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All Deaths Aren't Equal

Who'd've thought Meryl would be widowed twice?

Jack died from cancer of the bowel. It started secretly. Like cancer always does. Cells dividing eagerly under cover. It was Easter. He was suddenly in agony. It was the middle of the night. ‘It's my appendix' he said burying his fist into his own flesh to push away the pain. It wasn't his appendix. It was a tumour the size of a grapefruit – it ate him away from the inside. He died in days. She was flooded by people. She couldn't cope and hid. His parents arranged the funeral. She stood staring at the altar like it was the enemy.

Ten years later. She found love again. An accountant. No one could see what she saw in him. He was brown haired and ordinary and his suits smelt of damp. She came home from work one day and found him dead, dangling from a rope in the hall. Heavy, solid, like a hideous overripe fruit and mess soaking into the carpet tiles. She saw the letter addressed to her on the mantelpiece. She struck a match and set it alight without opening it, and tossed it burning indigo into the grate. If he wasn't prepared to talk about it when he was alive, she didn't want to read a letter now he was dead. She wasn't sure what to do, so she called 999. After they cut him down, there was silence.

After all, suicide's dirty and cancer's clean.

Story by:

Alex Fender

7 January 2014