The teacher she pictures had blonde hair and a slender neck that invited a young Gretchen’s curious gaze. It was a neck she wished to kiss. Not sexually, but playfully, although truthfully, there was certainly something more to it than met her infant eye. She enjoyed kisses on the neck herself at that age. Her father would give such kisses when they played games together in the living room of their apartment while her mother lay prone in bed. To Gretchen’s knowledge, her mother spent the majority of her childhood out of her mind on pills. She took pills because she was poorly, so her father said, but Gretchen never remembers her mother being anything other than poorly, so fuck knows what she would’ve been like without them. It’s ironic, of course, because it was her father who died first, and at such a young age, at that, while her mother has continued to plod along, wallowing in a sense of misery that envelopes her like a cloud. Those neck kisses though. The best bit about them was that her father’s bushy beard used to tickle her like the many feet of a centipede. He’d purposefully make sure the wiry hairs scratched her skin sending her into a fit of hysterics which would only stop when her fits of laughter turned into fits of coughing. Not good for her asthma, but magical for the soul. The memory of it makes her smile, as does the memory of the lean neck belonging to the teacher with golden, yellowy flesh, and the lumps on her chest that reminded her younger self of jelly. Lovely, wobbly jelly, ready to be eaten with generous dollops of ice-cream. If it hadn’t of been for her tender age, these images would’ve kept Gretchen up long into the night in pursuit of turning fantasy into fleshy pleasure.