I once lived with a woman who aspired to be an eyeball.
Her limbs, she said, were in the way. I worked at a hotel. The hours were long and most evenings I was gone. That was when the urge, she said, was strongest. I returned to find her hacking at her wrists in the kitchen. She used a paring knife.
Once we had a picnic and everything I packed was soft or had a rounded edge. She was smiling and scratching her neck.
She said even if the limbs could be done away with, an eyelash, a strand of hair blown across her forehead could be offensive.
I’d find a thumb in the garden.
I took her to the opera. She raked her nails across her jaw. The lights went off, and when they came back on her skin was raised and red as cornrows.
I found an arm like a blooming onion in our compost.
We enjoyed Sunday brunch, a New York Times spread open to the travel section.
Once, I thought, I might’ve told her enough.
She’d drop her hand to my thigh and say, “Soon there will be no once. Only a pageant of happenings with no blinking intermissions.”
Our garbage disposal gurgled. It spat flecks of skin the color of cherry pits. It choked on our bones.
I found a skin sack floating in the bath.
“This is personal,” I said. “Not mine. I know.”
She assured me, what I owned, I owned solely. How, for instance, a thing could happen to me. She wanted a bedtime story.
“Once,” I said, “two men on a bike ran over my foot. I dropped something heavy. I can’t remember what. One of the men looked back, and shouted, ‘We’re sorry.’”
She scratched her bound ear with a bandaged wrist. “We cannot be sorry,” she said.
And I agreed.
“What?” She said.
And I said I agreed.