Author: Haley DiRenzo

They asked when I would get tested, surprised I’d put it off. I’d tied myself to him with legal contracts and witnessed vows, and I always jumped at the opportunity to relieve him. But I waited for his mother, his brother, his cousins, his friends. All these people willing to give something up for him. I made up stories about doctor’s office errors, work projects that got in the way.

But in the end, the list ran short, each name crossed off with taunting lines. Like the worry ones deepening in his forehead, waiting for me to offer. I knew before the doctor called that I was a match.

“You must be so relieved,” they said. We were almost out of time. And of course, it was worth it for a few more years, of course, we’d try whatever we could.

The doctor hooked us together–wires crossing, tubes sucking yellow mucus and pus, shocks sending waves felt first in my palm, then his. I was an expert at hiding the pain, but he looked serene. Finally, it was done, and he wouldn’t have to beg me, wouldn’t have to be devastated that I might not make it my own choice.

He grew stronger siphoning blood from my veins, marrow from my bones. When that stopped working, they cut me open and took out a scoop, said maybe they would come back for more, like a bowl of leftovers.

Until finally, layers falling away in folds, tied again by bodies, by tissue, by pumping and cleansing, one in one. “You must be so relieved,” they chanted. Relief. Relief. Relief. To have him cradle my soft pulsing organs and fall asleep knowing there was no longer one piece of me that was entirely mine.