Dear Penthouse Forum

By Andrea Seigel


Bardo’s fist came down twice on my left cheek, near the lower border of the eye, as he said, through closed teeth, “You motherfucker.” It was then I decided that I would go fuck his mother.

We were in the park, which was covered with snow, making it hard to tell when my vision was whiting out and when I was simply seeing all there was to see.  After Bardo tired his hitting arm on my face, he rested on what must have been a whitened bench, because he appeared as if he were levitating.

“You motherfucker,” he said, heaving.  “Keep my girlfriend’s hands off you.”

Fucking Bardo’s mother was realistic for two reasons.  The first belonged to me: I was wanted by women.  This was why Bardo was beating me for the third time in December.  He kept finding his girlfriend, Annalese, pressing herself to me with her hands underneath my sweater.  He especially lost his mind this time when she said, “They got cold.”  She’d held her palms flat on me like she was feeling a pregnant stomach.  Which brings me to my theory on why women want me.  I am the closest thing to a lesbian experience they can have without having a lesbian experience.  My hair is long and hangs over my eyes.  I wear my jeans low on my hips like a girl.  My voice is soft.  My upper lip is sweetly bowed.  I am not a fighter.

It was easy to pack my face because all I had to do was roll onto my side.  A misguided bird sang above me on a branch that I could barely distinguish from the sky.  “I don’t have the power to stop anyone from doing anything they really want to do,” I said, only because I saw a shape, not white, moving in our direction, and I knew Bardo would not be able to kill me in time.

After the man threatened to call the police, Bardo succumbed and walked off in the direction of our school.  Over his shoulder he yelled, “I’m not giving up on the quest for that power, motherfucker!” which made the man hold out his cell phone like a taser.

If I was going to keep Annalese’s hands off of me, as Bardo had asked, that would mean cuffing her wrists with my fingers and holding her arms above her head.  This was not my style.

The one time I’d seen Bardo’s mother, she was walking through CVS with Bardo and her face was nearly kaleidoscopic from bruising.  It was a timeline, similar to mine in its current state.  Red meant now.  Purple meant a couple days ago.  Brownish-yellow meant she could hardly feel it any more.  As they went up the non-prescriptive medication aisle she cried, not like something bad had just happened to her, but like crying was how she lived.  With the back of her hand, she rubbed the tears hanging from her jaw as if they were itches.  I didn’t plan on showing up to her house with the blood.  I’d clean it off first.  But the burst vessels and swelling were key.  They’d make me look like her, or, at the very least, like a sensitive memory she had of herself.  This was the second reason that fucking her was realistic.

The man wanted to know if I was all right, and I asked him, “Isn’t this what guys do?”

“You didn’t look like you were fighting back.”

I formed a snowball and pressed it to the place where Bardo’s ring had cut my cheek.  When I pulled the ball away, I could see the blood sinking like flavored syrup into Italian ice.  ”I was,” I said.  “You just can’t see my moves.”

The man opened his wallet and gave me the card of his Tae Kwon Do instructor.

#

Bardo has a strange last name, so it was easy to find his mother in the phone book.  I called her from a booth in the corner of the park and asked her if now was a good time to discuss her son.

“What do you mean by good?” she wanted to know.

“I have no idea,” I said.

The address Bardo’s mother gave was the first floor of a Brownstone, and she was standing in the front window, a dark curtain behind her, as I approached the house.  Even from ten feet away I could see that the edge of her jaw was jewel-toned.  Recently someone had gotten into something with her.  Instead of going to the door I walked to the window, coming as close as the iron fence would let me.  She didn’t move.  It was like being in front of a department store, looking at a mannequin that had been dropped on her head.

Bardo’s mother was evaluating my bruises, I could tell, and I evaluated hers back.  The sharp cold made my eyes begin to tear, and when I reached up to wipe my bottom eyelashes with a finger, Bardo’s mother’s face shifted into an expression that said she was unimpressed.  I think she thought I was pantomiming crying.

