My man was in the hands of a handsome doctor, and I worried. The type of monied goodguy who was deficient in doubt, who when driving his vintage convertible through a dark, damp tunnel that had been cored through the thick of a mountain never thought about collapse.
But collapse was the diagnosis he entered. First: pulmonary embolism. Then a—tap, tap, tap—backspace erase. Now: bilateral interstitial pneumonia. He told us both, one shoe on the foot of the ER bed, an elbow on that knee.
I did not have a screen of my own or more fact than Goodguy had. If he were wrong, who would know? His body had hatched from bodies that had been well into old age, so too he wouldn’t intuit a mismatch between symptoms and to what they summate. It’s a flaw he shared with his best friend, a male gynecologist. He and his friend and my man were all cyclists. These were the things we discussed, save my skepticizing.
Outside the window, an older woman attempted to call back a poodle in a bow-tie collar who meandered the grass, digging at a gopher hole, sniffing every bush, lifting a leg.
Hear Kara Vernor read her story
Kara Vernor’s stories have been included in The Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction, Wigleaf’s Top 50, and the anthology Flash Fiction America. Her fiction chapbook, Because I Wanted to Write You a Pop Song, is available from Split Lip Press.