Website of Heather Fowler
My thoughts on “Sex with Exes”
Heather Fowler is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, librettist, and a novelist. Her debut novel Beautiful Ape Girl Baby released June of 2016. She is the author of four story collections and a collaborative poetry collection written with Meg Tuite and Michelle Reale. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans and an MA in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University. Fowler's stories and poems have been published online and in print in the U.S., England, Australia, and India,with her work appearing in such venues as PANK, Night Train, storyglossia, Surreal South, Feminist Studies, and more. From hearherfowler.com
This story is protected under international copyright law and is the exclusive property of Heather Fowler
“Sex with Exes”
By the time I get to Charlie’s, she’s already caffeinated, zesty. She answers her door, wearing a black strap-on above purple grannie panties, a gray shirt, and a white chef’s hat. “L'chaim,” she says in Hebrew, though she’s not Jewish. “Come on in!”
I don’t try to figure this out; I just enter because her creepy neighbor with two monster trucks and a big Malamute stands outside on his lawn, witnessing her naked thighs and the shirt with cutouts she wears above the strap-on.
Charlie is batshit bonkers sometimes. I say that with love. She’s been my best friend since fourth grade.
“Fuck you looking at?” she shouts at the neighbor, doing the Italian arm gesture fuck off. She’s not Italian either. She’s more an appropriator. Indiscriminate.
“Looking at you,” he shouts back. “Got a problem?”
She stands at her door, legs apart, glaring. The strap-on bobs in what might be a humorous fashion, more so when she deliberately bobs her hips at him to draw his eyes to her groin. On her feet are flip-flops. It’s a great outfit.
“Besides, you’re the one with the problem!” she says under her breath before again shouting, “Fuck you looking at?!”
“Just a stupid bitch who can’t keep a husband!” he responds. “And me? Otherwise? Looking at nothing, you dyke!”
“Suck it, you shit-toast sandwich!” she shouts. “You wanted my husband! Admit it! That’s why you’re so bitter now he’s gone! Well, boo-hoo for you!”
There’s something about her tone that tells me she enjoys this exchange. It’s like a safe rage argument. Except then she hears beeping, looks inside of her house, and says, “Come on into the kitchen, Jessica,” before once more flipping the neighbor off via arm gesture.
“Dyke!” he shouts again, before noticing me and getting generous. “Dykes!”
I’m briefly aghast wondering if the neighbor thinks I came for sex with Charlie. There are worse things. “You shouldn’t go to your door like that,” I say, still in shock. “What if creepster tries to break in at night to get at you with hate crimes? He probably has an anti-lesbian agenda. You living with someone now? Someone to protect you?”
“No. He’s impotent.” She strokes her strap-on and smiles. “Want some, baby? I’d dyke this puppy out for you.”
I think I start hyperventilating then, can’t decide on a quick retort. Charlie could mean it. She might m—I start to think.
But Charlie laughs at my horror, like she does. “Kidding! I’m not gay, Jessica,” she says. “Please. I’m experiencing being a dick by wearing a dick. It’s an experiment. You see this dick? I’m wearing it to see how it must feel to be a guy. Don’t worry. And the neighbor? You think he wants some of this? Nah. That pussy.” The beeper goes off again, and she grabs a pot holder, saying, “Oh, shit! I gotta get those buns out of the oven. Get out the way.”
On her kitchen counter is a VegaMix and a wide assortment of cookbooks. Several vegetables are halved on the counter, in various stages of mutilation. Charlie doesn’t cook, or didn’t. But since her divorce, it’s hard to predict what she’ll do. She takes the buns out of the oven, and they’re golden brown. “From scratch,” she brags. “So, I’m thinking of doing another experiment,” she tells me. “Want to hear about it?”
“I’ve got twenty minutes,” I reply. “Just came since you texted.”
“Good,” she says. “This’ll take two minutes to explain. I think you’ll like the idea. We can reflect upon results as they happen.”