When she nodded her head toward the front step, I went over.  I heard no locks being undone.  The door opened, and there Bardo’s mother stood with a Yorkshire terrier at her bare feet.  As it limped forward to smell my crotch, I saw that it had a cast on its back leg.

“You can’t be serious,” I said.

Bardo’s mother laughed as hard as she could without cracking the small, healing scab on her bottom lip.  “No, no.  Bard didn’t do that.  Completely unrelated.”

I didn’t want or know how to respond to this backward admission, so I got down on one knee to let the terrier smell my crotch more easily without straining its injury.  As I pet the dog, I held eye contact with Bardo’s mother.  The first impression I’d given: me below her at the window.  The second, as reinforcement: me beneath her at the door.

#

I found Bardo’s mother’s living room even more disorienting than the park.  The wallpaper was such a dark green that I felt my eyes straining to recognize it as green, not black, and the pattern looked like small fans, opening over and over and over again.  There were three chairs upholstered in material nearly identical to the wallpaper.  I didn’t initially see chairs, but groups of freestanding wooden legs, giving a fuck-off to gravity.

The only furnishing that wasn’t green or wood was the big blonde bear rug in the center of the room, with the bear’s head still hanging on.  Upon the coffee table pinning the bear was a magazine, Romantic Homes, featuring a skinned bear on its cover.  Atop the bear was an oblong coffee table, identical to the coffee table of Bardo’s mother, and behind the table were chairs with disappearing bodies.

“The inspiration for the room?” I asked, pointing to the cover.

“That is the room,” said Bardo’s mother.

“Fantastic,” I said, nearing the bear.  “Really fantastic.  Do you mind if I touch it?”

“He’s not going to fall apart.”

She left the room, to strip and return, I hoped, although I thought that unlikely, despite it having happened to me once.  The flattest and most teased girl on my block, four years older than me, had gone away to college.  Then she came back and was still flat.  We watched a syndicated Baywatch episode, her choice.  She said she was going out of the room to adjust the air conditioning thermostat.  When she returned, there was no whirring from the vent at my ankles, but she was topless.

“The air conditioner will cool you faster than-” I said, taking off my shirt.

She slinked toward me except with her arms out like a delicate Frankenstein, reaching straight for my chest.  She ran two fingers across each of my hard nipples and seemed turned on by the fact that I was as flat as her.  I lay down on my family room couch.  She got on top, but she didn’t do Cowgirl.  Instead, once I was in her, she lay down flush on top of me, and never have I had sex with a woman who made me feel more like I was fucking myself.  In fact, to this day I’m still puzzled as to who was doing the fucking of whom.  When we slid onto the wood floor ten minutes later, the not a girl, not yet a woman marveled at the exact sweat print my backside had left on the cushions.  There was even the pristine crack of my ass.  She ran her finger down the ass print and told me it looked to her like “two gigantic tits with gorgeous cleavage.”

The reason I thought the naked re-entrance of Bardo’s mother unlikely was because she had not been crying when she left the room.

I had never been up close to a real bear before, so I dropped to my stomach to

study its head.  The bear’s face had been taxidermied in the approximation of a growl or a yawn, and as I ran a hand under the points of its upper teeth, the Yorkshire terrier appeared next to my pinky and tried to nudge it aside with its muzzle.

“Is this your friend?” I asked, thinking that the dog did not like me touching its plaything, same as Bardo.  But as soon as I withdrew my hand, the dog popped its head into the open jaw of the bear, then began to attempt the insertion of the rest of its body.  The entrance was incredibly awkward due to the unwieldiness of its plaster-cast leg.  The leg got stuck between two of the larger teeth.  As the dog braced itself on the bear’s stiffened tongue and began to thrust forward, the cast made the sound of a woman’s acrylic nails being filed.  I know this sound because of a woman who used to fuck me in the coat closet of her salon.

