Kelsey held her head, hoping the throbbing would stop soon. The headaches were getting worse. Excruciating.
Her grandpa Mike had migraines. He died of an aneurism at 57. She only remembered him from pictures, but everyone said she was just like him. She didn’t have thirty years on her time clock though. Not according to the oncologist.
She picked up the phone and dialed. After two rings a click told her someone answered.
“Ray. My head is going to explode,” she said, tears streaming down her cheeks. “It’s time. ” She pressed her forehead against her hand, wishing she could stop the pain.
“Come tonight.” The voice on the line was raspy. Male. African-American? Maybe. They only spoke once before.
“I’ll be there at 10.” A faint grunt of assent followed by a click and a dead line ended the call.
She dropped the phone back on its cradle then opened a bottle of pills and swallowed two, knowing they wouldn’t help.
At nine-thirty-nine, Kelsey pulled her car into a parking lot, killed the engine, and turned off the headlights. She gave herself a more-than-ample window for driving. The migraine made it difficult to see—she experienced a lot of visual aura with her headaches—but she managed to get to her destination early. A low, white building stretched out in front of her.
Better an empty office park than a crowded mall lot. She knew this one had no security cameras. Her eyes drifted shut as she waited.
A tap on the window jerked her forward causing renewed the agony in her head. She blinked back tears and swallowed hard against the bile that threatened to rise.
After composing herself, she turned her head toward the man who stood next to her car. She thought about rolling down the window, but she owed him more than that. She fumbled for the door handle and climbed out of her car.
The man was thinner that she expected. Gaunt. “You don’t look well,” Kelsey said. “Are you sure about this?”
He smiled, his teeth oddly bright against his dark skin. “I’m not well. That’s why I’m here.”
She stared into his eyes a moment longer, then nodded. “I’m ready if you are.”
“I’ve been ready since my wife passed. Seven years.” His voice caught as he said it.
He lifted a bony hand and pushed a stray strand of hair away from Kelsey’s face. He twined his fingers in her hair, leaned forward, and pressed his lips to hers. They were dry, but gentle. She leaned into him and caught his free hand in hers.
It only lasted moments. Kelsey looked up and realized the pain was gone.
“Live well,” he said. “And thank you. I’ve missed my Mary too long.”
A smile brightened his face as the light left his eyes. Kelsey eased his frail body to the ground.
“Cancer free. You have your whole life ahead of you.”
Kelsey smiled at her doctor’s report. “Thank you, Ray.”
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