Just a Little Spice Will Do
by Andrew Wilmot
When Alex arrived home Sunday night with an overflowing grocery bag tucked under each arm, she saw her girlfriend doubled over at the waist, retching violently into the kitchen sink.
“Lindy?” She dropped both bags and rushed over.Lindy gripped the edge of the counter and heaved again, spitting a viscous strand of amaranth red into the stainless steel sink; it came out of her in small globules strung together like Christmas lights. Alex put one hand on her back andthe other on her shoulder, but Lindy flinched, shuddering as if they were blocks of ice. It was then Alex noticed the rectangular Tupperware container on the countertop to Lindy’s right. Next to it, a thin sausage wedge of Alex’s heart beat gently on one of her mother’s China plates. She looked inside the plastic container and noticed a new gash in the organ, a little south of the left atrium.
Full transcript after the cut.
[Theme music plays.]
Hello! Welcome to GlitterShip episode 27 for May 10th, 2016. The end of the semester hit a little harder than expected, so I ended up shifting the May episodes back a week.
For today, however, I have GlitterShip's second Original story, "Just A Little Spice Will Do" by Andrew Wilmot, with a return by guest reader S. Qiouyi Lu.
Listener warnings for relationship conflict, similarities to eating disorders, and loving cannibalism.
ANDREW WILMOT is a writer, editor, and artist living in Toronto, Ontario. He is a graduate of the SFU Master in Publishing program and spends his days writing as much as possible and painting stupidly large pieces. His fiction has been published by Found Press, Drive In Tales, The Singularity, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and the story “When I’m Old, When I’m Grey” was the winner of the 2015 Friends of Merril Short Fiction Competition. He works as a freelance reviewer, academic editor, and substantive editor. For more on his work and creative pursuits: http://andrewwilmot.ca/about/cv/
S. Qiouyi Lu 陸秋逸 is a writer, artist, narrator, and translator whose work has appeared in Clarkesworld, inkscrawl, and The Cascadia Subduction Zone. In their spare time, they enjoy destroying speculative fiction as a dread member of the queer Asian SFFH illuminati. S. currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with a tiny black cat named Thin Mint. You can visit their site at s.qiouyi.lu or follow them on Twitter as @sqiouyilu."
Just a Little Spice Will Do
by Andrew Wilmot
When Alex arrived home Sunday night with an overflowing grocery bag tucked under each arm, she saw her girlfriend doubled over at the waist, retching violently into the kitchen sink.
“Lindy?” She dropped both bags and rushed over.Lindy gripped the edge of the counter and heaved again, spitting a viscous strand of amaranth red into the stainless steel sink; it came out of her in small globules strung together like Christmas lights. Alex put one hand on her back and the other on her shoulder, but Lindy flinched, shuddering as if they were blocks of ice. It was then Alex noticed the rectangular Tupperware container on the countertop to Lindy’s right. Next to it, a thin sausage wedge of Alex’s heart beat gently on one of her mother’s China plates. She looked inside the plastic container and noticed a new gash in the organ, a little south of the left atrium.
She frowned. “I told you I’d be right back with stuff for dinner.”
Lindy turned, glared at Alex. “Figures you wouldn’t want me to taste this!”
“Taste what? Lindy, love, I don’t understand.”
“It’s rotten!” She pointed accusatorily at Alex’s heart.
“That’s not possible.” Alex surveyed her heart.Several small wedges had been cut away—battle scars pocking the bruise-coloured surface. The organ beat calmly, like clockwork, like there was absolutely nothing wrong. “Looks just fine to me.”
Lindy thrust a blood- and fatty tissue-coated fork at Alex. “Try it yourself. Go ahead, make a liar out of me.”
“Taste it! Then try and tell me everything’s fine.”
