My legs were up in the air. I was bored. I glanced at the clock. It was 3:47pm.
The sun shined through the open blinds. I wished he would finish. I was draped
over his mid-level chest of drawers; because of our height difference of one foot,
other positions were nearly impossible.
Missionary was our standby. Him scrunching up his face trying not to finish
before me, while I pretended to finish. I attempted a look of pleasure, a beaming
smile, but I think I overdid it. I was never a very good actress.
I tapped the dresser wood and noticed it had a few voids.
My hips gyrated. The dresser moaned in complaint. The wood was hard; the
blanket underneath me was soft. Beforehand, he placed it as gently on the dresser
as if it was made of down. It was his high school football team colors.
My arms hung over the sides. I pretended I was flying, but I was falling. The
tips of my fingers grazed the floor.
His moaning was rhythmic. I wished he would finish. I had a surgery consult
at four. I slipped away to meet him.
My pink and blue flowered A- line Primark dress lay listless on the floor;
my flesh colored bra and underwear carelessly discarded and close by. A sketch
artist could replicate this impeccably. The scene of the crime.
“Something different?” he said.
I attempted a distant expression, a sexy aloofness. I rose my right eyebrow
and pouted my lips. I feared it made me look constipated. I gave no response and
he did what he wanted.
“Oh yes,” I said, hoping he would get closer.
He placed my right leg over his shoulder. It barely went over and my knee
gave a slight crack. I have incredibly short limbs. I noticed a patch of fuzz that
should not have been there. I shaved my legs rather hurriedly this morning. I wish
the hospital elevators were not out as often. I was constantly climbing stairs.
He moved closer and put his hand behind my head. His fingers were in my
short-cropped hair. His tongue was down my throat, probing, and exploring. I
could feel it as deep as my tonsils.
I closed my eyes and he pulled away.
It made me nervous to look him in the eye. Those two block dots under his
glasses elicited no feeling. If I looked deeper, it might make me blind like a solar
eclipse. I turned my head sideways and squeezed my eyes tighter. I wished he
He had the early shift at work, but I worked whenever I could.
He used to question my idiosyncrasies and ticks. He used to say, “Look at
Now, he is as voiceless as I am.
The dresser creaked. I cracked open one bleary eyelid. My left.
He stopped, pulled out, and, peeled off the condom. I felt his flaccid penis
brush against my belly button. Drips of pre-cum drizzled on my stomach. It
glistened on my skin in the summer sun. I saw him knot the condom, rise, and
throw it in the bin nearby. I closed my eyes again.
He put one finger inside, then two, and did the come-hither motion. I jolted.
Did he read the fishhook trick in Cosmo? He was exploring so hard it felt like a pap smear. I grimaced. He gave up and removed his fingers.
He wanted to be inside. I stayed silent. He was soft. I watched him furiously
rub himself so hard he might leave a welt. He was hard again. Red and bulbous.
He entered and then left.
He kept starting and stopping, going in and out, in the hope of lasting longer.
All I wanted was to sit on the couch on frozen bag of peas with a warm cup of
chamomile tea. Stamina is not everything.
I didn’t want to see him today, but I went anyway. It was a mistake. I
crawled into his warm bed when I was sad, which was often, at least once a week.
There was not a day that I didn’t think of him. As far as I knew, he was unattached.
Seeing me was the highlight of his day, supposedly. However, how could I tell? If
he was not fucking me, he would be fucking someone else. I was a fool, but I
Originally, it was a streak of loneliness. It had become a relief not to think.
He had taken me to dinners, bought me gifts, and told me how he cared for me.
I still have the clear vase with the grey rose engraving. Sometimes the baby
picks it up to trace the thorns with her fingers. I should yell at her. She will break it
eventually. I never could throw it away.
I was invested in him. In between the hospital and the lawyer, I spent time in
bed. However, on this occasion, it was a dresser.
The dresser stirred. I opened my eyes. My bottom slid. I lost my balance.
He took both of my hands.
“I got you,” he said. “Ready again?”
