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Chapter 2: Life After Death

Champagne Braswell

Can you imagine if the Hulk was real? How fearful would he truly be? How big would he be? Is he just an 8 foot really buff guy in reality? Or is he short and stout, but his image was greatly exaggerated? If you were hit by the Hulk would you survive? I wouldn’t think so, but if you did I would imagine the pain you’d feel is how I now feel.

Tubes ran through the top of my wrist.  The heart monitor's constant slow beeps interrupted my jumbled thoughts. I thought I saw him. It was unexpected and stopped my process of moving to the next level. 

In reality, Thomas was the one who stopped my transcendence to the afterlife.  Thomas, or Cotton as he was called, saw me in the bathtub after he woke up.  He saw that I had passed out and administered medical services quickly.  I guess that’s a perk when you are dating a doctor.  He lifted my naked body out of the bathtub and placed me on the bed that we had shared so many times. He bandaged my wrist, covered my nude body, and called the emergency services.  I hadn’t bled out enough to die, but the wine had accelerated my fatigue. Another couple hours and it would have been fatal.  I guess even Satan didn’t want me.


“I just don’t understand Marlee. You have so much going for you.  I don’t understand why you would do this.”

My dear, sweet, sensitive Cotton. I often look at him and realize, I don’t deserve such a great guy like him.  The only reason he’s with me is because he’s gay and he needs a beard. Well, he doesn’t know he’s gay but I have a strong sneaking suspicious that some young woman in the future will be crying into her sheets because her brother and Cotton let things “get out of hand”.

He may not be gay but he has a lot of suspicious qualities.  Our sex life is nonexistence.  He arches his eyebrows with threading. He speaks softly even when he’s angered. He’s 36 and has only had two official girlfriends in his life. One of them was when he was in Kindergarten. His response was that he was so focused on medical school that he didn’t want to let anything distract him. Fair enough. But here’s the kicker ladies and gentlemen, he loves taking bubble baths, drinking out of my “My Kind of Wine Lady" glass, and listening to Brandy. May not be the most damning evidence, but we are very sure he’s not an alpha male.

Regardless if he’s gay or not, I find myself quite fond of him.  We have dated for over a year and I’ve grown to enjoy his freeing personality.  He comes from a loving Christian family who spends a sickening amount of time together. They go to Church every Sunday and have dinner afterward. They have monthly newsletters to keep all the family abreast of what’s going on due to their sheer size. Cotton has 4 siblings and they are all best friends. Whenever they come around it’s like a big celebration full of warmth and love. They even call themselves "The Five Hartbeats" due to their last name being Hart.

I love hanging out with him and his siblings. They are so warm and welcoming. Not to mention hilarious beyond belief. Even on my saddest days, when the Hartbeats get together (especially my favorite, Rita) my sad tears turn into laugh tears.


Marlee, what are we doing?

I had forgotten Cotton was there.  But what could I say? How awkward is this! No one gives you a plan on what to do if you fail your suicide attempt. Is there a plan? Can I look it up so that I can prepare for this uncomfortable situation?

Cotton, I’m so happy you found me. I was cutting my steak and I lost the grip of the knife. I took a huge chuck out my wrist. I thought I would take a warm bath to help the blood congeal.”  I lied.

He looked at me with the “reaaaaally?” look on his face.

I mean I couldn’t blame him. It seemed far-fetched. I decided to press on.

You know how awkwardly I hold my steaks when I’m trying to cute! You are always telling me I’m going to lose a finger!

This is very true, to be honest. I’m horrible at cutting steaks, cakes, anything. I’m just a really bad knife person. One time I was cutting tape and accidentally cut my thumb.  I’m very klutzy.

He seemed unconvinced, which makes sense.  He may have been soft, but he was no idiot. I had to sell this. I didn't want to talk about this.  In my family we don't talk and I had grown to prefer it that way. 

Plus you saw the steak I was baking when you came in. You went to sleep and I ate my steak and put yours in the fridge.

This is also true. My plan was to have one final fancy meal with Cotton and then one last night of what we call, “lovemaking”.  He often comes in tired but after his shift in the emergency room, he was royally wiped. He came in, gave me a kiss, showered, and jumped into the bed.

He sat quietly trying to process if whether there was any truth to what I was saying or if I was trying to pull the wool over his eyes.  He’s never known me to be suicidal but he knows that I’m very accident prone.

Whatever his thoughts I had already made the decision that I didn’t want to talk about it anymore.  I attempted and I failed. No one needed to know that but me. I figured if I can change the topic and break the ice maybe he can just let it go. That’s how we avoided most conflict.  I can impose my will on Cotton and he just blindly follows in efforts to make me happy.

Thank you, Cotton.  I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

He got up from his chair, still unconvinced but understanding that maybe that’s not the most important thing right now.  He leaned over the bed and kissed me on my forehead.

Please don’t do that again. You’ve got so muc-

I grabbed his head and kissed him.  I didn’t want to hear anything else. I just wanted to get past this moment. I wanted to love. I wanted comfort. In that moment, I wanted Cotton. 

Almost dying makes you feel a bit different.  Like you have a different appetite for life. I almost left this world without feeling man’s last intimate touch. I needed Cotton in a way that no one else could provide. Though I tease about Cotton’s mannerisms, his body was something to die for. Being a doctor made him very health conscience. He stayed in the gym in his spare time and ate very clean. His regime and determination created a man whose body looked like it was made from chiseled bronze. My hands moved from his head and traveled down to his pants. He had been waiting for me.

What are you-“ he tried to say, but I wouldn’t let him say it.

I took his hands and pulled it to my breasts.  I wanted to feel wanted. I need Cotton right now. I need him to physically counsel me.

We then heard a knock at the door.

I had forgotten where we were. What led us here in the first place. I had become so wrapped up in the passion that I forgot I still had a faux pas on my had. 

We straightened ourselves up quickly as if we were teenagers and our parents were coming in. “Come in” I spoke. The door opened and this beautifully short Latina walked in.  She was very curvy and attractive. Her make up wasn’t heavy but enough for others to notice.

“Glad to see your awake. I’m the physician on duty Dr. Santos. How are you feeling?”

I told her I was sore but other than that I was fine. She explained that they gave me stitches on my wrist and other than that I was okay to leave if I wanted, which of course I did. She prescribed me some pain medication and told me that I could leave when I wanted.

Cotton excused himself out the room. He said he had to use the bathroom and would be right back. I thought Dr. Santos would follow him but she stayed behind.

Mrs. Rogers”, she started.

It’s just Ms. I thought to myself. I didn't care to correct her, however. 

“We see things like this often.  I do not mean to get out of line but it’s my job as a medical physician to recommend mental services in situations such as this. “

She waited for me to say something.

I didn’t. She doesn’t know me or my life. Since she thinks she does, she can have the conversation with herself.

She realized that this conversation wouldn’t be as productive as she thought it would be. She wrote down something on her notepad. She ripped off the paper and set it down on my hospital nightstand.

“This is here for you, should you need. I truly recommend it.”


I looked at her after she sat it down.  I said, "You are right Dr. Santos. You are out of line."

She turned around and left the room, passing Cotton in the doorway.

I get up and motion Cotton to come and take these tubes out. I was ready to go home and get some real rest. Hospitals made me uneasy.

“I cant babe.  I could get them in trouble if something happens. You have to wait until they are ready to formally discharge you.  I know they said that you can leave but you may not get home until tomorrow.” 

I slumped back in my bed and made my face into an ugly sad face. I was ready to leave and get this behind me. I wanted to move on.

“I know it sucks, but would it make you feel better if I called your mom and tell her you were here?”

“No” I replied sharply.