My girlfriend's pelvic floor is stuffed with flowers, perfume, silver talismans, strange buildings, and a sweater she saw once while she was travelling that she regrets she didn't buy.
It was opaque before she went to see the physiotherapist because she pees every thirty minutes. The physio said no more just-in-case wees and touched her pelvic floor while she pulled a nerve along her thigh. After that all the things surfaced, swirling out of the diamond of her sit bones, pubic bone and tail bone, conjured as if through a limpid, crystal ball.
When I touch her pelvic floor now, I see things. No ex-boyfriends. She thought I'd find boys for sure if there was shopping. But no: it's mostly places and shopping and animals.
—Jaguars? I ask her.
—Tigers, she says.
—Maybe tigers, I agree.
—White tigers, she corrects me.
Once, when she was young, her parents took her to San Francisco Zoo, when they were still together. That's where she saw the white tigers. She ate cotton candy, and her mom and dad swung her from her arms, parents on either side of her like guard dogs. In the gift shop, they bought her an oversized pink t-shirt with two white tigers. Her secret was that they were just her and her dad, and her mom wasn't there. She liked sitting in that t-shirt, knees bent inside, fabric pulled over them, so she was all contained.
My girlfriend stuffs all her happiness into her pelvic floor. It shines so bright but far enough away from her brain that she can't see its purplish tinge—regret mixed with sorrow, betrayal and hope.
Emi Benn lives in Hamilton, Ontario. Her fiction has appeared in Jellyfish Review, Joyland, Monkeybicycle and other places.