For the sake of anonymity, let’s call her Brenda. Brenda faces a huge dilemma in her life which she knows will be shorter than that of most people. She feels raw, open and exposed. She is bleeding publicly when she least expects it and yet she is forced to go out. Life goes on in spite of her; to spite her even.
As Sunday had proved, even people with the most kindly intentions treated her badly. They stared straight at her, never acknowledging her presence by mentioning her and yet continuing to be transfixed by her. And it wasn’t just the people in the church. It was the supermarket, too. The bored cashier had been tossing the shopping through the scanner when she suddenly looked up at Brenda. At the same moment a four-pack of beans slammed against the metal sides of the conveyor belt making such a bang that it suddenly seemed as if every single person in the entire store was now staring. She knew that they were judging her; a lifestyle choice, bad hygiene, mixing with the wrong crowds. She wondered how many others there were out there just like her, waiting in the wings for their chance centre stage.
Brenda had grown a thick skin but she had shed it again all too quickly. When would it end? The truth was that there was no cure which was truly amazing when you think of the wonders of modern medicine. It wasn’t that no one had tried to find a cure or even pretended that there was one; they just hadn’t succeeded.
She reckoned that she had about a week to go. A week before people stopped staring at her for good. She would never experience that first kiss. It’s a hard life being a cold sore.