The Doll Factory | Nicola Maye Goldberg
Nicola Maye Goldberg is the author of Other Women (Sad Spell Press, 2016). She is currently an MFA candidate in Fiction at Columbia University.
For a long time I thought I had a dead fetus inside of me. My therapist was very confused. Do you mean you think you might be pregnant? But I knew that I wasn’t. Still, I could see it: pink, primordial, covered in mold. Sometimes I imagined it with two heads, or a tail. I could feel how heavy it was, how much it hurt. It was all my anger, I thought, all the bad that he had left inside of me. He had taken my good and replaced it with his sickness and now I would have to carry it around forever. It scares me when people say I’m sweet because I’m not. I’m bitter enough to burst, half-sick with rage on my good days. I wish someone hated him the way that I did, so that I could stop, so I could get rid of this fury that rots & blooms inside of me. This is a terrible way to think: if you really loved me you’d want him dead. I’m so tired of boys saying I’ll kill him because they never follow through. It’s just a loud thing to say before they try to touch me and then I’m left with him in my head: laughing, rolling his eyes.
When I read a story, I think that I am the last one, the girl who survives: long hair, white dress splattered with blood. It flatters her figure. Her days or years in captivity have made her slim and strong. Her muscles gleam beneath the skin she somehow kept clean. But maybe I am a girl in a box, the one beneath the floor boards. Maybe I am writing this from the cemetery where I fed you peaches and you dug your nails into my thigh as I lay in the grass, trying to see how still I could stay. Ghosts are what we can’t make out of love, you said, and I believed you. Remember me as a ragdoll with a razor blade deep in my belly. Your candy-wrapped girl gnawing on her wrists while she walks ten blocks away from herself. I am the sound that wakes you in the night, I am the film of dirt on your bedroom floor. I am air, I am light.