Damon walks into the restaurant while I’m waiting tables.

Guillermo, the owner, has warned me about having visitors show up while I’m working. Damon waits for me by the back door. I hand my order off to Mirna, the cook. I gesture towards the door and tell her I’ll be back in uno momento. “I no like that boy,” she hisses in broken English across the kitchen. She says it every time and always makes sure it’s loud enough for Damon to hear.

“I got it!” Damon says, waving around a piece of paper. I unfold it. “You did it!” I squeak. It’s a marriage license. He’s been promising this for months. I hug him as Guillermo stalks up, ready to chew me out. “We’re getting married!” I say. Guillermo brightens. I know he’s embarrassed to have an unmarried pregnant nineteen year old girl working in his restaurant.

“I gotta go back to work,” Damon grins, picking me up and twirling me around. “I’ll see ya at home.”  I’m so excited that I can’t stop grinning. “Mirna, I’m getting married!,” I tell her as I pick up my order. She glares, then softens. “Good,” she says finally, “that baby need family, he innocent, he don’t know no better.”  Continue reading

“No, no, no,” Edward rages, “that’s still not it.”

He yanks back the covers and storms off. Edward expects me to do one hundred kegels a day. He says my cunt is a cavern, he can’t feel anything. “Fuck it, I’m going to a meeting,” he yells from across the house. I hear the front door slam, then the car door. The dog next door barks in protest of the outburst.

Our sex life is lubricated by tears and venom. I can’t do anything right. He’s made it his personal mission to become Henry to my Eliza. Every step is a battle. Edward is ten years older than me, so I just assume he’s right about everything.  I’m not supposed to read novels, smoke, watch tv, drink, or eat processed foods. He considers my past sex life to be nothing short of shameful and horrific.

“I like the exact moment when the dick enters the pussy,” he tells me, showing me dozens of porn clips of smiling blonde people in the the missionary position.  I tell him I like to have my ass licked. “Jesus Christ!” he exclaims, jumping out of the bed, “you just don’t say that to someone. Fuck!”  When I call him to tell him I just masturbated at work, he’s appalled. None of my usual tricks works with him, I don’t know how to please him. I wanted my previous lover to hold a loaded gun to my head while we fucked,but I don’t know what to do with Edward. One day I sashay out of the bedroom wearing nothing but knee high black leather boots. He glances up from his book and snorts “God, you are so predictable,” then goes back to reading.  Continue reading

We’re never in love with each other at the same time.

One of us is always in the middle of a bad choice.

Brendan is soft-spoken, sweet, shy. He only looks imposing, six and a half feet tall, heavy metal long hair, an on-and-off again drug habit. We’ve known each other so long that neither of us remembers quite how we met, but we’ve never managed more than a few clandestine kisses in all these years.

It’s like trying to fit the pieces from two different puzzles together. I’m engaged, alone, losing my shit, pulling it together. I need space, air, time.  He stops drinking, starts meth, gets a job, fired, in jail, here and gone again. He moves to Colorado in the middle of the night. It’s never the right time.

After another long absence, Brendan materializes one day. I’m sitting at my friend’s kitchen table, and there he is, filling the doorway. He’s put back on all the pre-meth weight, acquired more tattoos, a goatee. We hug, he blushes, our hands tangling under the table as everyone catches up. We’re both single. He invites me to his new place, within walking distance of a yet another new factory job. Continue reading

Ten stories about 20 years

1. I’m twelve years old the first time I meet Alan. His best friend Cliff is my first boyfriend, my first kiss. We’re all in 7th grade. The three of us are inseparable. Cliff is tall and serious. Alan is his sidekick, too loud, too fat, too obnoxious, too-much-of-everything. Cliff and I will drift apart, but Alan will become the single thread that weaves in and out of my life for the next twenty years.

2. We’re sophomores in high school. I’m still in love with Cliff, even though we broke up in 8th grade. I lost my virginity at the beginning of the school year. I have a taste for sex now, and I want Cliff , he should have been the one I lost it with. Alan wants me. Alan is the only one of us with a car, and he refuses to pick me up unless I agree to fuck both of them. I fuck Alan first, just to shut him up, and the bed cracks. He pouts outside in the car while I give Cliff a blowjob, honking the horn and flashing the car lights on and off through the bedroom window. Next year Alan and Cliff will get in a terrible fight and never speak again, and neither one will ever tell me exactly what happened.

3. I’m downtown with my friends. We all look alike, big hair and tight jeans. We sneak sips of Southern Comfort from a can of Coke that we pass back and forth. There’s a party that’s supposed to be cool, so we go.  I immediately spot Alan. He’s lean. He looks shiny and muscular. He says he’s in the Air Force and he’s on leave. I can’t take my eyes off him. I follow him to the house where he’s staying, and we drink beer and play quarters with his buddies. I go outside for air and lay on the hammock, but I’m so drunk that I flip right off. Alan carries me upstairs and we fuck so loud that they crank up the stereo downstairs to drown us out. Continue reading

We’re always online, our respective divorces have left us sleepless and unanchored.

