I call in sick, my head isn’t right.

I tell my husband, JD, that it must be the flu. He says it’s going around, kisses my forehead, leaves for work. The instant the car pulls from the driveway, I begin. I’ve felt this day hovering in the horizon. A slow sick feeling starts in my heart and spreads outward, poison seeps into my brain. I am utterly defenseless. A therapist once asked what would happen if I didn’t give in. I don’t know, I’m not yet strong enough to find out. When I first married, I told my husband I liked pain with sex. He told me I needed more therapy.

Starting with the kitchen, I look for anything pinchy, sharp, moderately dangerous. I grab the clip from the bag of Doritos. I test a binder clip against my arm, but that’s too much even for me.  I pull open every drawer in the bathroom, and make a small pile of stuff on the bed, hair clips, a brush, anything.

There are rules to this. If I’m going to just masturbate, I set a timer and I have to masturbate the entire time. If I hurt myself, I have to lie still and endure it until the timer goes off. I can’t masturbate for relief until the timer goes off. Generally, one cycle of this is enough. The black cloud bursts and the relief comes, bright and brilliant.

I clamp little butterfly hair clips all over my breasts, the rough teeth break my skin. I set the timer for five minutes and reach down between my legs.  I can’t climax. I try again and set the timer for ten minutes, then fifteen. It isn’t enough. My head isn’t clearing, it’s getting worse. Continue reading

“Ugh, no,” I tell Jay as I push his head away.

“I’m having my period.”  His eyes brighten, he gets up, then returns with a towel. I lift my ass up to let him slide the towel underneath me. “Go easy,” I say,  I’m a bit crampy.” Jay smiles, says that he has no intention of fucking me.

Jay twists his long mop of curls into a ponytail, sets his glasses on the nightstand. The spiral brands adorning his arms shimmer faintly in the sunlight. He pats the bed, motioning for me to scoot down. As he slides my panties down over my thighs, I hesitate.

“Are you really? It’s…I mean… it’s so…” I stutter. Jay nods, spreading my thighs wide open. “Kiss me first,” I say. “I’m not sure I can kiss you after.” Jay nibbles my bottom lip. “Shhhh,” he whispers, “stop worrying so much.” Continue reading

I open the bathroom cupboard looking for bobby pins.

I knock over a little cardboard box, a pamphlet flutters to the floor. I unfold the diagram, then quickly lock the bathroom door. I’m eleven years old and I feel like I’ve discovered a treasure map. The instructions are for tampons, the kind with no applicator. A cartoonish illustration shows a cutaway of a  finger guiding a little cotton bullet up a tunnel.  I sit on the toilet and poke between my legs and slip my finger upwards. There’s a hole there!

I grab a handful of the pellets, fold the instructions into a tight little square, then bike over to my friend Misty’s house. Showing her my contraband, I tell her we have holes between our legs. Misty calls me a dope, her mom already told her about vaginas. Running into the bathroom, she comes back with some of her mom’s tampons. These are a lot longer, the cotton is on a cardboard thing, and we try to  figure out how that works.

We lay on her bed, pulling  the covers over our heads in case someone comes in. “You go first!” “No, you go first!” we shriek. We decide to go at the same time. The little tubes push in between our legs, the white cardboard slides out tinged pink with blood. “I think I just got my period,” I whisper. Misty tugs on the dangling string, then I do the same. Peeking out the door, we run to the bathroom and throw them in the toilet. We watch them bloom into big white puffs then flush them away.

The rest of the summer we have sleepovers. We hide under blankets, sliding tampons into each other. Sometimes we blow on each others flat chests, or lick our fingers and touch each others tiny nipples. Once we even try kissing, but decide that’s what you’re supposed to do with boys, so we don’t do it again.

Another lifetime later, I run into Misty at the grocery store. We go out for beers and talk about the old neighborhood. She asks if that summer really happened, wonders if she imagined the whole thing. Then Misty tells me she’s bisexual and she blames me for it.

Ben has been my best friend for years.

Everyone thought we would end up as a couple, but we didn’t even date. Ben’s been there for more break-ups than I can count, this time it’s a divorce. I’m still living with my soon to be ex-husband. It’s horrible, we never stop fighting. I call Ben to come get me. I need air. An hour later, I hear his car pull in. As I get in his car, he shakes a cigarette loose from his pack of Camels, lights it for me. He’s put some thought into his appearance, a white button down shirt, newly pressed khakis. I tease Ben, tell him he looks nice for once. Playfully, he punches my arm, we laugh. He says we’ll go to Mac’s, it’s a new place he’s found.

We eat oversized cheeseburgers, shoot endless rounds of nine ball. I glance into the mirror behind the bar to find him staring at me. I lose count of the beers. I mumble something about not wanting to go home yet, so he takes me to his place. Ben carries me into the house.“Where’s Laura?” I ask sleepily. Ben says she’s pulling a double at the hospital, she won’t be back for hours.

I wait in the living room while he mixes another drink. He sits on the couch, I lay my head in his lap, drifting in and out of sleep. Ben tentatively kisses me, I pull him in and kiss back. We tumble onto the floor, arms, legs, lips. I nod when he asks if I want to go in the bedroom. Pushing aside a pile of Laura’s laundry, he guides me onto the rumpled floral sheets. Continue reading

This is how it starts:

One afternoon, Alex leans in the doorway of my office, holding coffee from Starbucks. She says I must be busy, working, going to school, planning a wedding. Thanking her, I sip the cappuccino then turn back to the computer. I feel her hover in the doorway just an extra moment, she’s gone when I turn around.

