“Oh fuuuuuuuuck,” you might say one day. Better be prepared.
It creeps up on you, slowly, inch by infiltrative inch.
One minute, one week, and you make the mistake of thinking it’s okay. That you’re okay. That it’s safe to be familiar and it’s safe to sit a breath away. That it’s safe to look at and it’s safe to smile. Out of a hundred, you estimate that the chance of you catching it is around five percent. Or less. Likely zero.
Here, have a non-committal snicker. Not you. Never you. It’s probably just a myth after all.
It begins with the little things. Trivial minute details that you (or anyone else for that matter) barely notice.
First you see. (No, not yourself. A little bit later on you will, when it’s too late.) You notice the cause of the sickness first. Wow. When did those smiles get so unique? When did you start wanting to see them so much? What’s that scent? Since when did it smell so good?
Since when did your gravity shift from the world in general to just one, previously insignificant being?
And then you start fussing about the little things, ‘I look ridiculous‘, ‘Does this hairdo suit me‘, ‘Do I look awful‘, ‘Did I say this right‘, ‘Do I sound desperate‘ ‘Am I being obvious’ ‘Shit, could they possibly know I…‘- you put an end to your average carefree life and constantly live through the exhausting thrill of thinking too much, assuming too much (oh my god, he looked this way; oh hell, she smiled at me today), with occasional dips of depression that out of the two of you, you realize you’re probably the only one who gives a flying fuck about what stupid shirt you wore today.
It’s an affliction that eats you from inside out.
Of course you deny it, like all infected do. Some lie, so well in fact that they end up believing it. And the sickness festers, rots, and gnashes, and throbs- until it hurts too much so they succumb to treatment or they try to kill it themselves. Others acknowledge it with defeat. With hope. With dread. Few take the flippant approach where the symptoms are pushed to the surface (because truth is so rarely spoken out loud these days- it’s a lie, it has to be, otherwise why would you say it and risk it?)
Then again however you may deal with this it’s final. You caught it (or rather it caught you- hook line and sinker) and you have no idea how to cure yourself. Comparable to addiction maybe but no, addiction gives you the first hit, the first choice- try it? No? Yes? – this one however- Hey, hi, nice to meet you. Yeah, what are you talking about, of course we’re best friends. Or, yes, I hate you. Despise your very existence. Or, I’m straight, I can’t possibly- that’s gross.
Uh. I think I…
It’s hardly a matter of choice.
It creeps and creeps and when it finds one weak point, it tumbles all at once and breaches all precaution like there’s no tomorrow. You wake up and you find yourself sick and aching for a cure. A look maybe. One message? A laugh? A glance? For just a second?
Like every infection there were ways to avoid it. Of course like vegetables or exercise, the healthy way isn’t always the tastiest. The happiest. The liveliest. You just had to go and gorge yourself on delectable personality traits and feast on physical attributes that suddenly became your ideal. Now it’s too late.
This is the kind of infection that you either nurture with the right medicine where the cause is the cure. The medicine is costly, the stakes high. Painful. You may get the medicine or die trying. It can take months, weeks. Depends on the gravity of the cause or the level of infection. You can try your darnest and still suffer pain until you die.
When you die, good luck, you’re cured.
Or you cut it before it consumes you whole. An amputee- less of who you were, but hey, at least you’re alive.