After the terrier’s success, I peered into the bear’s mouth sideways and told the dog, “You know, this is not how the world is supposed to operate.”  Through the space between the bear’s incisors, I saw Bardo’s mother’s feet appear to my left.  I curled up into a squat.  I contradicted myself immediately.  “This,” I said as I held a flat palm toward the dog in the bear like a spokesmodel showing the open trunk of a car, “is just like me and your son.”

“All right.  Let’s talk about him.”

I intended to, but first I began to remove my sweater, making sure to lift up my wife-beater underneath in the process.  I struggled with the neck of the sweater so Bardo’s mother would have enough time to comprehend my stomach and the trail of hair running straight down into my corduroys.  The way I was showing her my stomach was not how body builders stay as naked as possible as often as possible so everyone can see their bulgings.  I’m built like a bamboo shanty.  I was only showing Bardo’s mother skin to plant the seed that I was hers.

She placed a tray carved out of what I think was ivory down on the coffee table next to the magazine.  “For you,” she said, looking at my sweater, but not offering to hang it somewhere.  On the tray were two items that did irreparable damage to the two best scenarios I had mentally prepared.

The first of these items was a mug of hot cider.

“I’m not sure there’s anything I could say about Bardo that you don’t already

know,” I said.

“You don’t say,” Bardo’s mother said.

I exhaled at her sarcasm.  Sarcasm is a highly sexual behavior.  It reveals a mind used to dipping in the dirt.  “At least we don’t have to approach this conversation as if he’s an angel.”

Bardo’s mother took a seat in one of the chairs like she needed it to think.  I stayed on the floor, waiting.  I picked up the mug and took a sip.

What the cider meant was that she wasn’t going to ask me if I wanted something to drink.  This had worked for me before.  A woman I’d returned a lost wallet to had wondered if she could get me anything to drink because she couldn’t afford more than a five-dollar reward.  That was all she had in her emergency cookie jar.  When I’d found her wallet, it was already empty.

“You have my word that there was nothing in it,” I told her.  “I’m like a Boy Scout.”

She started reciting options, but wasn’t sure she was remembering every single type of Snapple.  We went to the fridge, and together we stared dumbly at the bottles lined up in the door.  In an undershirt with the sleeves cut off, I touched the fuzz on my left shoulder, not my actual shoulder, to hers.  I did not say what flavor of Snapple I wanted.

I did not say what flavor of Snapple I wanted for three minutes.

Passing time crackled between us like static cling.  The woman’s head turned, and with her tongue heavy from the charge of the silence, she slurred, “Does?”  I turned my head like she’d asked a legitimate question.  The woman didn’t kiss me, but dragged her lower lip up over mine.  She gathered my hair into a low ponytail, which she admired in a drugged manner.  She seemed amazed that I was letting her do that.  She seemed more amazed when she made a U with her right thumb and forefinger and gently stuck it between my legs.  Her eyes never left her hand.  I used a group of Snapple lids to steady myself as I made the same U, except with the forefinger part of mine gently pushing a pleat of her tennis skirt up into her.  Before I left her studio apartment I returned the five-dollar bill.  She didn’t own a washer or a dryer, and I knew she’d have to pay to clean the skirt.

I saw the woman’s Hello Kitty wallet lying on the sidewalk again a few days later in the exact same spot I found it the last time.

Bardo’s mother was wearing a cashmere sweater that she was pretending was a dress, and as she tucked her legs beneath her, I took heart in her bare feet.  Socks on a woman are always a bad sign, so there was that.  That and the sarcasm.  I took off my socks and lay them across my sweater.

“I guess I raised him with a flair for the dramatic,” Bardo’s mother finally said.

This I didn’t expect, and my anger surprised me even more than the first time a woman inserted a finger into my ass with zero warning.

“That’s what you think we’re dealing with?” I asked.

Bardo’s mother waved her hand in the direction of the walls, the bear, and then across her own body.  “Yes!”

