about the author

Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. His work has appeared in Prick of the Spindle, Ophelia Street, Quicksilver, NANO Fiction, Foundling Review, and elsewhere.

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Last Night I Thought I Saw Virginia Woolf Walking Across the Thames

Kyle Hemmings

Your first and only lesbian lover is a chemistry student named Esther. You meet at a frat party where the cheese is free and the girls sputter their theories of love while pressing chilled wine glasses against their cheeks. At least one girl, named Penny, rumored to spread a mysterious social disease, gets up to puke. They find her body, years later, half-naked, in the backseat of the professor’s station wagon. He teaches myths of the Mid-East. But tonight, you find yourself lying next to Esther over your mother’s hand-knit blanket, laced with pictures of...little horses? Palominos? Your head buzzing from the wine, you freely admit you never did it with a woman before. “Isn’t it strange,” says Esther, “how my name almost rhymes with aether. You know, Aristotle’s fifth element.” Her voice is somehow desert-dry, falling in shafts, as if excavating old truths. Even when she comes up for air. From now on, whenever you make love to a boy, you feel heavy, about to gush white lies, cultivating the energy required to hold them. When Esther calls, you cry for no reason or for a whole chain-link of non sequiturs. The room spins whenever you are alone in the fundamental element called night.

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