Now almost every afternoon at two, she brings Starbucks. The clock ticks heavy and slow. A missed day feels like a low toothache. In penance, she leaves odd little gifts on my desk, a wind-up Halloween skeleton that clatters and gnashes it’s teeth, a tiny toy dog that barks if I squeeze it.

The office ladies throw me a bridal shower at a Mexican restaurant. We drink pitchers of neon green Margaritas. Someone snatches a sombrero and attempts a drunken hat dance. Alex sits alone at the far end of the table in her grey jersey and baseball cap. Drinking bottles of Budweiser, she watches as I merrily open box after box of salad bowls, plaid dish towels. At eleven o’clock, my fiancé picks me up. I blow everyone big sweeping drunken kisses. I turn to leave and she’s right there. Alex whispers “Are you sure this is what you really want?” She’s gone before I ask what she means. Pulling out of the parking lot, I see her standing at the far end of the lot, watching us drive away. She doesn’t come to the reception, I glance up every time the doors swing open. Continue reading

I hate Paul and he hates me.

It’s no secret, our mutual loathing. Friends make sure to not invite us to the same events or we’ll ruin the evening. We trash talk each other every single chance we get. He’s a complete fucking asshole. I’m a stupid cocksucking bitch. I’m not sure how we started to fuck in secret.

It always goes the same way. The phone will ring, Paul will ask if I busy. I always tell him yes, fuck off. About fifteen minutes later, he’ll walk in without knocking. I ignore him, I’ve got better things to do. He leers at me, then after awhile, he rolls a joint. We smoke, then head upstairs.

I’ll allow him rub my feet for a long time, letting the high settle in. Paul is the only person I let touch my feet. He’s an expert, it never tickles. Sometimes I’ll let him lick my toes, but usually not. When he finally undresses, I never fail to point out how small his pathetic cock is. He tells me my tits are too little, my ass too big.

We fuck hard, until we’re out of breath, until we’re panting and sweaty. We fuck until he goes limp, until I’m loose and sopping wet. We slap, we bite, we bruise, we spit. We pause only for cigarette breaks. Then we fuck some more.

Stoned, hungry and thirsty, I wrap in a towel. I toss Paul my pink floral bathrobe.  We lean against the sink, eating ice cream out of the container, kissing, smoking cigarettes. A key fumbles in the lock, the back door opens. My roommate stares, open mouthed, at the two of us standing there. We’re still flushed and sticky, the kitchen smells like sex. “This doesn’t change anything,” Paul says, “I still hate the rotten bitch.”

I hear the back door open.

I’m home alone from school on a sick day, watching The Price is Right. My boyfriend, Sam, walks in with a gas station rose wrapped in cellophane. This is the first long term relationship for either of us. I’m sixteen, he’s a year older. I tell him not to kiss me, I’m all germy, but he does it anyway. He says he’s skipping class to come check on me. I flip the station over to cartoons, ask him to hand me the ginger ale. Grinning, Sam starts to pull all these little plastic bubbles out of his pockets- almost like the kind with a toy inside from a twenty-five cent prize machine, but a little bigger.

Popping one open, I see that they each contain nylon knee high stockings; forest green, maroon, mustard yellow. I kick off my fuzzy slippers and try on a navy blue pair. I laugh, and tell him these are something old ladies wear to office jobs. Sam strokes my foot, then brings it up to his mouth and kisses my toes.

“Eww!” I make a face and yank my foot away. I don’t know what the hell this is about. Grabbing my foot again, he presses my toes up against his crotch. He unzips his jeans, rubbing his cock across my foot. I suddenly get it. I peel off my pajamas, naked except the blue knee highs. The dark blue against my pale legs looks foreign. I feel awkward. Sam pulls a chair in front of me and sits down.

Guiding both my feet around his dick, he asks me to jerk him off with my feet. I try to keep my feet together, and slide them up and down. The nylon is cheap and slippery, it’s already starting to snag and run. Leaning back in the chair, Sam slowly drives his hips up and down. My legs are getting tired and I’m trying not to sneeze on him.

He gyrates and shuts his eyes. I look past him and watch the television, clicking through the channels until he finally grunts loudly and finishes. I peel the sticky stocking off, wrapping them in a paper towel. I tell him to bury it deep in the trash on his way out.

“Bring the mirror over here,”

I say, “I want to see too.” Mister props the full length mirror sideways against the dresser. “That’s so fucking hot,” he says, “I like that you want to see yourself.”  I’m on my stomach, my hands attached to my ankles by a series of thin metal cables and carabiners. My head and feet are lifted, I can’t quite put either down. Mister fastens a leather collar around my neck and attaches that to the cable joining my hands. I test the limits, moving my head forward. The collar cuts into my neck, I choke a little and ease back.

Mister strokes my face, then slaps me hard. I hear him behind me, rifling through his bag of tricks. Something clatters, something else briskly snaps open and shut. I try to look in the mirror, but he’s just out of view. “You’ve been a bad little slut,” Mister hisses as he tightens the nipple clamps. He forces my mouth open with two fingers, then tells me to bite on the chain that attaches the clamps. Continue reading