by Dash Owens
He crawled into the twin bed, mixing winter cold with the warmth of body heat and layered blankets. He smelled of the late night meeting early morning, a concoction of sweat and coffee creamer. It didn’t matter, she loved how he smelled. The head of her bed was pushed up against the window with a view of the green acre of back campus rolling downwards to meet the creek. It had only been twelve hours since they separated, but their limbs entangled like it had been longer. So much of the body is long, and it needs to be bent and curled to fit with another body. The few moments before the puzzle pieces fit are terrifying, but that feeling is soon overwhelmed by the pleasures of closeness. The room was on the third floor, but a high third floor, and the blinds were never closed. The first lights of sunrise flickered into the room and upon the angles of his face. Perhaps it was a reflection of the cheap sheets or some incomprehensible work of light, but his brown eyes coruscated with blues and yellows. What a boy, she wondered, and he loves me.
What horseshit, she thought. She slammed the laptop screen closed, and sat back in her chair. She touched her neglected coffee, lukewarm from the wait. She had set it aside to read the paragraph she had written ten years ago as a college freshman. She read it again and again in shock and shame. She had lost her virginity shortly after writing it.
She remembered the feeling of constant, fierce passion that brought her to write the thing. The thing was a result of breathlessness after he came into her dorm room (that she never locked) and woke her up (after an all-nighter-to-complete-work-he-should-have-completed-in-a-more-timely-fashion-rather-than-acting-depressed-and-like-other-people-should-feel-fucking-terrible-for-his-own-fucking-inadequacies.)
They had stood so close when they watched their friend’s casket lower into the ground.
A few days after the funeral, she saw the email from him. He made her think about this thing again. It was the moment she lost herself in love. It was also a moment she now cursed.
Why did she read the stupid thing again? Maybe it would convince her not to kill him.
No. She was unconvinced.
She had to kill him.
It is self-evident that not all Men are created Equal; that when a Man is Pathetic and Pitiful and Indecisive about His unimportant Existence, He can never be Equal to any Woman He desires to stick His Dick in. It is further evident that when such a Human exists, it behooves any Woman wronged to overthrow His Chains and, without fear of Sin or Guilt, remove Him from this Earth; in fact, it behooves any Person with any Sense to applaud the Elimination of Him. The History of such a Man is a History of repeated Injuries, Usurpations, and Irritations, all of which had the Object of destroying and establishing an absolute Tyranny over a Woman. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World:
A year into our relationship he told me he had feelings for someone else, and he wasn’t sure if he loved me as much as I loved him. I begged and cried, and he told me a week later that he had made a mistake. I made a mistake. I should have eaten him alive.
Before we held hands or kissed, he bartered with his friends for me. They held meetings about who would date me. I was flattered because I was an idiot.
The first time he cheated. He told me he wasn’t sure if he did cheat. He might have cheated. He might not have cheated. I said it was okay. It was not okay.
He would never wear a condom. I was so afraid of making him angry.
He talked about my body with his friends. He told me my breasts were the first characteristic he noticed about me. I even laughed when inside I burned with shame.
He touched and pinched me when no one was looking or when we walked up the stairs. I always laughed and said stop. I wanted him to stop. I meant it. He never believed me.
The nickname I detested. He always said I secretly liked it. I never liked it. It was a stupid fucking nickname.
The second time he cheated. It was winter break and we were apart. He called me to say what happened. He told me that he wanted to kill himself. I lied to him. I said the words, “I forgive you.” He said it again and again. “I want to kill myself.” I should have told him to do it, then I wouldn’t be in this predicament.
He wrote me notes. He called me sexy. I was disgusted. He told me I was being cruel and cold, that he couldn’t sleep or eat until he knew if we could be together or not. I didn’t want him anymore, but he demanded sympathy from me, and I had an abundance of sympathy for myself that I gave away to him. Later he recorded a song for me. It was painful to listen to. But it demanded sympathy, and I gave sympathy. A week later I invited him over when my roommates were gone. We had sex in a way I had fantasized, and I thought it meant I had retaken control of the relationship. I had not. He had controlled me every step of the way.
He once told me to kiss him when his parents were looking from the car because it would make them happy. I told him I didn’t want to. He acted hurt, so I did.
He visited my parent’s house during the summer. As soon as my parents were asleep upstairs, he started pulling down my pants from behind. I could see the reflection of my pale ass in the sliding doors to the back porch. I didn’t want to see my body or his hands on me. I asked for us to go to the basement. He wanted a blowjob, but he told me I didn’t know how to do one. He told me later that he only said that to make me feel bad, that he wanted to make me feel bad because I was too nice and too good. Who the fuck says something like that? Who the fuck stays with a person like that?
When we broke up, he would send me emails calling me cold, accusing me of not feeling enough. He recently told me that he regrets being mean to me. It’s a hollow thing to say to someone who regrets ever knowing him.
In every stage of these facts, I have been an accessory to my own suffering. I was warned by my own conscience and others that our connection should have been severed quickly and early. I did not heed these warnings, I did not appreciate the depths of my own weakness. I am no longer weak, I am no longer vulnerable to your poorly-phrased incantations.
You must be destroyed.
How does one do away with someone? She could try poison. But then he would not know that she had killed him, and she wanted the satisfaction that he would encounter a certain self-knowledge in his last moments, a comprehension that, to her, the price of his life was cheap.
