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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God, it feels good to be a crazy bitch.
To stand straddle-legged in a slip dress and stilettos
lashing out recriminations, nonsensical accusations
that leave his mouth agape. To stop being understanding,
reasonable. To rage with the heat of a thousand tigers in your heart.
To shake him with your insanity, your flashing eyes, your floating hair.
And, God, it feels good to accuse.
To become fiery wrath — the unknowable, unreachable, eminently desirable
in her glorious power Queen Bitch Motherfucker.
To scream so loud, he closes the windows. To make a scene.
To turn to him, mascara running, and say, YOU! YOU!
God, it feels good to bolt from the table, storm out of the restaurant,
sit hissing in the passenger seat, and the minute you hit the house
to rise in a second wave, more terrible than the first, suck him under
and spew him out, then smash, piece by piece, your grandmother’s
bone china on the tiled floor. Yes, it feels good to stop preserving the past,
all that handed-down misery, that nice-girl garbage cast out to the bins.
And, best of all, to have saved this fully bloomed flower of your true self
for just such a moment. To have the pleasure of showing
him he has chosen wrong. He has made a terrible mistake.