I round the corner and my skin is bubbling with hot vicious; behind me a cape of fire billows out. The ground hisses under my tread and I have to resist the urge to remove my own eyes. I need to feel pain or to administer it, and with every step I have to take before I reach him, the urge to self-immoliate grows. My fists are already clenched and my breath is short. I’m not even thinking about what I’m going to do. I’m just channelling all my energy, swirling and distributing it around my body so I cannot do myself any damage. My muscles are ready to tear from my bone and thrash me into a black nova sun.
The first smash connects like the first sip of strong liquor, dribbled down an unwary chin, and I know that I need to make the second one count. So I smash the fucker again, and this time something gives. I think it is my knuckle dislocating but I realise that it is a cheekbone. He sinks to his knees and I burst into tears, because I don’t feel sorry for him at all, and I know that his last hope – and mine – has gone.
He falls agonisingly slowly, begging to be caught, so I wait until he is lying on his back. I straddle him the way you have straddled me so often and I instinctively grab the loop of his belt like you do when your mouth is homing in on me. But this is just to steady myself. I am no tease. I mean what I do. My right fist pounds and pounds and pounds until it is numb and I realise I am not getting any satisfaction anymore, and I have to switch to my weaker left. By now, I’m tickling a mannequin. My blows are weak and he is fading fast. Flecks of blood form the spokes of a sundial in a crescent. I can feel my upper body draining fast. I’m expending too much just holding him up enough to get a good shot in. So I let him drop and I stand up, ready to work my powerful legs on his torso. I’ll break three of his ribs, and do my best to dislocate his kneecaps but only twist my ankle in the process. As I stumble, injuring myself against a barely conscious string of flesh, I feel a new wrath fizzle up my spine but I’m too weak by now to continue. My face is a sloppy mess of tears and sweat and the salt stings my eyes and lips. I try to unclench my fist and I realise I cannot. I’m now fused, cursed in this position of violence. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to finger you again through your panties.
I leave him behind to reflect on what has happened. He’ll survive his injuries I’m sure. I am too weak a man to do any real damage. Physically and emotionally, I’ll never hurt anyone intentionally. That’s my exhonoration and my failure.
I still have a scar on my knuckle. It was only later, when I’d calmed down, that I realised my leg was wet. I’d jammed my fist into my pocket and split open an already wide gash, and now blood was dribbling down my thigh through my jeans. I guess I’d caught myself on a tooth. Or perhaps on his cheek. I cannot remember. There was so much of his blood on me, it never occurred that some of it might be mine as well. He’d never even landed a shot.
I wish I hadn’t done it now. I felt like that moment was my entire life compressed like matter before the Big Bang. It was supposed to create a Universe for us, but you took it away with you and now I float empty, waiting to be harvested, feeling my skin become more loose and fragile as papyrus. I’d never say that I wish I hadn’t met you. I’ll take the happiness and the pain over feeling neutral. But sometimes I wish I could forget. I cry now when I see his face, and this time I cry for the right reasons. Because he was a pitiable creature and I was inhuman. We were both animals but only one of us properly healed. Only one of us can call themselves human again.