I, a once broken girl, once broke a man.
He was, himself, without a father and uncertain in the ways of a man. Handsome, but without respect or the tools to garner it-always half in work, half in schemes, and never in sentences drawn from literate sources. Yet he was jovial and kind and jealous which was serendipitously pleasing.
For the better part of a year we’d been dating. For the better part of a month I’d thought it time to aspirate or asphyxiate. And I’d been wondering, anyhow, what mother had kept to herself. For years pursuing her beatings like a fixed-match fighter. But Mother was too keen, too wanted, too tensile to consent without advantage. And I myself had been the subject of grave experiments conducted by men and boys.
So I began saying to this boy-man, “You shouldn’t let me get away with that,” and “Why don’t you keep me in line better?”
With a courage-dose of clear vodka one well-after-dark-night, the boy, wanting to be a more permanent kind of man, and having been duly convinced of the necessity, struck me half-heartedly as I lounged across a picnic table. My wart-less nose cracked. My eyes calculated moon phases.
Incredulous, I painted the boy a monster to anyone who would listen. Bewildered, he made his feeble defense. “She practically told me to.”
After that I only ever saw him tucked in corners or mixed up in a crowd.
I wish just once mother would have cried. I might have known it hurt.
B. Bilby Garton is a senior in the Creative Writing Program at Central Washington University. She lives in a small farmhouse on a native salmon stream with her husband and a cat named Mouse. She has been published in Brevity and has a piece forthcoming in Cleaver.