A Case of Hives

My ex-wife, Janie, died. I was happy to see her go.

I regained custody of our beautiful son, Barry. He’s four years old. For the last two years, I’d been out of his life. Janie kept him away from me. God only knows what poison she filled his head with; all her hatred of me spilling out of her lying mouth to make Barry despise his old man. But all that’s over now. He’s mine again. And he’ll love me soon enough.

It was clear she’d said some terrible things to influence his perception of me. “Daddy’s bad,” Barry informed me one night. Tears filled my eyes and I clutched my son to my chest and whispered, “your Daddy is a good man, Barry. Your Daddy will take care of you.”

I meant it, although I hated him when he squirmed to get away. He was afraid of me. His mother’s poison still coursed through his veins.

In early April, Barry seemed under the weather. I checked him out. He’d developed hives. I was overjoyed. This would be my opportunity to redeem myself with him. Once he saw how well I could take care of him, he’d love me again. I thought back to his tiny hand clutching my finger moments after he was born. He’d loved me from the start. Then Janie ripped it out of him. I seethed.

Continue reading “A Case of Hives”

A Gifted Chef

I was lucky enough to be the next-door neighbor of a world-class chef. Like, legit world class. Like, Michelin star class. Yeah. The real deal. Stewart Therriault. Maybe you’ve heard of him.

One of the benefits of living near Stewart was getting to try all the sumptuous, creative dishes he’d make whenever he was home. Seriously, the guy cooked all the time. As soon as I’d see the lights go on in his house, it was only a matter of time before thick, luscious aromas wafted into my home. And, because he was a great guy, he’d often bring over a plate or two for me to try. “It’s all practice for the restaurant,” he told me. Continue reading “A Gifted Chef”

Ben’s Fear

Growing up, it was common knowledge that my cousin, Ben, was afraid of seaweed. Naturally, we terrorized him with it. Pieces in his bed, pieces in his shoes, and my favorite: pieces in his bathing suit. Every time, we were guaranteed a scream and a scramble as he tried to get the seaweed away from his delicate self.

Nothing, though, compared to what we’d do to him at the beach.

I’ll fully admit that we were bullies back then. We didn’t know what we did was wrong; we just thought it was funny. And since Ben laughed it off at the end, even if he’d cried while it was happening, we thought it was okay to continue. Kids will be kids, right? Continue reading “Ben’s Fear”

Mushy Stuff

“No mushy stuff!,” my parents would insist whenever I told them I was going on a date. I figured it was what parents had to say. No one wants to think about their kids having a sex life. Just like how kids don’t like to think of their parents having one.

So I went on my dates. And they were great. Lots of fun, countless good times, and yes, plenty of sex. Plenty of “mushy stuff,” as my parents were wont to say as I rolled my eyes to the ceiling.

Like any kid, I did my best to hide it from them. I was always careful. Protection was always involved – although with my most recent girlfriend, we sometimes took risks. Passion is a hell of a thing. Continue reading “Mushy Stuff”

The Trawl

We dredged something up from deep underwater. It turned out to still be alive. Partly alive. Something like alive.

I wanted to explain how it looked, but every time I thought about how to describe it I got the worst mental block. Everything went foggy and my head started to hurt. Even when I remembered how it spilled out onto our deck with thousands of dead fish, I was overcome with a sensation of nausea that left me gasping for air.

That’s why, once it stopped thrashing – yes, that’s how it moved – by thrashing; I remember how it knocked over a bunch of equipment – I asked one of the guys to start taking pictures. Not a single one came out right. They were all blurred beyond repair and dotted with multi-colored splotches. So all I have is my memory. While I couldn’t picture how it looked, I knew it was nothing like I’d ever seen before. Nothing like any of us had seen. Continue reading “The Trawl”

Not All Men

“Not all men are rapists,” my Dad would grunt as he scrolled through his friends’ Facebook profiles and read the articles about sexual assault they’d posted.

“Not all men are abusive,” my Dad would mutter as he did research to disprove the domestic violence statistics that bothered him so much.

“Not all men are like him,” I’d mouth to myself, as Dad threw Mom across the room for having the temerity to contradict something he’d said.

After hurting her one night, he came to my room a few hours later. “You’re a sweet boy,” he told me. “I know you’d never harm a woman, no matter how much she deserved it. Not all men are like me. You don’t have a temper.”

I did have a temper, though. And I seethed. Continue reading “Not All Men”

Dawn

Dawn is my little sister. When I was 11 and she was just a tiny baby, I hurt her really badly. I didn’t know what I did was going to cause so much trouble. I just wanted to do something nice. Something that would make us happy.

My parents made me go away for a long time. I didn’t understand why everyone was so angry. I missed my sister terribly. Even worse, I felt betrayed by the people I’d expected to understand me.

After six years of hospitalization, I got to see her again. My parents had passed away in a car accident while I was gone and I went to live with my aunt and uncle. Both were psychologists. Both understood the problem I apparently had. Still, they believed I’d learned to cope with it over the course of my rehabilitation. And they were right. I would never hurt anyone again. The mere thought of it was abhorrent. Continue reading “Dawn”

A Warning To Women With IUDs

I’m a doctor working in Hong Kong. I don’t want to cause any undue alarm, but after what I’ve seen here, I think it’s important to say something. From what we can tell, contaminated IUDs, manufactured in India, have been shipped overseas. Most went to India and China, but a few thousand ended up in the US and Europe as well.

To begin with, these IUDs have a very high failure rate. They were cheaply manufactured and the copper core is easily fragmented. This means the device’s effectiveness drops from above 99% to as low as 60%, depending on the level of damage.

For those who don’t know, becoming pregnant while an IUD is still inserted is highly dangerous to both the fetus and the mother. If you believe you’ve become pregnant while implanted with an IUD, see your doctor immediately. Your life may be at stake.

There’s something else about these IUDs, too. Something I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. Continue reading “A Warning To Women With IUDs”

Heather’s Phases

For as long as I’d known Heather, she was into her beauty treatments. Manicures, pedicures, makeovers, all that stuff. I don’t even know the words for half of them. Whatever they were, they helped her feel better. She’d always had body issues.

When we first started dating, I noticed she wore an inordinate amount of makeup. It wasn’t really my thing, but hell, if it made her happy then who was I to judge? She wasn’t a big fan of eating, either. Whenever we went out, she’d get a salad or a small piece of chicken or fish. Never anything good like burgers or steaks. It was obvious she didn’t want to put any weight on.

We dated for a few years, then I proposed. She said yes. Our wedding was gorgeous, and afterward, we settled into marital bliss.

For a while. Continue reading “Heather’s Phases”

What To Expect When I’m Expecting

As I sit here and hold my baby, I can’t help but think back about how difficult my life was before she was in it. But things are so much better now. She was worth everything. Every little bit.

When you’re expecting, the hardest part is the wait. You can’t tell anyone for the first few months, just in case something terrible happens. That’s a lot to worry about, you know? After 12 weeks, you can break the news. In my case, though, I didn’t. I was worried what people would think.

I wasn’t married. I didn’t have a job. I knew people would say that a baby would be irresponsible. But I wanted a baby. I needed one. The companionship would be so important – especially after Bobby left. The bastard. Continue reading “What To Expect When I’m Expecting”