by Michael Solender
The tiny ribbon of blood that trickled from his freshly cut finger eagerly found the drain in the kitchen sink, obediently joining the flow of cool water that enveloped his hand as he cursed his clumsiness. It held the markers that since birth had predestined him to assume the responsibilities of his station as the third son, just like his father before him, his grandfather and his father too. At that moment though, his index finger throbbing, his thoughts turned to his maternal lineage and the greater, yet unspoken burden that, to his count, had already upended the lives of each of his brothers, his mother, her siblings and each of his cousins on his mother's side. Perhaps if he bled long enough he could extricate himself of the certain darkness that awaited him, and would, without warning unleash its fearsome grip. He knew this was absurd, yet he had only recently come to the realization that of the 13 relatives on his mothers side that he personally knew, each of them had been stricken. There was a time when he considered it a character flaw, yet as he became personally acquainted with it, he came to understand the physiology behind it and it frightened him.
Michael Solender is a corporate refugee and freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He writes a weekly Neighborhoods column for the Charlotte Observer and blogs here. (Click here to make a donation to Michael, half of which will support 6S.)