I set your body down on the cold, steel table, stroke your cheek, and look into your eyes. You lie still and offer no resistance. Do you know this is the end?
In minutes you will draw your last breath.
Soon, my precious. Soon.
I imagine what might be going through your mind as you lie, still and silent, wondering how it’s come to this.
Do you remember the day I brought you home? The day I welcomed you to my bed? The winter nights snuggled on the couch by the fire? The brisk, winter days we spent walking in the woods, listening to the birds chirp?
Remember the spring days? The sun warming us as we ventured to the beach and dipped our toes in the water, anxious for summer to come?
All the times we swam in the summer? When we took the canoe out to the island and camped by the shore? I roasted chicken over an open flame, peeled the meat from the bones, and fed it to you one strip at a time.
Even then, I knew this is how it would end. Does that make my love for you any less real? Am I a monster to you now, in the end, because I hold your life in my hands and I will send you to your death?
I swallow as I look down at you. Your eyes are like the sea on a windless day, a still blue, watching me silently.
This room is all white walls and cold steel. There is no sense of home or comfort. Perhaps it’s meant to signal to you, as you lie there on that silver slab, that there’s nothing left of home or warmth or goodness in the world. That it’s better this way.
Maybe you see that death is better. Maybe you believe death isn’t the end.
I touch your head. Your eyes follow the movement of my hand, but you remain still, even after I withdraw and walk to the cabinet mounted on the far wall. Do you wonder why I would profess to love you and yet still open the door and remove the syringe?
Is that glimmer in your eye just the reflection of the bald bulb hanging above you? Is it understanding?
Fall is my favorite season. I sensed it was yours, too. We were supposed to have many years together, many more autumns to walk in the leaves and watch the green turn to red and gold.
I know I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but the one that came before you couldn’t compare. She tried to be good, but she was flawed in spirit and body. And when she took a bad turn, I did not reflect long on the time we’d shared.
Even as the life ebbed from her eyes, I had the hope of you in my heart, although we had not yet met.
I buried her along with the others. When friends came by, they didn’t ask where she’d gone. It was as though her memory was like the grains of sand that you scoop up on the beach and try to hold, but they slip through your fingers and blow away in the wind.
With her last breath, she was gone to them, as she was to me. By inserting the needle and sending the poison coursing through her veins, I found freedom, even as she drew her last breath.
The needle is ready and I hold it firmly in my hands as I lower it to your skin.
“Shhhh. There’s a good girl,” I murmur as I prick your skin and push the poison into your veins.
Don’t worry for me. There will be another. I have not met her yet, but I will find her. It’s only a matter of time. The world is filled with bitches looking for a man to lay claim to them.
Your eyes lose their shine. Whether you knew what was coming before, you understand now. It is the end. We have shared our last walk, watched our last sunset. All that’s left are my memories of you and your body’s shell, waiting to join the others in the graves by the juniper tree.