5.07 / July 2010

Gracias, Pero Si

love stories

1. My mother tells me sex is when penis is in a vagina, but she says she doesn’t know how or why. She says it is one way and then another. She says she will ask my father how it works.

2. After my father dies, my mother has his pictures blown up and hung in the living room. There is one picture, blurry but discernable, where my parents are shoving cake into each others’ mouths. My mother is thinner than I have ever seen. My father looks the same, except he is smiling.

3. My mother says never use a sponge because they won’t dry and therefore hold bacteria. I know sponges are filthy, but a giant pack of spermicidal sponges is in my mother’s bathroom drawer.

4. He isn’t my first kiss, but I am his. He says the room is too hot and I kiss him through his sweatshirt as he pulls it off. I never do it again and I wonder if he knows he’s been kissed or if he mistook it for something else. Maybe he thinks I bumped him or his shirt rubbed him. The girl who he thinks is his first kiss won’t be. I’ve robbed them both of that.

5. His hand swallows mine. His hands are trying to eat my hands and I will be dependent on him because I have no hands, just nubs.

6. The way he flattens the dog to the ground with his body. The way the dog whimpers. Afterwards he cries, saying he didn’t know how to control the dog or keep it from eating furniture. We discuss new tactics. We research friendly and painless methods. But again, he will flatten the dog to the ground while the dog whimpers and struggles.

7. He tells me I look good in white. White and brown and headbands and pantsuits. I tell him I won’t wear any of it and he leaves. Gets in his truck and drives away. I watch through the glass. My phone is in his truck. I wonder if he will call.

8. He sweats. It is acrid and harsh. Sometimes it drips on me.

9. I can’t lean back against him. His ribs are too frail, his frame too small. I can imagine the sickening crunch of him behind me. I try to grab him and there is nothing.

10. I shove him in the parking lot and he slaps me across the face. I’m not your bitch, he says. But he will be and when I tell him I fucked another guy and a girl too, he won’t slap me. Instead he will fuck me hard, looking at my face the whole time, telling me I will never do this to him again.

11. He asks me to take him into my mouth while he’s soft. It grows hard, but not fast enough.

12. He falls asleep inside me, the condom still on. When we wake, I am sore and the condom is sticky and hard to roll off. Never again he says. It’s dark and I can hear music and people outside. I wish I hadn’t fallen asleep.

13. There is a little dog that follows me everywhere. It doesn’t look like a stray. It’s well groomed and has a collar with no tag. Every time I go outside he’s there, right beside me. I buy dog treats and never see him again.

Brandi Wells is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama and has fiction in McSweeney’s, Hobart, Monkey Bicycle, and Dzanc’s Best of Web. She blogs at http://brandiwells.blogspot.com/