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That night I went to her apartment and she had turned off all the lights and placed lit candles in every room. I knew this was a message of some kind because she was expecting me; she knew I was on the way like a soldier returning from duty that winter, 1995.

She was standing still in the bathroom when I walked in. She said, “I am the mirror,” a reference to Borges, I assumed. 

She said, “I’m beginning to appear in people’s dreams,” but she was not showing up in mine; instead, I had nightmares of her pet rabbit digesting my cherished books. 

One morning I got up to find her rabbit, named Mobius—or  Maibus or Marduke, it was a long time ago (two decades after all)—had chewed up  my copy of William T. Vollmann’s Fathers and Crows, pieces of pages scattered about the apartment like dead infantry at Gettysburg; little brown rabbit turds placed as grave markers, the dingleberries of literary anguish. 

That night of the candles, she held up her left hand, showed me the black band on her ring finger and proclaimed, “This is to remind me I am married to myself,” like a decree on witch’s parchment, complete with spittle, menstrual blood and rabbit hair—something she made a vow to, three years prior when she was in a mental institution, those days when she was convinced billboard ads were relaying secret coded messages from space aliens and every person who crossed her path was a black ops NSA/CIA agent gangstalking her. 

“My brain is okay now,” she told me, “I don’t believe that shit anymore.” 

I had my doubts after she would sit in my lap and tell me to pinch her nipples hard and put my hand around her neck and squeeze, squeeze damn you, Mike, like I had the intent of harm and desire: the roleplay of aroused fear, being trapped by a villain—and later she lied to people saying I was amorously rough: it was my idea, she claimed, not her request and require, denying she would whisper to me how she liked to masturbate for hours: “One time I made myself  come ten times in a row.” 

I entered her world of pain and delight, her desire like Odysseus returned home and slaying all the suitors seeking to take his wife and land and aspire like Odin chained to the tree, bleeding from the eye and sacrificed as all gods eventually are: the necessity for myth and faith, the spiritual trap of the test.

[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/hemmingson.html]


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