“Shoot,” I say.
“I’m going to go on a Fuck Odyssey,” she announces. “With my past. You know how Jerome got back together with his ex before the divorce?”
“Yeah,” I say.
“I’ll do the same with my exes. Back togethers for sex. But with a bunch of men.”
“Serious?” I ask. “That’s insane. I’m sure a lot of them are hitched.”
“Well, I’m interested in the single exes,” she replies. “I think I should go back and sleep with about twenty of mine. Whichever ones I can remember or locate.”
“Fuck,” I say.
“Yeah,” she says. “Fuck ‘em all. About twenty! I want to prove something.”
“What do you think you’re going to prove?” I ask, leaning into the kitchen doorjamb. “And what happened to your paintings?”
“Meh,” she says. “Boring! In the garage. Who cares?”
She’s taken all the art and mirrors down, the whole house in flux. Boxes upon boxes are lined by her living room couches. “By sleeping with exes, what I want to know,” she says, peering at me with those huge violet eyes, “is if they got any better in bed. Haven’t you ever wondered that? Now Jerome knows if his ex did, so I want to know, too. I want to have something I’ve had before—but have it again and have it different.”
“You sure you aren’t just bitter?” I ask.
She starts to cry then. I say nothing more. I’ve made a tragic error. Her baked rolls on the counter look tasty. “They probably didn’t get any better,” I finally add. “Who gets better at sex? I admire the idea, but I’m thinking we all just get older, uglier, fatter, and less limber.”
She cries more. “Yeah, well that doesn’t make me feel any better,” she says. “But thanks for coming to piss on my parade…”
I tell her I’m sorry. I tell her maybe they do get better, and why doesn’t she just go ahead and try her ideas? Charlie likes her manias encouraged.
When she smiles, keeps crying, and doesn’t articulate her response with words, I hug her and try to ignore the enormous bulge on my leg. It’s her fake dick.
There’s something strange bout tears, smiles, and fake dick at once, but it’s totally Charlie. As soon as she’s able, she ushers me out. She then says, “Come back soon,” like her place is a restaurant, like her friends are recent customers who are welcome to return.
“L'chaim,” I tell her. And I flip her neighbor my own bird as I get in the car. It feels like the right thing to do.
Twenty minutes later, at the soccer field where I’ll pick up my son David, I can’t get the view of Charlie out of my mind. The silly chef’s hat occurs to me like something I dreamed, a cartoon of her. The strap-on, too. I look at the soccer moms, like me, on lawn chairs at the side of the field. I run into Becca, our mutual friend. “Charlie’s off the hook,” I tell her. “I am feeling kinda worried?”
“Yep,” she says. “Don’t worry. The whack stuff is transitory, always what happens when they first get a D-I-V-O-R-C-E.”
“It’s about divorce?”
“Yeah. The redecorating. The life planning otherwise. Happened with my first two separations… But you get over it.”
“I wouldn’t know,” I say, watching our boys. “I’ve never been divorced.”
“Well, I’m not advocating for divorce,” Becca says. “Since then you hate the guy and can never get rid of him. Especially if you had kids together.” She wears big green sweats that swallow her anorexic frame and a sweatshirt that says, Foxy Yoga Mats: No Up Dogs Here. The marketing strategy is whack. “Kids make the whole thing last decades,” Becca says.
My husband is thankfully not with me. He would hate this conversation. On the field, David, kicks the ball out of bounds. I see the gap from his missing tooth as his mouth opens wide.
“Get the ball! Go, go, Ronny!” yells a sideline dad, the one whose son throws it back in.
David looks like he wants to kick the ball out again. “Charlie wants to find all her exes and sleep with them again,” I tell Becca.
Becca laughs. “Best sex happened with the ones that got away! You can’t really talk with the ones who fuck too well.”
