He almost got me pregnant. I could feel it as his back curled into a shell, his shoulders hunched, and I thought to myself, would he really do this to me? When we both are jobless. When I live in my grandmother’s basement writing manuscripts that publishers and agents alike continue to reject because they have too much character and not enough plot. When he sleeps on his younger brother’s couch drooling over the relationship his brother has with his fiancé, wondering why he’s three weeks from thirty and still without a wife and child. This is my punishment for telling him I don’t love him. Relationships are about honesty, so I told him the truth, promising that I would at least let him try to change my mind. Is this his attempt. To make me? Force me? Because there are so many examples of how a baby kept an already unhappy couple together, right? Because he believes he’s owed something, entitled to happiness. So much so that he would steal a woman’s freedom to choose. Because he knows my past, that I have dreams of the rosy-cheeked face of the child I could’ve had when I was a teenager. “You said you’d never do it again, so don’t do it again,” he tells me. And you told me you’d be careful. That condoms were for one-night-stands and promiscuous teens. That real love will come when that latex barrier is broken. I believed there would be some magic in the way you made loved to me. It would open my eyes to all I failed to discover in previous relationships. But no. I don’t want this love. You will not control me for the next eighteen years of my life, make my decisions for me, use a child as a pawn to get what you think you deserve. I pinch my legs closed, pound on your chest, claw at your eyes until you pull from me, spilling all over the bed. You stare at me, a face scrunched with terror, as I continue to kick and yell, swatting away at you like the sucking mosquito, the incessant parasite that you are. You will not infect me with your disease of need and desperation. Find another host body.
This is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. I haven’t done one in a while, which is funny because it’s not like I’m ever busy on Saturday. Anyway, today’s prompt is “almost.” Have a go at it!
Men don’t compliment anymore. You’re beautiful;
You have an amazing smile;
You’re eyes sparkle in the sunlight;
Those words of adoration
Only barks from backseats of passing
Buicks as I cross the street, and
Ass grabs on sidewalks from
Horny teenagers drinking
Fruit juice wrapped in
Brown paper bags.
Today’s poem is a combination of Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Germany’s #frapalymo which Bee will be translating into English for us at The Bee Writes… The prompt for SoCS is compliment/complement. Today’s prompt for #frapalymo is “write a poem about the city.” Now, have at it!
“Don’t get your panties in a bunch, Yanna.” That’s what my husband always said to me whenever he thought I was overreacting to something.
When he went to dinner with his female best friend who also happened to be his ex-fiancé, he told me, “It wasn’t a date. We were just catching up. Don’t get your panties in a bunch, Yanna.”
When he stood me up to go drinking with his boys, and I waited on the couch to confront him as soon as he walked through the door, he rolled his eyes and said, “I’m a man. I can’t be up under you all the time. Don’t get your panties in a bunch, Yanna.”
When I went into labor at one in the morning, and he still wasn’t home, he yelled over loud, thumping music into the phone, “That’s just the radio. I’m in the car headed to the hospital now. I’m not gonna miss the birth of my first son. Don’t get your panties in a bunch, Yanna.”
One morning, I woke up to him screaming. I found him on the bathroom floor, naked from the waist down, holding himself. He said they were hurting. I took him to the urgent care clinic, and the doctors kept asking me if I had kicked him in the nuts. I’d always wanted to. Just to see if he was paying attention. But I knew he would just block my foot and say, “Don’t get your panties in a bunch, Yanna.”
They sent us to the hospital so the doctors there could run an ultrasound. After all those doctor appointments he had missed with me while I was pregnant, he could finally feel how cold that gel was. They took him into emergency surgery when they saw that his left testicle has twisted into a knot, cutting off his circulation. If they didn’t fix it quickly, they would have to remove it.
He went under mumbling, “Don’t let them take my stuff, Yanna.”
They wheeled him into a hospital room an hour later. He was loopy and kept asking me to check, make sure they were both still there. I looked down at my watch and said that I had to go pick up our son from daycare.
