Life has a way of fucking you over: that’s a lesson I know way too well. Following the latest chemo session, Josh was in so much pain, his body could not even be coaxed into a wheelchair. I stood with tears in my eyes and my heart in my throat as my husband cried out in agony.
“I just want to go home!” Josh’s limbs flailed but not enough to put up much of a fight. Strapped to a bed, he was given an IV of morphine as well as some Tylenol for the fever.
“If we can’t get the fever to break, we might have to keep him overnight,” the nurse explained. She was a kind, older woman with curly hair and glasses. Her eyes had seen the situation too many times before. “Such a beautiful soul.”
“I’m not a woman of God but I can feel when a soul is ready.” She immediately caught herself. “Not ready to die, that’s not what I meant.”
“What did you mean?” I asked with a chuckle.
“He’s at peace. That’s all.”
Chemo left Josh with a weakened immune system, that was a fact I’d come to accept. “What does his primary doctor say?”
“Given it’s the weekend, his doctor won’t be in until Monday. He just wants to try and get the patient stabilized.”
“Ok.” I had to be ok.
Josh’s fever got worse over the next few hours, slipping into the triple digits. This meant we would not be visiting Nurse Tomas at the truck stop chapel.
I had Tomas’s contact information, but I didn’t call. I wanted to see if he would visit of his own free will. Instead, I attempted to sleep on the plastic hospital chair.
At around six at night, Josh had finally managed to sleep, but the fever was still present. Tomas stopped by not long after. “Hey, Carol.”
“Hey,” I replied through pursed lips. “Nice of you to stop by.”
“So, what’s the plan to get Josh home?”
“They’re mostly giving him pain medicine,” I explained. “He could probably walk out right now if he wanted to.”
“What do you mean by that?”
My mind froze for a moment. “Not that he could walk or I’d force him to walk. Just that no one gives a crap. You know what I mean.”
Tomas placed his hand to Josh’s neck. “His pulse is racing.”
I nodded and sighed. “Yeah, not that I have any idea what that means for someone in a coma.” Josh wasn’t even in a coma. What the hell was I even talking about?
“Do you want me to stay?”
“No.” I shrugged, choking back tears. “I mean you can if you want.”
“But do you want me to stay?”
That was the question. Did I? “I think I’ll get some sleep. I’d like it if you checked back maybe before the end of your shift.”
“I’ll do that.” Tom got up to leave but I didn’t see him until early the next morning.
I awoke with a backache from sleeping on a set of chairs. “Tom?”
Right on cue, he entered the room with a tray of coffee and doughnuts. “Good morning Carol. I figured it was my turn to supply breakfast.”
“Where were you last night?”
“You were asleep when my shift ended so I thought I’d come back later.” Tom must have noticed the look in my eyes. “What, did you think I forgot about you?”
I wanted so badly to be mad, but looking into his eyes I could only cry. I needed a friend, a second person to bear the weight of my screwed-up life. “No, I’m sorry.”
Tom put his arm around my shoulder. “Today is all about you and Josh.”
“Me and Josh?”
“I’m here for both of you.” Tom stayed by my husband’s side until Josh was conscious enough to reach for his hand. He was also there when Dr. Matthews, Josh’s primary care doctor came to visit.
And the first thing he did was bring up the D-word. “Mr. Miner, you really need to consider having a DNR on file.”
Tomas and I locked eyes, knowing that the topic would not go down well.
“With all due respect, doc,” Josh groaned his mouth filled with spittle and rage. “I’d rather go down fighting.”
“Is that why you also don’t have a medical power of attorney on file?” The doctor asked, flipping through a large plastic folder.
“Actually, I do,” Josh said with a smile.
“The task doesn’t fall to your wife by default.”
“It falls to a blood relative, right?” Josh asked, with a coy smirk, as if he had fully thought this through. “Can a teenager legally sign one?”
“You gave power of attorney to your now estranged daughter?” the doctor asked with confusion.
