In Twilight Time

She was getting older and she knew it. Her tastes were settling, she couldn't stay up much past one anymore and it took only a glass and a half of red wine in the old style to put her straight to sleep. Sure she'd lived harder, rougher back at the turn of the century when she was younger, but she was slowing down as she had always been told she would. Her bike still hugged mountain curves at dusk, she'd hosted a rave full of the new nat-synth rhythms for her thirty-something friends' children on New Years and gone BASE jumping with a group of twenty-somethings over summer vacation; she wasn't dead yet. There was feistiness left in the old gal.

Of course, just as she was getting comfortable with age, listening to yesterday's electrochill with her morning coffee while reading today's blog roll, she received a disturbing call from her doctor.

Come in sometime next week. We don't think that these problems are caused by stress. We need to talk about your family history.

Well wasn't that just dandy?

She considered not going, seriously thought about skipping the appointment, booking a flight on a supersonic and spending the next month in Xian or Prague. She's not done living yet, not even close and no bad news was good news in her opinion. (One good thing about getting older, people started treating her opinion like it mattered). But she had friends who were doctors and knew enough about the things she'd ingested in the old college days to know that this could be death nibbling at her toes.

So she went, and endured the paper gown, butt-freezing seats, bare walls and mumbling nurses with feigned humor, gritted her teeth at the needles and woke up missing a small part of herself she didn't really miss at all. Two weeks, they said, for the lab results to get back, and she quickly forgot the experience as she joined a nephew on a week-long hover cruise of Norwegian fjords.

One could call it a fey mood that made her rent a canary yellow convertible a few days after she returned, (style and make meaning less than the fact that the thing wanted to run), and took it up to the mountains to see a lover she hadn't visited in years. They tripped on a new drug she'd never heard of, concocted by some too-bright chem student, paying off his federal loans by selling better, faster highs out of his basement apartment in some slummy end of a dirty city to rich kids, fresh out of the suburbs, wanting to try something cheap and quixotic.

It did make the sex better...

Her vision was still tinged indigo when her cell phone rang and it was the lab calling and she was struck by sudden, certain fear that locked her knees and made her eyes leak violet-tinted tears.

We have your biopsy results, ma'am, and I'm afraid it doesn't look good. We think perhaps your family's predisposition for Alzheimer's combined in the worst way with theā€¦ indulgences of your youth. You'll need to come in right away.

Eyes tinted a richer purple, her lover stood and clasped her hand tight at this unwelcome appearance of fear in his bedroom. She buried her nails in his flesh and knew that the life she was living would kill her before she could have a chance to die.