I asked him about it. His roommate asked him about it, but Max claimed it was some form of psoriasis, and that he’d already spoken to a doctor about it. None of us bought that really, but pressing further into someone’s personal life isn’t something you do without any proof that something is wrong. But when the sheen of his skin started to tell the story of how it was progressing, we did start to worry. It crept up his legs, at which point he stopped wearing shorts altogether and wore socks no matter if it was warm or not. Once it went to his arms though it started to become a little more noticeable.
About a month after it started happening, Max became more of a recluse. He still had his job and paid his part of the bills on time, since he’d set up everything online and had no troubles paying. But he barely came out of his room during the last part of the, whatever it was, and the last time I’d seen him, Max had apparently had a tough time walking, though now I know why. That strange coating that had been creeping up and down his body, that plastic-sounding surface, had made it difficult for him to walk, to bend, even to breathe apparently, since his roommate and I had heard him wheezing on more than one occasion.
Even getting him out of his room became impossible at one point since he apparently hadn’t eaten anything, hadn’t come out to shower, and hadn’t even responded save to tell his roommate to go away, that everything was paid, the last time he was prompted to respond. Max’s roommate had told me about this the final day that he’d tried to get Max to respond and had received no answer, partially because I’m the guy’s best friend and partially because, well, the roommate doesn’t like confrontations. He’s not a wimp, he’s just one of those folks that doesn’t enjoy getting into an argument or a fight with anyone, since he likes things to be peaceful and calm. Some might go so far as to call him a hippie, but I just thought he was kind of a sensitive person. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t my favorite person in the world.
But when I walked into Max’s room that last time, I couldn’t help but think about what we’d seen up to that point, and what I might be walking into. Despite any expectations I still wasn’t ready for what I saw.
(to be concluded)