Our eyebrows were already weird by the time we met. We were not new, but we had not been waiting, either. We came trailing wedding rings, dildos, mortgages, baby bottles, prom dresses, surgical histories, seltzer makers, dead transmissions, at-home injection kits, rosary beads, old photographs and new phones and empty whiskey bottles.
Instead of asking for nudes, I asked you to send me a picture of a scar. You sent a close-up of a wine-dark birthmark. I had been hoping for the two long and beautiful pink lines across your chest. You asked me if I had ever had an abortion. I asked you what your name used to be.
Instead, you told me that when you were eight, you wore a bat costume every day for two weeks. When your mother finally pried it off you and tucked you into bed in your My Little Pony pajamas, your face washcloth clean, you pretended to sleep. Hours later, you snuck into the laundry room. She came running at three in the morning when you, crouched on your bed, unfurled your wings and flew, toppling a bookcase full of Nancy Drew and Goosebumps.
Now, I ask you to tell me again. Tell me about how you were a wild, half-formed thing in the night. Remind me that you and I are still not in our final forms. You fit yourself around my body. I slide two fingers into your vagina.
In the mornings, we take turns reading the news and telling the other: This can wait. Don’t look yet. It will be here later. For now, pull my ear to your mouth, your arms around my chest.
Aiden Grace Smith’s fiction and non-fiction has been published widely. Their collection of short stories, Adulterous Generation, was published by Queen’s Ferry Press, and their first novel, Palais Royale, is available from Engine Books. Aiden teaches creative writing and literature at Emerson College.
What a discovery! Thank you.