A Screen is Not a Room (But it Might be a Door)

It was the third consecutive night of video calling when I decided I’d had enough.

A fantastical digital sketch of a blond masculine-presenting person, face full of frustration, leani

Content warning: loose (but graphic) allusions to childbirth; mild injury


It was the third consecutive night of video calling when I decided I’d had enough. Our usual staple, phone calls, were an inoffensive pastime. A disembodied voice was certainly enough to spark yearning over kilometres of distance and time spent apart, but never beyond the brink of sanity. Video calls were another matter entirely. If a phone call was a spark, a video call was a wildfire. I squirmed hotly in my chair, watching the tiny rectangle of light in front of me. This simply wouldn’t do—it was, after all, the third consecutive night of video calling. I decided I’d had enough.

The first puzzle was whether my laptop screen would comply with my wishes for long enough to become a room. It looked like a room. It almost sounded like one—the carpet rustled in a muffled sort of way, but the sound wasn’t distorted enough to be discouraging. The other question was size. Would the image of the room be wide enough for my body? I had no way of knowing, but I expanded the call window to full capacity for good measure. Then, I ran an internet speed test. The upload speed left something to be desired, but it would have to do. Finally, I felt ready.

I laid my laptop on the bedroom floor and prostrated myself in front, arms steepled in front of me like a diver. Briefly, I glanced up at the image on the screen. Your device was on your floor too, giving me full scope of the room I was about to enter. I saw you, naked except for your burgundy briefs. Seeing what I was about to do, you’d made your way to the opposite wall to give me plenty of space.

Small petals of blue and red bloomed around the spot my fingernails pressed into the smooth screen. I pressed harder until they pierced it, wincing as I felt the first zap. Too late, I realised I’d worn the wrong shirt for this; staticky, synthetic. I was up to my wrists in the screen now. No time to change.

The gash widened easily after the first push. Elongated, yawning, vaginal, it expanded to accommodate my forearms, then my elbows. By now I was becoming impatient. The process was too slow and nothing like the smooth transition I’d imagined. I shuffled forward on my hips and was rewarded with a violent spurt of blue shards; glowing, minute and razor sharp. They buried themselves in my face, my arms, my neck. Another electric shock. I gritted my teeth against the sting and pushed harder.

Finally, it yielded. The gash opened fully, and the rest of my body slithered through. I gasped as my head was enveloped in light. A foyer, I thought deliriously. A feeling of weightlessness and velocity overcame me but before I had time to comprehend my surroundings, my head entered your bedroom. You were watching me incredulously from the opposite wall where I’d seen you last. I managed a reassuring grin as I struggled through your computer. It had a slightly smaller screen than mine. My face prickled.

Looking behind me, I noticed with some regret that both our laptops were completely ruined. Mine had been brand new, but I accepted this as a price worth paying. We were finally together. You kissed me once on the lips, then readied the tweezers. I closed my eyes contentedly, head on your knee, as you tweezed out the glowing blue splinters, one by one.


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