Good news! I will also love you when you are a full-time snake.
by Hattie Hayes, 3.24am November 10th 2021

My wife was not always a snake
except, I guess, she was.
Even though she looked like a human when we met.
I saw her, and was scared,
but I was not about to be defeated
by someone who wanted to wrap around me.

My wife is a snake and that is not a metaphor
or allegory
or clever way of disguising our situation.
My wife is not a snake because I am scared to write about some human thing she is/isn’t/was.
This is not a story about acceptance.
This is a story about women
who are also snakes.

When an old college buddy asked how I even communicate with my wife, the enormous snake,
I said, we communicate the same way we always did:
I translate the long slow letters of her body. I ask her what she needs and she tells me,
sliding nimble sentences into the palms of my hands.

In the beginning I was bad at caring for snakes
but I was always good at loving my wife.
Over time I have become extremely proficient at caring for snakes, and exceptionally advanced
at loving my wife.
It helps that these are the same thing.

I can’t even begin to tell you how good of a snake my wife is. I am so proud.
My wife is a ball python. She is four foot long. You might think snakes are cold or slimy,
but my wife is dry and her skin feels nice to touch.
My wife has yellowish spots down her back, which I like to skip my fingers down,
like stepping stones.
She has the same eyes as always.

My wife told me she was a snake and I did not know what to say.
I said what came to mind, which was, “I love you now, and I will also love you
when you are a full-time snake.”
I could not find a reason to deny her a new way of loving herself.

And when I woke up one morning, and a ball python was curled around my ankle,
I was certainly nervous. But here’s the thing: I know my wife.
And I know my wife will always give a little more than she thinks she should.
My wife said once that bravery is an act of generosity to the self. So, I gathered my courage, and
I stopped being afraid of snakes.

It is not uncanny, to love someone best at their truest form.