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Mother was exhausted.

She felt old. And, well, she was old…she’d been old forever but she had never felt old until now.

And it wasn’t just about feeling old. Everything was changing; and not in that good, “it’s life, and life is change” sort of way. Exhausting changes.

Her skin was in bad shape. It caused her constant pain. And, well, she’d always had the skin eruptions, and the scars they left behind. That was nothing new. After all, she was an oily, hairy mess of a woman. She shouldn’t expect any less than the ever-pimply skin she was born with. It’s just that, until recently, she’d been able to heal up after a big breakout, easy as pie. Sure, she’d always had clogged pores, and patches of dry skin that were hot to the touch. But they’d been balanced out by her cool, damp brow.

These days, it seemed all she did was run a fever.

She couldn’t bring it down by herself anymore. It was like she needed fucking handlers. Like some old lady.

And the breakouts — which led to the inevitable eruptions — used to be simple events, the symptoms eased afterwards by calm, and rest, and time to replenish. She’d followed the same recovery routine every time: purify, hydrate, nourish, rest, refresh. Occasionally, after a particularly nasty bout, she’d even had to apply ice for awhile. But even though the routine took longer to complete after those more extreme outbreaks, it had never before failed her.

Not until now. Now, those eruptions were followed by what felt like bugs crawling on her skin. They were everywhere — angry, hateful creatures — and they seemed hellbent on driving her completely mad. She knew they had to be all in her head, but sometimes she could swear they were real, and that they were out to destroy her. Maybe she was losing her mind. Maybe not.

Either way, there was never time to recover from anything anymore.

Her hair was falling out.

Her skin was flaking away.

She thought that probably she had some incurable disease.

She couldn’t figure out another explanation for how she’d stayed healthy for so, so long,

only to fall apart so rapidly and decline so drastically.

She knew that whatever it was, it was killing her faster than she could ever hope to heal.

None of her friends knew what to make of it. They’d watched the deterioration from afar, afraid to get close for fear it might be contagious.

And who could blame them?

For eons, she had remained a gorgeous picture of health…and then POOF! In just 200 years…practically a blink…

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.

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