My mother’s confinement brought along a healthy, hopeless, yet romantic baby. She birthed a beauty, a woman, a girl of peculiar imagination, nonetheless, she birthed a monster. I always longed for the taste of true love. To love and be loved in return. My urge to split my soul with someone only grew as I witnessed my parents in all their glory, sharing their body, mind, and soul with one another. Most importantly, they shared it with me. My father had given me the sweetest of kisses before bed and poise oozed out of my mother and over me. Their passion made me proud to call them my parents. I could idle away the days dreaming about the sacred relationship between man and woman. As I grew older I conjured erotic fantasies in my mind and I could see myself and my lover as a great pair just like my mother and father. I was determined for that to be the case. By the age of 17, I was smitten by a man named Cain. Cain Letmon. After a plethora of demanding and heartbreaking relationships, I felt I’d go mad and wallow in poignant poems, throwing my dreams of love away. Then suddenly I hit the jackpot with an inexcusably seductive and steely man who nonetheless was a sweetheart to me. My boy with his brown curly hair and skin like hazelnut colored cashmere. Cain was adequate for me in every single way. Strangely enough, not in any way I had ever felt before. The previous disappointments, in which I do not care to name, were all missing something. They all eventually pushed me away from them, with their prissy attitude and feeble love songs. I found them craven and somehow I would always leave them on a whim. During a soundless night I came across an entity whom I deemed worthy of all the love I had to offer. Not only did Cain show me what love was but he also showed me what it wasn’t. I’m certain that’s what I was missing. In the early stages of our new found love, it was unbeknownst to me that Cain liked to eat most of his meat almost, if not completely raw. Though most would retch at the sight of one doing such, it enthralled me. In fact when he offered for me to try a raw deers heart with him, I leaped at the opportunity. Together Cain and I shared a fresh pristine heart while the deer hung from its hooves in the butcher room. My parents however found him distasteful. They deemed him rowdy and unfit for their daughter and at times they’d go as far to call him a ruffian. Cain had despised them as well. Cain was, I admit, nothing like my father and I grew further away from the grace of my mother which my parents blamed Cain for. Although their accusations were true, I came to the conclusion that I liked it. Our love is different from milk and honey which ethereal girls bathed in and angels spread throughout the land. Our love was an attachment which latched itself to my heart and mind and it vowed to never let me go. Cain Letmon had me in his clutch. Time progressed and I was Cain’s own personal leech, his own fantasy within his arms. Everyone noticed us, no one said a word. Cain and I would never let them, I’d go as far to say that they feared us in a way or at least undeniably feared Cain. Cain would not allow anyone to hurt me in any way, shape, or form. Anyone but him. Yes, I confess that Cain has caused me pain in a plethora of ways. He reprimands me for speaking to other men whether I have desire towards them or not- which he should know that I never do. I’m brutally chastised when I refuse to eat raw meat occasionally and his riotous actions when I do so cause me to quiver. When all the plates are smashed and his roars of anger have silenced, he bends down on his knees as if bowing to me and says I love you more times than the sun has risen in all the countries and he is quick to pleasure me to fill the void. At night sometimes I began to think that my parents were right. It’s been 3 years since I’ve left home and rightfully so they warned me of this but I refused to listen. I could not bear to hear how unfitting they say I have turned out to be. Alas it is true, I now live with two depraved monsters, Cain and the lady in the mirror which I can never escape. During a night when no light lit up the house except for a candle, Cain's rage had hit its peak. I came home during the midnight hours leaving no trace of my whereabouts to him. No table was broken, no plates had been smashed and no linens were ripped but instead Cain had broken something much more valuable than all of that combined. He had ripped my heart, as he grabbed me by the throat screaming into my ear and demanding for any explanation. I was swung into the wall and my arm was snapped, its bones were crushed. Cain blew the flame out as he walked back to bed leaving me in tears on the kitchen floor. I had decided that I had enough of this feeling