I loved her. Of course, I did. How couldn't I? She was a counterpoint, a question, a poem in the flesh.
She was feral around the eyes and yet she smiled with the warmth of a long-since-longed hug. She held the fierceness of nature in her features and yet her voice was wrapped in a blanket softer than the singsong of the nightingale. She uprooted me with a kiss, sent my thoughts into a frenzy with a look, and took me back into the world with a whisper.
She was, by all accounts, the love of my life.
And so, despite the oddity of her question, I said, "Yes, I would still love you if you were a worm."
A silly game, I thought, until she cried tears of joy and told me she had bought two tickets to a secret place. I was confused but I accepted, after all, her happiness was all that mattered.
Two days later, we left our little abode in the forest and the cold embraced us when we descended from the plane.
"Here, I want this to be a surprise," Jane said and gave me a piece of cloth. "Cover your eyes and follow me."
A bit strange, I thought, but once again I went with it. Half an hour later, the wintry gales whirred in my ears, muffling Jane's words, and the dense snow turned my gait into a trudge. "Where are we?"
Jane reached for my ear and hugged me. At that moment, the cold thawed and melted into tender warmth. "We are here," she said and the whirring of the winds died down. "Count to ten, and open your eyes."
"Okay?" I hesitated, my heart beating fast.
There was a loud noise like the cracking of bones or the snapping of logs. I jumped in place.
"Don't worry, keep counting down, honey."
I obliged, and a moment later I removed the makeshift blindfold covering my eyes. Before me, enormous and immemorial, was a limbless and wingless creature. It was like a serpent, only a hundred if not a thousand times larger, with ice-blue scales the size of ten men and white, streaming whiskers at the sides of its vast, slobbering maw.
I screamed at the top of my lungs. I felt my whole world crumbling and shattering. Jane had betrayed me. Where was she? Why had she brought me to die here? What was this creature?
"Jerry!" the creature said, seemingly offended. "Am I that ugly?"
I recognized the voice. Of course, I did. "Ja--Jane? Is that you?" I shook my head and glanced quickly at the surroundings. We were in a frozen cave full of stalactites and stalagmites, and the remnants of what I could only guess were her clothes lay on the ground.
"Yes, Jerry, this is me!" The creature's tone had a clear edge of exasperation. It turned around as if offended. If it had limbs, I was certain it would've crossed its arms. "You told me you would love me if I were a wyrm. And so here I am, being vulnerable, showing you what I really am. A wyrm."
"A wyrm?" I said, confused. "I thought you said a worm."
She turned back around. "A worm? That's dumb. Why would you love me if I were a worm? I would be ugly and probably dumb too, worms don't think nor feel."
"Honey, I would love you if you were my worst nightmare. I love everything about you, you know this." I paused to take a look at her and drew a deep breath. "And this form of you is gorgeous, breathtaking. I'm sorry if I sound hesitant, it's because I have many questions, but I mean it."
She smiled a smile full of fangs, fire, and drool. "Come over, I will introduce you to the others."
"Yes." She picked me up with her whiskers as though I was a lollipop and onwards she slithered into a vast circular room full of ice pillars.
At the center of the room, there were a dozen of other wyrms, and next to them a dozen of seemingly confused men.
The moment Jane set foot, or I should say belly in that room, they all faced me. The men looked puzzled, the wyrms thrilled.
"What a joy, Jane! What a joy! This must be Jerry," a wyrm with obsidian-black scales said. She was twice the size of Jane.
Jane swayed her head from side to side in what I could only infer was a delightful dance. "Yes! Thank you, Carla. As you all know, this is my beloved husband Jerry."
"Hello?" I said and waved hesitantly. "It's a pleasure to meet you?"
"The pleasure is ours, Jerry. Jane can't stop talking about how wonderful you are," another wyrm said.
I smiled. "She exaggerates, I'm very much not wonderful. In fact, she doesn't love me as much as I love her."
Their expressions shifted to something I could only describe as confusion.
"What are you saying, honey?" Jane said, turning her head completely around like an owl. "Of course, I love you more than you do."
"No, you don't. I have a secret. Something I've been wanting to confess to you."
"Jerry, are we doing this right now--"
Before she could finish speaking, I turned into a worm.
A storm of thundering gasps filled the room, making the pillars shake.
"What in the world," one of the husbands said.
"You said worms were ugly and dumb. Do you love me now?"
Jane hesitated. "Of course I do, you are still you. I wouldn't kiss you like that, though." Her expression shifted. "Wait, how are you a worm?"
"Ah, I see this is the Club of the Confused Husbands, Confused Wyrms, and Confused Husband Worm now," I said and shifted back into my human shape. "A secret is a secret. But I've always been a worm."
There was an uncomfortable silence that lasted for far too long.
"How are we supposed to react?" one of the husbands said. "First my wife tells me she's a wyrm, then transforms into one, takes me into an ice cave, and now someone just turns into a worm and then turns back into a naked man? What is this, a joke?"
"World domination is not a joke," Carla said and slithered to the center of the room. "Jerry your entrance has been spectacular. But now, it's time to plot."