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He did not think her pain was romantic. He thought it indulgent, the result of her having too much money, a life of comfort, so she had to invent some sort of suffering to alleviate her boredom. He would think that, as he himself had no money and he begrudged her ability to generate so much of it.

He was an actor, the real kind, not the pseudo actress she pretended to be. He had studied in a specialized drama program at college. She had a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from a university, thereby rendering her credentials invalid. She appeared in musical theatre, he in straight theatre, hers a poor cousin to the seriousness of his craft. He berated her being the first call for jingles and voice-over work – a prostitution of talent.

His resentment of her success seeped into all their intimacies. It was tumultuous, their love affair, intense, chaotic. He was quick to anger and had an acerbic tongue that could slice her apart. They would come to a melancholic end only to reunite in orgiastic bliss when separation became unbearable.

She wept. A lot. It drove him crazy. It was histrionics, not real suffering.

During one of their hiatuses, when he thought she might be sleeping with someone else, he went to her apartment. Thinking she was inside with her lover and just not responding to his repeated banging on the door, he broke a window that ran the length of the doorframe severing a tendon in his thumb. He ransacked the apartment, overturning chairs, breaking lamps, leaving a trail of blood that splattered across papers, walls, carpets. Upon returning to his apartment his flat mate drove him to emergency to have his hand stitched back together, the bleeding still profuse.

The next day the two men returned to her apartment and cleaned up as best they could. Alcohol had been involved he explained to his friend.

When she returned two days later, she felt dread before getting out of her new lover’s car. She asked him to come in with her. He thought she was being silly but then he saw the shards of glass winking in the sun. A cold tremble in her body escalated as they passed from room to room, the red spray still evident on books and album covers. Her lover left her then, never to return.

The actor returned that night, as he had each night after the intrusion. He put on one of his best performances, begging forgiveness, professing his love; there was no one in the world for him but her; he couldn’t bear the thought of her with another. He gently stroked her cheek, his hand bulky with gauzy bandages. She acquiesced. They made delirious love.

It was heaven until the next time she cried and she saw the hard glint in his eye. It was then that she too realized her pain was not romantic.

It was an infection in her blood, and he was the virus.

About the Author

Jane Mortifee made her way in the world as a singer and actor for decades before turning her hand to writing. She has performed on television, in movies, in theatre, has recorded three CDs and continues to perform in concert. She self-published her first novel Out Of The Fire and is currently writing two novels and various short pieces.


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