“I cut my toe,” she said.
I turned back toward her.
“The blood. I cut my toe. I’m sorry,” she said, almost contrite.
“You cut your toe while we were having sex?”
“I must have reinjured it.”
I was confused. When was her foot in the middle of the bed? And there was
“No.” She flopped over onto her side. “Are you passionate at work?” she
“Do I yell a lot?”
“No, are you passionate? Do you care? Do you act like you care? If the
“I’d have to say no.”
“Yeah, that sucks, doesn’t it?”
“How many jobs actually pass that blow-up test?”
“You were passionate before,” she said. “You were very passionate. Out of
“Really?” I stared at her face. “Which part?”
“I hope it’s not just the kissing. Is it just the kissing?”
“Just the kissing,” I grumbled.
“Now who’s asking for too much?” She feigned a smile. “Tell me something
“How did you injure your toe?”
“That’s so uplifting.”
“Is there a story behind it?”
“No, not really. Nothing interesting.”
Her feet were hidden under my bunched-up blankets at the end of the bed and
“Why do you care so much?”
“I don’t care. It’s not my business. I just want to make sure you’re not
“I bite my toenails.”
I stared at her.
“I don’t want to bite my toenails, it’s just there’s only a finite amount of
“Who does that?”
“Grow up,” she said.
I glanced down my bed toward the red mark. The juice from Steph’s toe
She sat up.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
She lifted her naked leg up toward her mouth.
“Please don’t,” I said.
Her foot was suspended by her mouth like a can of soda. But she didn’t bite.
“Stephanie, what are you doing?”
“This is me. It’s not just a bad habit. This is me. I’m nervous and fucked
“Put down the foot.”
“Why should I put it down? You want me to be fake? You want me to pretend to
“This is not such a big deal.”
“How can you say that?” She began to sob. Her body shook. But somehow she still managed to keep her leg up and her foot against her lip. A heavy tear slipped down her silver toe ring.
“Bite,” was all I could say. “Stephanie, please bite.”
After she left, I went back to my bed and swept aside the blankets. I
Michael Bahler and Nerve.com