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The Tequila Worm

by Jennifer Walmsley

Two nights ago, when he came home, he held her tight. Apologised for being late again. Then he drank two shots of his favourite tipple, tequila.

Sarah shuddered. She hated that little dead worm inside the bottle. Over dinner, she listened to David talking about his day at the Travis Clinic and yet another emergency call he had to attend to at the end of the afternoon.

Then Sarah remarked as they cleared away the dishes, ‘I found a rhododendron blossom in your jeans pocket.’

He smiled and said, ‘Don’t know how that got there.’

Today at five o’clock, leaving the hospital where she worked, she drove to nearby Norwood Country Park. Spotting David’s empty car, she parked up alongside it. Then she walked the route they used to follow in the early days and, ten minutes later, she came upon familiar splashes of reds and pinks.

After a pause, she continued up a slight incline and, on reaching the top, looked through a mesh of lush foliage and saw their naked bodies entwined. But what she remembers most is her own awful wailing which seemed to go on forever.

‘The lady’s bleeding.’ A child’s voice jerks her back to the present and the gentle, rocking motion of the bus she’s travelling in. Smiling at the small boy looking over the top of his seat, she pulls her coat around her, concealing the dark spread of dried blood on her nurse’s uniform.

Placing a protective hand over her bag, she finds solace with the thought that David’s heart, wrapped in foil, will always remain with her but that insidious tequila worm she’s always despised now lies under the tongue of his dead lover.

Copyright © 2008 by Jennifer Walmsley

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