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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

Vásquez is an English language and literature teacher who enjoys writing far more than correcting their students’ writings. They only drink water due to health reasons, but once upon a time, their favourite fizzy drink used to be Lemon Pepsi. They still drink it sometimes—on the sly. When they aren’t writing, Vásquez enjoys sleeping, reading, and sleeping. Yes, I wrote that twice. Find Vásquez on Twitter @inkyvasquez.

Sharp icicles hanging from a barren tree branch.

VÁSQUEZ

I WANT TO GOUGE MY EYES OUT

          When I said we had forever, I was lying.

          It wasn’t on purpose, I’m sorry. I tend to break things when I look at them. My heart, for example. It’s the eyebrows, my mum says. Too dark, too thick, and I never fucking groom them. Just trim them, she says, just a little bit, and they’ll look so much better, you’ll look so much cleaner. Like I’m dirty. Like I scrub my skin raw in vain because there’s still sap oozing from the bark. Just prune them, she says. Like they’re trees, little bushes, small bonsai branches on my face that sit on top of two ice shards that can’t make people stay.

          It’s the wildness and the coldness, then. It’s the desperation in the frantic grin. It’s me, I guess? I don’t know what pieces of me I should groom, trim, prune—apart from my eyebrows, that is. But you said I could stay. You said that, and I wanted to.

          When I say people leave, I don’t mean them.

Header image compucow, Getty Images

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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

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