“You’re saying that this is his version of theater?”  I turned my throbbing cheek toward her.  She seemed to have a blind spot encompassing her own face, but I couldn’t let it extend to mine.  My bruises were supposed to remind her we were both hurt.

By way of acknowledgement of my cheek, Bardo’s mother gestured to the ice pack on the tray, indicating that she wished me to pick it up.  The ice pack was the second of the two items doing irreparable damage to the best scenarios I had mentally prepared.

“Put some ice on that,” she said.  “When he was little and I used to tuck him into bed, we’d pretend that it was a funeral.  I’d put flowers on his pillow.  Every night he’d shut his eyes and I’d give a speech about all his greatest qualities, which became a ritual that he loved so much.”

“Adorable,” I said.

That was a fuck up.  What the moment called for was, “This is not your fault.  This is not my fault.  We’re simply two victims.”  I should have been trying to finesse a hole until the room’s atmosphere finally tore.  I needed to create a space where it was impossible for bullshit to function.  Then she and I could collapse toward each other like two halves of a drawbridge.

“I know what you must think,” said Bardo’s mother.  “You think I’m so morbid with the dead bear and the bedtime funerals.”

“I don’t think you’re responsible for the way he is.  You seem lovely.”

“I hope I am.  Responsible, that is.  Although lovely, too.”  Bardo’s mother laughed and stroked the low ponytail lying over her right shoulder.  The ponytail started off thick and then tapered until, at the bottom, there appeared to be only the tip of a single hair.

I ran my hands up and down my shins, lifting the legs of my corduroys as I did so.

I’d love to say I was doing this to show Bardo’s mother even more of me she could have, but the rubbing stemmed from involuntary agitation.  “You are.”

“I’m sitting here trying to come up with an example for you that isn’t morbid.   The fasting contest.   The one where we used to get separated on purpose at the mall.  All these games we’ve played sound dark when I think to tell them out loud to you.”

“This is not your fault.  This is not my fault,” I said.

“Of course,” said Bardo’s mother.  “The games have to be dark.  Those are the situations that wake you up to what you could be losing.”  Her good posture failed and she slumped against the back of the chair, her legs unfolding until her feet clumsily dropped to the floor.  “That’s just the way it goes.”   From where I sat, I could then see up her dress.  To the best of my knowledge, she was wearing a pair of light lace underwear that showed me not everything exactly, but the shadow of everything.

“Are you seriously suggesting that Bardo is hitting me because it’s life affirming for him?” I asked.  “Is that what you’re suggesting?”

“I don’t know if you know this, but Annalese is his first girlfriend.  It would kill him to lose her.  Fighting with you is like him being thankful for her.”

I did know that Annalese was Bardo’s first girlfriend.  Everyone knew.  He’d been small junior year, when he first came to the school, and he didn’t carry his thinness well.  Mine makes me approachable, malleable, but Bardo’s made him weasely.  Somehow his skinniness makes him look just like a pervert.  The girls didn’t appreciate that at all.  After Bardo came back from summer, though, a girl whose lap I’d been sitting on during an assembly whispered, “steroids” in my ear when he got up on stage to accept a physical fitness award.  He was still on the short side, which I’m not, but he had new shape.  Annalese was the one who decided to give him a shot.  She’s a questionable first for anyone, since her loyalties seem to be constantly in question in her own head, but Bardo couldn’t afford to see her that way.

“You seem to be ignoring that Bardo’s celebration comes at my expense.  What about my life affirmation?” I asked.  My hands were going wild over my shins, almost like I was jacking them off.  “Doesn’t everyone have their right to their own life affirming?  How am I supposed to affirm my life when I can’t go a week without your son clobbering me?”

Bardo’s mother gave me the same skeptical look she’d offered when she’d looked down at me from the window and thought I was pantomiming crying.

“They’re just bruises.”

“What?” I said.

