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Don't Poison Your Boyfriend Without a Body Disposal Plan
It’s an inconvenient time for self-discovery, when you’re on the way to bury a body. I had recently started journaling, after all. Maybe it was starting to work!
“Okay, what have we learned today?” Talking to myself probably wasn’t the most reassuring sign of sound mental health, but aside from the birds and the squirrels and the deadweight that used to be my boyfriend rolling merrily along in the stolen toy wagon I pulled, there was no one to talk to. “Lesson number one,” I began, gesturing with a hand, “screen potential boyfriends better next time.” I should have listened to my gut, asked my mom what red flags to look for. I should have introduced him to my friends or at the very least a dog, to see if they could sniff out any character defaults that I was blind to. Oh, well, live laugh learn, I suppose.
The robins in their trees seemed proud of my newfound wisdom, my self-reflection on my mistakes. They flitted and sang in the crisp morning air, mere silhouettes on tree branches as the sun just barely began to rise. I had a small window of time between the late night drivers and the early morning joggers, and I needed to make it productive.
“Aha! Lesson two…am I a morning person after all?” I felt ironically more alive then than I had for weeks, months, years before. Maybe it’s the sunrise stroll, the mist slowly clearing— but as the wagon rattled reluctantly over a stretch of loose gravel and the trash bag thudded forlornly to the ground, I realized the true cause of my serotonin boost: adrenaline. The after effects of fight or flight and a good amount of shock had made me wonderfully, blissfully numb to the reality of what I was doing.
My attempts to return the body bag to the stolen wagon, all unsuccessful, quickly shattered this sense of numbness. The bag was too slippery, the body inside too heavy to lift even a mere two feet straight up…and the wagon refused to stay still. Each nudge of the bag pushed the shiny red Radio Flyer another few inches away. I’d steady the handle, drag the bag to close the distance, and in my futile lifting would push it away again. Roll, steady, drag, push, again and again until the wagon decided it had had enough and set off down the hill, gathering speed as it went.
Headlights shone faintly in the distance, and hysteria built and built in my chest. It swirled and spun and finally laughter burst from my lips. I couldn’t make it stop. The lights drew closer and the sun rose a bit higher while I bent wheezing over the body bag. I cackled with the crows that hopped about in the trees with glee. We were all mad that morning. Was there something in the mist?
I dragged the bag over the gravel and off the road, giggling still as I did. When we were almost safe amongst the trees the bag caught on the sharp end of a fallen branch. The material stretched; the car approached; I pulled, and the bag tore. I flew backward into the ground with a thud that pushed all the air from my lungs in a single gust. The headlights neared and the dawn was brilliantly bright white— then they were quickly receding and I was once again gasping like a fish for air in the near-dark.
The trash bag was useless in my hand, a dead limp thing with the life torn out of it. I shoved it down into my pocket and surveyed the scene. He lay awkwardly splayed at the entrance of the forest floor, half-draped over a log. Do I leave him here? None of my people know of him, and none of his of me. But my fingerprints were on his clothes, eventually it would come back to me. “To the river it is!” I announced triumphantly to the ever-lightening sky.
We made our way down the hill together, my brief love and I. The water would wash away the evidence of my involvement, and then it would be like this had never happened. Would I wonder in a month, in two, if I had imagined the whole thing? We had no pictures together, no physical mementos of the moments we’d shared. And that’s all it had been, really. Moments. Guilt began to creep in, ever so softly and quietly now that the laughter was gone.
“You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it,” I said, and wondered if my therapist would be proud of me for remembering the quote. New goal, I thought as I trekked back up the hill, no more spontaneous murders. Easy, right? Go, me.
A glint in the grass caught my eye as I turned to look for the wagon. I knelt, my jeans already soaked from the river and the morning dew, and poked around in the blades with a finger. It was a silver key, almost shiny and new but not quite. It looked familiar…but all keys look the same, don’t they? I realized I was shivering— I hadn’t felt the morning’s chill until now and it set in deep, sinking into my bones. A whispered suspicion floated across my mind. Just check, it said. I pulled out my keyring from my pocket and sorted through the metal until I found my home key. I held the two up to the light to examine them, the sun fully over the horizon now. One silver, one gold; one barely used, the other dinged and scarred with late nights of fumbling and missing the keyhole. I turned them on the side and pressed them together, running a finger over the edge. Identical.
I hadn’t given him a copy of my house key. Why would he have it? When had he made it?
I added the second copy of the key to the ring where it clanked happily into place with the others. My guilt was gone.