What about a sword? Or a gentle kick over the side of a cliff? She wanted to laugh and laugh and laugh. No, giggle. She would squeal with delight! She imagined being positively cut up, rolling on the ground in a childish frenzy.
She refilled her coffee cup, turned on the heat to fight the November cold, and settled back into her chair. Her mind drifted.
Scene: On a stone bridge, empty except for two people. The water below is dark, deeper than one would expect. The air is still and it is late afternoon.
Him: I adored you.
Her: Perhaps you did. What do I owe you for that?
Him: We will always be connected. We had a romance, and we loved one another dearly.
Her: I wish we never knew each other. Maybe we could have seen one another in class, and we’d say, “They have intelligent things to say about Aristotle.” We wish we had more time to know one another better, but we won’t be bothered that we didn’t.
Him: You don’t mean that. The only times I ever saw you cry were when we were about to separate. You cried like you were suffering, like you dreaded any moment apart. You loved me.
Her: I should not have loved you.
Him: We had a romance.
Her: I should not have loved you.
Him: You are a liar.
Her: If I could, I would take a tiny knife to my brain and cut you out.
(She reveals a sword, long.)
I will cut you out here.
Him: Please, please.
“No.” She sits back up in her chair. “That won’t do.” Her attention wanders again.
Don’t say more, often You
Talked of the width of your dick,
I did not care, nope.
I hate you, I hate
You. I hate you. I hate you.
Die. Die. Die. Die. Die.
I was a fool who
Thought she loved, fast and too true.
Dumb. Confused. Stupid.
Who has time for fuckers?
Fuckers who think they mattered
More than they ever did
Stop writing to me.
Will these haikus make you stop?
Go away. Go. Go.
You jizzed on my face.
I did not like it. At all.
You thought it was hot.
How many times will
I unburden myself of
Your Shit memory?
Back in the chair
She thought about the summer he showed up at her job. Where did he come from? It was a surprise though. She wasn’t expecting him. That was the same summer he took her to a French restaurant for her birthday.
She glanced over at a stack of books near her chair. Euclid’s Elements, Apollonius’ Conics, Adler’s How to Read Book, Shakespeare’s Sonnets. A sonnet — three quatrains and a couplet. A couplet would be easy:
A fine instrument of love you claimed to play well and true In the end, you are a motherfucker who has no clue
Right before they broke up, they had a skype call. He asked her to take off her shirt. She did. He then asked her to get on all fours in front of the camera. She did. As he pleasured himself, she felt sick. She could see herself in the square in the corner of the screen, and she wanted it to end. He noticed, his expression changed. He didn’t stop though. Why didn’t she stop?
This is why she had to kill him.
Ingredients: One detested male body
First, remove the skin, bones, and most of the fat. Leave all appendages with digits. Set some of the fat aside for later. Put aside genitalia, heart, fingers, and toes.
Boil the bones in hot water to make a stock.
Next, thinly slice the brain, about a quarter of an inch. Marinate in lemon juice, salt, and pepper for several hours.
After that, wrap the heart in cheese cloth or plastic wrap. Use a meat hammer to flatten until each chamber has collapsed. Fill with cheese and berries. Roll up. Bend the ends of the roll to create a heart shape.
Melt the extra fat with butter in either a crock pot or dutch oven.
Place the genitalia in the food processor and pulverize. In pot of choice, combine pulverized genitalia and marinated brain. Add stock (or other broth of choice), garlic, salt, and pepper. Feel free to add any mix-ins, such as roasted fingers or broiled toes, after the soup has simmered for a period.
Somewhere inconspicuous, burn the remains of the body. While watching the fire incinerate the mutilated corpse, eat Him.
Why did he keep emailing her? She didn’t want to ever think of him again.
So she penned a response in a fit of rage on the R train. She tried to never respond to him, but the muse of her soul was singing with rage.
Your ideas have been sitting out in the sun for so long that any insight has evaporated. Your gifts as a wordsmith extend as far as modifying every verb with “just.” Do yourself a favor and use fewer adverbs. I am just truly, profoundly, infinitely convinced of your cheaply fashioned ideas. See? Perhaps one day you’ll send me the letter you claim is evidence of your written acuity, the one you supposedly composed to put me in my proverbial place. Too bad I’ll never read it. It’s a shame, though I’m sure you can drop it upon my grave so that its affecting words can decompose with my body. What a pity that I won’t take it with me!
In the end, it’s a fucking joke. I don’t want to talk about “our romance” or “our relationship” because I am ashamed. I disparaged myself for years. You were a terrible boyfriend. Let’s put the cheating aside and address the emotional turmoil that one misstep ensured, the number of times I excused your inadequacies as characteristics rather than character flaws. You write that I am a remarkable person. I already knew that. Did you adore me? Sure. It’s easy to adore a saint or a god when you think they possess abilities and powers unavailable to you. You never adored me. You treated me, more often than not, as a threat to your happiness, a source of comparison that made you feel small.
You motherfucking turd. How dare you use our friend’s death as license to preach to me about your wisdom, your unique gifts, your sudden revelations about psychology and our “precious” memories. If I could, I would obliterate you. I would eradicate your visage, your voice, your body, your scent from every memory and gathering. I want you to be an absence, a name I cannot quite conjure the sounds for. Is there a metaphor for infinite nothingness that I can drown you in?
You should have never mattered to me.
She thought better of sending the email to him; instead, she sent it to a friend, Sophia.
An hour passed and her inbox dinged. Sophia wrote:
Never let anyone read this.
Maybe she should delete it?