One hand is resting on the arm of the chair, the other droops loosely over the side, trailing on the ground. Eyes shut, head tilted back, tie loosened haphazardly around the neck, three buttons popped open. The quiet of the room punctuated at intervals by the soft hiss of breath, depicted by the rise and fall of his chest. One look at his face and you’re certain he’s asleep. You smile at his resting figure, turn and silently walk out of the room.

But when you’re at the door, you hear him draw a sharp breath. You pause, waiting for him to call your name, convinced in your head that something must somehow have woken him up. When you hear no further sounds from him, you turn your head to look at him only to find his head turned to the side. Maybe it was the movement that made him breathe like that, you think as you walk out of the room.

A minute later, the back door at the kitchen closes softly behind you. The lock clicks and you take off down the stairs speedily, a favourite pastime of yours, wishing, as usual, that the flights of stairs are an endless loop you can run down forever. Too soon, you’re at the bottom step and you walk out of the yard to the evening market at the end of the street.

At Mama IK’s shop, after greeting her with a smile and answering her usual “My favourite customer, ke ka i mere?”, “How is work?” and “Kedu maka your friend, Ejike?” questions, you request for the fish you’d decided to use for the night’s meal. That, and some vegetables.

In your head, you chuckle as you consider how blind people can be.  Five years you’ve dated Ejike, four years since you both moved in together, and people still think you both are just friends. You make small talk with her, smiling all the time as she cuts up the fish. Done, you bid her farewell and start to stroll home, a languid feeling of content welling up in your heart.

The feeling doesn’t last long. You feel a sudden piercing in your chest. Gasping, you stop walking, idly rubbing your thumb over the spot the pain occurred in. Just as you resume walking, you feel it again. Sharper this time. But, it doesn’t feel like it is coming from your body. It feels like an echo. Like a remembered hurt. Immediately, you start running, your mind flashing back to that day when, over dinner, he told you that he’d suffered from angina pectoris for most of his life.

Heart hammering, feet pounding heavily on the road, you race for the house. The old fear grips you again. It washes over you, filling you with a cold that has nothing to do with the weather. You do not notice the stares of those you run past, the questioning looks of those coming towards you. Your mind is set on one thing: getting home. A third piercing is followed closely by a fourth as you pound into the compound. Sprinting up the stairs, there is none of the elation that usually fills your heart on the stairs.

Fumbling through your bunch of keys before you get to the door, you find the right key and once you reach the door, you unlock it. And, without dropping what you bought or even shutting the door behind you, you run into the bedroom. Quickly, you open the bedside drawer, riffle through it and pick the bottle. You open the bottle as you run to the parlour, shake out one white pill and, grabbing his lolling head from the floor he’d fallen to, you force his mouth open and maneouvre the pill under his tongue. Holding him, you sit and cradle his shaking body while counting in your head, waiting for the tremors to subside.

By the count of 100, you feel his breath start to return to normal. You don’t let go. You don’t want to let go.  You need to be sure he’s safe, sure he’s out of danger. In your chest, you feel the sharp twinges of the pain he’s feeling – the pain that connects you both – receding. More time passes and you feel him come back to normal.

You only become aware of the tears your face is awash in when he sits up and, leaning into your embrace, kisses you. All the fear you’d felt wash out of you in those tears as he whispers against your lips, “Thank you, Chu-Chu. I love you.”

And when his lips cover yours again, you can breathe easy again. Loving him, despite the pain he’s in, the pain you share with him, is totally worth it.

Written by Mitch

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  1. Colossus
    December 03, 08:22 Reply

    Damn!!!! Short and scary, i was scared the inevitable has happened. As someone with blood pressure complications, i can relate to this.

    Thank you for being there.

    • Mitch
      December 03, 12:02 Reply

      It’s fiction, Colossus?
      Glad you enjoyed it

  2. Mandy
    December 03, 09:19 Reply

    I was afraid this would end the way most gay stories are designed to end: in tears. I mean, we just can’t seem to catch a break when all we want to do is live and love and fuck.

    Nice story, Mitch. Does this story come from knowing anyone with heart complications?

    • Mitch
      December 03, 12:03 Reply

      My mother and myself.
      I rarely talk about it though.

  3. Zoar
    December 03, 09:49 Reply

    True love over looks our weaknesses.

    This is beautiful.

  4. Demi
    December 03, 10:55 Reply

    Was so scared till I saw it was fiction.. Darn!!

    • Mitch
      December 03, 15:13 Reply

      Guess I succeeded at making someone scared ???

  5. Fred
    December 03, 18:37 Reply

    This is great!
    It got my heart racing though

  6. Mannie
    December 05, 12:27 Reply

    This is the best thing I’ve seen today. Love in its purest form.

  7. Rexy
    December 06, 00:42 Reply

    I’m still speechless!!!!

    Good one dear we are capable of pure love not just sex sex all the time.

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