Under heavy eyelids, he said, “You’re just gonna leave me?”
I shouldered my purse. “Untwist your balls, Danny.”
Thanks to LindaGHill for the perfect prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday: naught/knot/not. My little brother got emergency “twisted balls” surgery this past Tuesday. The poor baby is currently at home with his legs spread out, trying to let them heal. Despite the pain, I’m sure he’s happy they didn’t take his “stuff”!
“Let me tell you what that bitch Phylicia said today,” Carrie said when she walked through the front door.
Roland rolled his eyes. “Honey,” he whined, “can you sit down, relax, take your clothes off before you start complaining about work?”
Carrie threw her purse down on the couch and yanked her arms from the sleeves of her coat. “She had the nerve to tell me ten minutes before a meeting that I was presenting the metrics of the new training system to the Key Users.” She leaned over the arm of the couch. “Uh, bitch, ain’t that your job?”
Roland picked up the remote and turned the volume up on the local news. That pretty, five-year-old girl with the beautiful, big, brown eyes was still missing. Police suspected her mother sold her for drugs.
“So here I am, scrambling around to prepare for this meeting. I don’t even know the first thing I need. And I didn’t get to eat lunch, so my stomach is practically roaring at me.” Her voice got higher, digging into his ears to scratch against his eardrums like a needle poking a cushion.
“Why don’t you just tell her how you feel?”
“Are you even listening?” She stood in front of the television and placed her hands on her hips. “She’s my boss, Roland. I can’t just go around pointing out her bitchiness.”
“Well if she’s asking you to take on some of her responsibilities, maybe you should ask her for a raise. Maybe she’s working on promoting you.” He leaned to the left and right, trying to look around her body to see the latest updates on the missing child.
“See, this is why you’re a man,” Carrie said, shaking her head. “This woman doesn’t give a damn about promoting me or giving me a raise. She wants to get rid of me. She puts all her work off on me because she don’t know shit. And if I screw something up, she can throw me under the bus and have me fired!”
Roland rubbed his temples. “Babe, please, I’m trying to watch the news.”
Carrie turned to the television, then turned back to him. “Are you serious? I’m trying to talk to you.” She folded her arms over her chest.
“All you do is complain about work. It’s giving me a damn aneurysm. I just want to see what happened to the little girl.”
Carrie’s jaw dropped. “So I’m annoying you, huh?” she said rolling her neck. “I’m making your head hurt. Is that right?” She turned her back to him, still standing in front of the television.
Roland let out an exasperated sigh. “Can you move, please?” he said louder than he wanted.
Carrie shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know why you’re obsessing over this story. Her crackhead mom sold her into slavery. She’s probably dead.” She walked out of the living room without turning back to him. He threw the remote at her, barely missing her shoulder. If she’d noticed the the remote breeze pass her, she didn’t flinch.
The news had switched to the weather report. He would probably have to wait to the top of the hour for reports on the little girl again. Roland sank back into the couch and closed his eyes. “There’s more than one bitch at that office,” he mumbled under his breath.
We’d been in the supermarket
for over an hour, pushing
two overflowing shopping
carts down the aisles.
I told Ma I really had to go—
the bathrooms were out of order,
the closest McDonald’s across
the four lane road.
“One more thing, baby.”
But one turned to two,
two to three, then four,
five. Soon, I was returning
to the front of the store
not to check out, but
for another cart.
So I pulled down my shorts,
sat in the basket and went,
using her coupon book
as toilet paper.
We were friends before I fell in love with him, and just in case you are curling your lips to accuse me of being a home-wrecker, I am only sitting in this dimly lit restaurant to rekindle our friendship. But as I wait, the warm, complimentary bread grows cold and hard, the Sprite I ordered for him flat, the ice cubes nearly melted into water. I wave for the waiter to bring my bill, and he guides a woman I’ve never met into the seat across from me, her large breasts sitting atop her protruding, round belly, perfectly visible in the form-fitting, black dress she is wearing. She places her left hand on the edge of the table, and the gold band on her ring finger tells me who she is, the side smirk on her face tells me he is not coming, and the drumming of her fingers on the wood tells me this impromptu reunion is over.
