A man with the right scruffed-up beard and breadth of chest swaggered into the S and M dungeon that was my place of business, and twenty minutes and one grand later had my chin — still soft with the downy fluff of teen-girl skin — held steady in one paw while the other one flew at my face so hard and fast that I ceased to exist as the same collection of matter I had been the previous instant.
When Sarah’s mother, Penny, got sick four years into our marriage, we decided to move back to Mississippi, considering it penance for the sins of our youth. We signed a lease on a house, a white one-story on the historical register with a wraparound porch and angels, stars, and the moon painted on the transom above the front door.
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Lucie Britsch’s debut novel, Sad Janet, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books in 2020. She lives in England. You can follow her on Twitter: @LucieBritsch.
I’d brought one small bag. A squirrel looked at me and my bag and then ran off, I was sure, to tell the rest of the woodland creatures that a woman had just arrived who had no idea how to pack, let alone survive in the woods: Quick, tell the local serial killer. All that from one squirrel side-eye.
I felt I was supposed to pretend I was a little sad he was gone — at least, for the first few days. I told him I missed him, because I did. I’m not a complete monster.
Just one time I had done something nice. Just one time I had left some forlorn teenage girls an offering of chocolate and words, and suddenly I was the local pedophile. I hadn’t left them Fifty Shades of Grey.