“Her face is the last thing I want to see.”
I couldn’t tell if he was being truthful, angry, or sarcastic. Best case scenario, Josh gave power of attorney to Christy back when she was getting her appendix out as a show of support for her first-ever surgery; he would always be there for her and she would always be there for him. (Though I’m sure Christy gave power of attorney to her wife upon marriage.) And now that our daughter was estranged, there was no one around to possibly get tricked into signing a DNR on Josh’s behalf.
The doctor seemed to laugh off the situation. “Regardless, we’re going to be stopping any further chemo sessions.”
“So, I’m just supposed to die like a bitch?” Josh’s voice went deeper, to an almost demonic level.
“Excuse me?” The good doctor was nearly hysterical with laughter.
“I fought for my country, I sure as fuck am not going to die in a medically induced coma, like a B-“
Tomas stood up, cutting him off just in time. “Would I still be in charge of Joshua’s palliative care?”
“Of course,” the doctor replied, now fully addressing Tomas instead of Josh. “If the patient chooses to reside at home your scheduled visits will continue as needed.” He took a moment to regain his composure before exiting the room.
Josh was sent home later that day. Todd excused himself to speak to the nurse who was going to grant the discharge papers. This caused an odd delay of twenty minutes before either nurse returned.
Tom came back, with a backpack on one shoulder and a file in his hands. “I have the paperwork signed to stay the night off hours.”
“You’re staying the night?” I asked with a level of concern.
“Will that be a problem?”
“In our single bedroom trailer?” It would have been nice if he’d asked the question before getting the paperwork signed.
“I can sleep on the floor. I actually have a gym matt that I can use.”
“You do this often?”
“No, it’s not really something the staff encourages, hence the application for overtime. In theory, I’m supposed to check back in with the hospital once Joshua is stable.” Tom drove us home in a hospital van, which worked out well for everyone since we’d taken a taxi to the original chemo appointment.
Upon arriving home, Josh was painfully cold, with difficulty breathing. Thankfully, Tomas was able to carry him to bed with little effort or resistance. (Something I certainly would not have been able to accomplish on my own.)
“Do you think it’s pneumonia?” I asked Tom. I made it a point to stand in the doorway of my bedroom, giving the professional plenty of space to work.
“In all honesty, I think it’s his soul giving up,” Tom muttered. “Do you have any thin, light-weight blankets?”
“You can check the side drawer,” I replied, not moving from my spot.
Tomas turned to me. “Joshua was dealt a harsh blow, today. He’s going to need both of us.”
“Not sure of what I can do,” I said out loud, nervously giggling at my own incompetence.
Josh responded, eyes closed, “I can still hear the both of you.”
“Sorry,” Tomas replied, as he placed the blanket over Josh’s fully clothed body. “What can we do to make things right?”
“You want to make things right between us?” Josh asked with a chuckle. “How about a cure for end-stage cancer?”
Tomas only smiled. “Would you settle for a leg massage?”
Josh closed his eyes, tilting his head back. “How about if you fuck my wife, while I watch?”
I laughed nervously, assuming my husband was being sarcastic. He was not. I looked to Tomas for guidance.
“Come on, Man.” Tomas patted Josh on the leg. “You know that’s not cool.”
“What’s not cool is dying of brain failure. I mean fuck, it. I could stand losing my lungs or even my liver or kidneys at least I get to die feeling my body.”
“Feeling your body?” Tomas asked. I could tell the wheels in his mind were spinning.
“Do you know what it feels like to die? Because I don’t and it’s fucking frightening. Each day I wake up my vision is worse and worse, but I’m still alive. So, when I finally die, I’m afraid I won’t even know. I’ll just be stuck in my own personal hell, wondering why God abandoned me.” Josh smiled, looking up at the ceiling as if in prayer. “Why did God abandon me?”
I was frozen in place. It was clear what had to be done. (Just a matter of how.) “What should we do?”
