I sucked her tongue into my mouth, savoring the soft warm muscle as it probed and swelled, knocking against my back teeth. We both knew it would be the last time. And when we broke that kiss, our shared spit dripping from her chin, she smiled at me like the cat that stole the cream. She stuck it all the way out, that lovely pink organ, and laid a trail down between my breasts, tasted the sweat pooling on my belly. Creeping backwards on all fours she found the edge of the bed and slid my hips right up to it, so my legs dangled off and the feet touched the floor. I propped myself up on my elbows so I could watch her dive into my muff. I tried not to cry, because I knew that would be the last time too.
It was an outpatient procedure. They let me watch. She didn't even have to change her clothes. They just laid her back on a dentist's chair, with a bib on her. It was a female doctor, not too old but past the prime of life and starting to waste, with big hands as long and skinny and strong as birdclaws; her nurse was a boy still in college, all soft muscle and tufted hair, with holes in his ears where the plugs would go after work. They waited for the shots they gave her to kick in, then got to work. I don't think I'd ever seen her mouth open that wide before, when the doctor went to cutting. I knew the blood was coming before the first spurt, because the boy had the metal pan under her chin and at the ready. Then came the little pink thing I had known and loved, and I had to leave to be sick.
No sex until it healed, the nurse at the desk said - a woman somewhere between black and Latino, with a wide smile that dissolved into a disapproving scowl at the slightest interruption, and an accent that ranged from Georgia to Chicago. Not even kissing. Liquid diet, with the sterile straw. No one wanted an infection. My heart tried to smile, but when she flashed those blood-stained teeth, I nearly cried again. She kept that smile on her for the ride home, still a little dazed and happy from the medicine, fingers drumming a melody on the inside of her right thigh.
It was a long couple of weeks.
She wasn't insatiable, but she was waiting. The numb tongue wore off in hours; the pain disappeared in days of medication and long nights of a rumbling stomach dissenting from the sudden liquid diet. There was an energy of expectation to her as she stalked the apartment, curling up on the couch as I worked, or over by me with her head resting against my lap.
Then, the date circled in red. The bandage came off. The doctor gave a critical glare and smiled as my heart stuck her tongue out - long and covered with backward-facing barbs, like a cat's. Bird-fingers played at the edges, tested the strength and sensitivity of the new muscle, brought out the little latex paper with the taste spots, smiled at the answer of sweet and salty, savoury and spicy, hot and cold. All clear.
The anticipation was there, during dinner. I could see she knew it. Her first solid food in weeks, a simple lasagna, washed down with cold white wine. I sputtered when I saw her lick a dab of sauce off her own nose. She did laugh then. It sounded different now.
There was no time for dishes. No time, even, to drag me to bed. I had barely put them in the sink when she came up behind me, hands slipping under my shirt to clasp under my belly. We just stood like that for a moment, her head nestled in the crook of my neck, the scent of wine on her breath. Then the hands moved up to my breasts, just holding them, hefting them, feeling the weight, fingers tracing lazy circles around the nipples. I was waiting for it and still gasped when she licked my neck.
Not like sandpaper. This was wet, warm, living, and pliable; it followed the groove of your skin but dragged those little spines along it, hard enough to take the dirt and dead skin off it. My knees buckled, and though she couldn't see it my toes curled.
She took me on the couch, then. I thought she wanted to lick every inch of me with that weapon of hers. Rough and strong, like someone had taken a little dull knife and started scraping me along my collar bone, along my ribs, beneath my breasts. Little stinging cat kisses along my jaw, and down on my inner thighs. I wanted to do more for her, but she moved with purpose, taking initiative; this was her night.
She had me as she wanted me, panties flung aside, slouched on the front of the couch, posed in front of her. My heart gave her too-clever smile forced my knees apart with her hands, took a moment to nuzzle me there. Then she bent down to give my kitty a lick. I could have screamed. Then I really did.
I thought there would be blood. Like losing my hymen again, like that first bloody spotting when I was twelve, like the time after I had the cyst taken out. It's so much more sensitive than skin, inside, so delicate. I felt raw like an open wound; a scab scratched open to the air, the subtle painful swelling as it healed, where for hours after I could feel the throbbing of the veins inside. I didn't want to think what it would be like when I had to take a piss.
I was curled up when it was over, holding myself, unwilling to move. She was picking pubic hair out of her tongue, where they had gotten caught on the papillae. I wondered about hairballs, had a momentary dream of revenge - her naked, bent over a tub as I shoved a finger down her throat coated with Vaseline.
She turned back to me then, in the dark and bent low to look me in the eyes. My heart smiled, the woman with the cat's tongue, and as I watched she opened her mouth and it came out to gently scrape the tip of my nose.