When I met you, you were in the corner of the crowded apartment with the calico cat, trying to avoid Mindy, who’s perfume was almost as cloying as her too-close drunk monologues and dramatic drawl. You were adorable, with your don’t-care mussed brown hair and the way you stammered back at me in surprise when I said hello. You even blushed when I asked if I could type my number into your contacts. I could’ve just eaten you up.
Looks can be deceiving, though. My naïve assessment of your character led to four perfect dates—followed by crushing silence. You never returned the half a dozen or so increasingly pathetic text messages I sent, and when I called, instead of ringing the standard four times, the phone rang just once: you’d declined the call.
I heard two weeks after you ghosted me that you’d been spotted at the uptown mall, holding hands with Mindy. So I was surprised when just a few days after, I received a text from you. You said you missed me, asked if we could hang later. I wrote back too quickly that I could have you for early dinner at my place. I had plans later, but said you should come along too.
You asked about my week over bread and oysters, like we’d just been too busy to connect. Like you hadn’t left me on read. You stroked my hand, and even laughed like I was genuinely funny when I told a bad joke. A real guffaw that revealed a row of slightly crooked teeth, stained burgundy from too much wine. I’d bought the bottle of red special for you because you said white was too weak, too thin; you preferred the robust mouthfeel of red.
You yawned a few times as I cleared the appetizer plates and said the red wine must have gone straight to your head. You asked if you could lie down on the couch for a few.
I told you to have a nap while I started on the main course.
I prepped two pie crusts, making a mound and then kneading and rolling out the crumbly dough across the floured countertop. Placing the dough in separate pans, I pressed down gently in the centre with the tips of my fingers to form the crust and ran a carving knife around the edge to slice off the excess.
Once you were asleep, I laid a sheet of plastic across the parquet. The yellowed oak floor boards were old and worn and stained far too easily, as I’d learned the night you’d stayed over and spilt half a bottle of red across them. Knocked it from the bedside table on your way to the bathroom and hadn’t even bothered to clean it up. After, I rolled you off the couch and onto the plastic.
I slit your throat first. Letting the viscous blood run into a stainless steel mixing bowl I’d placed underneath to catch the mess. As it poured out I mused that it looked like red wine and thought about how it was a shame you wouldn’t get to experience the mouthfeel. After you drained out, I striped you down and used the carving knife to cut slabs from you thighs and ass, then processed them in the meat grinder. The macerated gooey-pink flesh came through the holes like worms, which somehow felt fitting.
Later, six of us girlfriends gathered around Mindy’s dining table. She mentioned she’d been seeing you. Said you were quiet, a deep thinker. She had considered inviting you out, but thought it might be awkward for you to hang out with just us girls. She shovelled in bites of mincemeat pie between loud—grossly exaggerated—proclamations about your sexual prowess.
I moved some pie around my plate and casually asked when you two had started dating.
She placed the fork in her mouth and gave a sultry half smile, her tongue flicking suggestively over the prongs. She said you guys had chatted after everyone left your party and she’d hooked up with you that night, that you’d spent the entire next morning in bed together. You must’ve sent that first text to me while still wrapped in her expensive Italian sheets. She gushed some more and said she thought you guys were moving towards making it Instagram official. She couldn’t wait to post a pic so we could all see how cute you were. Said you were sweet as pie, and we’d all just want to eat you up.
Jennifer Ostopovich is an artist who lives on the frozen plains of Canada with her family and five crazy pets. She’s working on her first novel and has words in L’Esprit Literary Review and forthcoming in Expat Literary Journal.