When she took me apart the first time it was gentle, one segment of finger at a time slipped off my hands like rings so that I didn’t notice their absence until I wanted to feel her underneath my pads and couldn’t. I saw them sitting neatly on the Shaker nightstand, not arranged but tidy. She said, this is a lesson about loosening. You have clever hands — let my hands be clever.
The second time she unhooked my hips from my torso, a wet pop, one two, not painful, but shocking: the way my spine unfurled, the way the lips of my labia unstuck and slid open like snails falling off a wall (but snails never fall off a wall, so the way I imagine a snail would fall off a wall). The she said, laughing, you have strong thighs, this is about knowing you can’t hold what you desire.
The third time she took my head, and it wasn’t with a twist the way I had expected when I saw her coming for it. She reached her fingers down beneath my collar bones, have you ever noticed that your collar bone is just the right size and length to cup four fingers? My spine gave up the ghost and my head came free. She pressed my face into her beautiful, harsh-haired, wetness and waited for my tongue. Said, this is about being made only of hunger.
This story was a runner-up in the UNCANNY themed flash competition.
About the author: Kate Tooley is a queer writer who lives in Brooklyn and watches too many nature documentaries. Originally from the Atlanta area, she is currently pursuing an MFA in Fiction at The New School. Her writing can be found online in Pidgeonholes, Longleaf Review, Witness Magazine, and elsewhere; it has been nominated for best Microfiction and Best American Essays (’20).
Listen to the audio version of the story on our YouTube channel