It’s a Saturday morning and I’m filling a glass with water from the refrigerator when my boyfriend says, “You’re supposed to drink water warm or lukewarm, not cold. Your body absorbs it better that way.”
When I’m in the shower, he wipes away steam from the mirror and says, “You’re supposed to shower in cool water, not hot water. It’s better for your skin. Doesn’t dry it out.”
“So am I supposed to ignore my instincts? Or always choose what’s less pleasurable?” I say.
My boyfriend says, “I’m just talking about water.”
We’re reading the paper and drinking coffee, and he says, “Technically, it’s not pedophilia if the girl is fourteen. Adolescents aren’t by definition children. They’re adolescents.”
“Absolutely abortion is murder,” he says later, handing me a toasted bagel—not toasted enough for my taste, but I don’t complain. “Murder is not an age-dependent term.”
“So why all this cutting of funding for children’s healthcare and other services? Is the point to help ensure that those babies grow up to be disadvantaged adolescents who are vulnerable to preying, older white men?” I say.
My boyfriend says, “I’m just talking about language.”
We’re kissing in bed, and my boyfriend puts my hand on his zipper. “Feel how hard I am?” he says.
I mumble, “Yeah.”
He says, “Tell me how much you want my big cock.”
“I can’t say that,” I say. “I feel stupid. That’s not something I’d of my own volition say. You get that, right?”
My boyfriend sighs and falls back against the bed like a worn out inflatable punching bag, one that is a little low on air and so slow to pop back up, and so you’re waiting and waiting.
Michelle Ross is the author of There’s So Much They Haven’t Told You (2017), which won the 2016 Moon City Press Short Fiction Award. Her fiction has recently appeared in Cosmonauts Avenue, Fanzine, Electric Literature‘s Recommended Reading, TriQuarterly, and other venues. She is fiction editor of Atticus Review.