Blue tells me I should come over. He says we’ll just hold each other as long as we need to, nothing more. He says he once drove across two provinces just for a hug. We found each other on a dating site. I’m not as wary as I should be about people on the internet. I google the directions then tell the ex I’m leaving for awhile so he needs to walk the dog. He’s on the phone with his new girlfriend again, so he makes some generic gesture that could either mean “I heard you” or “go away and fuck off.” I’m stuck living with him until I can afford my own place.

I drive to an unfamiliar suburb where the houses all have wide perfect green lawns. I follow the map to a condo community that sports a fake nautical theme, even though it’s fifty miles to the nearest lake. I find the right condo and knock on the door. Blue is pale and gaunt, all angles and edges, different from his online photo. He says that divorce will do that to you. I know that because I’m all angles and edges now too. We sit on the front steps of the condo and nervously pass a cigarette back and forth, careful to avoid touching hands.

We know a lot about each other, but there is an awkwardness between us here in the physical world. We both try to go through the front door at the same time, bumping shoulders.  He makes me a cup of peppermint green tea and we sit at a little cluttered kitchen table. He talks very fast and flips over tarot cards, avoiding eye contact. I look around at the spare furnishings left in the condo. Boxes are stacked in the corner, most of the floor is covered in paint speckled plastic sheets. It’s his grandmother’s condo, he had already explained to me, she fell and had to go to a nursing home, so he’s renovating it to sell. Continue reading

The phone rings in the middle of the night.

“He’s asking for you,” a low disembodied voice says. I ask for directions, splash water on my face, and go. I’ve been hoping for this moment, it’s down to the wire, hours to spare. My hands shake against the steering wheel, I stop at a 24 hour gas station for a pack of Marlboros.  It isn’t a far distance, maybe only 20 minutes, but I drive slowly.

It isn’t difficult to find the house, it’s the only one on the block that has lights on in every window and a yard full of parked cars. I drive around the block twice before I get the nerve up to stop. As I start to press the accelerator to make a third pass, someone runs out of the house and waves me down, thinking perhaps that I’m lost.

I stub out the end of the cigarette, twisting it out with my foot against the gravel driveway. Everything feels hot and damp, the night, the trickle of sweat oozing from between my breasts. Someone that I don’t know opens the door for me, leering savagely.  When he asks to bum one of my cigarettes, I recognize his voice from the phone. I shake one out, hand it to him, unsure of what to do next. Appraising me with a drunken smirk, he lights it, then leans coolly against the wall. Continue reading

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

Six stories about anal sex

1. Shaun is model-pretty, he mostly just fucks older married women, but he says I’m fun.
It’s Homecoming night, my Budweiser soaked blue gown is flipped up over my waist. Heavily scented with pot and Drakkar Noir, he leans in and whispers “I want to be the first to fuck your ass.” Shaun promises to go slow. If I like it, he says, then I’ll want to do it again.

He scoops a translucent fingerful of Vaseline from a little tub, then rubs the outside of my asshole in little circles.  Slowly, he slides one finger, then two, gliding them in and out for a long time. I almost fall asleep from the rhythm. I lie on my stomach, he nestles in close, guides his dick in. It doesn’t hurt a bit.

2. Lee is hiding something, I find out exactly what in his toolbox one day. When he comes home from work, I throw the box of condoms at him. We’re young and violent. I’m seven months pregnant and freshly twenty-one years old. He says he bought them so he could fuck me in the ass. I call him a liar, stab the little blue packets through with a kitchen knife.

Weeks later, I find another box in the crawl space. Bitterly, I ask him if he was still planning on ass fucking me. Shoving me face first onto the water bed, Lee rolls a condom on. He holds me down and forces his dick in my ass. The condom isn’t lubricated. Biting my lip, I refuse to make a noise. He frees one of my hands, and I hold the heaviness in my stomach. I cry the next time I shit.

____ Continue reading

It’s still the early dial-up internet days.

Everyone has already figured out that everyone else lies. Except me. I lurk in chat rooms. No one believes my personal ad, they think I’m kidding: 5 ft 9,  128 lbs, red hair. I swear I’m for real. Another private message window pops up, this one lives an hour from me.  He’s articulate, literate, and witty.  He knows things about sex that I’ve never even heard of. I’m smitten.

I chain smoke in the dark night after night while the scene unfolds line after line. Since he won’t tell me his age, I assume he’s years older. He won’t talk on the phone or send me a picture. Maybe he’s married or really old, like forty. Frustrated and angry, I type: “What are you, 15 or something??!” The blinking cursor hangs an eternity…

I can’t forgive him, I’m heartsick. I blow off a real date with a schoolteacher to meet him at the mall. His mom chaperones. She sits by the fountain and watches us hug. She tells him I ooze sex.

Now it’s thirteen years later. I email him to tell him I might start writing some of this crazy shit down , should I tell this story?  “Nah,” he writes back. “We never even had sex.”