that Cain called “love”. Before the birds began chirping and the sun had only peaked over the meadows, I went to Cain to tell him that I was leaving. Just like a slave begging his master to cease cruel punishment, he clung to the hem of my skirt and kissed my toes in great effort to get me to change his mind. I was overcome with a sense of insufferable misery for I was somehow not ready to let him go. However, I pulled out the version of love that I had known since I was a child and I had determined that this was not it. As I walked out the door, a few words abruptly stopped my tracks. “We can be the love you want. We can be like your mother and father.” He said. His promise of perfect love had intrigued me and of course he had given me broken promises prior to the downfall of our relationship however this time he had a plan. We would eat the hearts of the purest lovers in the land. I assumed they would come from doves, or a pair of rabbits. I had foolishly agreed to eat the hearts of the divine. It sparked a false hope in the gullible dream I held, that we could somehow be something other than the wicked beings which we had become. A dream in which Cain had planted inside me for so many years. Cain spent the day away, on a long journey to acquire what he had promised. He promised me that I had no other task than to wait at home and put on the aura of angels. He told me to bathe in milk and honey, so I did. I wore a long white dress in honor of this new rebirth which was to happen. The nightfall soon came and supper was being prepared. It was more than I could have dreamed of, peony flowers were placed in my hair to bring out the rosiness in my cheeks. Candles were lit all around the kitchen along with a white tablecloth to symbolize purity. The smell of stew like the one my mother used to cook had filled the room and Cain had given me the sweetest kiss on the cheek as I walked in with my mouth agape to this lovely experience. He pulled out my chair and I sat down in front of a hefty bowl of stew. Cain took his seat and his bowl, dare I say, was even bigger. I should have stopped to ask what, or who’s heart we would be feasting on tonight but he went out of his way to avoid giving that answer. After our prayer, Cain had dived into the gloomy red steaming soup which laid in front of him but I was still inspecting it. It smelled familiar, and all-in-all it emitted true love. My spoon brought the sauce to my lips and its smell wrapped around my nose. At the same time, Cain was nose deep in the bowl. Ravaging it with his tongue, his teeth ripped apart the chunks of heart. I took a sip and felt that It had clutched my soul in a way. I looked back up to see Cain stabbing the meat with his knife simply to pick it up, which reminded me to taste the most important part of the meal. The heart looked to be as if it was almost still beating while it rested with my fork pierced through it. It mesmerized me and I took it upon myself to bite into this perfection. One bite had left me distraught and I felt that my mouth was bleeding, my eyes rolled into the back of my brain which dug up memories of my mother. I felt her kisses on the inside of my cheek as I chewed. Her grace flowed down my throat and I smelled her perfume which captivated me. It could not be so. I stabbed my knife into Cain’s bowl which perplexed him so, he stared at me with fright as I bit down into the heart which he was about to eat. Tears flowed down my face. My father’s voice rang in my ears, and I was certain I could hear his cry as his heart was ripped from his chest. I had concluded that Cain and I were eating the purest hearts in the land, my mother and fathers’. Cain had, in essence, truly given me the love which I always wanted. The smell, the plump heart, the feeling it gave me had all made sense to me now. Cain rose from his seat but before he could move I had him clutching his throat and gasping for air. My knife was tearing through his body and my rage could not be sedated. I stabbed through until I was able to see his beating heart, black and bruised, which would never change no matter how many hearts he consumed. It was covered in leeches and repulsive hives. Vomit emerged up my throat and onto his body, black and oozing with regret and pain. In no way, shape, or form had I become anything like my parents. I kneeled over top a monster whose blood had stained my white dress. I cried because I could not understand how such lovers could birth such a disastrous creature. A hearty, healthy, and hopelessly romantic monster was not something I planned to be. I had decreed that real love was simply not for me.
About the Author Jasmine Dunigan is a creative writing minor at Columbia College Chicago.
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