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-Cheers, old pal. We did it again.

From the other side came no response.

-I know it was a tricky one this time, but you really pulled it off there. I never doubted you for a second.

It was a starless night, but the city lights twinkling in the landscape made for a suitable replacement. A cold breeze blew in, around 12°C in perceived temperature.

A hand slaps metal, around the height where shoulders would be in a human.

-I know you let the small stuff get to you. Morality and all that, yadda yadda. But you’re good at your job. Just be proud of yourself for a minute! Celebrate!

They are too far from the neighbors for much background noise to fill the gaps in conversation. It’s just the sound of swirling ice cubes, and the breathing and ventilation from their bodies in the penthouse balcony.

-Come on now! I didn’t know the daughter would be only eight! Nobody knew. We did what we came there to do! Get off your damn high horse for once.

A shattering. A perceptive analysis would say crystal, a martini glass perhaps, against concrete. Then big bulky steps fading in the direction of the front door, and the sound of it opening and shutting, ushering in a silence larger than one ever would have thought possible.

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-Listen, Manu. He’s the heel but he keeps endearing himself to the public. It’s no good. Makes my job harder.

-Ok, Tico. We’ll work on that.

 

-But Manu! If only he let me have any time to build my character! He keeps hogging the spotlight! It’s all about him, him, him.

 

-Ok, Carlitos. Let’s see what we can do.

 

-And he’s too rough with the jump moves.

 

-Ok. 

 

-And he never takes care of his outfit!

 

-Ok.

 

-And he won’t stop hogging the blankets!

 

-Alright now, I can’t be both your manager and your marriage counsellor. Just talk to each other, for Christ’s sake!

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When we were foolish and in love, I told her:

“Dear, let’s move in together.”

The first night was a joy. We slept on the bare mattress on the floor of the rickety one-bedroom flat. Our bodies were the only other furniture.

Then her things moved in. Box after box after box. For a week they did not stop coming.

I never lost her in the mess. She has always been the centerpiece of every room she is in.

But I did lose myself.

Now, a bit wiser although no less in love, I tell her:

“Dear, let’s move out.”

She stays, with her tapestries and plants and baskets and crates, filled to the brim with the memories that weave the story of who she is.

I leave. To a place where I can grow to miss her and her things.

And when the distance becomes unbearable – one day, two – I pay her a visit.

She’s a fantastic host, my wife.

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Do not delude yourself. Despite the pretense of language, at the end of the day, you are a thing of bone and of blood. And so you might not understand in mere words the things that you will understand in visceral feeling. 

 

Attempt to anyways. As I will attempt to explain her to you. 

 

When the parts of a structure are torn apart, when they no longer fit together well enough to perform their function, they cease to be that thing. The ruins of a building are no longer the building. The dropped cotton candy, melting in the fountain of the park, is no longer cotton candy. A rotting fox on the side of the road is no longer a fox. 

 

In this way, she is not a woman. She is scrap metal of a woman. A woman has a structure. Her ribs form a ribcage, her vertebrae form a spine, her muscle fibers join together in deltoids, abs, glutes. The pieces form a whole. They combine into a human. 

 

She can no longer claim this accomplishment.

 

You. Yes, you. From the back. Do you have a question. “Could she be alive?”, you ask? Oh, very possibly. “Being alive”, “existing”, all that nonsense, that’s much more complex terminology than we usually take it to be.

 

The tumors and growths, the infected skin, they lie together in a mass that is positively bursting with life. Her misplaced bits are very much part of this scheme. What is her self? Where does she end and the mass of fungi and bacteria taking host of her flesh begin? 

 

“How does it feel to be what she is?” You delve into dangerous territory, my friend, but I’ll tell you. It itches. It itches, it itches, it itches, it itches- she wants to tear off all the meat she can get a grasp of, swallow herself out of this mess. And you must understand how difficult this becomes with her utter lack of appetite in this here situation.

 

Let me tell you a secret, and do keep this between us, darling. When she was in society she was perfectly mediocre at it. One of those types that don’t have the hollow in their hearts to enjoy cracking other women open in their teeth, and therefore can never fully make the best out of the condition? But she was adept enough at sensibly disfiguring herself on her own.

 

Today she bites, content to do something else with her mouth other than choke. And is cheered on rapturously by the studio audience.

 

The non-woman turns to the anteater. How can you be, she says? Do ants not seem like far too small a meal to keep you suspended in the state that is living? Anteater, you lower your body temperature to need less to feed on. You make yourself less so that the lot which is allowed to you might be enough. 

 

Your crime, anteater, is that your mouth is not big enough.

 

She breathes the air from inside the anteater until only the mass is left, and then she bites his head off. It is like the cracking of an egg.