Tomas stood up, making his way to my side. He placed his hand upon my shoulder. “We’ll do what we have to.”
I felt Tomas’s hand on my arm, guiding me to the bed. I watched as Tomas undressed Josh, removing my husband’s loose-fitting t-shirt, to reveal his nude, shivering body. This was followed by his sweatpants and underwear, exposing Josh’s stomach, slender hips, and flaccid cock. After all that talk about brain death, could Josh even become erect? I guess it would be my job to find out.
Tomas helped me on to the bed. “Get on your knees, Carolina, and worship him.”
I wanted to. I really did. With my mouth over his cock, I gave it a soft kiss. Josh flinched, his body trembling. Was he in pain? Nervous? Anxious? “I can’t. He’s too sick.”
“Just take it slow,” Tomas said in a warm, comforting voice. He sounded so supportive and kind.
I needed to believe I could do this, if only to prove to myself that I was just as worthy of Josh as Tomas was. I didn’t have a medical degree, or years of experience dealing with human beings at their most fragile. I had my heart, my soul, and my wedding vows; to love honor and obey no matter how difficult life got.
I blew a soft stream of air on his abs, down his stomach. Josh gave a soft, sensual moan. This was good. I wanted to kiss his lips, but realizing his vision was compromised, I kissed him just below his navel, making out with his bellybutton. This level of touch seemed to be acceptable.
Josh began running his fingers through my hair, subtly pulling me closer.
“Talk to him,” Tomas said from behind me.
I didn’t want to. My heart was so broken I had no words left, (that, and I was talking to his stomach) but I knew I at least had to try. I pressed my lips to my husband’s skin, taking in the scent of his sweat. “You are safe, you are loved,” I lifted my head, to speak louder as the words started to become clearer. “and you always will be; by Tomas, by me and by God. God wants you to have strength; the personal internal power that has always belonged to you.”
I kissed his inner thigh, before taking his tip in my mouth. Much to my delight, Josh was becoming erect; he wanted to be touched, he wanted to be worshiped. His body was still his own.
Tomas leaned in, pressing his lips to my ear. “Now I’m going to start taking your clothes off.” I had been wearing a skirt so I felt his hand upon my thigh, moving to my ass as he slipped down my underwear.
I focused on my husband. I was going to make him cum all over himself, all over me. I knew his bodily fluids were laced with chemo residue. According to medical professionals, I risked nausea, cramps and other minor discomfort. But that was nothing compared to what Josh had endured. I was strong, I would take his pain.
Meanwhile, my lower body was naked and exposed, awaiting my fate. Tomas’s big, rough hand caressed my thigh. I knew he was wearing hospital scrubs so it was only a matter of time before he whipped out his cock.
Always the gentleman, Tomas rubbed the entire length of his shaft against my ass, giving me a feel for what was about to come. He was big, the perfect size and shape. I couldn’t tell if he was circumcised, until I felt the precum.
Tomas was jerking off, getting himself ready. “What do you want me to do to your beautiful wife, Josh?”
My husband’s voice quivered. “I want you to fuck her the way you’d fuck me.”
“You want me to do her in the ass?” Tomas was poised to make that dream a reality.
Josh chuckled. “Let’s ask her.” My loving husband placed a hand to my face, stroking my cheek with his thin fingers. “Carolina, do you want him in your ass.”
I shook my head, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that I was not hygienically prepared for such an endeavor. (and we had no lube, so I would be getting an ass full of spit.)
Tomas laughed. “I can see how that might be a little challenging.” He gripped my thigh, spreading my legs. “Do you want me in your pussy?”
I nodded. At that moment there was nothing I wanted more.
Tomas spit on his hands, lubing up his already moist cock. “I’m going to start nice and slow.” He put himself inside me an inch at a time, allowing me to feel everything. The fact that he was covered in sweat, spit and precum, made the moment all the more erotic. I had to remind myself this wasn’t about my happiness or pleasure. Whatever Tomas did to me I had to make Josh feel it. I sucked off my husband just as slow, with strong, tight suction.
