Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair"

My true love's hair is thick and coarse and black. Sometimes his hair feels soft, like feathers; sometimes, each hair is as hard and as sharp as a needle. Sometimes I wonder if his hair symbolizes his mood—but then I realize it's useless to wonder about my true love's mood or motivations. They will forever remain a mystery to me.

My true love's teeth are yellow and his tongue is pink. At night, he will crawl into bed with me and lick my face and I will whisper, "Good boy. That's a good boy." My true love's breath smells of meat and death.

I first met my true love when I was twelve. He followed me home one day after school and I asked my mother—begged, really—to keep him. She said no, but my true love followed me home the next day and the next and eventually I wore her down.

The first time my true love disappeared, I was distraught. My mother tried to console me, told me that it was bound to happen, of course, but I was inconsolable. After five days of crying, though, my true love returned to me. I was so excited, I barely even noticed the police cars and ambulances down the street. Not my problem—I had my true love back and I would never let him go.

Of course, it didn't work out like that. My true love would disappear for days on end and then come back to me. Sometimes he would be covered in dirt or dried blood, although I could never find a cut or wound on him. But I didn't care—as long as he came back to me, I was happy.

My mother grew suspicious of my true love over the years. "He looks the same," she would say. "He looks like he hasn't aged a bit." I would just shrug—I had noticed that, too, but it didn't matter to me. It just meant my true love would stay with me longer.

He stayed with me during college. He stayed with me when I went to my first party. I remember the drunken frat boys with their hands pawing at me. And I remember the next day when my true love came to me with their hands in his mouth. "Good boy," I said as I patted his head. "That's a good boy."

After college, I moved back home and found a job. Something to keep myself occupied while my true love is away. He is away for longer and longer times now. Sometimes I go months without feeling his fur between my fingers.

But it still does not matter. He is my true love and he will stay my true love until I am an old woman with gray hair. And as I lay upon my death bed, he will come to me and open his jaws and I will finally give away my heart to my one true love.

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