“It’s not that,” I say. “Charlie’s not just looking for good ex-lovers. She wants the bad too, wants them all, like to discover whether they’ve improved over time. Do you think men improve as lovers over time?”
“Depends on what you mean by improvement,” Becca replies.
“That seems clear. More sensitivity, more pleasure for the woman, more skillful lovemaking.”
“Fat chance,” Becca says. “Those of us who’ve had spouses a long time can tell you: no improvement. Fifteen years with John—if anything, it’s worse. What about Sloane?”
I ask, “How does bad and boring get worse?”
“More bad? More boring?” Becca says. “Okay, true. Guess that’s hard to measure.”
“Yeah, but marriages like ours are static,” I reply. “Not interesting to Charlie. Charlie thinks all the things that come between lovers meeting and the next time they reconnect can create change. Or she wants to test it, to figure out: If things have changed, what has changed and how it will affect the chemistry? Charlie says there has to be a definitive split and lots of other lovers or time in between.”
“Fuck!” Becca says, but not about what I say. A boy has kicked her son Truman in the shin, so she runs to the field to retrieve him where he fell down sobbing. “Let me know what you find out about that,” Becca yells back to me. “I’d like to know more.”
I decide I’m probably not going to tell Becca anything further. I know this already, but I shout back, “Okay. Full update. Sure thing!”
The next time I visit Charlie’s, it’s been three weeks. She answers the door in a hot red dress and red stiletto heels. Her make up’s immaculate. “Fantastic!” she says when I get there. “I’ve been dying to see you! Where’ve you been? What have you been doing?”
I tell her I’ve just left home for the day, where the husband and I have engaged in yet more uninspired sex, this stated simply as, “Sloane wanted some.”
“Sucks balls,” she responds. “How bored that makes you.”
“It’s like doing the laundry,” I say. “Same every time.”
“Ah,” she replies. “Well, I’m redecorating.” When I enter her living room this time, she’s painted all the walls all white and green. Different shades of white, different shades of green. Maybe fifty in all. There’s not really a pattern. As I watch, she makes a pot of coffee.
We talk about her divorce lawyer drama and her job and her cooking before I get the nerve to ask. “Where’s the strap on? Have you worn it again?”
“Nah. Felt artificial,” she says. “Besides, I realized something terrible and wonderful—this half-way through the fake dick experiment. A plastic dick can’t feel a thing. To use it is like doing aerobics with a small insensate limb.”
“Did you fuck something with it?” I ask.
“I did,” she agrees, smiling.
“The memory foam on my mattress. Not so much on memory foam fucking, Jessica.”
“Must be about what the strap on does for the other person,” I say. “For the fuckee. Memory foam isn’t exactly responsive.”
“Yeah,” she agrees. “Which is why I stopped fucking it. Nothing was shouting my name or calling to God, even after I made a fuck funnel in it and called it baby.”
“You stop cooking too?” The kitchen counter no longer has cookbooks or the VegaMix.
“Cooking’s for the birds,” Charlie says. “I decided that to really empower myself in this transition, I should have other people cook for me. All the time. I’ve got trucks coming now. Making deliveries.”
“Ah,” I say. “Any luck with the past lovers experiment?”
She grabs my face between her hands and says, “I want to tell you something! Right now. Are you ready?”
“Tell me,” I say, face close. “I’ve been wondering what you’ve been doing since the last time I left here.”
“Fucking men right and left,” she says, flipping her red hair over her right shoulder. “I feel so strange. It’s like I have a new skill.”
“No. Saying what I need to say to get an ex to sleep with me again. I know now exactly what to say to anyone. It’s a skill. I’ve had six so far, the past lovers. Two married, four single—”
“I thought you’d go only for singles.”
She shrugs. “I do what seems right. What looks hot.”
I quash a feeling of jealousy. “What do you say to them?”
“Different for each,” she says. “So let me tell you about my skill…”
“Aren’t you guilty about doing the married ones?”