Alex relented, accepting the fork. She suspected her heart would taste a little off no matter what, in that way that anything chilled tasted at room temperature. She could feel Lindy staring at the back of her head, wearing her mother’s scowl—the same Alex had seen when, after six months together,they went on a week’s vacation to Johannesburg to meet her parents. Lindy’s mother had taken one look at the pale, freckled Irish girl with the decidedly un-Irish name and told her daughter that she would starve to death on someone with such a sour, unfeeling heart. Lindy was quick to protest, but her mother silenced her as if she were still in primary school. She sniffed the air between them, wafting in then imperceptible scent of their nascent vintage. “There’s poison in you,” she said, at last, to Alex. “You’ll ruin my good girl. You’ll be the death of her.”
Neither spoke afterwards of the incident. Indeed, Alex had very nearly forgotten about it, and likely would have were it not for Lindy standing behind her at that moment, waiting expectantly for her to sample her own disposition.
Alex carved a small triangle from the space above the left ventricle. She put it to her nose, sniffed. She heard Lindy tsk dismissively, as if Alex were admitting complicit behaviour in whatever it was she was being accused of. Not wanting to give her further ammunition, Alex forked the tiny fragment of muscle into her mouth and started to chew. It was tougher than she remembered—a little like biting into a half-inch slab of pickled ginger—but it tasted the same as it ever had, like unsalted ham with a slight metallic aroma.
“It tastes fine,” she said after swallowing. “Like normal.”
Lindyappeared wounded. “I never thought you’d do this to me. I didn’t think you could do this. To me.”
“Love, I don’t—”
“You’re lying!” Lindy shouted. “It tastes rotten, like, like bad eggs, or beef left on a sidewalk in the rain.”
“How would you know what either of those taste like?” Alex said jokingly.
“Don’t—” Lindy pointed to the heart again. “It’s gone bad. It isn’t . . .You’ve let someone else taste it, haven’t you?”
“What? No, of course not!”
“Don’t lie to me!”
“I’m not!” They were interrupted just then by a sharp thumping against the wall—their neighbours to the west.Alex exhaled, lowered her voice. “I’m telling you the truth.”
Lindy looked away, wiped tears from her eyes with the back of her hand. “There’s still so much of it left. I don’t understand how.”
“It’s yours and yours alone. I swear it.”
Lindy shook her head. “I . . . I just don’t know if I . . .”
Alex took her hand. Lindy resisted at first, then let her squeeze, pull her closer. Alex stared at her lovingly. “Everything I am belongs to you.”
In the staff room the next morning, a half hour before the start of first period, Alex went up to Claire, said her hellos, and poured a mug of coffee. Claire was a mid-forty-ish two-time divorcee who taught sixth grade.She took one look at Alex’s heavy-lidded eyes and pulled her to the window for a sidebar.
“You look like shit,” she said once they were out of range of the other teachers.
“Hi, Claire, it is a lovely day, isn’t it?”
Claire scoffed. “Crumpet, don’t even. What’s wrong?”
“It’s not nothing.”
Alex sighed. “It’s Lindy . . . and it’s me, and . . . I don’t know. Something’s not right between us.”
Claire smiled slyly, wiggled her fingers in a lewd gesture. Alex shook her head. “No, that’s not it.”
“Out with it then,” said Claire. Sensing Alex’s reluctance, she added, “I’ve heard it all. There’s nothing you can say that’ll shock me.”
“It’s just . . . my heart. She said it tasted—”
“Rotten. Like meat left under a radiator for a month.”
“How would she know—?”
“Right?” Alex shook her head. “Anyway, I tried a piece and I didn’t notice anything off about it.”
“Well of course you wouldn’t. You never mind the flavour of your own recipe, dear. Dennis, my first husband, he used to say that every time he passed wind—one man’s sulphur was another’s potpourri.”
Alex knitted her eyebrows together. “Seems a bit reductive.”
“But true nonetheless.”
“I suppose . . .” Alex sipped her coffee and thought back to the quite subtle aftertaste of her heart, like pocket change resting on the back of her tongue.
