Do It to My Face
The morning begins like this: I slip on dog pee in the kitchen while trying to go to the basement to retrieve my clothes. I lie there for a minute, naked, soaked with canine urine. The day doesn’t get any better. Louis calls me, I think, to discuss Christmas presents. We always discuss Christmas presents. Usually, we start months before. Like summer, sometimes spring. We enjoy the anticipation more than the holiday itself. Even for each other, we say: Do you want a mixer? No. A blender? No. And then, we basically just tell each other what we want but not until the last minute, so we have to rush out into the malls on the worst days and see if we can find the best consumer product in the least crowds. So, when he calls, I begin: Do you want a remote control car? No. A dream machine? No. Lauren, listen. I think we should break up. By this point, I have showered and washed the odor of pee away. I smell now, like coffee, as I settle into my lonely work-from-home job. My mother told me not to get involved with a man who wanted sex without commitment. But what does my mother know? She’s married to my father, maybe the only man alive who wants commitment without sex. I think he humors her on anniversaries and maybe federal holidays. I guess they had to have me somehow. The rest of the time, she’s left to amuse herself by watching taped sporting events on ESPN. She likes swimming or things where people (mostly men) wear little to no clothes. She’ll settle for women. I settled for Louis. The only thing we had in common was that we liked buying each other things. He liked music. I liked movies. He liked snow. I liked sunshine. He liked. Hadn’t he liked me? You’re calling to tell me this? No, I say. No. I hang up. He tries to call me back. I serenely wade into my work. As if this has been the best day ever, rather than a very bad one. He calls all day. I don’t know how many times. I hear the not-quite-silent vibrating of the phone and ignore and ignore it again. Eventually, he will have to come home. After all, he does live here too. If he wants to unravel the life we’ve built, he’s going to have to do it to my face.
Lori D’Angelo is a grant recipient from the Elizabeth George Foundation, a fellow at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts, and an alumna of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Recent work has appeared in Black Moon Magazine, Bright Flash Literary Magazine, Creation Magazine, Cream Scene Carnival, Forge Zine, JAKE, Kaidankai Podcast, Men Matters Magazine, One Art Poetry Journal, Plainsongs Journal, Suburban Witchcraft, Worm Moon Archive, and Wrong Turn Lit. You can find her on Twitter @sclly21 or Instagram @lori.dangelo1.