My Imaginary Boyfriend, by Sara Crowley
It’s so helpful that he’s a doctor; when I told him my endometriosis makes penetration excruciating, he explained about angles and position.
He knows just what to do and how. (He is the goddam sexiest man ever.) He’s tall, stands upright, never stoops.
He has one of those inverted triangle torsos, he’s strong, works out, thick thighs, taut stomach. He’s healthy, as a doctor should be.
He doesn’t mind my roundness, my softness, but wants me to be well. We share a glass or two of Merlot, thick, dark and heavy on our tongues as we twirl forks into prawn tagliatelle and discuss politics.
He’s smart. I become more so by being with him.
The way he looks at me is often too much and I look away. When I talk about my museum job he’s fascinated. I tell him my favourite netsuke is an ivory mermaid and he actually listens.
I get anxious over — trivial things — and I picture him reaching a hand out, stroking my face, and everything is immediately ok. (It would be.)
He never speaks for the sake of it, he’s considered and thoughtful. He likes to run, earbuds in, huge strides along the seafront, salt in his hair, mind on important things.
He doesn’t swear, or if he does it sounds soft in his mouth, the sting removed. When he sees the blue blooms of pinches and kicks along my thighs he rubs his thumb gently over them; a kiss.
In every way, he is bigger than my husband.
When my husband is at me, in me, I think of my imaginary boyfriend. I think, if he knew… I think, I’m okay.
I think, he will fix this.
Sara Crowley‘s stories have been widely published in many wonderful places including 3:AM, The Irish Times, wigleaf, Hobart, MIR, Pank and Time Out. She’s managing editor of The Forge, a prison librarian, blogs at saracrowley.com