Your stomach reads like a palm. It’s a billboard written in stretch marks, that eclipses half of your stomach. It says, in bold Comic Sans, Yes! There was a baby in here!! You want to hide it, the flub.
You’ve been standing in your room naked, staring down in the portal of despair that is your intimates’ drawer for maybe twenty minutes. It is home to sizes that no longer recognize your butt and an assortment of old maternity Hanes granny panties. You decide you’re going to put on your high waisted underwear. He probably won’t think anything of it, you tell yourself, because you’re alternative, and alternative girls love shit like that. But it’s a poor man’s corset, that holds not a dog, but a pooch. You grab and put on the panties, feeling the grooves in your skin that feels like braille.
You have ten minutes before you have to leave, so you put on a bra, which is a little too tight, and it sends your suicidal boob goop over the lace ledge. They are soft, empty, and even though you hadn’t breast fed for that long—they’re different. You wonder which way they will look, left or right in a non-cohesive whirl once unhooked, unlocked.
You want to look at your body, and try and say, Hey I’ve given life, it’s okay to feel like an unconfident Buffalo bill (minus all the murder shit) in an oversized skin parka. But you can’t, at least not today. So you walk out the door, fully dressed and set off to his house and blast Bikini Kills.
He’s waiting for you on the curb of his house. You’re in his apartment now. He kisses you, and images of your stretchmarks flash inside your head like that part in the Exorcist of the demons’ face. The harder the kisses, the harder his glasses hits the bridge of your nose, your cheek.
His Joy Division shirt comes off (I know) and you see that his jeans are too tight, a wave of skin perched on top of the rim of his pants. He’s not a dad, but his dad bod rubs on your body like a fleshy lotto ticket. He kisses you again, and you think about how it’s been a year and a half since you’ve let a man come anywhere near your body. He gets up off the couch, and again holds out his hand to you, and leads you to his room. You stand next to him stupidly, half dressed, arms crossed in front of his bed, while he puts on a playlist— something soft. He takes off his glasses and puts it down on the dresser along with his phone. He heads to the side of the bed, but he hits his leg on the edge of the bed frame. He laughs, looking in your general direction and says to the floor lamp that’s about the same height as you, “Woops, I’m pretty blind without my glasses.”
This story was written by McKenzie Zalopany, who is a creative writing major at the University of South Florida. She has been published at the Poetry Project and the fiction contest winner of the 6x6 event. She is in the process of making her chap book, Slutty Cool Mom. She in fact is a pretty cool mom.