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I Wanted To Be The Dog photo


He kisses me by the pool. 

Before I take him upstairs he and his friend tell me that I’m the only girl with any personality. When they say this I’m eating a slice of pizza from the good place in the strip mall by the bank. I laugh. 

Everything’s fuzzing in every direction, the flowers and the water and the stars, and the pizza is impossibly good. The night is warm and earlier I got ash on my grandma’s expensive t-shirt. The roses are starting to die. 


A week goes by and I don’t hear from him. He’s ignoring me but it’s okay. There are other boys. I serve pizza and get drunk on attention. A man at the bar asks for a blowjob during lunch. I laugh and breeze away to get him extra parmesan cheese. Really I’d only be affected by that sort of thing if I were bored and didn’t have anything going on. 


Be nice, my shirt says. Why does it say be nice, he wants to know. I turn around. On the back it says have a slice. 

Like pizza, I say. It’s very clever.

We try to have sex on the carpet but we both keep giggling and he can’t stay hard. On the side of my dresser is a massive glob of dried candle wax that I can’t stop looking at. 

We’ll figure it out, I say to him. I’m going to be an hour late to work but I don’t care. He’s still breathing hard and sweating and he seems happy when I imply that we’ll try it again. Next time, he says. 

He has freckles on his whole body, even his face, even his lips. It makes me crazy.

He’s a doctor. There on the carpet he tells me a story about how a man at the hospital spoke only Polish. He had to learn the Polish word for pain because the man was having pain in his chest. 

While he’s talking he presses on my chest and I can feel the pain he’s talking about. I barely breathe. 

Here is a person who’s been touched by real feeling, I can’t help but think. And I just had sex with him. 


A party. I drink from green bottles of Heineken that the doctor opens with his teeth. We make out in front of our mutual friends and then he leaves and I don’t hear from him for weeks. I’m pregnant but it’s not his. I try not to think about it. 


Someone at the restaurant asks me what I’m doing. I don’t know, I say. I’m having a quarter-life crisis. 

I mean right now, they say. Can you help me fold the boxes. 


I park. On the way into his house I accidentally kick the dog. 

He offers to make me a grilled cheese. I say I’m not hungry but he insists. Instead of the grilled cheese I eat peanut butter with a spoon. They have it in those little plastic tubs that you get when you grind it fresh at the Whole Foods and it tastes worse than the normal kind, even though it’s still impossible decadence. 

In the basement he has jars full of yogurt-covered raisins. 

How many do you think are in there, I ask him. 

I don’t know. 

They never know. He hugs his little dog and whispers in its ear. You’re such a good girl, he says. You’re such a sweet girl. I love you. I love you. The whole time he’s doing that baby voice that people do when they talk to dogs. The dog has the kind of name that I forget right away. 


By the time we sleep together a second time I’m desperately in love with him. The sex, of course, is devastating. He smells good to me which is when you know it’s over. 

When we’re done I lie flat on the bed and can’t move. The air conditioning is so strong that I get goosebumps after two minutes of being still. If he touched me right now I would die and he would have to bring me back to life. 

My Fitbit can tell we had sex, he says. 

I laugh and then greedily inhale the scent of the skin on his inner wrist. He tells me about how he took care of someone who was shot three times in the chest, and then someone else who tried to commit suicide by jumping off a building. 

The scrubs I wore to come see you last time, he says, had to go in the trash. Covered in blood and brain matter. 

Did they live?

They both lived. 

This and the sex is an absolutely lethal combo.


I don’t like girls who wear a lot of makeup, he says. 

Simone de Beauvoir says don’t wear makeup or you risk remodeling yourself to suit male desire. But what about when they don’t want you to wear makeup. What are you supposed to do then. 


He comes over in the afternoon. We have the type of sex that almost makes you cry. It’s still raining. He makes me come and I don’t hear the rain. It’s only after we’re done that I do. The leaves are bright green and dripping and I can hear the whirr of the air conditioner. He strokes my arm while we talk and I think about the first time we slept together, when I said we would get it right next time. I wonder if he still thinks I have a personality or if maybe he’s fucked it out of me. 

Through the window I can see the leaves and nothing else.


image: Nicole Sellew