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From the archives of The Girl Next Door

"I don’t love you," he said.

I looked at him, confused and shocked.

"I don’t love you. I thought I did, but this isn’t going to work."

I wanted it to be perfect. A scene from a movie. A movie that hadn’t been written yet. Our passion unlike any passion written about before or since. "The Academy Award for the most passionate love in the Universe goes to?" I wanted the trophy to have our names engraved for all to see. I wanted ours to be the relationship my friends and enemies from school envied.

And my ears stung now with, "I don’t love you. I thought I did, but this isn’t going to work."

He said I was too possessive. He said I was too clingy. "You make me feel like I am being smothered," he said. "I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m always gasping for air when you’re here."

My body slapped down with each word he said. Each hateful word ricocheting from his mouth to my ears to my heart to my soul, stinging my senses, destroying me.

"But I still love you," I begged.

He stared at me. He stared through me. He said nothing. There was no reply. There were no words.

"You make me feel like I am being smothered. I can’t breathe. With you, I lose me."

"I want to die," I said. I know he heard me. "I want to die."

* * *

I am immersed in my bathtub. The water is so hot. I step in. It is so hot. Scalding my skin. Scalding parts of me that are more sensitive. There is so much pain. Too hot. I don’t care. I feel nothing. I slide down into the water. It covers my skin. My legs. My hips. My skin reddens. There is pain. I feel nothing. My stomach reddens. Scarlet. I feel nothing. I am burning myself and I don’t care.

"You make me feel like I am being smothered." I sink lower. The scalding water over my breasts, floating there, the breasts he had loved so. Scalding my nipples. "I’m so lucky," he had said. "There isn’t a part of you I don’t love," he had claimed. "And your breasts. So much of them and all mine," he had proclaimed.

I don’t care. "I want to die." So much pain. I feel nothing. "I can’t breathe," he said. The water burns my cunt and scalds me within.

"I don’t want to breathe," I think.

My body beneath the water. I slide down into the bathtub and get my long silken hair wet. I stay beneath the water, scalding my scalp. Scalding my ears. Burning my skin. I continue to add hot water to the already hot water. I feel nothing. But I want to feel. I want to hurt. I want to feel the pain.

I thought he loved me.

I think about our time. The passion we’d felt. The dinners. The presents. The words. The sharing. I think of the sex and what we shared. I think of things we shared, of things I learned, of the pleasures he brought to every inch of my body. I think of the heights I reached as he touched me, as he searched for ways to pleasure me, as he explored and fondled the areas now being burned by the scalding water.

I know he loved me. He had said it. There had been such passion. I know he felt like I did.

"What will I tell everyone?" I plead. "My mother, my family, my friends. What will I tell everyone?"

We had planned our lives. My future was him. "I don’t love you. I thought I did but this isn’t going to work."

I want to die. My hair is floating in the water. Suspended in time. The scalding water. The burning water in the tub. Floating around my ears. My hair floating. Feeling lifeless beneath the surface. My hair dancing around my breasts. There is nothing left to feel.

* * *

Our lives together. Our plans. "I love you," he’d said.

He said it first. I was there already, loving him, but he said it first. "You are so beautiful. How could someone so beautiful love ME?" he asked. And with those words, there were tears from him. He did love me.

I wasn’t beautiful. "I’m not beautiful," I’d said.

"Oh, you are. Look at yourself." He stood behind me, our naked reflections looking back at us from the full-length bathroom mirror. His hands touching, caressing. "You are so lovely." His hands gently massaging my breasts. His fingers playing with my nipples, making them grow hard, making my bottom tighten up as if he were already within me. Watching in the mirror as changes occurred. Watching them harden from his touch. Watching my face. Watching my body shudder and shake from his knowing touch. His hands moving down my stomach through my pubic hair to my eager mound, knowing his fingers would dig deep into me finding my clit, finding places I didn’t even know would arouse me. As he would watch me lean back against him, reaching heights I didn’t know existed.

And then he’d stop and touch my hair. His hands in my hair, playing with it. My long silken hair. He’d called it the color of autumn leaves. I had never known how to describe the color of my hair. Not auburn. Not red. Not brown. "The color of autumn leaves."

He started calling me Autumn. "Come here, Autumn!" "I love you, Autumn." It was his pet name for me. How would I make it through another Autumn?

He alone knew what touching my hair did for me. His hands massaging my scalp. His hands making love to my hair, knowing I got the greatest pleasure from this simple act.