The first fuck was fine, great even. I had no thoughts or plans to be with him
again. It was spontaneous. Single serving intimacy. I continued seeing him. All I
wanted was to mimic that first time. I have had one-night stands before. I preferred
only first names and no phone numbers. In these flushed and hurried occasions,
nothing mattered and no feelings resulted. In this case, oxytocin, the chemical
released for women to bond with their partners and as children, wasn’t my fault. It
was merely a chemical side, effect such as nausea when taking anti-anxiety meds.
I hadn’t noticed feelings developing until they were there. Caring for him
was exhausting, I hardly thought of myself anymore. I had no time.
I caught his love like an airborne pathogen and now I was infected. He was supposed to be my cure, not my disease. I needed a mask to protect me like SARS.
In the beginning, it had been fun having him as my little secret.
She asked me where I went. “Nowhere,” I said.
I would have to tell her. She would not approve. She never did.
His sweat dripped on my face. I could not breathe.
“Are you finished?” I asked him. “I am.” I lied. I had not finished the last few
times, when feelings came, I never did. My body rebelled against me. I can only
cum when I don’t care.
“No,” he said. He kept pumping. “Almost.” His cheeks were already rosy red.
That would stay for at least a few hours. He looked like a little boy. I pinched his
check. He groaned. He was in the plateau stage of the human sexual response cycle.
“I’ve got somewhere to be,” I said.
He pushed himself deeper. I felt him hit my cervix. He mistook my scream.
He ran his hand through my hair again. “You’re so beautiful.”
I cringed. I did not need him to say what was not true. I was and always am
passable. I am cute, but not beautiful. Lovely, but never amazing. I did not possess
the qualities to stop men in their tracks. My Mom did, once.
He exhaled loudly. I could feel his hot breath blowing on my face. I wanted
him off me.
I began to touch myself, for the sake of having something to do. He watched
with interest. He sped up, gave one quick thrust, without emotion, and then let me
go. It was that easy. I asked him not to come inside me, but he forgot. Now, I did
not have time to clean up. The stickiness was uncomfortable.
That first time, he finished inside me accidentally. I rushed to the bathroom;
grabbed a wad of toilet paper and got everything of his inside me out as quick as
possible. It felt too intimate.
“Thanks,” I said, flatly.
He gave me a lingering look. “Where do you have to be?”
My mind raced. Was he longing for me to stay? Or was he longing for his
“Nowhere.” I grabbed my clothes and bolted down the stairs. His semen ran
down my legs. He had lots. I saw streaks dribble on the wood laminate floor.
He followed me downstairs, naked, and flaccid. He did not care if anyone
saw him. His nudity was open and unrepressed. I hurriedly threw on my dress and
underwear. I ran out the front door. The bra would have to wait. I swung a single
strap over my shoulder like a purse.
I remember in the beginning, when he would have to convince me to take off
my bra. Now it seemed I barely had enough time to get it on. I knew I was late. I
wished he had finished sooner. He watched me leave out the front door, locked it
behind him and waved good-bye. I backed away and drove off.
"Sick" is an excerpt from Veronica's novella of the same name which was recently shortlisted for the New Welsh Writing Awards 2017: AmeriCymru Prize for Novella.
Veronica Popp is an activist and writer from Chicago. She has a Bachelor’s from Elmhurst College in English and History, a Master’s in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and a Master’s in English with a concentration in Literary Studies from Western Illinois University. She has been published in The Collagist, PenCambria, Popular Culture Studies Journal, Journal of Fandom Studies, Journal of Popular Culture, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Gender Forum, The Last Line, Bitch Media, and Bust. Popp was recently, nominated for the Silver Pen Writers Association Writing Well Award. Her research interests include feminist film studies, queer theory, creative writing and pedagogy. Popp recently completed her first novel, The Longest Summer, out for submission to literary agents. Popp is the chair of the Modern Language Association Committee for Contingent Labor in the Profession and believes the feminization of adjunct labor is a growing concern.
(Photo by Samantha Lynda LaFountain)