He gets up to go to work after 10 minutes more of cuddling close in the sweaty bed since his alarm has gone off 10 minutes before. Plenty of time but the bed feels bigger now and I am lost as to where to put my head if not to his chest or on his shoulder or pressed tightly into his neck. He said he’d take me for dinner tonight, to the place that sells kids who should have run faster. We’ll be comfortable and people will look at us because we are both young and still have most of our limbs, and even so, my new eyes will draw looks of approval. Move on and move up. Improve and impress. Why have flesh when you could be made of stars?
I get up so much later than him, and I make breakfast and feed it to the dog, because the greasy smell triggers the retches again. It’s been 4 days now. Hopefully tonight I’ll be able to keep something down – even these legs couldn’t distract from me puking on myself as he croons at me. We’ll order a still-breathing squid and laugh as it squeals because we’re trying to cut its legs off with blunt knives. Fish matter doesn’t matter – as my nanny taught me. We went fishing on the lake once, with grampa. That was a long time ago and I can’t smell the lakewater any longer, or his whisky-laden beard, but I know it was there, because nanny told me. She can fill in a lot of the past that I have forgotten because I keep inhaling the gases my love keeps in the fridge, and they smell good and the floor feels cool when I am prostrate on it.
I press the button and the tube sucks out my toxins, and I crawl myself from the machine to my blue chez longue, my anus smarting from the pressure. The pain goes soon. I sip a martini and let the bubbling lights take me, for hours, to a state of consciousness where thought is disdained and submission is godly. The dog licks my lifeless hand. I am becoming stars.
He take me for dinner. He takes me to the place with the blunt knives and the slow kids, chopped up on plates for the masses, carefully arranged and fresh. He slinks his arm under mine and clasps my waist, and I feel my bowels rumble with emptiness as his muscle suppresses them; it is a feeling of weakness and I almost come from it. In fact, I would have orgasmed if I’d had the strength. He feeds me squid legs and writhing beans, the kind that show up in my mid-day naps, these little pods of colour, nasty with their potency and wriggling into my pores. I am impregnated by beans in my dreams. But now he feeds them to me and I am filled. My new eyes are sore, but they translate the decorum into such a blurry masterpiece, so that everything is an impressionist painting that I am standing too close to, and so I feel the same kind of immersive confusion. This is how I like it. This is how it is with the gases.
He whispers his plan to me, and I agree. I blink my new eyes and they begin to clear, and I see the faces of the waiting staff are fascinated by me. My chameleon state. My glorious lizard-self. I see all of you, behind and in front, and you are all my beetles. I will eat you with my long, globulous tongue and lash you back and forth as trophies, striking fear into your beetle families. And he will kiss my neck and lay me in the sun, to recharge.
We are driving now. The reverberating road trembles through me, touching my core with its violence. He puts his hand on my leg and I see his erection. It is because we are driving. It is because we are young. When I close my eyes it stings, and I see spilled paint on a black carpet, whisked around as though a child were running its hands through ink. Perhaps my child will have these new eyes of mine. Perhaps she too will wish to see. I remember an urchin in the gutter of my road, when I was young, palming the floor to feel his way. His sockets were dirty and flies sucked at his stumpy hands. No money to replace them. No money to see.
We are in a market square. My love reaches out his hand and I try to take it but miss and fall over, smashing my front teeth. We are driving again. There is another man in the car. He has a gun.
When there are stories in your head, it is easier to dream, so I dream of children running through the forest with inky hands and one ear between them, and fishing on a lake of whisky, with a nanny who would sew my eyes shut if I saw something bad that the grown-ups had done, like the dog in the bin, or the lump on granny’s head. Thus, granny’s head becomes a dog’s head, furry atop her clean, tea-cosy body, and that large, protruding growth pushes its way out of the trashcan and into the garden, harbouring its pink, wet flesh under the cooling aura of an oak tree. These new eyes said they would help me forget that but the dreams still come. In a way I am thankful. New eyes are no match for my memory. New eyes to see new things.
After the man with the gun leaves, my love cooks us a supper of bread and dripping. I kiss his hands as he kneels. He is warm. He drips the fat into my tube and follows it with the gas from the fridge. A cool commotion breathes itself into me and my head suddenly feels lead-lined, a plumbum brain, a compact disk of ice. We lie side by side and he plays with the gun, waving it through the thick, swimming pool air. I hear a noise and there is dust. He sticks it to my forehead and touches himself. We go to bed and I am fucked while the block of ice in my brain becomes a slow, mephedrone dance of snowflakes.
When I wake up he has taken off my arms and replaced them with new ones. They are slender now, barely a pencil’s width. I try to stand up but I find my feet are half-way through. He rushes into the room, says he didn’t realise I was awake, and that he will sort me out as soon as possible. He kneels, with two white, delicate saucers in his hand, and I realise these are my new feet. The toes part and wiggle as he pushes the skin from the ankle and my leg together and smoothes it down with his cold hands. The fusion of bone and ligament is momentarily agony, but when I see what pleasure it gives him I calm my heart and my vulva part. He rushes off to work, but tells me that tonight he will try out my new feet. I close my eyes and imagine it, but all I see is that fleshy lump under the oak tree’s shade.