She remembered what it was like seeing Lindy’s heart for the first time. She presented it early on; it was only their fifth date. Alex recalled it perfectly, how Lindy had run excitedly into the kitchen after they made love for the first time and returned with a ceramic rim bowl hand-painted with concentric rings. She cradled it in both hands as if she feared it would slip from her grip at the slightest breath.
“I’ve not done this before,” Lindy said. “Ever, actually.” She climbed back into bed and raised the bowl between them. The organ smelled dense with images and sounds; a host of thoughts and memories trespassed in Alex’s mind, as if she were viewing a series of home movies from Lindy’s childhood. She shut her eyes and inhaled acutely, allowed the odour of Lindy’s heart to glide down her oesophagus with the ease of crema. She opened her eyes again and saw Lindy holding a knife and fork between her knuckles like a peace sign. Alex took the utensils and Lindy watched — nervously, excitedly —as she cut a small but perfect equilateral triangle from the very centre of the muscular organ. Lindy’s heart beat faster as Alex cut, as she pulled out the piece from the whole, as she placed it slithering, squirming on her tongue and started to chew.She felt her devotion grow with every bite, and when she swallowed, Lindy released a heavenly sigh;when she wiped clean her lips, returning to the moment, Alex saw something new and fearful in Lindy’s eyes: trust.
“You don’t have to give me yours right away,” Lindy was quick to say. “But I’m ready, whenever you are. It’s important you know—you can trust me.”
But Alex hadn’t waited long. It was only their next date when she told Lindy she had a surprise for her. She’d asked her to close her eyes and open her mouth. Lindy did so, stifling whatever anxious thoughts she felt as she waited with her mouth agape like a child at the dentist’s.
Earlier that day, Alex had gone to her parents’ home and taken her heart out of the chest freezer in the garage. It had been buried beneath containers of frozen leftovers; her father hadn’t bothered to clean out the freezer in years—that had been her mother’s job. About the only thing he touched out there were the boxed bottles of their vintage stacked one on top of another.
Alex was careful not to disturb him when retrieving her heart; since her mother’s death, her father drank another pint of their mixed A-O every night, becoming evermore intoxicated by their shared history. When Alex tried to encourage him to go out and meet someone new, he responded by drunkenly throwing a bottle of their third year’s marriage at her, painting the wall behind her with glass-flecked blood.
Back in her apartment, Alex set her heart on the counter to thaw and went to run errands. When she returned home that afternoon, the organ was valve-deep in a pool of watery blood that tasted as flavourless as a movie theatre soda. With only an hour before her date, she quickly carved out a small section of her heart, which she then proceeded to dry and cut into even smaller triangles, each identical to the last in shape and size. Then, upon tasting one of the small pieces and finding it lacking, she whipped up a quick balsamic and extra virgin olive oil glaze, threw the pieces into a salad bowl, and drizzled them lavishly.
That night she sat on the bed with her legs crossed facing Lindy, the lightly dressed pieces of heart marinating in the bowl between them. Lindy sniffed the air suspiciously, crinkled her nose at—Oh, shit, I used too much vinegar, Alex realized. She started to panic, the pieces of heart beginning to hop and bounce in the bowl. She took out a piece—one of the more abundantly coated triangles—and, before she could chicken out, tossed it into Lindy’s waiting mouth.Lindy clamped down to keep the piece of heart from leaping out of her mouth and onto the bedspread. Alex watched, a perfect mix of eagerness and terror, as Lindy chewed, slowly at first, then faster, nodding her head as she worked her way through the leathery, tougher than anticipated meat.
“I-is it all right?” Alex asked.
Lindy opened her eyes. At first Alex was unable to read her expression—she looked a little like an infant relieved to have finished their plate of Brussels sprouts. Then she smiled warmly and hugged Alex, careful not to tip over the bowl between them.
