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Its Not You, It's me

By: Katy Madgwick



My past life was a vigil. An empty container of minutes, hours, days spent apart from you, counting down toward those precious moments when I could fill up on you again. Walking to your house, the clock ticked faster, speeding up to match my racing heart. Both stopping as you opened the door.

I lived you. Breathed you. Allowed you to soak into my skin like moisture into arid soil. I grew you in my mind, blooming flourishes onto your perfect template. Echoed your beauty into every corner of my mind: the facets of your jawline. The soft indecision of hair at the back of your neck. The angle of your head when it dropped to study lines of text. Electrifying moments were you rewarded me with a smile so simple and real it etched itself indelibly on my soul. That image echoes down the long months without you like a signature, tattooed in place behind my eyelids.

I sought you in the most unlikely places. I drove long ways when short ones would have done; doubling the chance of possibly, maybe, catching a glimpse of you. In your absence, you continued to grow in my mind. Putting down roots which reached and twisted their way inside my neural pathways. Sprouting buds of an idealised future. You prospered as I watered the soil and shone the sunlight of enduring adoration to enrich you.


*


When we meet again, you seem a little smaller than I remember, a little paler. The indecision on your hairline has made its mind up. The mystery is lost. You are a shadow.


I am disappointed in you. You fail to live up to the version of You I keep within my mind. He sits in judgment; finds you wanting. Appraises you coolly and shakes his head, once. I shake my head in turn and see your slender face contort with misunderstanding. The You inside me will not abide an inferior copy stalking the earth pretending to be Him. A worthless rat, wretched imposter. He will have you destroyed.

He sees the kitchen knife behind you and I lean in. You back away, confusion blemishing your formerly perfect face with disenchantment. He reaches my hand out for the knife. His roots and branches now so intertwined that he controls me, dictates my movements. He speaks to you, says—

‘It’s not You, it’s Me.’


Your blood trickles into the grooves between the floor tiles and is carried along them like water in a viaduct. Uniform channels of red tide neatly along their designated pathways like good little soldiers. I watch the colour drain from your face, and as you dim, so too does your image in my mind. He slackens His grip on me. Where is He going, when I need Him the most? His image blurs at its edges, roots withering, exposing bare nerves. It’s not you, it’s me, he murmurs. Tears for you both drip and mingle, diluting the blood at my feet as you fade.


 

Katy Madgwick lives in the beautiful North-East of England with two small humans, one larger one, and an unruly spaniel named Skye. Katy is an aspiring author currently working on several novels. She has had success in short fiction with pieces published in Ellipsis Zine, Reflex, and FlashFlood, and she has a longer piece due for publication with Fusion Fragment in May 2021.

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