At forty-two and facing middle age, Olivia Wilson gets shocking news from her physician.
The extra fifty pounds she’s gained since her divorce has brought on sleep apnea, and now she
needs to wear some ugly apparatus at night to help her breathe. The clerk at the medical supply
store takes her breath completely away, but why in the world would someone as handsome as
Austin Reed date a fat, lonely woman who looks like Jacques Cousteau at night?
“You want me to what?” Olivia Wilson stared at Doctor Ray. The paper on the examining
table crinkled with her shocked movement.
“A lot of people wear one and eventually get used to it.”
“But what if I don’t want to?” She eyed the contraption he dangled in the air that looked like
something he’d snatched from a scuba diver.
“If you’ll recall, when you agreed to the overnight study, we discussed sleep apnea which I
suspected causes your constant fatigue, and the tests prove me right. People who suffer from the
disorder often stop breathing for ten seconds or longer during sleep. The problem can be mild to
severe, based on the number of times each hour that you stop breathing or how often your lungs
don't get enough air. This may happen from five to fifty times an hour and can be fatal. Your
results fall within these parameters.”
“You mean I could die?” She swallowed hard.
“Possibly, unless you use the CPAP machine and wear this mask.” He extended his arm.
“Here, try it on.”
Olivia rolled her eyes. “Oh please, say it isn’t so. Aren’t I suffering enough by battling a
weight problem and facing middle age? Now you want me to don something that makes me look
He chuckled. “I’m not asking you to wear it twenty-four hours a day—only at night.”
“Great!” She clenched her teeth. “I’m forty-two, single, trying to find a man without any
help from Victoria’s Secret because nothing she makes fits me, and now I’m supposed to wear a
snorkel at night and be connected to a little machine that blows air up my nose. Grand, just
Doctor Ray grasped her shoulder. “Livie, I’ve known you most of your life. I wouldn’t
suggest something unless I really believed you needed it. As long as you carry that extra fifty
pounds around, you’re going to have to use this machine at night, and that’s a fact.”
She’d been coming to this same office for years. Despite the archaic colors on the walls and
floor tile and the outdated equipment, her implicit faith in Doctor Ray hadn’t dimmed.
Masked Love and my other short stories are available at Muse It Up Publishing in assorted downloadable formats and a reduced price. Enjoy!