When he and his brother played doctor, it was tests and equipment and bureaucrats and complications. Always complications.

Once he told a girlfriend that the scars on his neck were from bites. His timing was good, and they snuggled for the rest of the movie.

He hinted to some guys in a locker room that there’d been a climbing accident, but they got technical, and he had to back off.

His mother says only that he had a central line when he was a baby. If he gets home late or coughs a certain way, it cues her watchfulness.

He takes three pills a day and gets a flu shot—not the mist—every year. He phones his mother to tell her he’s well. He’s lucky, really.

Ann Marie Gamble (@amgamble) likes finding inspiration for poems and thrillers and space operas in her soccer mom life.