The ice pack, plastic and shaped like an igloo, meant that she was not going to come sit next to me, close, breathing onto my forehead and tending to my injuries.  Which meant that while she was not rubbing hydrogen peroxide into my cut and blowing it dry, she would not notice that I have freckles across my nose that are so small you can’t see them unless you’re literally on top of me.

I’d never had a woman attend to me with peroxide and cotton balls before, not even my own mother, who would slap a band-aid on an amputation.  But I watched this happen in the movie Chinatown.  The cleaning of that wound had led straight to bed.  I’d been considering something similar for Bardo’s mother and I, with the bed being optional.  There was enough room for both of us to fit underneath the oval coffee table.

“You’re really angry with Bard for taking your rivalry to the physical level.  But that’s all.”

“That’s all?”

“I look at you, and I know that he’s not doing you much damage at all.  None of this is lasting for you.”  Bardo’s mother pointed exactly to the place on her jaw line where the bruising was teetering on invisibility, the yellow almost no different than the normal white of her skin.  This was one of those places of the bruise she probably couldn’t feel anymore.  She found it without having to go to a mirror, like her finger was a homing pigeon.

“Bruises go away,” she said.

Bruises.  Go.  Away.  Both mother and son threw punches.

Then I just couldn’t take her anymore.  I collapsed backward, the curve of my spine leading, although I still had the presence of mind to arch my back once flat on the floor.  This way, as I lay there, one arm bent over my face like the sun was shining into my eyes, my jeans slid down a few inches.  My hip bones were sticking out of them.  The top band of my boxers was visible, too.  More of my happy trail.  The natural lines I have that go from the inside of my hips in a V directly toward my dick like directions.

“Are you okay?” Bardo’s mother asked, and I peeked out from underneath my arm to see her leaning forward in the chair.

“Come kneel over me,” I thought.  “Put a hand on me.  Check.”

Suddenly there was a high-pitched cry from the inside of the dead bear’s mouth and the Yorkshire tore out from between its teeth.  I think the dog scraped its back on the way out.  Its eyes were wide and wet with panic.  I propped myself up on my elbows to watch the dog sprinting over my knees and out of the room.  Its crying never ceased, but became more and more hysterical until the Yorkshire was emitting an almost inaudible squeal from the hallway.

“Finally something in this fucking room figured out what’s right!” I said, feeling victorious.

Bardo’s mother laughed for what seemed like the twentieth time that morning.  “He just has to go pee.  That’s how he acts.”

#

Bardo’s mother and I stood near the bushes.  The Yorkshire tried to balance on the bad leg while lifting up the good leg to relieve itself.  The snow had started again.  The flakes landing on my face made me feel like the sky was sprinkling relief on me.

Not just the sky, in fact, but the entire outdoors.  The wind was crisp and the air went down like purified oxygen, and for a moment I could grasp the method that Bardo’s mother was living by.  It was so bracing being in front of the house after having been inside the house that I was instantly glimpsing how to summon gratitude.  All I had to do was go back into Bardo’s mother’s heavy living room.  Then I would want to kiss the open sidewalk when I set foot on it again.  I could fall in love with Bardo’s mother just for the exhilaration I’d feel every time I left her side.  I began to think that maybe we shouldn’t just fuck, but seriously date.

The Yorkshire found its balance and began to release its bladder, making soft whimpers of joy.  From the force and the duration of the peeing, I determined that the dog had been holding for ages.

“Good boy.  Good boy,” said Bardo’s mother.

I leaned my elbows on the edge of the iron railing and looked at her legs.  She’d slipped on red galoshes.  She was watching cars pass in the street and seemed to have forgotten I was visiting.

“I have a question for you,” I said.

“Shoot.” Bardo’s mother turned her head slowly toward me as if I’d just ripped her from a nap.

“How is it life affirming when Bardo beats you?” I asked.  “This is not to embarrass you, but to better learn how to see it as life affirming when Bardo beats me.”

Bardo’s mother looked at me with disbelief pulling back the corners of her mouth. “Bard doesn’t beat me,” she said.

