Margaret Malone’s work has previously appeared in Swink magazine, Rhapsoidia, the anthology The Wordstock Ten and elsewhere. She is currently at work on a book of short stories and a memoir, from which this essay is an excerpt. She lives with her husband, Brian, in Portland, Oregon. 
Dec 01 2008
The First Week of After
Here you are: the same person I have loved for so long. Same thick, framed glasses, brown hair, blue eyes. Same sweet and devilish face, oval like an egg. And now, a moment later, you are different. You are crying, and I hold you, trying to shield your body with mine, trying not to cry because I cannot quite understand what is happening. I do not want to go to the dark places with you. You are now living the thing you feared most, this worst thing, a tumor-like growth, whispered in your ear, and maybe in a sick way you were ready for the news, expectant without realizing.