She undresses in a pool of oil, and despite there being no moon, I can see every blemish she has to offer. It makes her feel ugly, and she does what she can to hide away, but I demand to see everything because every inch of her is honey on my tongue. The secret to my eternal youth was the discovery of a Christmas catalogue I used to read as a child in love with the notion of seasons and magic. It was from Boots, and I vividly remember my nan used to reference it every December while deciding what items she was going to buy for family and friends. For me, it was a golden fleece; something that contained the key to existing within a bubble of joy and goodwill. Flicking through its pages was like stepping into a dream, where it snowed every day, and school had been cancelled indefinitely. Back when I was a boy, my ideal presents were action figures and computer games for my Snes; now it would be a good bottle of wine and the sight of her lying belly-down on the bed while reading Dracula. The catalogue is long gone, but it lives on in my heart and mind, and always will do, hence my immortality. Somewhere in Scotland, a disfigured man is walking through woodland. He’s naked and has a poor sense of direction. I feel bad for him, and yet I’m glad it’s not me. I tell her how sad it makes me feel, and yet all she does is give me puppy dog eyes while examining photos of people she pretends to like. She wants to be normal just like them, but I keep telling her there’s no such thing. That the image they present to the world is as fake as a good set of tits on a whore, but she’s having none of it. My idea of perfection is spending the last day on earth bathed in sunshine while sat on a beach drunk on alcohol and love. Hers is parading down a catwalk somewhere in Milan. Actually, scrub my one- perfection for me would be to spend the rest of my life in bed listening to rain that never stops falling. Melancholy is pretty. It’s a truism that couldn’t be any more precise. Be kind. Be still. Be pitiful with no effort in masking the sadness that seeps like the blood between her legs that time of the month. It doesn’t bother me, never has done. It’s an acquired taste, but one that speaks only of the truth I wish to write.