A short story by Taylor Boyle
I sighed as I pulled open the vanity drawer, don’t get me wrong, I love routines, but starting and ending every day staring down a pill bottle isn’t my idea of a good mirror moment. I heard Jennie come through the front door, “I brought breakfast!”
“In here,” I replied. It was still hard to believe that, after two years of dating, Jennie had let the lease go on her studio and moved in with me.
“Hey, Babe. They didn’t have bananas, the girl recommended the cookie butter french toast – she said it’s even better than their bananas foster.” Jennie said as she leaned in the doorway. I slammed the drawer as she came further into the en suite. “I got you a London Fog – the barista said it was like an Earl Gray latte.”
“I know what a London Fog is,” I blurted. Had she seen them? Sure, she knew about the chronic fatigue and the daily medicines, but she had never seen all of the pills before.
“Hm?” I felt my face heat up.
Her brow furrowed. “Are you ready for breakfast, Maggie?”
Jennie looked me over before fixing me with a concerned stare. “Is everything alright?”
“Yeah, I was just grabbing my medicine.”
I took a deep breath as I pulled the drawer open again and fished out three of the bottles. “I don’t take them all.” Jennie just stared at me, not moving. “I mean, some of them,” I gestured into the drawer, “are, like just in case, you know?”
“Okay,” she nodded, “any I should know about?”
I stiffened. “What do you mean?”
“Well, Mom always made sure that we knew where Landon’s insulin was in case he needed it and she wasn’t home and we knew the tricks to bring his sugar up if we had to. So, anything like that?”
“No, well, my inhaler is in my purse, but you knew that. These are all just maintenance medications.”
“Okay.” Jennie nodded and looked towards the door. “Don’t want the breakfast to get cold,” she said with an outstretched hand.
I followed her out to the kitchen, her hand in my right and my pills in my left. “I know it looks like a lot,” I said as I helped her plate our breakfast, “but it -”
“It didn’t look like a lot to me,” Jennie said with a shrug.
I looked up at her in confusion. “What?”
“There were, what, ten bottles?”
“Uh, thirteen, but yeah that was pretty close.”
“And you only take them because you need them, so…” she shrugged. “Does it feel like a lot to you?”
“Sometimes,” I said around a bite of bacon. “I mean, I take my antidepressants every morning and a few vitamins. Then I have migraine medications and they just add up, you know?”
Jennie nodded, “Speaking of, you haven’t seemed to have one in a while, not like you used to,” she said as she rapped her knuckles off the table three times.
“Yeah, this new medicine seems to be working pretty well.”
“I just take a multivitamin and Synthroid. They’re both in my nightstand drawer, if you ever need them.”
I set my fork down. “You really aren’t bothered by it? I mean, a lot of people make comments about how many there are – even my pharmacist!”
“Maybe you need a new pharmacy?” Jennie offered. After a moment she just smiled. “I’ve seen you take your medicine before.”
“Out of a travel case, but you haven’t seen all of the bottles, I just thought,” I took a deep breath, “I know some people find it off putting.”
Jennie quirked her brow at me, and I could tell she was thinking something over. I felt my face heat up and readied myself for the questions. Why so many? What do they all do? Are you sure you need them? Have you tried alternatives? All of the things I’d heard throughout the years. I know she won’t make the more hurtful comments, like only crazy people need that many medications or that it was all in my head.
She smiled at me. “Well, I didn’t really think anything of it. How’s the London Fog?”
I let go of the breath I was holding. “I-it’s good. What do you think of the cookie butter french toast?”
“She was right, I think it’s even better than the bananas foster.”
“Me too,” I said as I squeezed her hand.
Taylor Boyle has been writing stories for over a decade. Her favorite genres are mysteries and contemporary romances, but she’ll read anything you put in front of her. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found playing with her two cats, Macaroni and Clover, or going on a hike.