I put an ad on “Craigslist” for a man. I haven’t had sex for in like forever. I haven’t had a boyfriend since I was diagnosed with “Huntington’s.”
The specialist told me about it when I was 30.
My father died from it when I was 15.
The symptoms have started. The confusion in my head. The tremors. The constant nausea. I’m not sticking around for this thrill ride. I spent the last three years getting my stuff in order. Quit my job in administration at the airlines. They gave me a wheelchair, but I’ll never use it. The wheelchair sits folded in a closet. I’m not going out that way. I figure I have six months before I go out in a warm bath with a belly full of booze and pills. I’d like to get laid before things get too far.
I wasn’t involved with anyone when I was diagnosed. I couldn’t see myself out there looking for my soul mate when I knew he’d end up wiping vomit off my chin while I cussed him out from the dementia. I watched my mom take care of my dad. It killed her. Literally. She had a fucking heart attack at my high school graduation. Good onya, Mom. Thanks, Dad.
As my body betrays me, my sex drive doesn’t. So, I put an ad on “Craigslist” in Women Seeking Men. The ad was simple, “Single woman, athletic build, blue eyes, brown hair, seeks a night of romance,” which is code for a fuck. “I’m not a pro. Include pic. I have.”
I got about 600 replies. I would have taken that as a compliment if I wasn’t so realistic. Who doesn’t want a night a free bonking?
I settled on some dude named, “Carl.” Around my age. He looked like a tall Eddie Vedder from “Pearl Jam.” He wrote me back saying, “Hey, do you have a name? I’m tired of games. I’d just like a little company too. Maybe we could hang and see how it goes? Carl.”
So odd his name was “Carl.” My dad’s name was Carlos. My mom called him Carl, but he hated it. She thought the nickname was endearing.
I emailed him back, “Carl, my name is Darla. You won the lottery. LOL.” We made plans to hook up.
I stare into Carl’s eyes. We sit on the rooftop of my loft. I live in a 1940’s building made of brick in Downtown L.A. My neighbor’s littered the roof with candles, plants, and a couch. It’s a warm summer night. The perfect place to get it on. We languish on a worn Chinese rug on the ground. Carl’s eyes are bluer than mine. He has this, like, perfect bone structure. Not too masculine, not too feminine. He’s wears an “Orange Crush” tee-shirt on and a pair of old cords. We’ve kissed twice. His mouth is soft.
“Darla, why the ad? You’re kinda awesome.”
“Cause dating sucks?” I try to toss it off.
“No doubt.” He nods.
“Why’d you answer the ad? You’re really fucking cute.” I giggle sophomorically.
“I was looking for a car.” He smiles ruefully.
“I was looking for a car and my computer went to Women seeking Men. I thought, lemme check this out. Freak after freak, I swear.”
“Right? Total freaks, right?”
“And then I saw your ad,” he goes on, “and I was like, man she is pretty. And straight up. Like honest. So I thought, why not? If she’s a freak, I’ll leave.”
“But you didn’t leave.” I put my hand on his. Our fingers entwine. He has calluses on the tips from carpentry, or maybe he plays the guitar. “I have Huntington’s.”
He looks up at me. “What?”
“I have Huntington’s.”
“Oh my God.” He says this with the most gentle empathy. His mouth lines with concern.
“I don’t know why I just told you that.” And I don’t.
“This is insane.” He’s speaks so quietly. “I don’t know you either, Darla. I mean not, like at all, but I feel like I don’t want to leave.”
“No.” He takes a second. “You.” And then a shaky breath. “How weird is that?”
“Kinda weird.” I agree.
“It’s just that, I like you.”
“But, I’m sick.”
“But, I’m not.”
“But, it would be bad.”
“Okay. Okay. Look. You know what? It’s okay. We’ll deal with it later. Let’s just deal with us now. Kiss me. Let’s just stay in the now.” He pulls me to him and kisses me again. So sweetly. So delicious.
I surprise myself when I reach for a shard of glass from a broken votive just past his boot and shove it in his neck.
He pushes me off him and falls back with a howl. Blood spurts from his neck like something out of a “Monty Python” comedy. I stand up and kick him in his side. The tremors begin.
“You can’t love me! I’m dying! You can’t love me!” He tries to get up. He can’t. Blood in his eyes blinds him. I lift an aluminum chair and smash it down on his head. “No one gets to love me! I have six months left at the most! I don’t have room for your love, Carl!” He won’t stop moving, convulsing. “No one gets to love me!” I slam the chair down on his head, once, twice, three times, twenty times, I don’t know. Enough times until I can see the bone of his skull.
He’s not moving anymore. His eyes aren’t blue. His mouth isn’t worried. His hands are only red. The sun is starting to rise. I walk to the edge of the roof. I stare at the city all dewy and new in the morning. I look back at Carl all broken and finished.
Life is a trial. We all get the death penalty. I suddenly realize that maybe I’m not handling this Huntington’s thing very well at all.