Till Death Do Us Part

By Ana Corey

Him.

I took a step outside, feeling the cold wind upon my face. I had not felt this free since I was admitted, almost a year ago. They called me a psychopath, someone who lacked emotions and often enjoyed pain. Did I fit this category? Probably. Does it matter? Not anymore considering my stay there is over now. I began analyzing the situation around me. Across the street there was a beautiful girl, her auburn curls flowing. I could see how insecure she was by the way she walked with her arms crossed around her abdomen and head down. What a pathetic creature she was. What a perfectly weak and easy target she would make.

Her.

I was walking home, thinking about how I had gained a few pounds. Something about me felt sick and wrong– ugly. I pushed my thoughts aside. I looked up across the street to notice a handsome man staring in my direction. He could not be looking at me. I put my head down and kept walking. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around, shocked to see the man standing there. He told me how beautiful he thought I was. I had never heard that before. He asked me to dinner that night. I accepted. He told me he did not know how he became so lucky that a woman like me agreed to go on a date with a man like him. I tried reassuring him, that I was the lucky one and not he. He seemed as though he could use some love and comfort in his life. I could not be that unappealing if I had been able to attract such a man like him, right?

Him.

I could not let this opportunity pass. I ran up to the girl, tapped her shoulder. She stared back at me with wide eyes, shocked. I told her how beautiful she was and she blushed. I was right about her being pathetic. I asked her to dinner that night. She accepted. I started to play with her emotions, making her feel bad for me and want to take care of me. She tried to reassure me. She thinks I am as pathetic as she feels.

Her.

I could not find something to wear. I tried everything on, struggling to conceal the way my body bulged at the hips, the way my thighs appeared huge in anything. I kept reminding myself that I am not that large. I have a fairly nice body compared to many other girls. Why I began feeling so insecure, was beyond me. His gaze somehow made it worse. I felt the need to impress him, more than I had with other men. I heard a knock on my door. He was here.

Him.

I knocked on her door. She opened it, looking shy but excited. I could tell she had already fallen for my charming, sympathy act. Fool. I took her hand and we walked to the small, French restaurant where I made a reservation. We ordered and I requested smaller portions of both of our meals. She seemed confused, then hurt. I smiled, telling her that it was only for her own good; that she would not want to ruin her perfect beauty. She smiled again. I told her of my supposed past: how every woman I had been with took advantage of the love I gave them, how they had all broken my heart, and how I thought she was different. I could see the sympathy in her eyes.

Her.

He guided me towards a French-looking restaurant. I could not help but feel myself being swept off my feet. There was something about him, so charming that he seemed almost magical. We ordered and he requested smaller portions. I did not understand, until I caught him staring at the way my legs were pressed on the chair, imperfection obvious to anyone. He reassured me that it was only to help maintain my perfect beauty. Of course, he only wanted what was best for me. How sweet of him. He told me of his past with other women, how they abused his love and broke his heart. He did not deserve that. He told me he thought I was different. I had to prove to him how different I was, how much love I could give him.

Him.

After our meal, I walked her home. She invited me in to enjoy some wine together. It was so incredibly predictable of her to drink in order to feel more confident with me. I accepted and soon enough, she finished it. Her newfound confidence led me to her bedroom. I knew she would be an easy target.

Her.

I invited him for wine, hoping I would be more confident if I had a little alcohol in my system. We finished the bottle; or, I finished the bottle. I never saw him drink. I led him to my bedroom. He would not wait for a girl like me if I did not act now. He needed to know my worth. He needed to know that I could make him happy, as he wanted. I had to assure him that I could be different from the other girls; that I could make him feel better.

Him.

I woke up and gazed upon her body. She was indeed, beautiful. What a shame that I must ruin it. Why? Simply because I can. It is amazing how these creatures work, craving my attention and approval, ruining their lives for the sake of my love. Yet they still believe I am the pathetic one. They do not realize I am the one in control. I saw her eyes flutter open. Time to play again.

Her.

I opened my eyes to find him staring at my body. He seemed to inspect me, noticing each and every flaw I had. I quickly covered myself. He smiled, telling me I was beautiful again. Telling me how much more beautiful I could be if I only fixed my one imperfection. I had to fix it.  He told me to. I needed to make him happy.

Him.

Weeks passed as I played along with this lovely game. It was getting exciting. She started to lose weight. She was so easily influenced. I showed her images of other girls. I did not need to say anything to make her crave their bodies. Soon enough, I would tell her; soon enough. She told me she loved me. I did not say it back to her. She wondered why. I told her, soon enough.

Her.

Things were getting serious between us, yet I still wished he knew how much I cared. He showed me images of girls, beautifully thin girls. I knew he wanted me to look like them, so I wanted to look like them. I lost some weight, but not enough. I told him I loved him. He did not say it back. He would only tell me “soon enough.” I knew he could not love me until I was perfect too. I had to become perfect for him.

Him.

I could tell she was no longer eating. Her skin no longer glowed. Her hair was thinning out, as well as the rest of her body, but there was something terribly beautiful about it all. She did not realize her suffering was what I wanted, not her love, making her all the weaker. Some may wonder me how I could be so terrible, how I could continue to do this, aware of the pain I created. It is how I am. I do not want to change how I am. I like it. I wanted to ensure our progress, so I took her to a bakery. I knew she loved baked goods. Let’s see if she can resist.

Her.

I started to see how thin I had become, how beautifully thin. I began to look like the girls from the pictures. I was not there yet though. I had to keep going. He will not love me otherwise. He took me to my favorite bakery. I stood there; staring at the golden crisp croissants oozing with chocolate and the delicious, flaky treats everywhere. My stomach ached and burned with hunger. I wondered what would happen if I let myself go. I could not do it. There was a part of me that knew this was wrong, but the other part kept convincing myself that when he loves me, it will all be better. He ordered an éclair, asking if I wanted anything. I shook my head, unable to speak. I wished I could indulge, but the voice in my head told me not to, reminding me that it was not worth it. I sat there, staring at him sink his teeth into everything I had lost.

Him.

I could see her pain. I could see how difficult it had become for her. She passed the test. She was beyond the point of saving. The game would be over soon, and I will have to find a new target again. This was not entirely my fault though. If she was not so easy to prey on, I could not have done this to her. She could have prevented this. She is weak, and I can take advantage of it.

Her.

I could not get up anymore. I would try, but then fall back onto my bed. I lay there. I knew he would come for me. I knew he would help me stand up. I let my mind wander. I let my eyes drift shut. It all felt so peaceful, so beautiful. I could relax here. I could breathe again.

Him.

I found her lying on her bed. I picked up her small, thin hand and checked her pulse. There was a beat, but it was faint. She would be gone soon. I placed a flower in her hand. She was truly beautiful now.

Her.

I heard people murmuring by my side. I could feel someone’s hand in mine. It must be his. I opened my eyes. I saw my brother, his hand in mine, tears streaming down his face. I was confused. He noticed my eyes opened. He hugged me and called for someone. A nurse came. I was confused. I asked where he was. They wondered whom I was talking about. I cried, begging for someone to get him for me. They were confused. I closed my eyes again, waiting for him. He did not come. I was confused. I was beautiful now, perfect. Why was everything so dark? Why did I feel so paralyzed from fear? I was confused. I could not feel my brother’s hand anymore. I could not hear murmuring anymore. I could not feel anything anymore. It was not confusing anymore. I was dying. At least he could love me now. I whispered, “’Till death do us start.” 

 

Photography credit: Jen Hucko

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