“It was more than all right,” she said at last, kissing the words into Alex’s ear.
“You know,” Claire said, “that bastard cheated on me with the neighbour’s wife no less than three times. Know how I could tell? Each time he tried to surprise me by beating me home from work and firing up the grill. Thought he could slather his leftover gristle in barbeque sauce and seasoning and it wouldn’t still taste like warmed over piss, but let me tell you, that kind of betrayal doesn’t go away, even if you dress it up all pretty. You put a suit and tie on a pig and he’s still going to taste like mud.”
Alex’s face slumped as if it were being pulled down at the seams. “That’s what Lindy thinks. That I’ve cheated on her.”
“No!” Heads turned at the unexpected outburst. “No,” she repeated, softer. “Certainly not.”
“And you’re not, you know, having any other problems?”
Alex shrugged shyly. “I don’t really get along with her mother. I’ve tried, it’s just— I’m not what she envisioned, I guess.” She shook her head. “I’m not sure if that’s it.”
“Then maybe you just need to, I don’t know, zing things up a bit.”
“Add a little pizazz to your life.”
“But then she’ll think I’m hiding something.”
“Which she already does . . .”
“But I’m not.”
“Then leave it be. Either she likes your white rice or she doesn’t.”
“But I don’t want her to—”
“For fuck’s sake, ’Lex, just do something.”
Alex thought for a moment. “I saw this delicious looking tamarind chutney the other day at Whole Foods. I bet she’d like that.”
Claire shook her head. “You fucking hipster.”
For two days Lindy ate only salads, occasional handfuls of mixed nuts. When Alex presented her with a small soup bowl filled with several pieces of her heart floating in a sunset curry, she took one sniff and recoiled.
“I . . . I made a curry. It’s got bamboo shoots and green and red peppers and—”
Lindy pushed the bowl away. “I’m not hungry.”
“Love, please, you have to eat.”
“It smells like, like fish left on the sidewalk in the middle of July.”
Alex took the bowl away, covered it in Saran Wrap and tucked it back inside the fridge right next to the remains of her heart, its missing pieces amounting to no more than 5 or 10 percent of the whole. Next to this, housed in an identical Tupperware container, the remains of Lindy’s heart beat agitatedly— the organ looked like a veined,palatinate chicken breast with its centre ice cream-scooped away. In the middle of the night, when Alex, feeling peckish, attempted to stick a fork in Lindy’s heart, it squirmed and flattened itself against the far end of the plastic as if prodded with a hot poker. She shut the refrigerator door.
They would both go hungry that night.
Alex woke the next morning to clanging glass and metal. She walked down the hall from their bedroom, stopping at the kitchen. The contents of their fridge and freezer, as well as most of their cupboards, had been emptied and piled indiscriminately into the middle of the tile floor. The cupboard beneath the kitchen sink had also been opened, but the lone bottle of their first year’s vintage—still fermenting, bottled only the previous month—remained untouched.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“Where is it?”
“Where is what?”
“That whore’s heart!”
“Love, I don’t know what you’re talking about, I—”
“Don’t you swear to me. I know it’s here somewhere. Have you canned it? Is it in a mason jar somewhere with your grandmother’s blueberry jam?”
“There’s no one else,” Alex said, feeling defeated. “No preserves. No frozen dinners. No one’s hearts but ours.”
“And who’d you give yours to?”
Lindy held up the Tupperware container with Alex’s heart inside. To Alex it looked as it ever did. “I don’t understand,” she said, exasperated.
“It’s all there! Nothing’s missing—not even the sliver I tried to eat with apiece of toast for breakfast. This heart is whole. It isn’t yours—it can’t be. It . . . it’s a fake.”
As Lindy spoke, Alex noticed her lover’s svelte, partially digested heart leaping wildly, moving its container across the counter as if charged with an electrical current. The blood surrounding it was starting to boil, the stench of solder and copper filling the air.