"I love everything about you." His hands moving over my shoulders to my breasts again. Exploring as if they had never been there before. His lips on my neck, moving my hair to the side. Kissing me. His lips moving to my breasts. Sucking gently, then harder. Kissing the tips. His fingers caressing my skin, making me explode again. And lower. And lower. Burying his face in my pubic hair, also the color of autumn, searching with his mouth, searching with his tongue. Sucking deeply on my lips. Making me so hot. Making me explode in pain and joy, panting and screaming from the heights he could make me reach.

* * *

My head beneath the water. My hair floating to the surface. "I want to die."

"Look at yourself," he had said. He pulled my hair back off my face. "Look at your eyes. Look how beautiful your eyes are." He did love me. He played with my hair. "The most beautiful girl in the world." He pulled my hair tight off my face. "And she loves me," he had said.

"I do love you," I had whispered to the mirror, to his reflection. With the words, tears. I did love him. I had never dared to say it aloud before. I had never dared think that I would find a love this mutual. A love I could feel in every corner of my body, from my mind, to the most private parts of me. A love that filled my world. I felt myself expanding and contracting within when I thought of him. Tightening and growing. So much passion. His love, a crack of lightning flashing through my body. There was no control. There were no boundaries or rules with him. The passion exploded within me.

* * *

"You make me feel like I’m being smothered," I submerge my face and hold my breath. I surface, hysterical. I am crying. I am screaming, "I smothered him. I ruined everything." My hair floating beneath me. "I ruined everything."

Before the mirror, he had pulled my hair back. "I love every part of you." And then he let my hair fall, covering my shoulders, caressing my breasts, making my nipples ache. The waves in my hair arching with each curve. "Your hair is your crown," he said. "That sounds dumb, I know, but ?." He gathered my hair and piled it on my head. He kissed my neck again. Still standing behind me. Both of us looking in the mirror. I leaned back against him. "I love your hair," he’d said, dropping the hair he had gathered?.letting it fall again.

He repeated this again. Gathering it and dropping it. "Falling leaves. Falling autumn leaves."

* * *

I am submerged beneath the scalding water with this memory. I gather my hair as it floats without pattern. I pull it up above my head. In the water it stays there. It floats out. My body is so hot. I think of the moments before the mirror, when we spoke of love. My hands exploring my body beneath the water?.finding the spots to make me feel alive. Over my breasts. To my stomach. I find the area between my legs and explore. I want to die. I do not feel alive. I want to die. I am trying to make myself feel the passion he made me feel, but I am empty without him. I don’t want to live.

I reach for the scissors I have placed on the edge of the tub.

Hysterical, my hair beneath the water, floating. I am crying, "Falling leaves," as I grab a handful of hair. At the side of my head, above my ear. "Falling leaves." I slide the opened shears against my scalp. I pull my hair out. A large section of my hair. And I slice. I slice it at my scalp. "Falling autumn leaves." I lift the severed hair before my face, out of the water. "Fucking falling leaves." I take the wet hair and smash it to the tiled wall of the tub, some hair sticking to the wall; other hair still attached to my hand.

"I love your hair," he had said.

My hand beneath the water, grabs another clump of hair and slices at the scalp. This time above the first slice. I take the hair from the water. "Fucking falling leaves." And again I press the wet hair to the tile wall.

I sit up and start slicing it all. I take the scissors at the top of my head. My hair is in knots from floating. I grab a handful and slice at it at the scalp. I grab more and slice it off with the scissors. Hysterically crying. I stop pressing it to the wall. I drop it back in the water and let it stick to my skin, floating between my legs toward my cunt. I grab and I cut it off. I cut it at my scalp. I pull the hair out in front of me where my bangs would hang and attack my hair, cutting it so close that there is nothing left. I cut it off at the hairline. There will be no more falling leaves. Pulling and yanking and cutting. Reaching behind me. Hysterical. "I smother him." I grab and yank.

I stand up. There are remnants of hair attached to my skin, long strands of falling leaves attached to my breasts. Falling leaves intermingled with my pubic hair. I look at my reflection from across the room. Finding sections I’ve missed. Slicing the remaining hairs. "I love your hair," he had said. "Your hair is your crown."

I am no longer crying. I step out of the scalding water and walk across the bathroom, pieces of my hair stuck to my skin. Pieces of my hair on the carpet. I look in the mirror. "The color of autumn leaves?"

I stare at my naked reflection.

My skin is reddened from the water, red from my hair which is stuck to it. My head is a patchy mess of stubble and clumps left behind. I take shaving cream from the cabinet and put some in my hand. I rub it into my almost barren scalp. "It’s a fucking winter wonderland on my fucking head," I laugh insanely as I shave the rest of my autumn leaves away.

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