When I met him his eyes were brown, a muddy earthbound color. Cool and predictable, honest eyes.
When I bedded him they were darker, an inky sable, clouded and deep.
Keep them open
Look at me
I could see his soul if I stared long enough, and deep enough.
But at the moment—that moment—he would close them.
When he opened them again the moment was gone, the black loosened, and they were once more brown and earthbound.
Not the fiery hazel they have become, beset with anger. Caught in their brilliance I am lost; they reflect only the television set to mute behind us
And my own despair.
“Where,” he repeats, and still I do not answer. I am drunk on the lazy scent of honeysuckle wafting in through the windows, honeysuckle and something like fear; when he overturns the television I see him from afar.
How very distant we are.
“In this room?! In this bed?!”
Not our bed.
Not our marriage bed.
Our marriage bed was ours long before we were shackled together;
before the monogrammed place settings and the crystal with his last name carved for both of us
before we became a we and our fates were hewn together
before we fell over the precipice for the last time and I was lost
Our bed was ours.
Our bed was where I discovered his snore, slight and airy and only obnoxious at three a.m. when my eyes burned from want of sleep. I discovered his teeth were slightly overlapped in that bed, after the snore, when I stared daggers into his mouth and considered silencing him with the pillows flattened by age.
Then I watched him sleep, played with his fingers curling even in sleep against mine, warm and large.
Our bed was where we made love and fucked and had quick bouts of sex with one hand pressed against my back the other against the wall so the neighbors wouldn’t hear.
His brother helped me move the bed out while he was away; he didn’t notice for weeks.
One of the neighbors picked it up before it could be hauled from the side of the road.
This bed is mine. We share the placemats
And the towels
And the toilet
But not the bed.
“Yes,” I answer. “This bed.”
He is beset with fire when he rips backs the sheets and we are both of us aflame as he destroys the remains.
“I didn’t love him,” I offer. A small kernel of truth, a dagger. Felled by the sting of my admission he draws back.
The flames simmer in his eyes but do not away. He stares into the bed and beyond, watching us. Seeing us tangled together, hearing my enraptured moans.
His eyes are lapis and deep, his mouth turned up into a scythe blade smile.
We met accidentally and bedded immediately and it was over quickly and then we lingered. The next was longer, a painful ecstasy, almost too long, and a demon he set me ablaze.
His tongue stung me, a beautiful deadly thing. He traveled my body, sinking through my skin and into my blood, a poison.
He wrapped himself around my heart but he dared not enter; his grin never faded. He didn’t need my love. He didn’t require it.
We shared only our bodies. There were no placemats
Not even a toilet.
He showered at his place, which I would never see.
He only saw this bed.
“Why? Tell me why?”
I move about the room as I consider his question. Despair is gone from me, the tendrils of it swept through the window on the wings of a summer breeze.
*I am selfish.
*The scythe blade of his smile is matched by my own Cheshire grin
*You are earthbound but he is air and flame
*I am afraid to leave
*I want you to want me to stay
*I want this to pierce your soul because I do not know it
*You do not love me
“I don’t know,” I answer.
He breaks. From the vantage point outside of myself, far beyond us, I reach for him but I am too far. Shards of our remains stand between us, the stalactites and stalagmites of our crumbling ruins.
“I hate you,” he whispers through the veil he has erected.
I should say I hate myself. I should say I hate what I’ve done to us. I should say I hate that I have lost you.
I say none of those things. I feel none of those things.
“I’m sorry,” I placate him, killing the meaningless phrase.
“Get out,” he yells. He throws the frame with the photo of us, our first, and it breaks. We both watch the shards of glass glittering dangerously in an innocent sunlight.
When our eyes meet I am already gone. Sable and endless his eyes capture me for the first and last time, the whole of him laid bare.
Anger–no, rage. Fear.
Love is absent from us, and in the heat of his rage with everything we are or ever were turned to ash the bones are left and love is not in them.
My body aches with loss, an empty painful void is left and he fills it. I claw his back and he returns my affections, his teeth scraping against my throat. He plays with the ring still resting on my finger and beneath my cries he whispers,
“I love you.”
The ring presses into my palm until it draws blood, and I press my mouth against him, silencing him.
His scythe blade lips curl against mine, coaxing from me my Cheshire grin.
I am poison to him, but he takes it.
“Okay,” I reply.