fiction

Feeling the Pain

sleeping manHector used to wake up the same way every day -- carefully. He didn’t want to stretch too much, because that might pull a muscle or give him a cramp like it did the last time he stretched too much.

After turning fifty, Hector began to imagine that fate had designs on his body that were beyond his control. All he could do now was baby it, like a car on its last legs, you drive it slowly, don’t brake hard, and for God’s sake, don’t give it too much gas. In his mind, Hector was convinced that he had another good fifty years in him, but only if he took it easy.

What do they call someone who thinks every ache or pain is some new illness or disease? Hypochondriac? Hector did not think that applied to him. His thought was that he was suffering from 2nd degree baby boomerdom and the best offense was a good defense. He took all his vitamins, ate the right foods, did not overindulge, rarely drank alcohol, and stopped mojitorunning across the street to beat the oncoming traffic. The last time he tried to do that, he nearly got killed.

Everything changed when Hector met Consuela. She made him feel young again, and that meant he wanted to live each day like it was his last. Besides putting a spring in his step, Hector found that he did not want to conserve his energy – he wanted to give it the gas. He was like a kid again and all he could think about was Consuela and how he could share his joy for life with her. They stayed out late, drank rum drinks with little paper umbrellas in them, danced in the clubs, made mad, crazy love every night, and cherished every moment together.

Three months after meeting Consuela, Hector remembered waking up one morning and thinking to himself that if he died that very day, it was all worth it. dancerTo have lived and loved with Consuela was the highlight of his life. If this was it, then so be it. To think that he had been prepared to live another fifty years by denying himself any of life’s pleasures – he must have been crazy.

That was the day Consuela came to him to bear her soul. She told him she was madly in love with him, but living the high life, burning the candle at both ends, it was too much for her. She explained that she felt like the butterfly that emerges from the cocoon and flutters about with so much intensity and then the wings can beat no longer. With a heavy heart, Consuela told Hector that she needed to conserve her energy and stop going out every night to dance and drink, or she wouldn’t live to see fifty. Hector embraced Consuela and told her that he understood completely. But now that he had tasted the good life, he could not go back to his old ways.

Hector continues to go out every night to enjoy all the pleasure that life has to offer, but the love of his life is no longer by his side. It would all be so sad if he were not so happy.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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