Jessica had her second nervous breakdown last night. The first came when Whitmore told her he didn’t put on a condom and she might be pregnant. Thankfully, her period came three days later. The second nervous breakdown came when he asked her to move in with him and she practically scratched the skin off her forehead.
Instead of checking her into the hospital, Whitmore took her back to his house. He undressed her, tucked her into his bed, and clipped her fingernails. He placed a cool damp washcloth on her bruised, red forehead. Then he took off his clothes, got in the bed with her, and kissed every inch of her body as she slept.
When Jessica woke the next morning, she didn’t know where she was. She didn’t recognize the beige colored walls, the ebony dresser or the flat screen TV on top of it, the queen-sized bed she was lying in—the only other furniture in the room—or the lone window, missing curtains or blinds. Whitmore was lying on top of her, his head resting on her breasts. It was then that she realized she was in his bedroom. She wiggled from underneath him, hoping not to wake him. She was completely naked, and she worried he might have done something to her while she was out. She didn’t think Whitmore was that delusional but she believed he was smitten enough to try something.
She searched the room for her clothes. The room was empty. The floor void even of lent or a tuft of public hair. She gave up looking and moved for the dresser. She didn’t want to still be there when Whitmore woke up. He would try everything in his power to keep her. She could already hear his excuses…
I’m washing your clothes. Wait for them to dry before you leave.
You’re not well. You fainted at the restaurant. Let me cook you something.
You look so sexy. Don’t put on your clothes. Get back in the bed. I love you.
Jessica put on the first article of clothing she saw: basketball shorts and and t-shirt. She didn’t care that it might have been freezing outside—it was still in the dead of winter—she was dressed enough to catch the city bus back to her apartment. She retrieved three dollars from Whitmore’s wallet and put it back on the dresser, then tiptoed out of the room. In the living room, she found her clothes folded on the couch. On top of them were her flats and her purse. She gathered the jeans, sweater and purse, and put on her shoes.
As she carefully opened the front door, making as little noise as possible, she searched her mind for ways to rid herself of this attachment. Whitmore had become too clingy, too needy, and she couldn’t take it anymore. It was only after she closed the door behind her and walked down the pathway to the street that she realized it was Valentine’s Day.
I love my husband—
honestly, I do—
and even as I wrap
this cloth napkin
around his neck,
I wish he’d sweep
me up into his arms,
whisk me off to our marriage
bed, and make sweet love
to me on this Valentine’s Day.
Instead, he screwed his
So I pull the ends
of this napkin
and squeeze the
life out of him.
It is like a scene from a movie.
He is on the other side of the coffee shop
by the window, drinking his latte—
pumpkin. I can see the red P
scribbled just above his finger.
He’s the only man I’ve ever seen
drink something pumpkin.
Is that why I fall in love
with him so quickly?
He stares out of the window
through the curtain of fallen
leaves gliding in the wind.
I write down what he’s wearing in my notepad—
blue cardigan, gray button down,
the color brings out the pink in his lips—
like bubble gum,
with a hint of pumpkin spice.
I write the scene:
He turns and sees me watching,
returns my stare with the intensity of his clear, blue eyes.
He takes a sip from his cup,
licks the whipped cream residue from his upper lip.
My heart flutters when he rises from his seat
I can feel my pulse in my throat—
it chokes me.
He’s closer now, the magnetic pull of his eyes
drives the movement of my pen—
calligraphic letters decorate the page with our love story.
I tilt my head,
ready myself for his seasoned lips
to blend with the caramel of my left cheek.
Suddenly, he breaks our connection,
tosses his empty cup into the trash can next to my table
and leaves the shop,
disappearing behind maelstrom of brown leaves,
ellipses following closely behind him.
I drop my pen.