The checkups and tests were long and arduous, and Damon had been way too professional for my liking. “Tell the patient” blah blah, “You have to be back here tomorrow for the results,” etcetera. That killed me. He acted like I was just a patient—not his girlfriend of ten months, not even someone he knows. I mean, yeah, he should be professional and had to honor the ethics and all that jazz so as not to lose his job and his license to practice, but that’s crap. When no one’s around, he doesn’t even look at me.
“JJ,” he said, and I froze. That’s the first time he called me JJ after the first time we met. After he found out what my name really means he started to call me Jennifer—always that. “After everything else, we found out you have cardiac enlargement,” he continued, still in that flat, robotic voice.
I stared at him, disbelieving. “Explain.”
“Yours could be because of your thyroid glands. The stretching of the heart muscles has weakened your heart altogether,” he began to say, his voice sounding wearier and gloomier by the second. He looked up at me and his face was expressionless, but his eyes bore the pain that he didn’t want me to see. “I can’t…” He stopped, breathing deeply. “Look, JJ, you have to take care of yourself, okay? I have to give you medication—”
“Is the condition permanent?” I cut in, and he nodded.
“Your heart muscles can’t go back to how they used to. The least you can do is take care of yourself and avoid doing activities that will cause your heart too much stress, and drink the medicines that I will be giving you.”
“Too much stress,” I repeated under my breath. I started to think randomly of the activities I wanted to do, or at least my future plans. Of course, that involves—
“JJ, you can’t get pregnant,” Damon said, interrupting my thoughts. I looked up at him, my eyes starting to well up. “It’s not because you can’t per se, but because your heart might give out if you do.”
I stood up. “Okay. Thanks,” I said, grabbing my prescription that he laid out in front of me. I turned away when he said, “Jennifer,” and I just stopped. I felt him walk towards me, and he wrapped his arms around me from behind hesitantly.
“It’s not a death sentence,” he whispered, and I nodded.
It’s not a death sentence, but it’s definitely a relationship killer.
He let me go, and I nodded, mumbling absently that I could find my way home. He still has patients to see after all.
Damon didn’t kiss me on the forehead just like how he always does.
Damon sighed and just shook his head. He just broke the words: I’m sorry. It’s not working on me, and I took the last minute or two to get a grasp of the situation. He turned away from me, and I said loudly, “Look, you’re breaking up with me. The least you can do is to tell me why. Is this because of my ailment? Because if I get pregnant I can die? Because you’ve wanted kids and that’s not what I can really give you without dying—”
“You’re too young for me, okay? That’s just it. You’re just too young. The thirteen years that separates us, Jennifer, it’s all just too much,” he shouted, and I backed up against the wall, feeling all the energy in my body is being sucked out of me at this moment.
“Jen, I love you. Very much. So much. But we’re not the right persons for each other. I am looking to settle down real soon, and have kids. Your plans in your version of soon includes graduating college and getting a job—”
“Look, I’m of legal age, Damon, and I can get married. I can have kids—”
“But you’ll die, Jennifer, if you do,” he said loudly over my words. I shook my head, my mind racing fast in search of reasons to make Damon stay with me. After all he’s the only guy after Jacob that I have let into my life—deep. “And I love you too much to ask that from you. I love you too much to watch you die just because of what I want.”
“We can adopt—”
The look on Damon’s face told me he had given up on me the moment he found out about my heart condition three months ago. He had been less sweet, less “visible” in my life, and lesser of a boyfriend after that incident, and became more of my doctor—did you take your medicines, ever felt chest pains again…
I lost my boyfriend the minute he knew that getting pregnant would most likely kill me.
I took a deep breath and looked up at him, knowing that my face is now cold. “If you really do love me Damon, maybe you’d overlook that fact. Maybe you’d think that I am willing to sacrifice anything just because I also love you that much,” I said, and I pushed him away from me and left his place, closing the door on him forever.
It was only when I got home and saw the date. It was supposed to be our first anniversary that day.