True Companion

Arms crossed and mouth set in a tight line, he sat less than a foot away from me on the therapist’s couch, but the gulf between us felt unbridgeable. He gave no indication he wished to speak, so I continued. “After all these years, I’m on a hair-trigger, watching your moods, absorbing your sarcasm, your shouting, always wondering how I could say things differently, explain things just so—all so you’ll understand. But nothing I do, nothing I say makes any difference!” I was really sobbing now. “I don’t want a divorce! I don’t want a divorce! But I just don’t know what to do!” My nose was running and my mascara was too, and I didn’t care. “Our daughter is growing up with this!” I wailed. “She sees it! And I tell her, ‘It doesn’t have to be like this.’ I say, ‘My parents weren’t like this. Most marriages aren’t like this.’ And she says, ‘I know, Mommy. I know. It’s different with my friends’ parents.” Tears rolled down my cheeks. I swiped my nose with the back of my hand. My husband plucked a tissue from a box and handed it to me.

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Fine Daughter

My mother and I were leaning over her bed folding laundry.  I was 12 years old.  “Weren’t you worried when you were pregnant with me?” I tried to sound casual, keeping  my eyes on the socks I was sorting.  Mom tossed aside my question like another folded towel.  “Oh, I knew you’d be fine.”  The way she said it, the decision to have me had been the easiest one in the world.

 

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Garbage Day

Under her lime green sunhat, my daughter was easy to spot.  Standing at the far end of the play yard, her tiny clenched fists were pressed tight against her ears in a futile attempt to drown out the terrifying sound. . . . the jarring clang as the forked claws grasped the enormous iron dumpster, hoisting it aloft with a fearsome screeching and straining then pouring the rattling, clattering contents down inside the beast’s belly for mashing and grinding while those mighty arms slammed the emptied bin back to the pavement.  

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Fuller Brush Boy

He undid the latches of the case with an authoritative snap-snap.  It was an impressive sound, one that telegraphed Quality.  Integrity.  The Dependability of the Fuller Brush brand.   I sat up a little straighter at the sound of those latches, proud to be in this lady’s living room, proud to assist my big brother as his “Free Gift Girl,” proud just to be Danny's little sister.  Snap-snap!

 

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Tantric Chicken

My husband hadn't complained, but the warning signs were clear.  Internet shopping one night after dinner, I came across a multi-volume encyclopedia of gastronomy he'd placed in our Amazon cart.  More and more often, he'd call to say things were crazy at the office and wouldn't be home in time for dinner.  I guess both of us were bored with the same thing night after night.

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The Craving: One woman's salty true confession of desire

Something primal within me had been awakened.  Suddenly, I didn't care what animal parts I was consuming or whether nitrates cause cancer.  My jeans felt tight, but frankly I didn't give a damn.  I held my manicured fingernails to my nostrils and inhaled the pungent perfume of mustard.  But even as I rose to go, casually brushing crumbs from my pants, I couldn't escape the undeniable conclusion.  I was a woman possessed.


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