I’m eating my boyfriend, Taro. Not in the flirty or kinky sense. I’m literally chewing his body parts and swallowing them.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t kill Taro to eat him. It’s the other way around: I’m eating him because he died. Why? Because I don’t want to lose him. You see, every food that you consume becomes your blood, your skin. A part of you. And I want that for Taro. To become a part of me.
Except for his teeth and bones, I’ve already devoured most of him: head, limbs, torso, lower half. Only his brain, eyes, penis, and heart remain.
The parts that I loved the most.
From the refrigerator, I pull out the plate containing Taro’s brain. Next, I carry it to the bloodied kitchen table — cutting and eating him has turned our little apartment into a butcher’s shop — slice a gelatinous piece of brain and shove into my mouth. The fatty taste brings up the contents of my stomach, but I force them down with a glass of water. It used to be worse; whole evenings of choking. Puking. Shrieking.
The more I ate, the more the days passed, the easier it became. In fact, raw human meat — I kept it in its pure state — doesn’t sicken me anymore (it only makes me ill from time to time). Or maybe I feel that way because it’s Taro’s, who was like my own flesh.
I cut another bit and nibble at it. Eating his bank of memories gradually stirs mine. More specifically the first time I met him. And his brain.
That day, I sat at my favorite sushi restaurant in Shinjuku when I noticed a guy sitting next to me. Thin nose. Thick hair. Slender eyebrows. His good looks didn’t catch my eye; it was the way he looked at me. Not like a pervert. More like a painter who’d found his perfect muse.
My tongue finally reacted. “What?”
“Nothing. I like the way you chew.”
I should have ignored this stranger. But having just moved to Tokyo to study medicine, I had zero friends. So I developed this bad habit of paying attention to any person who noticed I existed. “Why?”
“You do it silently, eyes shut,” he said, “like you’re telling yourself a secret.”
I averted his monolid eyes. “I don’t have any secrets.”
“C’mon, everyone has secrets.”
“Then tell one yourself.”
“All right.” Blushing, the guy faced the sushi parading on the conveyor belt. “The thing is, I come here often too — and I’ve been watching you a bit too much. Hope it’s not creepy.”
“Not as creepy as liking how I chew.”
“I have weird taste.”
I let out a snicker that ended as a sigh. Why was I always unaware of the existence of the people who noticed mine? That was my life: a collection of meaningful moments that I never experienced.
“Your turn to tell a secret,” the guy said.
“I told you, I don’t have any.”
“You do, I’ll tell you one.”
I nodded. This guy was creepy and strange.
From the conveyor belt, he fished out a sushi cone crowned with amber roe and cucumber slices. “You don’t believe in love, or soulmates, not even in the soul. To you, they’re just words that people created so their dreams can have a name, and last longer.”
The seaweed of the cone cracked in his grip.
“But secretly, you wanna believe that you’re wrong. That people give affection for free, or take it back to let another be happy. That love is as real as heartbreaks. And most of all, that there’s someone who can make you feel less lonely, more complete. Someone who’s having these same exact thoughts now.”
I gazed at my reflection in the man’s eyes. His words felt deeply intimate, as though I’d just whispered them to myself.
That day, I fell in love with Taro’s brain, a week later with his eyes, a month after with his heart; bit by bit, I assembled the pieces together until I loved the whole person.
The only person who made me feel whole.
One hand rubbing my belly — to try to soothe my stomachache — the other holding the plate with Taro’s eyeballs, I lumber across the bloodstained floor and to the table. But I don’t eat the eyes immediately. I look at them looking back at me. Like they always did. When I ate, I slept, the second I woke.
This only happens during a relationship’s honeymoon stage. While the satellite still shines. Taro, however, kept looking at me the same way even after four years. One night in the bath, I asked him why.
“For the same reason I looked at you the first time we met.” He stopped scrubbing my back to stare at my reflected self in the mirror. “Because I wanted you to look at me, and because you wanted to be looked at.”
I pulled my eyes from the mirror. “Funny, I’ve been wanting to be looked at my whole life, but I’m not much to look at.”
“Hey.” With the gentleness of a breeze, Taro lifted my face from my chin. “What do you see?”
“I see … myself looking at myself.”
“Try again,” he said.
“I see … a girl who knows zero about herself.”
Taro waved his head from side to side. “You’re seeing a girl who attracted twenty guys — including me. A girl who robbed my heart four years ago. A girl who’s made me fall in love with her one hundred times, and I’m still counting.”
I twisted around and touched my lips with Taro’s, suddenly not caring whether I was beautiful or not, as long as I was beautiful for him. Because he was the only man I wanted to attract, date, and seduce. The only one I wanted to woo again and again, until I died.
Or until he died.
When I open my eyes, I realize in shock that I’ve eaten Taro’s; they’re gone and my mouth is filled with slimy goo. Maybe my memories not only held hostage my thoughts but my senses. Now that they’ve returned, a bottomless hollowness consumes me. A reality. I’ll never see Taro again. I’ll never see Taro standing in the same spot after we’d said goodbye. I’ll never see Taro smiling at me when I wake up in the morning. I’ll never see Taro looking at me when I want to be looked at by him.
