This is a work of fiction. Please observe the following Content Warnings: breakups, relationship obsession, self harm.
It started as a joke, a cute thing that he did to make her smile. They’d had a disconnected week, missed calls and texts, rescheduling dates, finally getting to be in each other’s arms on Friday night, tired and both a little unsure, their mutual absence making them both a bit skittish. They’d talked, shared some takeout, and lounged. He had spontaneously grabbed the pen and as she chuckled, scrawled a hasty “Yours” over his heart. A schoolboy moment, a sweet gesture. It had worked. She’d bitten her lip and straddled his lap and taken what he showed her was hers.
That was months ago, back when the streets were slushy and the sky was grey, back when he was happy and full of life and full of her. Now he lay alone, bands of July sun falling across his bed, blue sky mocking him. He kicked the sheets off and lay there naked, just listening to his alarm, unaffected by its tone. He’d been awake for hours.
When she was around his mornings had been bright. He was eager to wake up to see her sleeping, keen to make her tea and cuddle her to him in the soft pale brightness of their winter mornings, entwined. She had been gone now longer than they’d been together but she was still the only reel that played in his head.
The bleak heat of the bedroom sapped his energy but he could not ignore the tightly coiled urge in his abdomen, the way his balls ached and how his cock stiffened and bobbed when he thought of her. This was his morning routine now: wake up feeling shattered, resent the sunshine and wish for gloom, furiously masturbate and then shower.
His memories sent him swirling as he began to stroke himself. His spit slathered hand pumped confidently down his shaft, a dramatic tug at the head as he came back up, his mind a flickering zoetrope, fleeting snippets of her: her eyes and hands, her voice, that time he fingered her in a taxi, the way they kissed, how cool her eyes had been when she told him it was over, the lush wetness every time he’d plunged into her, the cloth of her coat under his hands the last time he’d hugged her, the tired way she’d told him goodbye, the way her hair smelled, the knocking in his chest when he’d called and heard a man’s voice in the back ground …
His chest and stomach were wet with cum, his cock choked to a deep purple in his fist, the tip of his tongue bitten hard as he panted. The rage and shame and aching pain flooded through him and was gone as quickly as it had come on. Abandoning the bed, he crossed the apartment and stepped under the shower, the familiar sting on his chest was almost a comfort. He soaped himself methodically and watched as his scalded skin turned red, as if the heat and lather could wash away anything of consequence.
Towel off, brush teeth, stare into the mirror, try to make sense of why his hands shook and his ears filled with the rushing sound of blood. His internal monologue was always the same at this point in the routine, comforted by the regularity of it, terrified that he needed it.
Not today. Just stop. It doesn’t matter. It won’t feel good. It won’t feel like anything at all. This is crazy. Stop it. Just once more. Today is the last day. Tomorrow will be different.
He knew it was silly to hide the blade on himself, as if it would slow his hands from finding it in the drawer, behind the allergy tablets, glinting darkly as he brought it out, his movements measured and frighteningly calm, even to himself. He often wondered what she’d say if she saw him, if she was suddenly in the door way behind him, rumpled from sleep, wearing his tshirt. Would their eyes meet in the mirror as the blood rushed to the surface of his skin? Would she be appalled? Frightened? Honoured? Aroused? Would she want to know that each morning he carved the Y-O-U-R and S into his chest because he still felt he was hers? Would she lap the blood from his chest and press her lips to his thundering heart? Would she back away slowly and disappear again? He watched his hand trace the wound he tended daily, the word he kept open in his flesh, just in case. Just in case she ever wanted to know how he felt, what he was, because surely if he had the chance to tell her, he would never find a better word than “Yours”.
*previously published in July, 2018