Her father looked over the mess she had made. She could tell by the look on his face he was disappointed. She hated that look.
“Oh honey, I remember the first time I tried to cut up a body,” he kicked at the partially severed arm, “It’s not easy, that’s for sure, but what you did here is a waste. I can see the passion in your work, but there’s no love. Love is what makes it necessary, love makes this all worthwhile. It’s the key to everything.”
“I tried father, I really tried. I just don’t think I’ll ever get it right.” The young girl started to cry.
“Come on now, there’s no need for that,” her father wiped the tears from her cheek. “Come with me, I want to show you something.”
The young girl followed her father to the basement. He switched on a light and pulled back the plastic curtain to his workshop.
“Here,” he said, “look at this.”
On the metal table were the remains of a woman. Her skin was bleached white as porcelain. Arms and legs removed. She was split open from her chin to just below the navel. Everything was immaculate, there wasn’t a single drop of blood anywhere. Her father ran his hand through the woman’s hair and trembled as he smelled his fingers.
“Do you see here? Look at her. See the difference between what you did and what I’ve done? This-” he gestures the length of her torso, “is what love looks like. I love her. What you did up there, that wasn’t love. The work is not worth doing if you don’t have love in your heart.”
The young girl stepped to a neatly stacked pile of arms and legs at the end of the table and admired the precision with which each had been removed.
“I’m sorry father, I thought I loved him. His curly blonde hair, pretty blue eyes . . . I was sure this time would be right.”
“It’s okay baby, you’re young, you have time to figure things out. Always listen to your heart. When it’s real, you’ll know. There’s no other feeling like it in the world. Just don’t try and rush things. Take it slow.”
Her father reached under one of the workbenches and took out a tackle box. He handed it to the young girl.
“Here, how about you pick out a fresh shade of lipstick for her, and then we’ll go back upstairs, and I’ll help you with the boy.”
The young girl took out a lipstick and handed it to her father. He leaned over the woman and began to trace her lips delicately. “My god- I love her.” He choked on the words and looked to his daughter with tear-filled eyes, “I love her so much.”
That night the young girl couldn’t sleep. She tossed and turned on top of the sheets, thinking about what her father had said. Love. He was right, it’s a waste to kill someone you don’t love. Love is the answer. But what does she know about love? She’s never loved anything. Well actually, that’s not true. She loves her father. Always has. He means the world to her. He’s everything.
She sat up on the edge of the bed, opened the nightstand drawer, and took out a knife. There was nothing particularly special about the knife, but it was her favorite. Something about it, when it was in her hand, always felt right. When he gave it to her on her eighth birthday, her father had said it was a good blade: it held an edge and had a strong tip.
She stood over her father as he slept. Her heart raced, and cheeks flushed as she pulled back the sheet and plunged the blade into her father’s chest. His body jerked and heaved. He stared wide-eyed at his little girl and then a smile came across his face. She stabbed him, again and again until finally pressing the tip of the blade to his neck. She paused-
“I love you, dad.”
And pushed the length of the blade into her father’s throat.
“I love you so much.”