“No way,” she says. “Married cheaters will cheat for way more than just one-fuck stands. In fact, if someone can be persuaded to one-fuck it with an ex, ever, I’m not sure I don’t already have moral objections to their characters. I have a two fuck minimum.” She laughs so hard after she says this, she literally begins rolling on the floor.
When I get home, I tell my husband Sloane about her exploits because we have no life. I figure he appreciates it. “So, then she went back to this guy she’d slept with in her twenties, only he was a priest. But she got him to have sex with her. How’d she do that?”
“Priests been celibate a while,” Sloane says. “She’s got that pretty long hair. How do you know he wasn’t aching for a woman to come onto him?”
“I don’t know anything,” I say. “Supposedly he was working on his relationship with God. But I do know that somehow during that relationship, Charlie managed to get in there, make her case, and get his rocks off.”
“Okay,” Sloane says. “But was Priest Guy better or worse?”
“Her vote was, he was better.”
“Could have been the kink of doing it with crosses all around,” Sloane replies. “That might make it loads better, no matter who’s doing it... The kink of perverting a leadership figure might have made it better for Charlie. Just having something you don’t think you can have, in somewhere you clearly shouldn’t have it...”
“Yeah, and she told him it was her dying wish to have his baby. God came to her.”
“Is she dying?”
“Is she pregnant?”
“On the pill.”
“Haha. But she says he got better?”
“Well, the thing was, he was kinder to her, she says, gentler. But she did tell him chemo was involved. Still, Good Priest Love wasn’t the case with all of them. One of the other guys she did again, some kind of real estate broker, he was worse. He had a big gut and could barely move. She said he used to be able to lift and hold her against the wall. He was a super-stud. Now he can’t even see her without his reading glasses. Do you think big gut makes a penis seem smaller?”
Sloane nods. “Before she fucks them, what does she tell them’s the reason for why she wants to get together sexually again? And does she tell them it’s a one time deal?”
“She tells some she’s doing a study. She tells them all it’s just once. One time for old time’s sake. She tells them about her divorce, too, if they want to know.”
“Sublimated vengeance,” Sloane says. “Now she’s done six exes. Her ex just did one. Charlie’s a crazy bitch.”
“Sure, but I love her.”
“Naturally. It’s been years.”
“She makes me feel boring,” I tell him. “But maybe that’s okay.” I think about Charlie every day after that. I wonder where she’s at and what she’s doing or what she’s telling the other men on her list she showed me, which has been written on a yellow legal pad. I wonder in which order she’s contacting them.
Within a week, I start to text her about the various guys, wanting to know age, height, race, weight, stamina. By the time two months have gone by, she’s done ten men. She’s met them at bars, on trails, at airports. “I need to know these things about this experiment because I have no good sex life,” I tell her. “I don’t count married sex as a sex life. It’s arguable if it was countable before wedlock.”
“I’d say countable for the first two months,” Charlie says. “But, for now, if sex sucks, I agree, it shouldn’t count. Some of the sex I’m having now doesn’t count, yet I like what I’m doing. I find them all again, but I can’t sleep with all the exes I find, you know? It’s fate or chance—all exciting. Like, if they have a disease, I rule them out. Two were dead. Ruled out. One had given me the wrong name. This does not begin to count the one night stands from whom I’d received no contact information.”
“Charlie, how many guys did you sleep with before you got married?” I ask.
She smiles. “About ninety.”
Envy streaks through me again. Only six men before my marriage to Sloane and only one of them really good. Where have I gone wrong? Charlie and I are about the same pretty, I think. I guess she’s just more accomplished. Whatever.
As I stare at her now, to feel less jealous, I think about those women who are less lucky than me financially, or uglier than me, or in the nunnery. I say aloud, “It must suck to marry your first love if that guy isn’t any good in the sack. Especially if you love him. Imagine all those women out there with one man their whole life and nothing to measure him against. Imagine the ones who married guys with small dicks… Those women would never know it wasn’t supposed to fall out, that they should feel more... But is their ignorance bliss?”
