“Asleep Under a Patchwork Quilt,” oil on canvas, by William Peter Watson, n.d.

by Amye Archer
Object Permanence: the stage of childhood development in which a baby learns that what he or she cannot see, still exists.

It is dark. The summer is ending, but we can still taste her on our tongues. Twenty beers between us has made you hungry for me. We roll through ten years of married sex like we are still in month one. Everything is unzipped, my dress, your pants, even our mouths—as we say things to one another in the dark we wouldn’t dare to whisper in the light. My breasts are soft under your palms and lips. Your hands are rough, but my body contours to them with familiarity. “You should be worshipped,” you slur into my neck. I cling to you tightly, enveloping your thin body between my arms, and I hold on. I narrow myself, sucking in my belly, squeezing my hips together, our bed is small, and I need to make room for the girl next to us.

“I have loved you since I was a boy,” you tell me. The girl hears it too. This girl, the one on her back with our moans in her ears is always with me. She is 265 pounds, she is desperate and wide. She thinks her husband loves her because he allows her to exist as fat. She thinks sex is about his orgasm, not her beauty. She won’t leave a bad marriage, she won’t find a new job, and she won’t write books or birth children. She will live in 2002 forever. She hears you talking from fifteen years ago. Hears the promises you make, the way love should sound, but she can’t reach you. She can only reach me.

Twenty beers between us has left an awful ache the next morning. The sun burns through us. You rise first, still naked, still smooth and hard all at once. You walk across wood floors you have laid, held together by walls you have built, and I watch through one heavy eye the grace you would never admit to having in your step. You ask about my needs—aspirin, water, food. The girl between us is confused by this care. She wants to help you. Her inflated body begins to rise, to comfort you, to pull you close and absorb the pain. I throw my arm across her, pull her back into the bed with me and whisper: “It’s okay. Let him do this.”


Amye Archer is the author of Fat Girl, Skinny, a true story about fat jeans, Weight Watchers, and bad decisions. She holds an MFA and teaches writing at the University of Scranton. She is the creator of The Fat Girl Blog. You can find her on Twitter @amyearcher.