My response to Ben sTone’s challenge to fuck with his art
i can see how he thought i was crushing the walnuts with my fingers. they were small, and the meat came apart easily. it was summer when i met him, and the steps were warm with sun and my feet bare. my hair, white since childhood, was long those days, and i was used to people staring. his eyes were hungry and tired, and i took him by the hand. he sat at my table drinking lemonade while i made pesto, and then we fucked on the kitchen floor, and he laughed when i told him he would always associate crushed basil with the the texture of my skin.
he liked to tell people i was the perfect girl and that i possessed secret powers and that my white hair came not from the premature onset of age but from a chemical imbalance that allowed me to control the universe. he liked to tell people that i crushed walnuts with my fingers, and that when we first met i picked him up with one arm.
and it was good. it was good for a long time – the fucking like mercury, our bodies like chemical reactions, the slow dazzle of our love. when he was asked how he scored with a girl like me, he would squint his eyes closed tight – those too piercing green eyes – and whisper “chemistry…..”
what comes after, though? in one ending he finds my body with my heart pierced through by a steak knife and a mysterious note behind my head. my body is whisked away and destroyed, and he spends the rest of his life waking up from a beautiful dream to the reality of life without perfection.
in one ending he finds my body not so perfect after a few months or years or lifetimes, and all the stories of super powers can’t hold it together when the chemistry fades and the crashing together of bodies can’t conceal the change from summer to autumn and my skin’s winter-white.
in one ending he finds my body with my heart pierced through by a steak knife held just so, and the curve of a slender throat and long dark hair against my skin’s winter-white, and he stands in my kitchen crushing basil between his fingers as i carry my boxes in one arm, the hand that once drew his in shielding my eyes against the too-bright summer morning.
they say that when you’re happy, you’re just like everyone else, and when you’re alone, your misery is unique. i say that in love, in death, in loss and in chemistry it all comes down to the turn of the knife.