Now it just lays there, my love, in your wooden chest; stowed away at the corner of your closet. I don’t even go in there anymore. It taunts me each time I open that door, telling me the closest I will ever come to feeling you again will be through its faded strap.
I still remember the day I first felt it against my flesh. Until I knew love I thought the fear of its sting would be the greatest dread I would ever know. You talked it out of me, though. You told me I was brave and with one reassuring touch on my shoulder, you showed me how to love its sting. Remember how I couldn’t bear to see you wear it after that?
Every time I would see it wrapped around your waist, I’d think only of how it would feel slapping against my back. And you always showed me. We took a painful journey together. One that to an onlooker may seem disturbing and chaotic but I know. I know that each time I looked up to your face amidst my screams; I would see the most peaceful version of you there was imaginable. You looked like a moving, walking, breathing comatose man.
Do you know when I last saw that face, my love? Right before I watched the flames engulf your corpse.
I can’t bear to be in pain anymore.
It transports me not a place of pleasure and silence as it always has. Instead I journey through the dark room in the dingy hotel where you whipped my legs until I couldn’t stand anymore, to the waterfall in the mountains where you watched me freeze halfway to hypothermia, to our bedroom where you spilled my blood more times than the walls can count, to the floor of the study where you beat me with cables until the neighbors knocked on the door and far beyond. When I felt your pulse silence, my ability to feel pleasure snuffed out alongside. I don’t know where the silence carried you, but it lulled me to anhedonia.
I think back to the weekend we spent locked up inside my house just a few days after we met. I cannot believe the man I tried to scream out of his permanent slumber just a few weeks ago was the same as the one who rode wave after wave of pleasure as if it were the calmest sea he had encountered.
I take your favorite knife off the shelf in the kitchen and slash my skin but the pain doesn’t distract me from the fact that you’re gone. All it does is more painfully remind me that I’m having to wield your weapon on my own.
A few nights ago, I lay alone in our once-warm bed. I was wearing the black, satin pajamas you got me. I remembered telling you that satin is a ridiculous fabric for pajamas. Still, you never took them back because you knew I liked them despite all I said.
I’ve been so tired all these days. Unsure what I am supposed to be doing with myself. Unable to sleep without your warm shoulder under me. Putting on my face of grief even though I don’t really know what it is that I am feeling. But as I lay in bed that night, I felt restless and angry.
Somehow my fingers found their way between my legs. To my horror the idea of what people would think about a fresh widow fantasizing about the abhorrent acts of her dead husband spurred me on. I didn’t even realize how far I had gone and how long I had been rubbing between my legs until the moment of orgasm starred me in the face. I only realized what I was doing and who I was when I unwittingly said,“Master may I come?”
The orgasm never came, of course.
But the tears did.
The first tears since you’ve been gone. They tell me that’s a breakthrough.
After the tears came the maniacal laughter. You know what you did, didn’t you? Even from beyond the grave, you found a way to make me cry for you.
Was that a breakthrough too?
I keep telling people I have to check with you when they try to make plans with me. They hug me each time I say that. They don’t even understand that isn’t what the hard part is. Who cares if you can’t tell me when we should meet the neighbors or if we can make it to the weekly bridge game?
Who is going to tell me when I can sleep? When I should wake up? What I should wear? Which way I should bend when I am getting fucked?
Who is going to tell me what to make for dinner? What time to set the alarm for? Which colour of lingerie most compliments the bruises on me?
If you were here you’d tell me I’d learn to do it all by myself. And I’d tell you, I’d rather not.
They tell me I’m not grieving. I’m just floundering aimlessly about. They don’t realize I am grieving the most important loss of all.
The loss of dread.
You know these past years I had come to dread the idea of losing you; to the arms of another or to the dirt that is so eager to swallow us all. You were to make sure at least one of them would come to pass. If you could take one, I could surely take the other.
I’ll give you this, you were clever. I would never have believed it if I hadn’t seen you so ravenously making love to her beautiful frame just as stoically as you would if it had been me. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, they say. You can tell me now: does it?
You absence has left a crater down my sense of being but you understand, don’t you, mon amour?
We always knew, one way or the other, it would end like this.
I love you, and that is why I had to kill you.