Len Kuntz lives on a lake in rural Washington State where he is halfway through a novel. His short fiction
appears, or is forthcoming, in such places as mud luscious, Storyglossia, elimae, Word Riot, DOGZPLOT, Prick of the Spindle and others.
I am his fat girlfriend. He likes it that way, me fat and him trim and married.
He meets me at the door and draws me inside his mouth before I’ve had the chance to check the hall for spies. He wants me so bad today. His cock is a scalded switchblade against my thigh. His kisses are soupy. He sniffs my hair and buries his nose in my ear and I feel the prettiest I have all week, since the last time I saw him.
Afterward, we lay in bed and I blink and think, blink and think. I wish I was a smoker, wish I was more inventive, taller, tan, thin, wise, less needy.
When I say so out loud, he tells me I am perfect.
I let him do it again, the way he likes. I know his wife won’t let him do that. I make the noises he enjoys and after a moment I find a cadence and I take pleasure in the sounds, too. He’s hairy and sweaty, like an angry wolf. His drool hits me on the cheek and slides Super Glue slow onto the pillow I’m gnawing.
He tugs my belly for balance. He squeals and claws my stretch marks, and when we’re done I can’t tell what is permanent or what are scratches, and for whatever reason this inability makes me feel lighter, forgiven.
The bus boy brings our room service. As he uncovers the stacks of silver domes I watch his eyes search the room for the rest of our party, thinking: must be family around somewhere, there’s food for ten here.
I finish everything, his meatloaf, the garlic mashers, the brick-hard toast. I dig my fingertip in the gluey mini marmalade jar and sweep the glass clear.
He grins, pleased, and tousles my bed-head hair.
He talks over the television, the baseball scores and hockey and I dream of collisions, of bodies ramming against wall glass and bats breaking on impact, all this while food odors collide with the scent of sex and our sins shake hands and smile before stabbing each other in the back.
When I wake, it’s black. It’s hard to breathe, then impossible. I croak and clutch the sheets and slam the side of the bed he’s supposed to be sleeping on, but then I remember he’s gone home to his family.
I don’t want to die like this, abandoned and starving.
In my head I count backward from one hundred. For just this moment I’d like to set aside blame.
I want to tell him I’m not through loving him yet. Then I hear a voice—Mother’s? Dad’s?—educating me about fairness.
This place is big, they say, but fat girls aren’t supposed to be claustrophobic.