To calculate my age since breaking my wrist requires weighting the days of the week on a sliding scale and doing a little algebra. All days but Fridays weigh one day each, though lately the off-days have grown heavier, more decrepitating. Saturdays in particular want to murder and bury me. Thursdays last an age, but I get through them, then Fridays I take my pill. They gave me dilaudid when I broke my wrist and accidentally decimaled the prescription, then refilled it twice the first week. I knew before the first tablet fully dissolved I would not die without knowing true love. I open my mouth and place her on my tongue each seventh day, I close my eyes and swallow, fill with warmth and feel my blood, and emerge to beauty and the wonder of being. She does everything I could possibly want a pill to do except negate the six days a week I don’t take her. I close the medicine cabinet door and pledge to the mirror, “Only on Fridays,” and the second commandment, “Until I run out.” My eyesight is better on Fridays. I see and comprehend the pores of my skin and the veins that run through it. The band of grass, the darker trees, the band of sky above them resolve into flag stripes. My family is more accomplished and more dear. Watching them prepare their meals, I regret that they can’t join me here; their food has no appeal for me and what I live on they wouldn’t appreciate either. It may be that my wife does not feel pain the way I do, or maybe her illness is not like mine. What they’re giving her doesn’t have the same effect, and they don’t seem to be giving her enough of them.

Copyright © March 30, 2007 David Hodges