Here is the body of my favorite lifeless corpse. I love that when I stroke her face, I almost touch something that is between an existence and the past. Here is the edge of the world, and I am at is precipice.
There are the places that I hoped to be. A gnarly jumble of words and shapes and ideas that I can’t make out, pieces of myself I have known before and images that I have never seen. I wonder how they would have felt under my fingers, if these dead, papery fingers could feel.
It’s a good thing I like her because I’ve been dragging around the weight of her head and clunky feet for an obscenely long amount of time. She’s rotting now and becoming lighter by the day, and yes, I can smell her. I thought about dumping the body, but how will I get to those other places without her?
Tell me, onlooker. Do you recognize her when you look at me? She’s dead, of course. But if you didn’t know that, would you think we had the same nose? I guess it’s different, hm? How can you compare a perfect nose to one that crinkles?
I miss her. I think you would too, if you knew her. She was a beautiful, perfect girl. Everyone loved her, they said. She was so beautiful, they said. She was so beautiful even with my hands wrapped around her throat, squeezing the life out of her. Her face was so beautiful even bursting in purple. She was so perfect. She didn’t even struggle.
She used to be my body, when I still needed one. When all those godless creatures mingled together and opened their arms for her, and she joined them because she was perfect. That was before I was an idea. Before I was strong enough to strangle her. Before she asked me for it.
I don’t even have an apology in me. If she hadn’t wanted it, then maybe she shouldn’t have birthed me. Maybe she shouldn’t have wanted so badly. Maybe if she hadn’t been one of those godless creatures herself, she would have lived more.
Anyway, I’m sorry you have to see this. I’m not embarrassed, but I’m sure you must feel it on my behalf. She used to feel shame because she was a body. As an idea, I don’t have any need for that. I’ll go now, and take her with me, so you don’t have to keep staring.
Oh? But you liked to stare at her? What a pervert. Though I get it, it’s hard to look away from beautiful, broken bodies even if they are dead, even if they are rotting. I know how good it feels to hate perfection and want to destroy it.
Winna Pham is a dentist who sneaks away to write during business hours. She is many things and lives in many places, mostly in her head.
image: MM Kaufman