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I had it in me to kill him

When I was 9 years old, we didn’t eat meat -- my mother and me -- because we were vegetarians. But once my stepfather, Leopoldo, entered our world, we had meat in the house. Steaks. In the refrigerator. We eventually bought them every week, whether my mom needed them or not. I learned how meat feels, but not how it tastes. Cold, thick, rubbery. Subtly etched like the spirals of my fingerprints. Its raw face came pressed against the shrink wrap, pinning it down into the curling yellow Styrofoam.

It's funny how raw meat heals raw meat. The cold steak reduced the swelling on my mother's cheekbone, tenderized from a night soaked in alcohol. Cold steak on the puffy protrusion that threatens to swallow her right eye, blackened for looking at other men. Cold steak on her lips, cracked for talking back. Her face was a disaster. But, the cool moist flesh drew down the pain, the discoloration, the swelling. It was funny how this dead flesh gave life yet.

I wanted to be like that piece of dead flesh. Cool and collected, I wanted to suck at her wounds. To draw out the poison of her injuries. I wanted to lay hands on her and to take all her pain and suffering into myself, leaving her whole and refreshed. I wanted to enliven this face, this face ravaged by another, angrier face.

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