Charlie laughs. She’s a fan of my neurotic banter. “I think so,” she says. “But for women’s sake, it’s better for men to be ignorant of excessive pasts. My exes never really know about mine. Because you know when the guy asks you how many, and you just say, ‘Probably ten,’ thinking closer to one hundred and he still gives you the face, the grouchy face?”
Now I feel pathetic I haven’t had ten. “Maybe,” I say, “But if I said ‘probably’ anything, then my guy would say, ‘Probably, really? What’s so hypothetical?’”
“Which is when you should tell him, ‘Fuck you and your double-standard, you dick. How many girls have you had?’ Or, if he’s lame that way, and naïve, you just say instead, ‘I’m a private person, okay? If you ever ask me about this sex partner number again, I’ll never want to give you head.’ Then you let it rest. That works great.”
Charlie’s such a pro. She takes sex warfare to new levels. I don’t think I can say anything she tells me to say convincingly, but I like the idea of all of it.
The next time I see her, she comes to get me at my house. She has six dogs on leashes. Big dogs and little dogs. “Time for a walk,” she says. “I’m doing this for my cousin Dan. He’s out of town.”
We go to the park. “Did you get all twenty men?” I ask, staring at children on the swing sets.
“Yes,” she says. “More or less.”
“More? Or less?” I ask.
“Nineteen. But then I got bored. Men are so easy to persuade. Watch this. Sex? Yes, please. Anyway, how are you? How’s your lovelife?” The dogs on her leashes alternately nip at each other and run off in odd directions, pulling her left and then right.
“I’m fine,” I say. “Family’s good. Stop rubbing my sore sex subject.”
“You should come for dinner next week with Sloane,” she tells me. “I’m done with exes now. I have a new boyfriend.”
I gape in shock. “How did you stop doing old ones and find a new one?”
“Perseverance. Being divorced is grand,” she says. “This one’s half my age. Good stamina. Lots of times a day. Show up. Come meet him.”
“I will,” I say, and I do. With a bottle of wine it turns out we don’t need, Sloane and I arrive at her place for dinner the next Friday and meet the new guy, whose name is Gavin. Dinner is hamburgers on the grill. The new guy speaks in short simple sentences and dotes on her every move.
Her boxes have been put in storage, and now she has posters on her walls of rock bands. “Gavin moved in last week,” Charlie says.
“So excellent, my old lady, having me here,” Gavin interjects.
I think Charlie looks frazzled but beautiful in a midriff bearing t-shirt and old Levi jeans. “I saw Jerome,” Sloane says. “He left that girl, his ex, and he looks like shit now, Charlie. Looks like someone broke his heart.”
“Old news,” Charlie says. “Don’t care. Jerome is not my problem anymore.” She looks bored, but not vengeful, as she speaks.
“Sloane, maybe not to bring that up while she has company?” I whisper, tilting my head toward Gavin.
“Dude, my lady isn’t with that guy anymore.” Gavin says. “Righteous.”
Sloane drops the subject and I think I’ll check to see how Charlie feels later. “Oh, it’s okay, guys,” Charlie says, when Gavin leaves the room to set up a beer bong. “Jerome and I patched up our differences when we slept together again. I could care less what Gavin thinks, but it’s still better not to say in front of him.”
“You’re back together, with Jerome?” I ask. Again with envy, I’m wondering if Charlie now has two men living in her house, servicing her.
“No. Jerome and I will never be intimate again.”
“Then what happened with the getting together once more?”
“I made him have sex with me last month,” Charlie says. “To get it, I did that thing I do where I just know what to say. I’m not sure it’s a gift anymore, though. Might just be intuition. Or maybe Jerome had been wanting me back for some time. He told me she bored him. I said, ‘Did you want to?—and he wanted to…”
Gavin re-enters with the beer bong in his hands. “Let’s drink! Into the kitchen! Who’s first?” he shouts.
