A few years ago, I had a brain tumor removed. It was deep and the doctors had to be aggressive; my husband and I prepared for the worst. Miraculously, I survived with only one complication. I can’t feel anger, happiness, sadness, hate, or love. Because of this, my relationship with the world changed. Feelings of love or hate mutated into labels of usefulness or convenience.
At first, my husband and I retained a semblance of normalcy—I could still hold hands, kiss, and smile—but ultimately, the gestures were empty. He tried to be understanding. There were different therapies and drugs, but nothing helped and his anger built up with every emotionless “I love you”. We argued constantly. Logically, I understood his anger and sadness; we both wanted what we lost. Emotionally, I was incapable of empathizing. Over time our marriage became too inconvenient, so I ended it.
I’ve had lovers since, though I’ve never loved them. I’d go through the motions to make them happy, but they’d see through the act eventually. Then the honeymoon would end and the useless cycle would start again: anger, arguments, sadness. I had to end those relationships, too.
I don’t know why I pursue relationships; I don’t feel sad or lonely and I don’t lack for sex. Maybe I’m nostalgic for the life I had with my husband before the surgery. Or maybe it’s to have another person to share in the general monotony of life. It’s convenient… until it isn’t.
Which brings me to my current partner, Liam. He’s seen the person behind the curtain and the honeymoon is over. First he was angry, but then he decided I needed to be fixed, talking about therapy and drug treatments. I told him I can’t be fixed and to stop going on about such useless things. For days after, he’d been suspiciously quiet.
As I’m in the kitchen preparing dinner, he storms in with the name and number of a doctor, insisting I see them. Saying nothing, I turn my back to him and stir the spaghetti sauce. He throws the pot across the room. He’s angry that I won’t talk about it. He’s angry that I can’t be angry. I stare at the mess on the floor and sigh. I guess it’s finally time to end this relationship.
I pick up the large cast iron skillet and slam it into his head, making sure the side connects with the thin temple bone. He looks surprised as his skull crumples and he falls to the ground unmoving. As I check for a pulse, blood pools underneath him and mixes with the sauce. What a mess. Sighing, I wrap his head in a towel and drag his body to the garage. Pulling the tarp and boxes off the large chest freezer, I heft his body inside. I have to use all my weight to shove him down far enough so I can close it. It’s getting pretty full in there. How inconvenient.