“Tell me what you don’t like about yourself,” the surgeon says.
Of course he recognises her. How could he not? She is the heart-stopping star of a million Hollywood dreams, beauty incarnate, her supple perfection unquestioned, unquestionable. (Like a narcissus, the junior sub-editor scribbles in the layout margins, lonely in his glass tower at midnight. Like a blushing white rose. Like orange-blossom). When she smiles, audiences yearn towards her (my heart melts like caramel, the sub-editor tries, aware that he’s pushing it, then shatters like glass). In this tinselly town built on sequins and spun saccharine, her simple sweetness is fantastical and precious (like cotton-candy, he scrawls recklessly, like meringue, like apricots in sunshine, like hot chocolate with marshmallows no too fattening like Bailey’s liqueur no can’t do brand endorsements like I dont know some fucking sweet thing or other what do you want its ten minutes till deadline and I got nothing youre luscious okay youre utterly luscious now I have to stop staring at you and trash Kimye’s outfits).
“I have this pain,” she whispers. “My fiancé…”
Ah yes; the shadow of painful experience. The finest, faintest spoilage of that fresh perfection (ripe like cherries, velvet like peach-skin all you want to do is take a bite, is that too much of course its too much but God so lovely your skin your eyes your everything what Id give for the chance to just once just one night just an hour hell even just for a minute) that makes hands tremble and pulses shiver. Right now it’s imperceptible to all but the surgeon, but left to itself, the damage will spread. She has come to him just in time.
“Let’s take a closer look,” he says.
On the scanner, the soul appears like either a complicated flower or a bird in flight, depending on the mood of the viewer. The surgeon ignores the exquisite shading of the petals / feathers and focuses on the dull black mass in the upper ventricle of the Love Lobe, right in the area known to be devoted to romantic relationships.
“Ah yes,” he says.
She blinks back tears. “Can you fix it?”
“It will take time. Six weeks minimum to heal. No exposure to strong emotions of any kind, or you’ll risk the wound breaking down. And I’ll be cutting very close to your Islet of Eros. You may experience scarring, even permanent numbness -”
“But you can fix it?”
The surgeon wants to pat her hand (God imagine that hand on you, scribbles the sub-editor, soft like velvet, silky like silk, SILKY LIKE SILK WTAF IS WRONG WITH YOU???), but he is afraid of damaging his ichor-gloves.
“I can fix it,” he says.
Six weeks later she emerges from her seclusion, luminous with bravery and new beginnings. The sub-editor thinks now of crystal and starlight and angels; respectful thoughts of magnificence seen from afar, pure and clean, cold and inspiring, eternal, untouchable.