Author Topic: PseudoPod 797: New to It All  (Read 391 times)


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on: March 02, 2022, 05:03:56 AM
PseudoPod 797: New to It All

Author: Seán Padraic Birnie
Narrator: J.S. Arquin
Host: Kat Day
Audio Producer: Marty Perrett

“New to It All” first appeared in the collection I Would Haunt You If I Could published in March of 2021 by Undertow. 

My first girlfriend, Niamh, was a scratcher. Saoirse wasn’t like that. The first time Niamh asked me to stay the night, she was testing me out. I can see that now, in retrospect. Nothing too scratchy to begin with. “I didn’t want to scare you away,” she said to me once, with a laugh. “Oh, you couldn’t have,” I replied, laughing too. At this Niamh tilted her head. “I think we both know that that’s not the case,” she replied, lowering her voice, which was already an implausibly low and husky voice. “I had to ease you in.” I smiled. I didn’t argue; I never did argue with Niamh. In retrospect I can see that I was always afraid of losing her, but what good did retrospect ever do for anyone? In retrospect, there’s nothing left to do. Understanding always comes too late. In retrospect, I can hear Niamh repeating herself: “Yep, I had to ease you in. You were so… new to it all.” Perhaps she wasn’t wrong. The morning after that first night together, I noticed the scratches in the bathroom mirror as I brushed my teeth with my index finger. I had forgotten my toothbrush. The scratches were livid. Once, she had made me yell out in pain, a long fingernail catching in the large mole in the middle of my back. I only remembered that then, standing in the bathroom with an index finger smeared with spit and toothpaste. One thing I hadn’t told her at that point was that I was, until that night at least, at the antique age of twenty-four, still a virgin. In retrospect, it’s obvious that she knew, but she was too kind to say anything about it. 

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