dead stars

June 28, 2017

On the morning of my wedding, I was told that my wife would one day cheat on me. I laughed when it happened.

I remember that I was in front of the door to the wedding hall, waiting for guests to fill up the room, when a little girl (around four years old, dressed in a hideous shade of magenta), came to me and pulled at my sleeves. She told me to bend down. So, I did. She cupped her hands around her tiny mouth and whispered into my ear.

“I think that she’ll find a new prince one day. Don’t you agree?”

She pointed at my wife and looked back at me. I looked at her. I remember thinking about how modern parenting has failed. All the trash TV shows and cartoons that these kids watch is what is leading to all this “prince and princess” romance bullshit. One day, they’ll realize that marriage is really nothing but a social necessity. So I carried on with the rest of my day. I waited as my father-in-law led my wife down the hall. I remember putting the ring on her finger and kissing her, thinking that I, though not the luckiest man in the world, was happy enough. I talked to some guests, had a bit too much champagne, made a fool of myself on the dance floor— you know, all the typical things.

I don’t know why, but despite the absurdity of things, I still couldn’t help but recall how the pink girl at the wedding dared to mark my fate with her words. It wasn’t really what she said that bothered me. That was irrelevant. What struck me was my nonchalance to her words. I think that I was supposed to feel something, be it anger, sadness, or disbelief. This dawned on me for days. My apathy towards the “prophecy” began to expand and characterize itself in other parts of my life.

Things happened in the following months. I was cut from my job because the company I worked for went bankrupt. I didn’t tell her though. I would leave the house at seven in the morning and return home at far later hours. I didn’t think she would want to know about my new state of unemployment. I was felt uncomfortable to stay home with her all day. I guess I lied and isolated myself from the good of the both of us.

We continued living like this for another year. I got myself a part time job cleaning and serving at a bar. I earned enough to get us by. She never complained though. It was strange how she chose to remain with me even after how I have managed to fuck up my jobs. Every time I see her at home, she would smile at me faintly— as if looking at a lost lover.

One day after work, I decided to stay at the bar for a couple of drinks. I forgot to call home that night. Half intoxicated, I arrived home at half past three. To my surprise, she was waiting up for me. I expected her to be mad. I expected her to yell at me. But when she saw me walk into the room, all she did was tell me to get some rest. When I heard her say this, something in me snapped. The kid was right. My wife didn’t care anymore. There can only be one way to explain how she has managed to put up with an unsuccessful and useless man life me.

As messed up as it sounds, I still imagine her there with me when I stayed out with other women. I disgusted myself. I told myself that this was meant to happen anyways. When a woman from a high standing family marries you, you realize that you will never be enough for, no matter how hard you try. As I think back on it, I realize that I would really like the girl for telling me what she did. If I hadn’t known, I would probably have been heartbroken if I found out she cheated on me . It was just a matter of time. Instead, by knowing the truth, I could at least fulfill what was missing from my life, from my marriage.

She wasn’t surprised when I brought her the divorce papers. She told me she knew. I told her I did too.

“I still remember the day we got married. He was happy, I think. I don’t know what happened. I still loved him. I guess he decided he didn’t anymore. I laughed when he told me he ‘knew’ that I would have left. He didn’t know shit. I loved him. He didn’t. It’s that simple”



I saw a changing.

I suppose it wasn’t anything that should have come as a surprise. After all, she had been changing, growing more and more distant from me and less and less like herself, all throughout the past year. I did not know why. Then again, I did not bother to find out why. I knew all this time that she would show the results of such change; I guess I didn’t expect it to happen this soon. There were so many signs pointing to this, most of which I picked up on. Every time I noticed, however, I passed it off as an insignificant event, merely as an inconvenience that I kept at the back of my head. This was what I did when I first saw her give him that smile; it was one of those special smiles that she used to give me– those smiles where she would look into my eyes as if we were sharing a secret that no one else knew of. I did the same even when I found the red handkerchief in my drawer. You would think there isn’t anything peculiar with this, but I did not own the handkerchief. It belonged to another man, and I was supposed to be the only one in the house. Though its glaring red presence bothered me, I kept silent. I never thought to do anything about any of this. I did not think to ask her either. It was never because I didn’t know how to, though. I guess I just never cared enough.

With this thought in mind, I merely stared at her when she finally came to me today and said the first words she has spoken in months. As I saw her final changing, I tried to conjure up a reaction or at least feel the slightest emotion to reaffirm the expected humanity that should be within me. When she brandished the divorce papers at me, however, I felt nothing. No regret, no sadness, no relief- nothing. All I could think of was the stack of paper in front of me and how much a gold ring from four years ago would sell on the market today. Her expression reflected the same detachment.

When I looked up at her again, the faint red of the world emerged and I was once again flooded by the conventional color of love. She was transforming too fast, too much, all at once. I saw her flesh melting off, exposing the gleaming white of her bones, leaving behind only a fraction of the woman I once knew. I stepped forward, attempting to save what’s left of her, but I knew it was too late. The bones surrendered to the laws of gravity and dropped in clusters as they spread out, untouched and raw, across the stained floors. After a few moments, the bones came together again and reformed to show her body and her face; I saw this process repeat before me, with the flashing red shining consistently in the background. This was the first time I studied her appearance so closely in the past year; I realized, as I stared, that I had forgotten how she looks. Only now were things coming back to me, the bits and pieces of what I once had.
I didn’t want it to stop. I wanted this red. No, I needed it. The only thing that was keeping me sane and alive was slowly killing me, and I was consciously letting it.

“He was not the man I once knew. The pills, the bright red plastic pills, had changed him. “