6 Months 27 Days

March 18, 2008
By Sam Martin, Hoffman Estates, IL

The sound of the alarm traveled through Taylor’s head like an earthquake. He swung his arm toward the sleep button and missed. On the second try he managed to turn it off. Freeing himself from the sea of pillows and sheets, he wriggled his toes in the luscious carpet he had just had installed days earlier.
When he stood up a wave of agony spread through his whole body and seemed to rent his head in two. After the pain subsided he staggered to the bathroom. He looked through the mirror into his own blood shot eyes. Twisting off the cap to an old bottle of aspirin he popped two into his mouth.
1 month 16 Days
The alarm rang yet again and this time Taylor felt the pain ignite in his head and spread like an electric pulse down his spine all the way to his fingers and toes. Reaching quickly, he turned off the alarm and recoiled, trembling from the exertion. Slowly, trying to avoid the abrupt movements that set his whole body afire, he got up and walked slowly to the bathroom.
His face was pale and his eyes stained red with pain. Taylor examined the stubble on his chin but thought twice about using the electric razor. Yesterday, the same razor had sent wave of pain all the way up to his shoulders, jarring the bones of his elbow.
He fell to his knees and vomited in the general direction of the wastebasket. Thankfully, his stomach had warned him first and most of it made it in. Before he left the bathroom, he broke the seal on the new bottle and swallowed five or six aspirin tablets.

15 Days
Victoria walked in the door without knocking. Taylor was sitting at the table in his once obsessively manicured kitchen littered by milk-stained empty bowls and other dirty dishes. In front of him was a half eaten pop tart. His hair was messy and he looked like he hadn’t shaved in weeks.
“God Taylor!” she gasped at the once lively and attractive man, “What happened to you? You look like you’ve come back from the dead!”
“Oh I’m fine” he said, attempting one of his trademark smiles, “It’s just the flu. I’m already getting better”. The smile was gone; forced away by disfiguring grimace.
0 Days
“Did you hear?...” asked a Calvin of a group of his co-workers. Victoria tried not to listen as she walked by. The news was spreading through the upstart software company faster than she had thought possible. She sunk into her chair and stared into Taylor’s office across the hall.
A cleaning crew had already removed all of his belongings but in their laziness they had overlooked a small silver picture frame laying face down on his desk.
“Even they don’t waste any time”, Victoria thought. She walked over and picked it up. It was a picture of Taylor next to his 1969 Camaro, meticulously restored and polished by his very own hands: it was his baby.
Victoria’s eyes swept the picture, wondering how somebody goes for eight months with a baseball sized tumor in their brain without ever visiting a doctor. A tear splashed across the tarnished silver frame.

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