.
I hate what it makes me do. How the cold temperatures drive me to crave intimacy, warmth in my bed.
God knows I never meant to hurt him. I never meant to take it that far. The man’s name escapes me now—maybe he never gave it. But I remember his strong arms around me, squeezing my lungs, his heavy breathing into my neck, making me hot. How he pounded me like tenderizing meat, forced me open…
How his whole body covered me.
Not like Stephen, who shrinks further away each day. Fifty pounds lost, now the size of a pre-pubescent teen—I’ve started buying his clothes in the boys section. And this morning he couldn’t lift his legs.
“It’s only going to get worse. I don’t expect you to stay,” he’d said when he was first diagnosed. But that night, when he came home early from therapy with Jackie, our live-in nurse, I felt his heart break in his chest—along with every other bone that has split, every muscle that has succumbed to spasms, weakened and grown faint.
When he saw how that man hurt me, how I liked it, pleaded for more…
He’s not a man anymore. The doctor’s say, by spring he will be no more.
And there are not enough dandelions in my backyard for me to wish that my betrayal was not his final memory.