06 Aug Chapter 23: Shattered

Gavs, Jalea and I go at it again. They tell me it’s my turn to disclose something secret that really turns me on, which turns into two things, then three. At one point Gavs is dressed up as a doctor using whatever he could find around the hotel room; Jalea a nurse. I play the patient, of course.


The Legendary Pink Dots – Cloud Zero

We wear ourselves out to the point that Gavs is snoring on the bed. I can’t blame him though—based on my disclosures he did have the most “work” to do. Jalea starts a shower and I tell her I’m going down to the beach.

The stars twinkle in the warm air. I pick a spot in the sand and make myself comfortable. The lights from the hotel touch the beach on either side of me, while my shadow blends in with the blackness beyond.

What do I want? Something like Laik has? I get the impression he, Gian and Rills are genuinely happy. I’m just not sure if I want to be tied down right now. I do like my freedom. But I am almost twenty—don’t I want to be in a relationship by then? It makes living with the affliction easier, right? To have a significant other (or two) there for you when the anxiety sets in?

What about Jalea and Gavs? I could see myself with them. I know the sex is good, beyond good, but how much do I know about them otherwise? They might not even be looking for a permanent third.

Anyways, you never know until you’ve lived together for a year or two if it’s going to work out. And even then you might end up with a messy divorce at year seven (although with the affliction I guess that’s unlikely).

What I do know is that I like Jalea and Gavs a lot. I feel torn, but that’s life I guess.

“Gavs is still snoring.” Jalea settles in next to me and props herself up on her elbows. We can hear the waves but can’t see them. “You’ve made quite the impression on him. On me as well. He was going on and on about you before we left the house.”

I’m glad it’s dark so she can’t see me blush. “Same here.”

Jalea sighs. “It’s too bad your vacation is almost over.”

I nod. “What’s funny is that I was on the fence about coming here for the full week. I thought I might get bored.” We both laugh.

“Beach life isn’t for everyone. I don’t know if you’re aware but this is supposed to be our retirement. Moving here. We would enjoy the beach, the warm weather, and then…”

A wave crashes on the sand, then another. Her voice is softer. “We don’t normally tell people, but Gavs and I have a… pact. I thought you should know.”

It feels like glass is shattering in my stomach. All the saliva leaves my mouth.

“We agreed that when I’m twenty two and he’s twenty three we would do it, end it all. That’s a year from now. A year in the sun, to enjoy the good life.”

I don’t know what to say. I want to scream at her for being selfish and cruel, but I know it works just as much the other way—I would be the selfish and cruel one for insisting they live with the affliction for my sake. I can’t judge them. To feel the disease coming on, the anxiety and fear, knowing it’s just going to get worse and worse. Especially since I might make exactly the same choice one day.

My voice shakes a bit. “I don’t have any right to judge you. It tears me apart inside, but I don’t hate you. In fact it’s the opposite.”

She sits up and takes my hand. “Gavs brought it up yesterday. Since we’ve met you, he’s been thinking about things, and… he wondered if we should postpone it a while.”

I feel the sand in between her hand and mine. “I’m honored to have had that much of an effect, but it feels to me like doing that would only be trading one pain for another. I wish there were another option.”

“Don’t we all.”

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