Alex opened her mouth again to defend herself, but Lindy jumped up and stormed past her before anything could be said. She slammed the bathroom door and Alex heard the shower turn on. She stood there for several seconds staring at the sea of consumables at her feet before she got down to her hands and knees and started putting things back where they belonged.
Nearly finished, she glanced up at Lindy’s heart, which had calmed down considerably. A soft musk rose from it now like morning fog over a farmer’s field.
Quietly, Alex walked down the hall and pushed open the bathroom door. Through the thin, almost transparent shower curtain, Alex could see glimpses of Lindy’s sparkling, melted sugar skin — and her ribs, like long witch fingers travelling beneath her parchment paper flesh, jutted out from beneath her arm, more visible than she remembered them.
Lindy didn’t go to work the next day. When Alex got home,she was as she’d been that morning: prone on the couch as if stricken with a bout of stomach flu. Alex brought her several small samples of heart, each dressed differently than the last:coated with a white wine reduction; tossed with vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh basil plucked from their windowsill garden; placed delicately atop a saltine and sandwiched by a thick slice of aged white cheddar.To Lindy,each attempt was more repugnant than the last. She tried to push Alex away but could not muster the strength. The more she resisted, the harder Alex implored, until at last Lindy raised herself upright.
“Why aren’t you suffering?” she asked plainly.
“What do you mean?”
Lindy pointed to Alex’s full face, to her rounded shoulders and non-xylophoned chest. “This isn’t hard for you.”
“That’s . . . of course this is hard for me. It’s killing me to see you like this.” Lindy tried once more to push her away but Alex held her bone-thin arm in place. With her free hand she snatched a piece of heart drowning in a mixture of soy and wasabi from one of a dozen small dessert bowls littering the coffee table. She tried to force it past Lindy’s lips. Lindy kept her mouth shut and Alex smeared the salted piece of heart across her pale, flaked lips and chin until it fell to pieces between her fingers, nothing but a wounded streak of brownish blush across her lover’s face.
Lindy fought but could not break free from Alex’s healthy, nourished grip. Alex grabbed a second piece of heart and inserted it into a small space in Lindy’s mouth, inside her cheek, pressing it against her clenched teeth. Lindy spat it back out again, the slab of muscle slapping Alex in the eye. Lindy got up from the couch, stumbled weakly, and then hurried toward the bedroom. She slammed the door, locking Alex out.
Lindy exited the bedroom two hours later to find Alex sleeping in a ball on the sofa. She nudged her awake and sat down next to her. She apologized, said she needed some time to herself, that something wasn’t right and she had to figure out what.
“When I look at your heart,” she said,“when I remember our times together I think . . . there should not be so much of it left.”
“I’m telling you the truth.”
“And I know what I’ve tasted, Alex. Dear. Love. I know what you taste like. I think I’ve always known, on some level, but somehow now it’s stronger than it was before.”
“I know, I taste like warm sidewalk fish and dead babies and—”
“Lies, Alex. Like lies.”
“This is about your mother. She never liked me.”
“But I did, and that’s what matters.”
“. . . Did?”
Lindy looked away. “You haven’t eaten in just as long. You say you haven’t, anyway, but you’re still so strong.”
“I haven’t, Lindy—Silindile. I haven’t eaten anyone. I promise.”
Lindy stared into her eyes in a way she hadn’t before. Alex found herself wondering if she had noticed the off-colour essence of her heart from the earliest days of their relationship and had simply remained silent. She recalled how Lindy had appeared when first tasting Alex, nodding as if to convince herself this freckled Irish girl with the distinctly non-Irish name could be anything more than another late-night snack or an experimental fusion dish more interesting than it was good. She reached out and touched Alex’s forehead with her index finger.
“I need to be certain, if we’re going to move on. I’d like a taste, please . . . of your brain.”
Alex was taken aback. “My . . . you want what?”