“I want you to sit up, a little,” Tomas said to Josh. “Just so I can look you in the eyes.”
Josh obliged, leaning on his upper arms. His vision wasn’t great but I knew his focus was on Tomas. Despite the smallness of our bed, the position allowed me to suck his cock while getting comfortably fucked doggystyle.
“I’m going to start going a little faster, Carol,” Tomas said as he increased the speed of his hips. He pulled out nearly all the way before ramming it back in. Over and over.
I felt my muscles tighten. He was fucking me hard. With each thrust I felt like I was going to collapse. I held on for dear life, as Tom placed his palm on the back of my head. He was forcing Josh’s cock down my throat, balls deep.
“You like that, Josh?” Tomas moaned. “When was the last time your wife sucked your balls?”
Josh sat up at more of an angle. I couldn’t see his face but I had to assume he was looking deep in to Tomas’s dark eyes.
Maybe he was nodding, maybe he was close. I knew Tomas was. He pulled out just before I could climax, leaving me with an ache that I would have to tend to later, (on my own, in the shower.)
I’m not quite sure where Tomas blew his load, only that he finished before joining me in worshiping Josh. Tomas put his lips to my husband’s shaft, licking the side with tender kisses. His mouth was so close to mine, it truly felt like we could kiss at any moment.
Josh’s muscles were tense, I could feel the orgasm building in his hips and thighs.
With Tomas taking his shaft, I gave Josh’s balls a gentle tug. First with my fingers then my lips. I even let my tongue slip down his taint, to his ass.
Josh was moaning, crying. With one hand on my hair and one hand on Tomas, he was pulling both of us close.
Tomas paused for breath. “I want you to give us both your love, let us take your pain away.” He kissed Josh’s stomach before continuing. “Just relax, let your spirit flow.”
Chest heaving, I glanced at Tomas with hungry eyes. I had never shared a man before. The fact that we were both overcome with passion for Josh, it created a moment of clarity. There was a unique spiritual connection, rooted in our most primal urges.
Josh’s cum dribbled out like cream. It felt warm, comforting, dripping down my mouth on to my chest. Tomas took the majority of it, which was not surprising. He was stronger, he could carry the weight of Josh’s discomfort.
With the job done, I sat on the floor, slumped against the bed.
Tomas patted my shoulder. “You did well. Why don’t you hit the showers, while I get Josh cleaned up?”
“Sure, thank you.” I stood up, and removed the rest of my sweat soaked clothing on my way to the shower. Standing under the cold-water stream, I took a moment to think about the events that just transpired. I needed to masturbate if only to clear my head.
The moment had felt like nothing more than a dream; my body was past it’s prime, if it had ever even had a prime. Did Josh ever love me the way I loved him? Did I lose my virginity to a boy who was so broken, his heart was never mine to have? With the cold water quashing any sexual tension, I grabbed a towel and dried off. I took a moment to stop at the mirror, making sure to blot the tears from my face. My eyes weren’t too red.
Wrapped in a towel, I went to see what I could wear to sleep. With Josh and Tom still nude, I knew I didn’t want to sleep naked. I went to the main closet and found a t-shirt that seemed to belong to Josh, back from his Army days. He was larger, more muscular, so the shirt fit like a nightgown.
I rested my body by my husband’s side, with my head positioned comfortably on his chest.
With Tomas squished in next to him. It was a tight squeeze yet something about it felt so right. I kissed Josh’s cheek. “Goodnight.” I was expecting him to say it back, or maybe just stay silent. “I love you, Baby.” For a moment I was scared; with Tomas in the bed, this was not an ideal situation for a panic attack. “Josh, sweetheart, are you ok?”
He turned to me, opening his mouth as if to speak.
I was mentally preparing for the scripture, hopefully Tomas would have some idea on how to calm him down. I thought I was ready, but what I heard chilled me to the bone.
