First, she cut out his eyes. Buried them halfway across the world. She couldn’t stand the way he looked at her. Like he had all the time in the world to just look at her.
But that night he was there again. Well, she could feel him not there, which is the same thing. The opposite of love is apathy, not hate. She must not feel at all.
So the next day she carved out his lips. They were always smiling. Whispering. Nibbling. They made her weak.
His hands she held one last time, remembering the way they brushed the hair from her face. Then she remembered when they glided down her bare back, raising a ridge of goosebumps like a scar. She had smiled up at him, like a silly thing, and fallen asleep on his chest with a sigh. She cast them into the sea.
Finally, finally she was free.
But the next day she was brushing her hair –one stroke, two strokes, three– and there, in the mirror, was he. And his lips were curved in a Cheshire grin as he watched a long strand fall to the floor. As if he had all the time in the world. And his hands reached out and cupped her face as he traced her eyes, her lips.
“Come here,” he said.
“Shut up,” she said.
And he smiled.
When she opened her eyes, she was alone. And she couldn’t feel a thing.
“You’d think, given the blood we see, that there’s a great war going on out in the world. Just the one inside of bodies…”
― Junot Díaz,
NOTE: A version of this piece was submitted to Apex Magazine’s flash fiction contest. This year’s theme was “Valentine’s Day”.