Love is a Pain
Joanne Faries
Dorsal Winner

Trevor Dawson slouched in a library chair, pretending to be engrossed in anatomy charts. Under his shaggy black curls, he saw Brooke lean towards Andrew. Oh they think I don’t know they’re cheating on me, but…bide my time… they will pay. Trevor jotted notes. Using his pencil, he tapped on a picture of the heart, muttering the names of parts under his breath.  

A scream disturbed his concentration. He looked up at Brooke who was crying, “Help, call 911.” Students rushed to Andrew’s side and the librarian dialed emergency services. Trevor stopped tapping his pencil and stood to watch Andrew’s return to normalcy, his color turning from gray to pink. His fist unclenched from his chest, and Andrew slowly sat up. Paramedics arrived to check vital signs and ask questions.  

Trevor sat, hoped his rival would keel over, and resumed his ritual. Tap. Papillary muscle. Tap. Left ventricle. A rise in commotion near Andrew. Trevor paused. The medics prepared the defibrillator, and then halted. He tapped harder, commanding his brain to learn the names. Brooke’s howl brought Trevor out of his trance. “He can’t be dead. He’s a swimmer…healthy…do something.”  

“I’m sorry, Miss. His heartbeat was too fast. We couldn’t get it in rhythm,” said a medic.  

A couple hustled by Trevor talking, “It’s like something took over. Man, that was creepy.”  

Here’s my chance. Trevor made his way through the crowd. He put his arm around Brooke and asked, “Darling, what happened?” She sobbed something about her friend Andrew. “That’s awful. You’re in shock. Come to my apartment. I’ll fix you something…some tea.” He gave her shoulder a squeeze.  

“Trevor, not now.” She sniffled and then gave him a sharp look. “Maybe, maybe not ever.”  

“What are you saying?” he asked. She shrugged off his arm to gather her purse and books. Dejected, Trevor returned to his table, where Amy, from anatomy class, tentatively spoke, “ That was wild.” She nodded toward the medics rolling out the body. “May I join you?”  

“What? Yeah, but I’m not much company.” He flopped down, turned to the section on respiration in his notes and erased a lung drawing. Loud gasps ensued from Brooke, who was at the library door. They watched as she caught her breath.  

Amy said, “She’s out of your league. Come to my party tonight.”  

Trevor sighed, “Amy, you’re cool, but that’s it. I gotta go.” He stuffed everything into his backpack and hurried away. Frowning, Amy turned to a picture of the knee. She picked up the pencil Trevor left behind and began to tap, not noticing Trevor’s leg buckle as he walked out the door.  

First published: November, 2009
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