My husband’s eyes were still closed, as if he was staring at me while trapped in a dream. “I was seven when she first made me do it.”
“What did you say?” The terror in his voice made my blood run cold. Who was he talking about? His mother? His aunt? Despite being married for over two decades, I only knew a few of his female relatives. That was because he had no relatives. Perhaps it was a family friend? My world was crashing down around me, but I needed to stay focused. “Talk to me, Josh.”
“Suzanne,” my husband said in a soft breath. His eyes rolled back into his head, making him look like a creature of the un-dead. “She traded me, she sold me,” the words choked in his throat.
“Who is Suzanne?” I asked in a whisper. I made a point of cupping his hands in mine; he needed to know I was there for him, to keep his mind rooted in reality.
“Suzanne is the snake holding the apple; a bright white, crystal apple.”
“She was a drug dealer?” I’d never been good at riddles, but the message seemed clear. This Suzanne woman was a temptress. Much like the snake from the biblical story of Adam and Eve, she offered up a special treat that promised wisdom, freedom and emotional fulfillment.
“Suzanne destroyed my family.” Josh coughed hard. Angry spittle oozed from his lips. “She stole my mother, luring her off with fairytales, and love.”
“Her vision of love.” A pool of emotions were rising to the surface, like nuclear weapons made of chemo. “She broke my father.”
‘Was Suzanne your mom’s girlfriend?’ I said the words only in my head. Was this the root of his hatred of homosexuality?
“Suzanne is the devil,” Josh said in a whisper.
I tried to read his emotion; sadness, anger, fear? “What did Suzanne do to you?” I reached for his hand, again, this time pressing it to my chest. I don’t know what I was hoping for; maybe he could feel the realness of my skin, my heart. But his mind was too far gone, I had no idea if he could even still hear me. “Please Josh, talk to me.” You can tell me anything, you can trust me.
“No.” Josh violently shook his head, blinking tears from his eyes. “I can’t.”
“Why not?” Was it because of me? Did Tomas already know about Suzanne?
“If I speak of her,” Josh’s voice went horse as he blinked tears from his eyes. “I’ll see her face.”
Tom reached over, caressing Josh’s cheek he gently turned my husband’s face to look into his eyes. “Josh, just take a breath. You’re safe here.” Tom kissed his lips softly, once then twice. “I think we could all use some rest.”
I had to agree. I spooned Josh’s back as he fell asleep in Tomas’s arms. But try as I might, my sleep would not come. My heart was racing. ‘Who the fuck was Suzanne?’ I needed to find out, and to do that I needed help.
As the men slept, I got on the phone and sent my daughter an email. “Dear Christy,” the words stayed on screen for well over a minute before I gained the courage to continue. “Do you know who Suzanne is? Your father started mentioning that name; she’s someone from his past? I have never heard of her, but then again, I was never someone your father could confide in.” I paused for a moment to gather my thoughts. Would Josh have told Christina? Maybe. After all I had no idea that she held his medical power of attorney. If he trusted her once, hopefully he could trust her again. “Any help is appreciated. Love, Mom.” I hit send and went to bed.
The next day I awoke to a knock on the door. Glancing at the nearby alarm clock, I saw it was nearly noon. I reluctantly crawled out of bed. Looking down, I was still only wearing a t-shirt and underwear. That would have to be acceptable for the postman or whoever it was. More likely then not, it was a concerned neighbor wondering about the extra vehicle on my property.
“Surprise,” said a sweet, innocent voice.
“Christy?” I heard the voice of my daughter before my eyes fully focused. When I saw her face I nearly cried. “How did you get here? Did you drive?” No that was impossible. “Did you fly? How’s Chloe, is she with you?”
“Hi, Mom.” Christina rushed in for a hug, her baby bump, squishing between us. “We have a lot to talk about.”
I could tell she knew who Suzanne was, and the knowledge was breaking her heart. “Yeah, we do.”
Next: To Worship ch4