tells me that she lives about a hundred lives,
Mason O’Rear knew she couldn’t beat around the bush any longer. She knew that the moment had come to tell him the truth, but she couldn’t do it. She couldn’t form the words to tell him why. But she knew she had to. Mason stooped down to pick up the spatula and the broken pieces of the plate. She tentatively retrieved the golden brown sandwich from the opposite side of the floor and Jordan had to hold back staring at her rear.
Jordan Staal watched her clean the floor methodically and thoroughly. He watched her lean back on her legs and push herself off the ground. And then, he watched as she tossed the dishrag into the sink and leaned on the counter.
“When I was growing up, my mother was dying. Slowly, but noticeably. In the end, my father had to do everything for her. He had to bathe her, feed her, and change her clothes for her. When I was a kid, I didn’t understand that her brain was literally shrinking. I didn’t understand that when she yelled at me in front of my friends, she honestly had no idea what she was doing. She had no idea who I was. When she died, I was relieved. My house was quiet and peaceful after that, and I didn’t really dread coming home anymore. My father was silent and distant most of the time, but I assume that’s what happens when you see the love of your life lose her mind. When I graduated, I left. I moved as far from home as possible, just to get away from the memories. And, I hoped, to get away from the disease.” She paused and let Jordan soak it all in. What she was saying made no sense to him, but he’d always been close to his family. He took a deep breath and nodded, urging her to continue.
Mason took a deep breath also and crossed her arms, finally looking up at him.
“When I was tested for Huntington’s, I was 17. The doctors told me that there would be a few weeks waiting period, and then I would find out. Two weeks before my graduation, I got a call, telling me my results were in. I was positive, but they told me it wasn’t the end of the world. That a person with Huntington’s can still live a relatively normal life for 15 to 20 years. What they didn’t tell me was that my Huntington's is more aggressive than my mother’s was, because the generation of the gene I received is more mutated. That means that I might get nine or ten good years left. When that knowledge came to light, I decided “fun” was more important that my health. I did drugs, I slept around, I threw all my morals, and hopes and dreams out the window, because it’s not like I was ever going to be able to live them. So why get my hopes up? I went to the doctor, to get more meds, and I heard about a drug trial to slow down the progression of Huntington’s. And then, you walked into my life. And you’re making me wonder if giving up is really what I should be doing.”
Jordan walked over to her and looked down into her eyes, intertwining their fingers. He saw a shimmer of joy take over her once cloudy eyes. He leaned down and pressed his lips against hers. He could taste salt and when he pulled away, he noticed the tears running down her face. Jordan kissed each tear as it ran down her face, and he pulled her close to him.
“I won’t make you regret it.” He whispered. And as they stood in her chrome and dark wood kitchen, Jordan Staal knew one thing.
Mason O’Rear was diagnosed at seventeen. She was give nine years. She had used up eight already.