We recently published Marjorie Drake’s luscious “Skin Hunger.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) I love the transition to include a second person character here — it’s a moment that really invites the reader into this story with our protagonist. Do you think this second person character might be just as hungry for touch as the woman at the bar?
I’m not sure it matters. The protagonist is indulging vague fantasies about who could possibly fill her need—and suddenly, apparently for the first time, a person she knows slides into the role. It’s a small step. It’s likely that the second person (just like the bartender and the customers) will never know about the thoughts. Who knows what roles we are playing in someone else’s head? On the other hand, if I am wrong, and the protagonist is actually ready to act on her thoughts, I hope he’s feeling similarly—the woman could use a break.
2) The reader doesn’t get the details of the woman’s loss — it’s clear that, at one point, she did have someone to touch and who touched her, but now she is alone. There is a small hint (“and for so long the thought of holding someone else made her feel sick and it still often does”) that there is, perhaps, some trauma in her past. Do you think she will get past it and manage to find someone to touch again?
I don’t think one ever gets past loss, but at some point, it may become possible to let other experiences, and other people, into one’s heart. The loss, and the love that goes with it, will always be there too, undiminished. The protagonist’s ruminations are triggered by a reminder of the loss—seeing a couple touching in a public place, the type of casually intimate contact that is a part of being a couple—an ordinary sight, but one that stops her breath with pain. I do think it’s a positive sign that she allows herself to consider the possibility of touching someone again. So, I am cautiously optimistic for her!