by Tatiana Ryckman
It was the opposite of an orgasm, imploding rather than exploding. Like I was becoming a particle of dust, like I could ride around all day in his breast pocket. Like there was nothing else in the world I wanted to do. It was a romantic notion.
But then, he kept kissing me and I kept shrinking, until he accidentally swallowed me. Now I just hang out with the bacteria in his small intestine. It wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for when I whispered that I wanted to be a part of him, the way he was when he slid inside of me, but it could have been worse, I told myself.
For instance, I’m grateful for signs that life is continuing as usual, that our routine hasn’t changed. I still know when he’s getting ready for bed because the avalanche of ice cream sliding toward us comes every night, as regular as the evacuation I expect to watch recede every morning. The fudge swirls are even bigger from the inside, and I have to press back against his guts to stay out of the way. I never could handle dairy the way he could—the bacteria love it, though, lose their shit over it.
It took a few days before I started thinking about trying to get out—it seemed like my cross to bear at first, and on my first night he swallowed a tiny spoon and I knew he was still thinking of me. But when my fingers became pruned with the moisture of a dinner I couldn’t stomach, even with the utensil, my thoughts turned to moving on with the food. I’ve never seen his butthole, though, and it’s impossible to ask him how he feels about it now that I’m here. We were nothing if not respectful of each other’s space.
It’s not the same, but I once asked him what he thought about eating ass, and we both agreed it just wasn’t for us. I didn’t tell him that one time, in high school, a boy asked if I’d ever let someone do it to me, and that I wouldn’t have to do it back, and I said, Yeah, I guess I would. (And then he did.)
On my third day down here he sent me a note. It was folded into what must have been a miniscule envelop of tin foil to protect it from the stomach acid, I assumed. In his characteristically small writing it just said, “love.” Maybe because that’s all that could fit on the paper. I took it to mean that he loved me, but I also considered that he might be calling me Love, a new pet name in a British accent.
When I didn’t hear anything for a few more days I thought maybe it meant that he had found love somewhere else, that he was just letting me know. That what we shared was a snack on the way to the real thing. But then the “Wish you were here,” came with a tiny drawing of a mouth on the other side, and I knew I wasn’t alone. I assume the day will come when I care more about my career and health than if he’s shy about his butthole, but until I can see the future as something linear that I can attach myself to, I’m probably just going to stay here.
To be fair, I’m really not alone. The little guys who turn all those Fritos into shit have come to depend on my boredom for entertainment. They’ve never seen anything like me before, and the jokes that rarely got a weak chuckle from him throw these guys into a frenzy of productivity, and frankly, sometimes it’s nice to be with someone who doesn’t mind eating a little ass.
Still, I recognize that their excitement is the only gift I can give him now, like a giant shit from the bottom of my heart. I try not to think about the day he starts eating Date Food and I realize he’s moved on. But how could I blame him, we all forget ourselves some times.
Tatiana Ryckman was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the author of the chapbook “Twenty-Something,” and assistant editor at sunnyoutside press.