Instead, I only see an empty plate.
An empty home.
Sitting on my plate is Taro’s penis, plus his testicles. Clutching the shaft with both hands, I insert it into my mouth. Gastric acids crawl up and down my throat. Not because of revulsion; I’ve been feeling nauseous recently, surely due to my cannibalistic diet.
But I don’t let that stop me. I bite the penis’ flaccid skin and pull. Blood sprinkles on my face as the head rolls onto my tongue. I chew. This body part tastes familiar — like skin, mainly — since it’s been in my mouth loads of times.
I loved to go down on Taro, looking up to catch sight of his eyes turned into slits by pleasure. Then I would close mine and focus on his moans. On the sound of my name coming from his lips. On his hands holding my back instead of the back of my head, as though silently telling me, I’m melting in bliss. But I’m still here. And I know you’re here.
What I loved the most, obviously, was to have Taro actually inside me. Me on top. Me underneath. My favorite position was when I laid on my back with my legs on his shoulders and let him enter facing me. He could penetrate me the deepest this way. I enjoyed the feeling. And the idea. Of being the closest as we could be, our souls almost kissing each other, our universes almost melding into one.
Unfortunately, this union wouldn’t last long. Soon Taro would climax and we would be two separate lumps of flesh again.
But not this time. Taro’s penis won’t leave my body. It will stay inside me forever.
In an eternal lovemaking.
I stagger my way to the refrigerator. My stomachache and nausea finally decide to attack together. Still, I keep forging ahead, until my hand grasps the fridge and I haul out the steel pot containing Taro’s heart — the organ I wanted to preserve the best. I did a pretty good job. Perhaps it could even have been used for a transplant.
With shaky steps, I carry the pot to the table and dig out Taro’s heart. Immediately, the blood that bathed it drips on the plate. I should have used a bowl. Anyway, I slump myself on the chair and stare at the heart, mine thumping. As it did every time Taro told me that he loved me or made love to me.
Love. That was our last topic of conversation.
We were standing behind Tokyo Skytree’s observation deck, watching the sun setting clouds ablaze. The red reminded me of love. And blood.
“The sun’s hurting your eyes?” Taro asked, perhaps noticing a slight crease between my brows.
I shook my head. “It’s just, I can’t take out of my mind that news — about the fourteen-year-old who stabbed her seventeen-year-old boyfriend to death.”
Taro nodded. “Love makes people do all kinds of things. Give birth, commit murder, commit suicide. You never know what people would do for love. Only that it’ll be crazy.”
“What about you? What would you do for love?”
“I’d give you a kidney, a lung, or any organ if you needed it.”
“That’s so romantic it makes me wanna puke,” I joked.
“No, I’m serious. I rather lose a body part than lose all of yours.”
“Speaking about the body,” I said. “Did you go to the doctor to check your chest pain?”
“I’ll go tomorrow. Bet it’s nothing serious.”
I pressed my ear to his chest. His heart beat steadily, like a metronome. “Take care of that heart. You love me with it.”
“That’s not true.”
My jaw dropped. “No?”
“I love you with every inch of my body. My heart, my brain, even with my liver and pancreas.”
Yes, Taro loved me with his whole body.
Unfortunately, bodies don’t last forever.
Clawing my fingernails into Taro’s heart, I bite off the aorta. In my mouth, the blood mingles with my tears and snot. Why did this heart have to fail? Why did it have to kill Taro?
My mind takes me back to that day. When I woke up in the morning and saw that Taro wasn’t looking at me. He lay on his side of the bed, stone-still. I tried everything: I called his name, tickled him, shook him. Nothing. Panicking, I pressed my ear to his heart. The metronome had turned into a broken clock.
For the next few minutes, I stayed like that, begging the clock to tick again. Please, please, please. It didn’t listen to me.
That was when I remembered Taro’s chest pain — that must have been the onset of a heart attack. Or a sudden cardiac arrest.
Strangely, I didn’t wail or scream. I just snuggled under Taro’s arm with my tears dampening his ribs, wondering what to do next. Stop my heart too? No, I was supporting my parents financially. Call the hospital? Never. They would send Taro to the morgue and the morgue would send him underground. I would lose him. But what was the alternative? Keeping him inside our refrigerator? I couldn’t hide him there forever.
I needed a place where the police could never find Taro, where he could continue living like the organs of transplant donors. That was when the idea came to me: to chop him into chunks and eat him. To hide him inside my body.
A task that’s complete; there are no remains of Taro on the pot, nor in the refrigerator.
Satisfied, I fall to the hard floor, blood and bile dripping from my lips, my stomach full but my muscles lacking the slightest drop of energy. But that’s all right. I don’t have to move. I don’t have to do anything. Because I’m happy. Because Taro and I will be one. Because we will be together.
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