“I’m almost done, stop moving,” he said.
I tried not to squirm. The razor blade he was lightly dabbing over my skin was not drawing a lot of blood. Just turning the raised incisions a light pink.
“How is that a star? It looks… Hey! It looks like a pentagram!”
“I’m not a fucking idiot, let me do my job, okay?” He focused, tightening his grim on my wrist.
I hoped the scar would heal soon. It would look perfect. A simple star, right on my arm. Where it was supposed to be, not unique, but unique to my skin.
“You do this a lot?”
“Only on myself,” he said.
“Huh.” I felt confused for the first time. The dip in my stomach made me scared. I tried to destroy it like I was beating out a fire with a towel. Hurriedly. “And you don’t like, hate how much it hurts?” As I thought about the pain, I did realize how much I was feeling.
“Well, I’m used to it, like I said.” His laugh was a breath, his smile a wisp of that breath.
There was plenty of silence to follow. I tried to search his eyes but they hardly contained anything, kept anything, relayed anything that wasn’t interlaced with hollowness or bitterness or pain. It was very hard to feel.
“Chris?” I asked him.
His eyes remained cast down. But when I looked up, he did, and I felt myself shocked by their openness. It was like a light switch was in his head, and it was on a timer, but a wonky one, that didn’t know a way of time that I knew.
“I love you,” I said.
“I know,” He said. He looked back down at his work. I reached out with my free hand and grabbed his chin. It had the scruff of stubble, the hardness of youth.
“I said, I love you. Don’t bullshit me, Christopher Wilder.”
“I love you, too.” He said. It sounded like he was trying to decide what form of death penalty he wanted to administer to himself. It was shut off. An old hospital. Disease in the walls, disease in the air ducts. No one wanting to go in to bother the death and the derelict furnishings anymore.
I leaned forward, trying to kiss him. His kiss back felt like it was just waiting to pull away. I did before he could, but he gave me a look, like he was surprised. I didn’t know how to respond to it.
I didn’t know if I was meant to love him or not.