I waited for her to laugh and deliver one of her punch lines, something like,

“He tries to kill me!  Ha ha ha ha.”  But Bardo’s mother was serene, her ponytail slipping behind her shoulder as she leaned back against the iron fence to bend with the wind.

“What?  He doesn’t?” I asked.

“No.  Not ever.”

“Then what’s all this?” I asked, placing two fingers on the colors of her jaw.

“That’s not from fighting,” Bardo’s mother said, placing three of her own fingers over mine, then sliding them like my hand was a Ouija board pointer.  “They’re from different things, but none of them fighting.”

“This one?” I asked, pressing on the light yellow part.

“That’s from almost a month ago, the day that Bard asked Annalese out and she said yes.  He was so happy that when he came home, he grabbed me in this big hug.  When we were like this,” Bardo’s mother began, then faced me, suddenly wrapping her arms around my arms.  She pulled me tightly to her, ramming her head in the crook between my jaw and neck.  She nuzzled into me in a not soft manner.  The intensity with which she pressed into the bottom of my skull was painful.  I could also feel her breasts pressing into my chest, like they were trying to make my nipples go concave.  “He slammed his cheek into my jaw, like this, he was filled with so much feeling.  So I woke up the next morning with a bruise.”

Bardo’s mother relaxed her grip, but didn’t fully let me go.  I lifted my face from where it had been hidden, smelling her perfume.  It smelled like an entire field full of something purple.

“And the darker part is from yet another time Bardo was happy?” I asked.  “What a happy, happy guy.”

“No, that’s from the first day Bard saw Annalese with her hands under your shirt.  He was so crushed that he buried his face against mine again, but that time he was crying.”

“Jesus,” I said.

My mouth was now only inches from Bardo’s mother’s mouth, but her eyelids were not sinking, the way that I’ve seen a lot of female eyelids sink.  She didn’t look dazed or drunk from the proximity of our lips.  Her body wasn’t slowly falling forward like she couldn’t stop it.  Bardo’s mother was obscenely alert.

I saw it all over her and even inside of her that she wasn’t going to kiss me.

That if we were going to end up grinding the shit out of each other underneath the oval coffee table, this is what would be required:

Right at that moment, I would have to take her face in my hands and smash our mouths together, saying, “I can’t stop from doing this one second longer,” before I started the kiss.    I would have to kiss her harder and with more purpose than I’d ever kissed anyone in my life.   That is to say that I’d have to kiss this woman so hard that I’d make her feel like she couldn’t breathe and was close to dying.

Then I’d have to back her up the steps, never removing her face from mine, grabbing at her hair like I needed it so badly I was going to pull it out.  One hand would be on her ass and one would be on a breast while I kicked open the door.  I’d push her back into the living room, where I’d yank that sweater dress over her head so fast she’d feel like she’d just been through a wind tunnel.

“Fuck everything in the entire world but us,” I’d say.

My pants would be off without either of us remembering how or when, and while against the dark green wallpaper, fucking would feel like we were climbing a rock wall at the gym.  We’d hang on like there wasn’t a floor beneath us.  Sometimes my foot would be on her knee.  And sometimes her hand would be pressing down on my shoulder and her breast would be in my mouth as she passed it on the way up.  We’d cry and yell and bite and generally come close to destroying each other.

This had not been my style previously.

Bardo’s mother stared at me, maybe waiting for me to amplify the hour, maybe not.

“I’m sorry that I’m directly responsible for some of your bruising,” I said.

“Oh, stop it,” she said, looking over her shoulder, and I couldn’t tell if she was talking to me or the dog.  The Yorkshire was trying to climb back up the first step, which was iced over.  He kept sliding down to the sidewalk, where the cast would slip out from under his body, and he’d end up in the dog version of the splits.

Bardo’s mother scooped up the Yorkshire and asked him, “Going for the other one, too?”  Then to me she said, “This is exactly how he broke the first leg.”

