Aspirin and Achilles: A Modern Day Tragedy

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Jeremy hadn’t gone out in awhile; it was his senior year of college and, if he did the semester right as he had for every one the past three years, he was set to be class valedictorian. But tonight was a Friday, and he had done all he could to prepare for the coming week. He’d been working nonstop and hadn’t even talked to a girl in months, not that he was socially unfortunate or anything. In fact, he was well aware of his good looks. His wispy blonde hair settled just above his green eyes that stood out like shining emeralds against his evenly toned skin encasing his well-carved physique. The night was calling him, and, for once, he wasn’t about to ignore its beckoning.

Through muscle memory, his thumbs danced on his phone keys, connecting him to Steven. “Hey man, you wanna swing by and pick me up at ten tonight for that party on Walnut Hill?”

“No way,” his best friend was astonished. “Jeremy Lewis is back from the dead!” He laughed a little at his own line. “But yeah, for sure I’ll pick you up, man.”

Promptly, Jeremy went to his closet and scanned for his blue button up shirt. His mom always said it made him look like Robert Redford, so he figured it was a solid choice. He then pulled out his trusty Ralph Lauren khakis and assembled the two, consequently appearing more brilliant when placed together on the chiseled live mannequin. Just as he was slipping on his boat shoes, he heard his friend honking from the street three stories below.

As he was running out the door, Jeremy felt that regular sharp pain in his lower leg that came on every so often ever since he tore his Achilles tendon. He winced a little and limped his way over to his kitchen cabinet, pulling out a case of aspirin. The directions said to take two, but his leg was really hurting and he didn’t want to deal with it. Not tonight, anyway. Without a thought, he popped four in his mouth and washed it down with a glass of water. He was a fairly big guy and he’d taken that much before; he wasn’t too worried.

They pulled up to the house after listening to all the right pump-up music. “Tonight’s gonna be sick, dude,” Steven said, giving Jeremy a playful punch in the arm.
“Yeah it is, man. Shall we?” Jeremy led the way into the house already stuffed with people. Everyone’s eyes immediately were glued to him, stirring thoughts of jealousy and lust.
“Jeremy! What’s up, man? It’s been too long.” The greetings were one and all the same with slight variation. He feasted his eyes on the throngs of gorgeous women eager to entreat him in conversation. Mid-playful banter, he spotted Bailey out of the corner of his vision. He felt his heartbeat quicken. The two had flirted mercilessly since freshman year, though neither dared to make a move, worried that their imaginations of what could be would end up a disappointing letdown if they ever attempted romance.
She looked stunning. Her chestnut brown hair fell perfectly in an angular shape around her collarbone, pointing toward a simple silver pendant that oscillated back and forth above her toned hourglass figure. Her flowing red dress draped around her like petals from a newly blossomed tulip.
The two locked eyes and made their way toward each other from across the room, meeting halfway. He stared at her in a trance for a moment before he spoke. “Bailey,” he said, tasting her name like pink lemonade on a hot day. They began catching up, every word projecting Cupid’s arrows, which landed gently on the counterpart’s chest, penetrating smoothly into their hearts and enflaming their desires.
She broke conversation abruptly. “I’ll be right back.” She had that mischievous look in her eyes that signaled some kind of playful challenge. They both lived for competition, especially one-on-one. She came back with a bottle of whiskey and two shot glasses. “Let’s see which one of us can down the most shots in two minutes,” she proposed, a devilish grin spread across her lips.
“Oh, you’re on.” Jeremy didn’t even pretend to let her win. Halfway into his fifth shot, she grabbed his glass a tilted it down, spilling some of the liquid on his shirt. “Hey!” he shouted playfully, grabbing a napkin to wipe off the whiskey. While he cleaned up, Bailey finished off her fourth.
“Hah! It’s a tie,” she proclaimed. Jeremy shook his head, smiling. Maybe it was the alcohol or maybe it was due to the little time they had left at the same school, but finally he let it slip. “I’ve always liked you, you know.” She froze for a moment, her eyes gazing into his with a dazzling beam. “Jeremy,” she said, “You’re all I ever think about.”
They leaned in, embracing the kiss to end all else. As they pulled away for a moment to process their emotional highs, Jeremy felt his stomach churn. He began coughing, and a stream of thick blood began pouring steadily from his mouth. “The aspirin,” Jeremy finally let out. With wide eyes of realization, he looked down and clutched his lower leg. Bailey screamed. “Call 911!” He felt her squeeze his hand; it was the last thing he ever felt.
When Bailey learned the next day of Jeremy’s cause of death, internal bleeding, she collapsed into hysterics. She knew it was her fault; she forced him to binge drink. She took the elevator to the top floor, each level bringing her a more intense pain, the images of the night before seared into her mind. She opened the door to the roof of her apartment, walked to the edge of the building, looked up to the sky in despair, and jumped.

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