I noticed the line curling around the bottom of my index finger in fine red script one bitter winter’s morning. I recall how I surveyed it thinking it a mark; it wasn’t there yesterday, though. The harsh reality, it was something altogether more sinister.

I followed the filament across my palm, then up my arm to my right shoulder, where it then detoured twice around my neck before heading back down toward my chest. My finger traced that thin, red line to my heart where it whorled around in concentric circles until a tight spec.

It’s my lifeline, I thought, as the pain started, a paralysing crunch beneath my ribs. The hurt grew in incremental agony to the slow dawning of what occured. As the inevitability of the situation struck, my eyes widening to those of an owl, I died steeped in regret.

Yes, I died right there and then as the line you’d left in red lipstick smudged beneath my fingers.

16 thoughts on “Lifelines

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