“Your brain,” Lindy reiterated. “Just a slice, a bit off the prefrontal is all I need. I’ll know then, definitively.”
“That you are who you say you are.”
Alex stood up, looked down at Lindy. “But that’s not . . . I can’t do that.”
“Why not?” Lindy’s hurt rebounded.
“What do you mean why not? Because then there won’t be anything left for me!”
“I can’t believe how selfish you’re being!” Lindy shouted as she too rose to her feet. “We’re talking about saving our relationship here.”
“No, you’re talking about saving our relationship. I’m talking about you taking what isn’t yours.”
“How could I ever have eaten someone so self-obsessed?” Lindy spat on the ground as if there were residue of Alex still on her tongue.
“I’ve already given you my heart—what more do you want?”
“I want the truth!”
Alex circled around Lindy and went into the kitchen. She retrieved a long butcher’s blade from the wooden block next to the stove and put it to her wrist. “You want more of me?” She raised the knife high and in one smooth, unhesitating motion, lumberjacked her hand off at the wrist. The appendage dead fished to the ground in a filmic spray of crimson. Alex’s face immediately paled as agony and sudden blood loss siphoned her adrenaline. The knife clattered to the ground and she picked up her dismembered hand, waving it in the air like a dead puppet. “How about a finger? I could chop them off one at a time, sauté them knuckle by knuckle like sausage links.”
Lindy scrunched her face, revoltedby the decidedly pedestrian offering. “You’ll give me what you give your friends when I deserve so much more?”
“You already have so much more.”
“But not the best of you.”
No further words were exchanged that night. Lindy took the severed hand and helped wash and bandage the wound.She placed the newly freed appendage in a separate round container and tossed it in the vegetable crisper. She then gave Alex a handful of brightly coloured pills from the bottles she kept behind the vanity mirror in the washroom. They went to bed without so much as a grunt of acknowledgement for all that had happened, backs turned, their hips and feet inches apart as if their bed had been slashed in two. The medicine quickly took effect; Alex’s eyes grew heavy, and soon she felt no pain.
She’d been unconscious for only an hour when she was awoken by a soft pain in her scalp—the sensation of one hair after another being pulled back as if someone had slapped a bandage over top her head and was removing it a millimetre at a time. The annoying tug soon became a fiery tear and Alex opened her eyes—immediately blinded by the blood that had snaked into her eyes from an incision at her hairline. She let out a high-pitched shriek and started furiously wiping away the blood with the palm of her hand. When she was finally able to see again she saw Lindy standing next to her side of the bed brandishing a paring knife in one hand and a small hammer and chisel in the other.
Alex could not find the words for the violation she felt in that moment. Lindy backed away from her, tightening her grip on the utensils in her hands. Forthwith her vacant stomach broke the silence cementing between them, presenting her case — her need — in a way no words ever could. She turned and ran from the bedroom. Alex again opened her mouth — to scream, to call out, to say something — but the pain from her multiple wounds was too much and she passed out.
The following morning, Alex knew immediately something was amiss. She rolled over in bed and saw an empty space beside her. Slowly the fog cleared and she remembered what had transpired. She gingerly touched her forehead; the tips of her fingers discovered small rivers of dried blood leading back to a very fine, one-inch horizontal slice above her left eye. When she looked to her pillow she saw a deep cardinal pond that dried the farther it extended over the surface of the once-white sheathe. An iron weight of panic formed in the pit of her stomach and she glanced out the open bedroom door to the paring knife, hammer, and chisel on the carpet halfway between the bedroom and kitchen.
No answer. Alex slowly, dizzily got out of bed. She felt her legs wobble as she entered the kitchen. A roll of gauze and a bottle of rubbing alcohol by the sink were the only indicators of her self-inflicted wound from the night before. Her stomach rumbled fiercely and she opened the fridge, stepping back in shock. Next to the container holding what was left of Lindy’s softly pumping heart, her own looked suddenly weathered and emaciated, like sheets of paper soaked in brine then left in the sun to curl and crack.