“He fell down the stairs?  Really?  Stairs?”  I asked and couldn’t stop myself from laughing.  “That’s the oldest one in the book.”

Bardo’s mother laughed with me and said, “Yes.  Stairs.”

#

In the kitchen, which was no lighter than the living room, Bardo’s mother showed me photo albums of Bardo through the years while we ate lunch.  I’d never seen a family album like that.  Each picture looked like art, the worlds so complete and the blinking altogether missing.  The shots were framed like dioramas.  Bardo at his eighth birthday party haloed by white Christmas lights, the red foil from his presents reflecting off his skin and making him glow.  Bardo and his mother in something that looked like a rainforest, not standing awkwardly and smiling like they were on vacation, but sitting in tree branches, gazing down at the bark with magnifying glasses in hand.

“These aren’t going to make me hate him any less,” I told Bardo’s mother when she lingered on one of him through a porthole on a ship, the glass distorting his eyes so he looked like a doe.

“That’s fine with me,” she said.  “Hate away.”

After we finished with the ham and Swiss finger sandwiches, Bardo’s mother took me to a mirror hanging in the hallway.  It had antlers coming out of the top.  She stood behind me, putting her hands on my shoulders.

“It’s not that bad,” she said, taking my chin in her hand and tilting the worse part of my face toward the reflection.  “You should really go back to school.”

I wasn’t turning new colors yet, and the ice had deflated the area beneath my eye.  I didn’t look all that much unlike myself.

“It’s not that bad,” I tried out, to hear how it would sound.

#

On my way down the iced steps, taking them carefully, I thought about how I’d planned on being in or in front of the house as Bardo came home.

“What the hell are you doing here?” he would have asked, twisting his ring in confusion.

I would have pantomimed his earlier hitting of my face while yelling, “Motherfucker!  Motherfucker!  Motherfucker!”  Then I would have stopped, found my peace, and nodded my head in whichever direction his mother was.

Bardo would have suddenly understood what he’d brought about.   He’d freeze, just realizing this: while he’d been trying to force me in one direction, he’d accidentally sent me in another that was even worse.   From there on out he’d be too scared to act, fearing the amount of power he had over other people.  He’d fear all the interpretations that could spin out of control if he made his will known.

I would walk on by him, but first I would pull my fists to my sides and pump my hips forward, pantomiming the fuck.

#

I returned to campus just in time for the fifth period bell.  Our history teacher didn’t feel like teaching, so he put on a Civil War documentary, turned out the lights, and slept at his desk.  Meredith pulled me down to the space on the carpet in front of her so she could brush my hair.  The girls at school do this to me often.  They pull their brushes through so slowly that I get goose bumps up my spine from the amount of sensitivity hovering in the world.

My hair tangle-free and shiny, I walked out of history and toward my locker.  Annalese was waiting there, her hand covering her mouth.  I leaned against the combination, letting it poke into the crook of my back.

“I heard!” Annalese said.  “That’s it, you know.  I’m through with him.”  But she didn’t authentically look done.  She looked sly, like she and I were in competition.

Annalese stepped forward and slid her hands underneath my undershirt to show me who was boss, and I reached underneath, too, with both of my hands, and I cuffed them around her wrists.  I brought her hands out from the hem of my shirt, swung them above her head.  She looked like she was ready to volley for a ball.  I forced her to the row of lockers on the opposite side of the aisle, leading with my hips, pressing my junk into her thigh.  There I pinned her ass against locker 735, her shoulders against locker 736, and her wrists against 737.  She squirmed, smiling then not, and finally settled with her shoulders pulled back and her back arched, breasts rising toward me.

That’s how Bardo found us, and I stopped him from moving forward when I said, “You told me.”

 

Andrea Seigel is the author of the novels Like The Red Panda, To Fee Stuff, and the forthcoming The Kid Table, which is being turned into a movie at Paramount. You can find out more at andreaseigel.typepad.com.

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