The list of the things I did for him is inside the black silk envelope. The black silk envelope is in the top left drawer of the desk from Italy. The desk is empty, except for the envelope. The desk is in the bedroom. The bedroom is large and the desk is far from the bed. It’s next to the window that looks out on the garden.
The first item on the list is the first thing I did for him. The second item on the list is the second thing I did for him. And so on. Each item on the list is in his words.
Please, tell me your name.
Second on the list: Please, let me take you to dinner.
Third on the list: Please let me open the door.
Fourth: Please, let me order for you.
Fifth: See me again.
Sixth: Wear a dress. I like blue.
Seventh: Stay the night.
The black silk envelope has a silver clasp; the silver clasp is in the shape of a ballock dagger. It’s a miniature version of the antique dagger hanging on the wall of his den. Sixteenth century he told me. He put the hilt of the dagger in my hands. It was a larger version of him, down there. Phallic. Larger and sharper.
Tenth on the list: Make it with two sugars, no cream. I’ll stir it myself.
Twelve: Not an omelet. Have two eggs. Scrambled in unsalted butter. Moist. A bit of fresh dill on top. Dry toast.
Fifteen: Yes, like that. Slow.
Sixteen: Never cut your hair. Except. You could trim yourself here. Closely.
Twenty: I’ve made an appointment for you. A manicure. A pedicure. Weekly. Don’t miss it.
The list is on unlined linen paper. The paper is ecru. It smells of citrus. The ink is blue.
Twenty-seven: Close the door when you’re in the toilet.
Thirty-one: Marry me.
Thirty-nine: Ah. Excellent. A private moment. Put this on under your dress. Wear it for the rest of the reception. It’s my wedding gift to you. It won’t hurt much if you move slowly.
The list is twelve pages. Seventeen items to a page. No two items are the same. The blue ink on ecru paper echoes our time together.
Forty: If you wake in the night and I’m hard, go down on me, even if I’m asleep.
Fifty-five: Now that we’re married, there is no need for you to work. Resign tomorrow.
Sixty-one: Wear stockings. No panty hose. Ever.
The envelope was the last thing I bought for myself. After that, everything was either from him or for him.
There was only the one black silk envelope on the shelf at the store. The tip of the dagger was pointed up. It seemed fitting. It was exactly like the ballock dagger on the wall of his den. The list was just two pages then. They fit nicely, folded once. There was room for more.
Seventy: No panties on Tuesdays.
Eighty-two: Go to that man at the end of the bar. Smile and speak softly to him. If he wants to touch you, let him. I’ll be here. Watching. Don’t look over.
Ninety-four: Put on the black lace panties and the red bra. Get on your knees and tie my shoes for me. Tie the laces in small bows. Left over right. Don’t look up.
One-hundred one: It’s a Tuesday. Time to climb. Don’t look down.
The ballock dagger on the envelope could be pointed in any direction. Depending. The silver became tarnished over time. I did not polish it. The dagger on his wall was pointed up and to the left. He kept it polished and the silver caught the light.
One-hundred twelve: Tell me your plans for the day.
One-hundred twenty-seven: End your friendship with Cleo. She’s coarse.
One-hundred thirty-one: Don’t eat garlic again. Nothing with garlic in it. You smell bad.
One-hundred forty: Leave your phone on at all times. I’ve set it so you know my call. You must always pick up when the Beatles play, “I Feel Fine.”
One-hundred forty-nine: Tell me what you did today. Every detail. Every thought. Every move. But first, put these on. Press them until they click.
One-hundred fifty-six: Say you’re sorry. Tell me how sorry you are.
He never looked in the desk. He never looked out on the garden. But the rest of the large bedroom, he used well.
One-hundred sixty-two: Don’t call or visit your mother, unless I’m with you. Same for your sister.
One-hundred seventy-five: Say please. Say it louder. Say it like you mean it.
One-hundred eighty-seven: Don’t cry.
Two-hundred four: Come to me, marching up the driveway, at 8:58 p.m. wearing a red drum majorette uniform with gold epaulets on the shoulders and white boots that come to just above your knees and a tall hat with a black chin-strap and a shiny silver baton that will catch the light when I take it from you and use it.
His final request.
The drum majorette uniform was fire engine red. I charged it to him.
The ballock dagger was heavy but I was strong. In its place I left the baton that came with the uniform. Temporarily.
From a distance, at night with the garden lights on, with me coming up the sidewalk marching in 4/4 time, the dagger looked just like a baton. When I threw it in the air and caught it in my white leather gloves, the dagger caught the light.
It was simple. The knife was in his hands when he fell, it was like he used it on himself. That’s what everyone believes.
His ashes are in the black porcelain vase. The black porcelain vase is on the desk from Italy. It is the only thing on the desk. The desk is far from the bed. It’s where I have my tea and look out onto the garden.
" was originally published at Fiction Attic: The Journal of Elegant Wit
March 21 2007