She was cutting an apple, the knife slicing through the thick outer skin and slipping into the meat of the fruit with an almost mindless repetition. Later she would tell herself that she could not remember what she was thinking about at the moment when the tip of the blade bit into the side of her finger, but that was a lie.
In fact, she’d been thinking of how her insides had twisted when he’d calmly told her over how he would never be able to love her “like that.” The delicate rays of the sun bouncing from his dark glasses became that much more brilliant, the calm day around her feeling unreal and unsteady beneath her feet as if it were all a lie; her entire life. His words moving through the air like an attack, reaching into her chest and squeezing around her lungs like a vise.
A bright red drop of blood welled up against the cut and then rolled over the waxy green skin of the Granny Smith before reaching the crisp white inside and soaking into the apple like a slowly branching virus. She stuck the finger into her mouth and absentmindedly suckled it, allowing the coppery sustenance to coat the inside of her mouth and watched the blood filter through the apple.
Images flooded her mind: his jaw and how it clenched so tightly when he was mad that she could see the muscles straining against his flesh, the look of the brightly burning stars from their blanket picnic on the first night they had been together and how she’d imagined them searing into her flesh, her white knuckles curled around the doorframe, and the blood moving in small rivers through the sand on the last time she’d seen him.
She didn’t even realize she was laughing until she was doubled over; gasping for breath in great heaving sobs that clenched around her body and left her coughing and raw, the blood from the cut leaving an intricate pattern on the floor.