Beautiful Cadavers

Sometimes he brings me a single one. Sometimes half a dozen, tied up with a piece of wire. For you, he says. His lips curl up, his eyes are smiling. They’re cold and can be a bit stiff—he keeps them in the freezer overnight. But I don’t mind.

I close my eyes and smell them first. In an outrageous bout of necrolatry, I admire the deep red and pale white. Their graceful poise when I put them on display fills me with joy. I almost forget that they’re in fact dead. That they were knifed, their limbs severed, bodies mutilated. That their startling beauty is nothing more than an illusion. And from now on, every passing moment will take a bit of it away.

I don’t know whether he kills them himself or pays someone else to do it, and why should it matter anyway? They died to please me. Does that make me a murderer?

As the week goes by, they wrinkle and start drying up. The decay sets in. Their colour fades, the beautiful smell is all but gone. Their heads lull lifelessly, and I can’t bear watching them rot in my living room any longer. It’s time to organise a funeral.

I grieve for them as I lay the withered bodies to rest. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. I mourn the beauty that was lost. For what? Infuriated, I make up my mind. This time, I will be resolute and ask him to stop.

But then Saturday comes along. The doorbell rings, and I find him at the door again with his hand behind his back. His lips curl up, and his eyes are smiling. He insists on bringing me roses every time. I find it hard to resist these beautiful cadavers.

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