I found Richey Edwards’ body in the stream behind my house. It had metamorphosed into a pile of wet stones. I took him inside and dried him off and laid him on the table in a rough approximation of how his body used to look. The two darkest stones sat next to each other at the very top; they were his eyes, sunken into the skull, darkened with makeup and anorexia. The rest I placed below them in a crooked line from biggest to smallest; these were the bumps in his spine that stuck out sharp enough to cut glass. I circled him with flowers and called the newspapers, but they told me he’d been presumed dead for seven years.
That night in the shower a half-spent bar of soap broke open in my hand. It was starting to expand and break itself apart, crevices forming on its surface and pulling layers apart from each other in flakes. It had absorbed enough water that it was soft and flexible, giving under the slightest touch.
I lost an hour looking at the inside. An almost computerized landscape, ridges and valleys drawn in sharp lines that ended abruptly, accidentally, like the product of a glitch. On one side two ridges like lips, almost mirrors of each other; on the other, a crudely circular cluster of points and spires. My skin pinched and pruned, dried and began to flake and itch. The soap had left a film on my hands, white-green buildup packed inside the ridges of skin.
Stepping out of the shower, I stared in the mirror at the pink lines underlining the breasts that in the right light can disguise themselves as folds in my shirt, but a light touch would give away that my skin, underlined with a too-large layer of fat, terminates just up against the fabric, the rolls and waves shaping themselves into an approximation of tumbling cotton. Permanent creases but faint enough to appear temporary, marks of the stress of holding up skin that wants to fall further, to slough completely off of the body that holds it. There is too much of myself, I thought, and in bed I fold into myself and can’t fall asleep.
I thought of Richey on the kitchen table, his eyes and bones leaving scratches in the chestnut. When I went to check on him he had metamorphosed again, this time into a dark stain in roughly the same shape that I had laid him out in, two dark bulbs trailed by an uneasy slanted line.
Jacob Moore is a student in the MFA program for fiction at Texas State University. He reads and edits for Front Porch Journal and his writing about music and culture has appeared in publications such as Noisey, Flavorwire, and Hopes & Fears. He likes beer and ‘90s post-hardcore and can be found on Twitter at @Vimmy.
Photo by Simon Dean