Whenever I catch myself in the bathroom mirror my self has an air about it like it has been dead for about a month, the face melting like sap. Phantasmal beyond spouting from its eyeholes. I try to scoop up the face and glob it back together but each time it slinks out of my hand into unruly despair. The truth is I need to go to a face repairman, but I haven’t the money and I’m too dumb to coordinate government health insurance.
I’ve tried my own experiments. Ice cream bath, the allegorical beach. Other potential face replacements. But they vibrate uncomfortably. Some leave mysterious hairs on the sink.
While coming back from church I notice that the face is gone. The face has simply rolled away like a bored ball of clams.
Recently I read a scientific theory that autographs can orgasm. Likely what has taken effect here. My face jerked and screamed to a separate astral plane and got stuck. I’m brand new! It is somewhere in the multiverse screaming.
I call my twelve brothers. I think there are about 12. I can’t tell how many actually make it. Order me a burrito, I say to my vague sense of their movement. And I would like some LSD. As if they are Siri.
I’m interested in the sexual possibilities of my divide, one orgasm of language, to accompany that of face. I seduce what I take to be the burrito delivery guy while waiting for the LSD or for my brain to adios of its own method. I can still come! I take my brain to the dog park as a reward. (Its favorite place.)
Since the end of my face I’ve let go my apartment (no point now in devastated goldfish). I’m squatting in a bike shop. I figure anyone who comes to this new palace and sees me will be too afraid to bother. Wrong! Soon there is a robber. I can tell by his loud footsteps and answer when I ask who it is: “It is Tom, the robber.”
As he tears down the towel I had been using as a door I hear a whisper from the wound where my face used to be. Shhh shh, she tells me, it will be ok.
When the robber takes my hand I realize with a simple twist my left pinky easily unscrews. I try this instead of wondering why the robber has taken my hand.
The toes too, come off in my hand like hunks of butter. Cute! I make a mental note about toe bracelets.
Now the left arm. Jeronimo! With each part gone I become more the wind. The robber (gasping and sputtering), the room, the day all exist less. I take off the left leg for symmetry, and yank out some of the inside guck (easier to get at without a leg).
Something odd fills the holes. A new skin, somehow in several worlds, as if paused in a revolving door.
I let myself feel the air. The breeze. Then keep going. I tear my earlobe blood vessel nipple hair self apart and lay it down fresh on the floor of the bike shop. An offering to eternity. A device to end time. With one eyeball I look at the towel and imagine what it’s used for. It radiates newness. With the other I walk away.
Image Credit: “The False Mirror,” René Magritte (1928)
Zoe Goldstein lives in Brooklyn and teaches English Comp at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Other stories can be found in Cosmonauts Avenue, Fanzine, PANK, and elsewhere. Be her friend @zoesalamander.