Her confusion was quickly usurped by the hunger devouring her insides. She retrieved a fork and knife from the cutlery drawer and, before it could scamper away, stabbed and shaved a thin slab from Lindy’s heart, dashed it with just a bit of salt and pepper before placing the wiggling, soft muscle on her tongue.
Except it wasn’t soft but suddenly hard, firm like the fat encircling a porterhouse.
Except it wasn’t wiggling but beating.
Alex spit the piece of Lindy’s heart to the sink, watched as it bass drummed its way into the drain, leaving a thinning slug’s trail of blood as it climaxed, as it heaved, as it breathed a sigh of release.
And it tasted foul, like . . . like French toast made with sour milk and six-month-old eggs.
Or like lies.
Lindy arrived home an hour later. She looked fuller than she had in days, had a glow about her one could only describe as radiant. She put her jacket, which smelled sick with booze and sweat, on the kitchen counter and went into the living room. Alex was waiting for her on the couch. Right away Lindy looked to the bloodied stump where Alex’s right hand had been, and then to the still leaking cut on her forehead.
“It’s no better,” she said.
“No,” Alex agreed. “It’s not.”
Lindy’s chest swelled into a shield. “Well I don’t know what you expect me to do about it.”
Alex was perplexed; she seemed to be almost gloating. “You could at least act upset. A little — a smidge, maybe.”
Lindy crossed her arms. “You look hungry.”
She looked away. “Look, what’s done is done. Now you know how it feels.”
“Yeah, I know how it feels.”
Lindy tightened her stance, pulling her insides into an hourglass. The longer she stared, Alex noticed, the greater her uncertainty scratched its presence onto her face.
Alex reached down, lifted the hand-painted ceramic bowl Lindy had presented to her one year earlier from the floor beneath the coffee table. In the bowl were two slices of heart: hers and Lindy’s. Unseasoned. Uncooked. Raw.
“Taste them—both of them,” Alex said.
“I want you to taste the difference.”
“The different between what?”
“Between you and me. I want you to know the difference between a lie and the truth.”Lindy sneered at the polemic. “So sure of yourself? Then do it. Taste them both and call me a cheat again.”
Lindy glanced away from the offering. Alex stood up, moved as she moved. She held onto the bowl, keeping it in front of Lindy no matter which way she turned. Lindy watched, though she did not want to, as the pieces of her heart beat faster and more frantically until finally she could not take it any longer and she slapped the bowl from Alex’s hand. It struck the wall and shattered,depositing both pieces of heart to the ground with little more than limp insinuation.
Lindy ran into the kitchen and grabbed her coat off the counter. Alex chased after her, but Lindy, as if trapped in a whirlwind, reached beneath the sink and retrieved the Bordeaux of their one year. She raised it in the air. Alex barely had time to duck as Lindy hurled the vintage above her head. It smashed against the drywall, showering Alex’s back and hair with the memories and claret they’d shared. Lindy had already exited the apartment by the time Alex was upright again.
Thirty minutes passed. Alex, accepting that Lindy was not coming back, moved beneath the archway connecting the living room and the kitchen.She stood between the gory Rorschach of their memories dripping from wall to floor and the flopping goldfish fragments of a future that might have been. Feelingincreasingly weak, shecrouched down and startedpicking up the pieces of broken ceramic. Then she noticed her heart, just a piece of the whole amidst the debris, and it seemed suddenly larger than what she’d prepared. Next to it, however, was an aged, calcified piece of something that at one time resembled a delicacy—an intimacy—and she wondered to herself just how wretched it must now taste.
"Just a Little Spice Will Do" is copyright Andrew Wilmot, 2016.
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Thanks for listening, and I'll be back on May 24th with "Sarah's Child" by Susan Jane Bigelow.
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