Valerie O'Riordan

Kathleen's husband was dying. Five weeks, they said. Kathleen counted them off on the kitchen calendar. In the margin she transcribed the words: advanced malignant mesothelioma. It sounded like a geological period. The Late Mesotheliomic Period. She reminded herself to have Willie's suit dry-cleaned. She was impressed by her own efficiency. At night she lay beside him and pushed her face into the dip of his shoulder. The see-saw of his breath scratched like leaves against the window. She longed for it to stop, and when it did, she hated herself.