Addison Deveraux stared at her family physician for several minutes, unable to speak and incapable of processing the information he relayed. She focused on the white walls around her. She skimmed over the medical licenses and board certifications, eventually narrowing her gaze on the overstuffed plastic brochure rack housing material about common medical problems. The entire time, she remained faintly aware of her doctor's monotone voice. An avid movie enthusiast, Addison disconnected from the moment and recalled a recent flick she'd watched.
She remembered one scene in particular where a woman learned of her life-destroying health circumstance. Thanks to modern day technology, the character slipped into a mind-boggling funnel surrounded by noise typically found in a seashell. The echo intensified and the room scrambled into spinning pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
On the big screen, the actress sobbed. The doctor calmly provided information about the disease for which she'd been diagnosed and the woman finally zoomed in on those fated words: "You're dying."
Addison blinked. "I am?"
"Addison," Dr. Michaels began gently, "Haven't you heard a word I just said?"
She swallowed. "No, I was..." Thinking about dying.
"Addison, this isn't something you should take lightly," Dr. Michaels stressed, leaning over his desk. An older man with salt and pepper hair, Dr. Michaels wore tinted large-rimmed glasses and resembled someone who might have been chosen to portray a physician delivering detrimental news. If only he were an actor.
Addison watched his mouth move. His words hummed all around her, beating into her ears like a hollow drum. "Treatment is something we should discuss together. This isn't the end and that's it."
Boom. Boom. Boom. The maddening tempo gained momentum.
Advice slipped from his lips but the words ran together in a never-ending slur. "Think of diagnosis as a transition. By the time you've processed the information I've given you, you'll be ready to face the days ahead. In the end, you'll be much better off."
She gulped. There it was. The dreaded statement, You'll be much better off.
How many times had she attended a funeral for one of her grandmother's friends and heard the same thing? Mary Lou Cornell went to a better place. Dan Bradley was much better off after both arms and one leg were amputated.
Carla Sue Davis found Jesus after living on the streets and working for some pimp who decided to repay her years of servitude with continual beatings. And Barbara Jo Jones faced death the same way she'd faced living; always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
No indeed, Addison refused to walk down the same road chosen by Granny Myrtle's best friends, or her cousin Gertrude, who for some reason received her bad news and decided to kick the bucket, before the bucket smacked her upside her head. No way. Addison planned to do a little better for herself. She'd die on her own terms.
The way Addison met death was her decision. Since she had a choice in the matter, she planned to go on out there and greet death-take her fate by the horns and ride the daylights out of it. Yep, it was time to get on with dying.
Chocolate cured a lot of things-broken hearts, damaged souls, and even dying young women. But snacking on milky rich candies stuffed with caramel and peanut butter hadn't accomplished what Addison set out to do.
She tossed another candy wrapper toward the bedside table and missed. The multi-colored foil drifted silently to the rug beside her bed. She convinced herself she was too weak to bend over and pick up the scattered evidence of indulgence.
Besides, she planned on eating her way into insulin shock. The only thing she accomplished? Her favorite palate pleaser, the one snack she adored, no longer retained its rightful place in her life anymore.
Addison nurtured a lifelong love affair with chocolate. Granny Myrtle's men friends used to bring along a handful of candies when they came to call. They satisfied a child's sweet tooth, then waved her away so they could sit on the front porch and fill Granny Myrtle's ears with bittersweet nothings.
Addison recalled her childhood in one sitting, revisiting the past in much the same way she'd indulged in her comfort food. Her past flashed in front of her. Reels and reels of footage played out before her very eyes.
She'd enjoyed a pampered existence, a good life, but it was drawing to an end. She had a few things she wanted to do before dying, but there wouldn't be time and she wasn't going to mope over regrets.
"Addison Deveraux! This is bloody hell ridiculous!" Granny Myrtle entered her room carrying a broom. "Just what do you think you're doing?"
Addison used the back of her hand to swipe the chocolate off her upper lip. "I'm sick."
"You should be ill, young lady," Granny snapped. "Look at this why don't'cha? You've got at least five hundred chocolate wrappers around here. What are you trying to do, overdose on sugar?"
"That's the idea."
"Well, if you're gonna do something downright crazy, the least you can do is have something good and sweet to snack on," Granny said, grinning from ear to ear. "That Martin Cartwright sure is a nice lookin' treat. He's been askin' about you; been by a few times this last week."
Granny must have been a feisty thing back in the day. Addison had sat through many of Granny's stories, and what she didn't tell on herself, someone else usually did. The older generation around town told large tales about Granny. Most of the men her age said she was a real firecracker. They usually had a little twinkle in their eye while they shared their good-ole'-days stories.
Granny had been trying to play matchmaker for several years, vowing if Addison didn't make a move on the young unsuspecting Cartwright, she would have a tummy tuck and facelift. Then, she might keep their young, handsome neighbor for herself.
"I'm telling you what, little girl, if you don't get to movin' on that Cartwright fella, I'm gonna get me some cosmetic fixins' and strut my aging stuff right across the street. Yes ma'am, I am." She waggled her brows. "Then I'll show him why these younger fellas enjoy an older woman."
"You do that," Addison said, encouraging her. "In the meantime, I'll be right here...sick!"
Granny teetered off to the bathroom and returned with a small trashcan. "Here," she said, shoving the container toward Addison. "You might as well use this while you make your way to the toilet. I swear child, I don't know what's gotten into you these last few weeks. You're starting to grate on my nerves."
"Don't give me any sass, child. I know. I've been telling you this since you were eighteen or nineteen. I mean it now, though. Yes indeed, I'm standing firm on my words. You're getting on my very last nerve, if ya want to know the truth. Now, get in that bathroom and get to puking. After you're done, get yourself cleaned up and come on down for breakfast."
"Breakfast? Are you serious?" Addison's stomach rolled and that was the only warning needed. She made a mad dash for the bathroom, arriving just in time.
© Destiny Blaine
Waking Up The Arguably Dead
Author: Destiny Blaine
Publisher: Passion in Print
Martin Cartwright's neighbor receives disheartening news. She's dying. As far as Martin can tell, Addison has never looked better, but when daily sightings of his beautiful neighbor become few and far between, Martin realizes Addison isn't too keen on living. And he decides to help her get on with dying.
Martin plans to scare Addison into living. Unbeknownst to him, someone is watching with similar goals. Only Drake Valentine's interests in the lovely Miss Deveraux vary from Martin's ambitions. Soon, Addison must choose between living in the shadows of sickness and stepping into the darkness where she's always been drawn.