Nowadays his loved ones spoke of him in the past tense, although he was still inexplicably alive states away from their cancer ward eking out a solitary existence in the high desert. What they had never realized, and what he had somehow known long before the realization that led him to his current desolation, is that he was the cause of their illness. His parents, his best friend, his wife and eventually his children all shriveled up before his eyes. The sicker they became, the longer he stayed by their sides, and the sicker they became. His love was carcinogenic.