Going to Pieces

The first thing I saw when I woke was Chris’ face. It had been carefully peeled off and placed on the lampshade.

His feet I found in the fridge. His intestines in the toilet. The rest of him was gone.

You ask how such a thing could happen? It’s not as diabolical as it sounds. It started one morning when Chris sat in bed next to me and said, “Darling,” (He talked like that, in a slow Texas drawl—he was from Wisconsin.) “I’m falling apart.” And he meant it just like that. He held out a hair.

“It’s just a hair,” I laughed. “Lots of men lose their hair.”

“It’s not a hair. Look closer.”

I took the hair, smirking. My expression changed instantly. It wasn’t a hair. It was a blood vessel.

“Chris!” I wailed. “Have you seen a doctor?”

“No point. I’m falling apart.”

That was it. Each day several more parts fell off. By Wednesday he had only one arm and one leg, half his teeth, his right ear and a testicle. It was gross. I called in a slew of doctors but they couldn’t tell me anything except that he was “falling apart”.

Chris just shook his head (what was left of it).

By Friday, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was tripping over ribs, stepping on eyes in the kitchen. I left, not even saying good-bye. I admit it. I ran away when Chris needed me most.

I stayed away one night, when reason returned. I ran back to him in the dead of night. I threw open the door and yelled, “Chris! I love you! I’m not leaving!”

I heard no answer. I turned on the lights and saw a kidney on the hallway stairs. I followed a trail of parts upstairs to my room. What I saw there frightened me so badly I fainted. Yes, people really do faint, even nowadays.

When I woke I had forgotten what I had seen. Only when I saw Chris’ face on the lamp did it all come back. Chris was gone now. Every last piece of him.

I got up. I went over to that thing that had frightened me so badly. A piece of paper and a pencil. Beside it lay a finger, the last finger, the last part of Chris. The digit no longer moved.

I picked up the paper and read the two lines written there in scrawled handwriting: “All things fall apart. Some sooner than others.”


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