I tell Gavin to go for it. “You! You! You! You!” I shout back in frat boy rhythm. Sloane stands beside Gavin and says he’ll go next.
“How long will you keep this young guy?” I ask Charlie when the men can’t hear.
“Till tomorrow,” she says. “I already wrote him the goodbye note and I’m giving him a check. Go down and surf in Mexico,” I’ll tell him. “Take your stuff. Have some beers on me. I want to be alone.”
“Charlie, you OK now?” I ask her again. She’s precariously close to rejoicing or tears.
“I’m fine,” she says. “What makes you think I’m not fine?” A thousand origami cranes hang from strings on her ceiling in the foyer. Looks like Senbazuru. She must have had a wish. Lots of them. I look at them. I walk to them. “Art project,” she says. “But, Jessica, listen. There is one thing I forgot to tell you about the exes experience.”
“You’re starting to sound like a scientist,” I say. “And there were only eighteen or nineteen men.” I hear Sloane and Gavin laughing from the living room. “But, what,” I ask, “were you going to tell me?”
“When I took Jerome back into my bed, I realized I didn’t miss him in bed,” she says. “I missed him everywhere but in bed. There he was better after that girl, sure... Or maybe different. Kissed with a bit more tongue than before, something she must like. But he fell back into the old way we’d been soon enough. And when he did, he said, ‘Oh, Charlie, I’m so sorry I left you for her.’ But I said, ‘Jerome, it’s all right, baby. You tried to go back for your distant past when you wanted her, but you couldn’t. Just like I couldn’t, with all those men I just slept with again in the last couple months. All seventeen of them.’ He didn’t like that at all, liked it even less when I went on to say, ‘Because the first time I slept with them, I’ve realized, I was someone else. Not who I am now. Someone younger and hotter and less interesting and more sheltered. But now, I see them in their dream-faded stages, when they have guts and mortgages and wives. And the world has worn them down. Like our thing wore you down and wore me down. So maybe that thing with your former girl was great, was just right, and you didn’t feel she’d changed at all, but now, after you fucked her, I look at you now, Jerome, and I realize I can never get back together with a man who cheated on me just to taste sex from his past, trying to relive his glory days.’ So, I start bawling. Then he goes, ‘We all make mistakes, Charlie. Forgive me,’ and I respond, ‘And we all lose things sometimes, Jerome, when we make the wrong ones, often for good.’ Then he told me he’d make amends to me for years, would break up with the girl he’d left me for that same day. But I didn’t want him to break up with that woman. Turns out, he did that on his own, after we slept together. It’s kind of mysterious why. Maybe she found out he’d cheated on her with me. Again, not my problem. I walked away from him. I drove off. Then I found Gavin at the surf-shop when I went for new flip-flops right after I left Jerome’s house. I wanted something fun and new. I took Gavin home. I had him awhile. Now I cut him loose. But, Jess, there will be only one set of memories for me and Gavin! How powerful is that? One for the duration. No mistakes made twice. I’ll tell you the rest of what I’m planning to do later, about everything else.”
I want to know Charlie’s answers, but I don’t get to talk to her again later that night. Sloane and Gavin involve us in a game of strip poker. Charlie wins. The men are naked and we are nowhere near. I feel like crying for no good reason.
By the time we leave Charlie’s, Sloane and Gavin are sloshed, so I get a Lyft for me and Sloane. I leave Charlie sitting in her living room, reading a book, looking sleepy, looking happy.
I wish I could see into her mind to witness her distant and recent pasts, to see both the initial encounters with the exes and the ones that followed, but I can’t. I wish I’d slept with a hundred people to have some memories to fall back on.
“You want to do it?” Sloane asks when we get home. “We’re all alone.” He pulls on my bra-strap, something I find repulsive. If we go that way, no matter what he promises, he’ll end up satisfied and I’ll end up dismayed and unfulfilled yet again.
