Hanging Chapters: That house in Stockholm (Part 2)

Hanging Chapters: That house in Stockholm (Part 2)

I still have her yellow dress in the back of my closet.

She’s the reason why I love the color yellow, because it reminded me of how the sunrise could still be so beautiful after a thunderstorm. Her yellow dress had blood stains. I tried to wash it once, but it kept coming back. I got too tired of scrubbing and scrubbing the smudged stain, so I went to the fridge for a drink.

I grabbed a cold beer to numb the pain, and to ignore the hand stored there. It was scalded, and the flesh surrounding the wound was already rotting. Maybe she tried to drown the victim in hot water. She tried doing that to me once after I asked her why she was still with me. I told her, do you love me for love’s sake, or only because I help you hide the bodies and give you orgams after? That’s how I knew she loved me because she helped cut off my hand and displayed it on her shelf. She just pretended that she didn’t know what happened to my hand. She was guilty, because she loved me, right? That’s how I like to think about it.

I don’t use the bathtub anymore after that, and also because the drain is broken. Maybe a finger got stuck. I’ve had it with fingers, especially the one beside the pinky where you put a metal band to signify something so opaque. I bought something for her ring finger last December. She only examined it with no apparent emotion on her eyes. She never answered my question.

Illustration by
Illustration by MJ Ronquillo

She still helps me change the bandage on my dismembered left hand. When we both lay down on our backs after we fucked our way out of this grotesque world, she’d hold my hand and say, kiss me, don’t fall asleep on me now. She always says that, like how other women put anti-aging cream for their night ritual. But this night was different. I knew it was over the moment she said good night. Maybe timing wasn’t right. Maybe if we met in a different circumstance, then we’d be right for each other.

Out of all the fools I’ve met, you’re the only one that gave me this, she told me while fiddling with the ring.

Would you love me if I became a doctor? I answered vaguely.

If you became a doctor, you wouldn’t have ever met me in the first place, she said before she turned her back on me and fell asleep.

Even before I could open my eyes, I could hear her packing her clothes. It was cold, almost freezing. Maybe she put something in my drink last night that glued my eyelids shut, even if I wanted my body to stand up and beg for her to stay. I was foolish. I was fragile. She only kissed my forehead after. Was that a good enough reason to pray again? Is that what makes a man pray again after not believing in some God for so long?

It’s like I woke up from a dream.

My house was clean again. There was this special cupboard on the far right where she kept all the eyeballs, and I was tempted to look. I did open it. There were no eyeballs, not even the jars that stored it with its blood remnants. I sold the house after reading the note in the cupboard that said, Hell? It’s the moment you look directly at the person you might have been through the eye.


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