He May Be Human, But I Am Not Divine

Rachel O’Cleary

He still wants me to finish first, like before.

Sometimes he stops himself so that I can. Sidles up to the brink, and then goes still. Retraces his steps right to the very beginning and starts over. Once more, with feeling.

I used to encourage him. Lavishly, loudly. His name a series of exhalations, each syllable a perfect round bubble bursting from my lips against his salty neck.

That was when I thought it was something else. Something generous and free. Now I know better, and I rebuke his greed. I wait to find out if he would rather finish without me, or quit altogether. Three times, he nearly does. 

Finally, I compromise. I pretend. Then I go to the bathroom and do it by myself. Quickly. Quietly. Blissfully alone.

Rachel O’Cleary studied creative writing at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. After several years teaching English in Poland and France, she now lives in Ireland with her husband and three children, writing mostly very short fiction in between school runs. You can read her work at Reflex Fiction, Strands Lit Sphere, Battery Pack IV, and in Mum Life Stories Anthology Vol. 1. She occasionally tweets @RachelOCleary1.