“Is that enough of a reason?” I ask. “Give me something more.”
Charlie gave me her strap-on before I left her house, because I’d asked for it. I remember she’d said, “What are you going to do with it, Jessica?” and I’d told her I wasn’t sure, maybe nothing, but “Do something,” she’d said. “Someone. Just not the mattress.”
Sloane saw the whole hand-off, so when he attempts to reply, already against new variations, he says, “I want sex, yes, in any room you want, but we’re not using that thing she gave you on me, OK? That’s an out-hole only.”
“Don’t worry,” I say. “I don’t want to use it on you.”
“Oh good,” he replies. He stares at me with his half-lidded eyes. He’s trying to look sexy. I’m not feeling it. We made a child together, we’ve talked about increasing my pleasure for years, and yet each time, it’s this same thing. A few kisses and then his release and back to go.
In fact, the more I look at him, the more he starts looking like an ex already, so I just can’t fucking stand him all the sudden. So long married and he never pleased me, I think? I just did what I thought I was supposed to do, got married, because he loved me and wanted this commitment, but the marriage never solved any of my problems, and neither did having a kid.
I am only the tiniest bit drunk now, but I want to kill him for never having sexually satisfied me. It’s a fucked up moment, but the second I walk into the bathroom to get away from him, I know I’ll have to leave him by and by. I can’t hide from my life anymore. Or waste it. Or sacrifice it for parenthood. This brings me a flood of unhappiness since so many parts of our lives are connected—bills, appliances, David, who’s only ten. Luckily Sloane took David to a week-long camp the day before. He’s gone. He will not hear the break up I begin to know is coming. I hold and regard Charlie’s strap-on.
“Come on, let’s fuck,” Sloane tries again from outside the bathroom door, harassing me even from there, but I don’t want to sleep with him. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever again after we split. I imagine my house being dismantled, thing by thing as Charlie’s was, some things disappearing to never return.
I imagine selling our cars and how it would feel to hire a young guy like a gigolo for a month and then send him off when I’m done with him, giving him a check. “I’ll come get you in a bit, when I feel like fucking,” I tell Sloane, knowing he won’t stand there long, knowing he’ll pass out in the bed in ten minutes.
But after he’s out, I grab Charlie’s strap-on and carry the fake dick in my hands. Later that night by the washing machine, with effort, I connect the straps and then wonder what to fuck. I wag my hips side to side, watch it bob. It feels good. It feels good to have a dick. But there’s nothing in the garage to practice with, nothing even as hypothetically good as memory foam.
I walk into the driveway, hoping to brandish my fake dick at my neighbors, but no such luck. It’s one in the morning and everyone’s asleep. I’m not sure what I do after that. Pass out?
When I wake up the next morning, I’m pressed up against the cement. Sloane comes out. “You’re wearing the dick,” is all he says. “Come in.”
“I don’t want to come in. Sloane, we need to talk, but later,” I say.
I get my keys and drive right back to Charlie’s. I flip off her neighbor’s house as I run to her door, oblivious to whether he’s around. If he is looking, I decide, maybe he’ll think this public strap-on wearing is a thing now, a housewife thing—a duality thing. Is it?
Sloane doesn’t even bother to text or relentlessly call after I’ve said we needed to talk. He gives me radio silence wrapped in a bulk package of neglect. That’s the problem. I bring everything that’s ever come to our relationship. I keep bringing it.
He passively takes.
I ring the doorbell and wait for Charlie to answer. I know she will. Her car is in her driveway with Just Married cans attached to the back, which I’m hoping are a joke.
I’m not sure I know the secret to her newest rounds of exquisite madness via young surfers and past loves, but I’m thinking that I’ll stay with her a while, fold some cranes, bake some cookies, paint a wall.
Just watching, I will figure something out.