Choice

Caelyn woke up at four in the morning to the sound of a cat vomiting over her head. When she turned the light on, she saw Lunabella, standing up next to the pillow, vomiting green chunks of half-digested meat all over the sheet. Caelyn felt her face. It was wet.

She went into the hallway to get a towel. Then she went into the bathroom, to wash her face without looking at it. When she came back, Lunabella was eating the vomit. Caelyn shooed the cat away and sopped up as much vomit as she could, then stripped the sheets from the bed.

It was no use going back to sleep. The washing machine would keep her up, and then the dryer would keep her up after that. She could only use electricity at night, anyways. An adjunct professor could not even think about paying the day rates.

Maybe Mary, the woman who lived in the apartment next door, could take her and Lunabella to the vet tomorrow. Maybe Mary could take her to the doctor’s office on Wednesday, too. If not, she’d have to cancel her 10AM class twice in one week, or maybe take a taxi on her credit card.

If her benefits came through, Caelyn could afford to hire an assistant once a week. She could finally buy the medication that would dissolve the clots in her legs. The prescription was still displayed on her refrigerator, held up by a magnet that Professor Barnes had given her, three cities and six universities ago. Under a drawing of a laughing, white-bearded man, the magnet read, “How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans.”

It was funny at the time.

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