I’m infected. Chewed up by an army of secrets, I’ve felt a thousand sets of viral teeth feasting on me over the years. I shouldn’t have let it happen, but there really wasn’t much I could do.
The noise surrounding me is deafening. It’s a tremendous ringing in my ears that pushes the memories of the many things I’ve done first into, and then out of, focus. At times, it seems almost a blessing that remembering has become difficult.
From somewhere far away, a woman’s voice calls out.
The veil of clarity parts, and I realize who I am.
My name’s Gabriel Merchant — of Hastings, Nebraska. I was a small-town, farm boy who once played wide receiver for the Kenesaw High Blue Devils. On the outside, I was popular — at least for all those things I allowed people to see. But on the inside, I couldn’t have…
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