By Joseph Logsdon
Mike and Sarah cuddled in their bed, exhausted from all the erotic excitement. Sarah kissed her new husband, pleased with the choice she had made. Mike stared at her, appearing very nervous. He didn't speak, didn't say one word. He gazed at the television, intently peering into the heart of the screen. Sarah tried to get his attention, to no avail. Mike held the remote, his hands shaking. It was like he was in some kind of trance, one that he couldn't escape.
Sarah wrestled the remote away from him, before frantically turning off the television. Mike frowned at her, baffled by what she had done. He proceeded to stare at the ceiling, somehow forgetting what had just happened. Sarah was about to call for help, when all of a sudden, her husband finally opened his mouth.
"Hey, uh, why did you turn it off?"
"That's obvious, you were ignoring me," she answered, frustration in her voice.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I haven't been myself lately. It's going to be hard, now that I'm a married man," Mike confessed.
"There's no need to be nervous, I'm going to help you all the way. We're in this together, till death do us part," she stated.
Mike didn't respond, he simply stared at her. He looked at his hands, ashamed of them. He shook and shook, visibly afraid of something. He rose out of the bed, terrified of his own shadow. He looked at Sarah, guilt in his miserable eyes.
"My word, what's gotten into you?"
"We might be closer to death than you realize," Mike announced, trembling uncontrollably.
"What are you talking about? I thought I told you before, we can't have any secrets between us. If you have something to say, then say it," she begged.
Mike stared at the floor, resembling that of a frightened puppy dog. He tried to find the words to speak, and the more he tried, the less confident he felt. The walls came closer and closer, trapping him in the room. He had to tell her the truth, painful though it might be.
"I must confess, I haven't been completely honest with you," Mike sighed.
"There's something strange about you, this feeling that I can't exactly explain. I can honestly say, I've never seen this side of you before. I don't like it, I don't like it one bit," she admitted.
"And you think I do? You must know the truth, because if I don't tell you, I won't be able to live with myself. I've done bad things, some of them very bad. You saved me from that life, and for that, I'll always be grateful," he mumbled.
"Will you get to the point?"
"Do you remember the night we met, when I told you that I wanted to postpone intimacy?"
"We waited, we waited until tonight. What's wrong, didn't you like it?"
Mike didn't answer, preferring to remain silent. He gazed out the hotel window, trying his best to avoid eye contact. He looked for courage inside himself, his search leading nowhere. Sarah grabbed his shoulder, determined to get some kind of reaction out of him. He finally looked at her, his mind returning to reality.
"I like everything about you, the sex especially. Why do you even have to ask?"
"You always seem so distant, it's difficult to know what you're thinking. You're like a stranger, someone I don't even know. You're not the man I married, that's for sure," she pouted.
"I never was that man, I only pretended to be. I've been with many women, more than I care to admit. I've been with big women, small women, all kinds of women. Don't ask me why, I couldn't possibly tell you. I'm a gambler, a thief, among many other things. There's this secret eating away at me, constantly tearing at my spirit. Unless I get it off my chest, it's going to kill me," Mike screamed.
"Well, what is it?"
"I played the game too long, too fast, and too hard. In the end, it cost me everything and everyone. I lost my innocence, all because of my inability to control myself. They told me I could never be with another woman, because the risk was simply too high. HIV is a terrible disease, and it can't be cured. I should've told you, had I only had the courage," Mike cried, frantically running towards the window.
Shocked and speechless, Sarah followed him, afraid of what he might do. Mike opened the window, his eyes staring at the crowd below. Death was calling him, begging him to jump and end it all. Sarah stared at him, wondering what could've gone wrong. Mike started to cry, humiliation overpowering him.
"You don't have to do this; it's not worth your life," she screamed.
"I betrayed you, betrayed everyone," he exclaimed, climbing out the window.
"You could've betrayed the entire world, it still wouldn't stop me from loving you. We'll get through this, just like we always do," she pleaded.
There was no response from Mike. She heard screams, horrible and terrifying screams. The crowd roared, their eyes wide as they watched the body fall. Sarah stood in the room, motionless. The screams turned to gasps, the gasps turned to silence. The body had hit the pavement, no longer living or breathing. He was dead, all because of one misunderstanding.
"I was about to say, till death do us part," she sobbed.