It couldn’t have been from kissing a girl because I knew for a fact that Ronnie had never once kissed anybody. After Ronnie got diagnosed with mono, he took his last 300 bucks and bought a plane ticket to Oregon. I told him even though I knew he already knew, that mono is common and rarely fatal. It mainly gives you a fever for a while then it just makes you tired all the time. He said he was already tired all the time and did nothing but work and sleep. He was too depressed to have mono. And severe cases can take over year to fully recover from and ruin your immune system. He reminded me that our friend Megan used to never get sick, then she got mono in high school, and now she gets sick all the time.
I think he’d been waiting for the smallest reason. He would’ve done it eventually. The truth is I was tired of his phone calls. I was tired of seeing him struggle. I told him even though I knew he already knew: He could never afford the procedure. He just wanted to do it where it was almost normal, I think. Before he left I kissed his crusty mouth with tongue.
As a baby, Drew Buxton was found abandoned in a field of bluebonnets during the hottest Texas summer in history. His work has been featured in VICE, Hobart, Revolver, and The San Antonio Current among others. He currently lives in Peru.