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I’m in the motel bathtub. Muddied pink acrylic and it can’t be that sanitary. Not that I give a damn. I keep plugging my head under the water half hoping I’ll drown. My God did not make me for crying. At least in the water I can play sobbing.

My husband is dead. Cold and dead in the basement next to his favorite toy. Even now, I can feel his long purpled neck when I dance with my fingers. He was never really mine.

Cross my heart it was self-defense. It would have been easy for him to kill me. It would have been easy, easy as cherry pie. He loved cherry pie. With the clean press of a button, he could have erased me from this earth. One minute stuffing me into a closet, the next eating a steak and potato dinner. He was always a coward. He could have washed me out months ago. Years ago. It was only now because I broke his darling Machine. He was grasping for that button, the button that would wash me stiff, when I got him by the neck. His shivering eyes pleaded with me, lips trying to split out the L’s of my name.

“You never loved anyone but yourself,” I told him.

I don’t really have a name. In fact, I’m going to pick one for myself right now. Francis. It won’t be long before they find me.

He was cheating on me, you know. He was cheating on me with myself. Cheating on me with my younger self. Or so I thought. But it wasn’t me.

It was her. The one I was modeled after down to the hairs of her widow’s peak I shaved off. It’s a bloody burden to carry around her memories I never lived.

My husband. If I can call him that. I know now I wasn’t at the wedding, she was. He never really liked me. I was just there to tickle a daydream. Tickle a daydream, and when I slipped, he made the Machine. Night after night I would watch him creep down the stairs, creep all the way down to the basement. The basement, where he would glue himself to the Machine. Cover his head and plunge into his memories, memories I have but don’t own.

I have that Machine to thank for knowing what I am. For knowing that my veins don’t run with blood. My fingernails don’t grow. I will never burp or fart and I have no real reason to breathe.

I was born into the body and mind of a 32-year-old female human. He loved me then, shiny and new, but I kept growing. I grew and I grew too big for him. He needed to own me but he couldn’t stand owning me. Staying home all day I developed a love for spaghetti westerns. I began to experiment with my clothes, piling this one on that one, hats, dresses, pants, socks, blanketing myself like a big cake. I made found object sculptures out of our trash and old clothes. I declared myself a socialist and sang socialist anthems I made up. He really didn’t like that.

I can’t tell you why I had to live because I don’t really understand. It wouldn’t have been so bad to just disappear. No one would have missed me. I don’t have any friends. I don’t have parents or children or a career or anything else humans really live for I guess. But I want to live. I do. I want to live so badly.

I’m in the motel bathtub and the water’s growing cold. Maybe I’ll see what’s on the television.

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