Saturday, March 19, 2016

Love Letter, Stephanie Anderson

Love Letter 
by Stephanie Anderson

My thighs are on fire. Red-hot poker fire is shooting out from between my legs while I writhe in agony. Flames lick down toward my knees, and I am sure it is going to consume my legs whole. Or maybe my whole body. There I sit, turning into human toast, and no one would ever know.

I peek down at the tops of my legs, prepared to see melting flesh amidst tendrils of smoke. But my legs are, as always, creamy white, this time just slightly tinged pink on my inner thighs. 

God damn, bikini waxes are no joke.

How the hell did I get here? This morning I was your run-of-the-mill stay-at-home mom, the next minute, the tragic victim of a nail salon bikini wax. I sit crumpled on the floor, glaring at the black aberration that hangs neatly on the bathroom door across the room. 

I hate you, lacy black negligee, with your frilly bustier and your assless chaps back. I’ve never worn anything in my entire life even close to this kind of sexy. But maybe that’s the problem. The cringe-worthy conversation with Chris about our sex life is still totally fresh in my mind.

“I don’t know, Chris. I just, don’t think about it.” I’d tried to explain.

“You don’t think about it? Like, ever?” he’d asked, incredulously.

“I mean. Sometimes. But, no, not really.” I’d shrugged.

“I don’t even know how to respond to that, Liv.” He’d shaken his head, and I felt my hackles rise.

“Whatever! I’m not some freak! How often do you think about it? Like, once a day or something?” I’d said, my defenses up.

“How often do you check your email or Facebook?” He’d asked.

“Like, every couple minutes.” I’d responded.

“Well…”

So maybe sex wasn’t my thing. Sure, I remember the frocilky days of infatuation when we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. But then marriage happens, responsibility happens, kids happen. And who can think about sexy times at the end of a long day when the kids threw tantrums all day and there is dried spit up in your hair?

I know. You’re totally turned on right now.

But hey, I’m an equal partner in this marriage. So of course I want to be able to deliver. At least more than a few times a year, because, dammit, I’m young! I’m vibrant! And my stretch marks are only visible in direct sunlight!

So I did it. I made the decision to do something sexy for my husband. No, not just for my husband; for me. I should embrace feeling sexy in my own body, right? I am woman! Hear me roar!

I marched myself right to the fanciest lingerie store I could find, promptly started sweating profusely, turned around and walked right out. Target was probably more my speed. So I followed the red bullseye and checked out their nighty selection. Compared to my usual t-shirt and athletic shorts, the stuff was downright racy. And by racy, I mean no sweatpants. Without looking too closely, I picked something black and lacy and went through the self-checkout so I wouldn’t have to avoid awkward eye contact with the greasy teenage boy at the register.

And here I sit. My plan in place. I’d thrown on some some makeup and even curled my hair so I could look halfway human. And now I work up the courage to put on that lacy lack of clothing, snap a picture and send it to my husband. 

Sexting. 

I’m going to commit sexting.


And so what? This is the new way to connect with your partner. It’s cool and adventurous. Chris won’t see it coming, and I know he’ll appreciate the effort. 

Taking a deep breathe, I drop my robe and grab the negligee off the hanger. There was so little material, it was hard to know what went where. After finally distinguishing foot holes from arm holes, I stand up, and holy shit it’s cold in here. 

I should probably grab the pic before the goosebump situation gets out of hand. Where the hell do I do this? Just standing here? God, no. That’s boring, Liv. This is probably a bed thing. I walk over and lay back on my down comforter. With trepidation, I grasp my phone in my right hand, raise my arm up, and open the camera app. 

White. All I see is white. How am I going to go through all the pain of buying this clown ensemble, primping my hair, and my phone breaks? What the hell, universe? Or wait. That’s the ceiling. God damn, Liv. Put the camera into selfie mode.

With one swipe, my entire face fills the screen. GOOD GOD this is why I never take selfies. I readjust myself, and realize we’re probably not looking for a picture of my face. Duh. I pan the camera down a little bit. Boobs should definitely be part of the picture. I squeeze my arms in so my cleavage is accentuated.That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Or maybe that makes me look like a walrus. Dammit, why is there no manual for this?

I try making sultry eyes at the phone, which come off less Fifty Shades and a little more Walking Dead. I settle for “inviting” instead (or maybe exhausted?), and try to make that ducky face all those Kardashians smear social media with.

It’s not perfect, but it’ll do. 

Right before I click the button, the doorknob rattles.

“Mo-o-o-om! Mom are you in there?” 

Oh, for fuck’s sake. 

“Hold on, honey! I’m just going to the bathroom! Give me a minute.”

Flustered and distracted, I take the shot to the soundtrack of two brothers tackling each other outside my door. I turn my phone around, and try not to look too closely. Part of my face is cut out of the frame, but my breasts actually look kind of hot. Not bad for a first time, at home, porn photo.

I scan through my contacts, find Chris’s name, and send him the photo. I watch the right side of the screen, where a small blue checkmark pops up and the word delivered appears.

I take a deep breath, close my phone, and change into my normal mom uniform: jeans, a soft crew neck and long cardigan. When I open the door, my boys are none the wiser. They have no idea that I just did the bravest thing I’d ever done.

Well, that and give birth twice.

I check my phone every few minutes, expecting a response. Nothing. Then nothing. And more nothing. So I wait.

And wait.

And wait.

I feel the frustration rising in me. I’d jumped through a lot of big flaming lacy hoops to get Chris that picture. And he can’t even respond? There’s no way he missed it. It said “delivered!’ This is why I don’t try new things. And I do not want to hear him complain that I am not an initiator in the love department, because INITIATE THIS.

Then another thought pops into my head, and my stomach turns to ice. What if he had seen it? What if he saw it and was embarrassed? Oh god, what if it arrived on his phone, and one of his coworkers saw it? Or he was at lunch and everyone saw it? I will cut off my hair, wear a burlap sack adorned with a big, fat red letter A, and never show my face in public again.

I spend the next sixty minutes sitting stock still on the couch, waiting for Chris to get home. I finally hear his car door slam and, a few moments later, his keys rattle in the door.

“Hey! I’m home!”

Little feet scamper into the room yelling, “Daddy! Daddy!” Chris shrugs out of his jacket and  glances over with a smile. Okay. So he wasn’t angry. And he doesn’t seem sheepish or coy. How am I supposed to read that?

I follow him as he walks into the kitchen. As he does most days, he grabs a glass of milk and a handful of pretzels for a snack. We lean against opposite counters while the boys run circles around the living room.

“So how was your day, hon?” Chris asks me.

I hesitate. “Good.” I say slowly. “You?”

“Ah, not bad. We had to run reports today, so you know how that goes. And Jack and Fred are trying to get people to hit up the Rusty Pub tomorrow for Happy Hour,” he says.

“That’d be fun,” I offer. 

“Yeah, I think so. Is that okay? Do we have anything going on Friday night?” he asks.

“No, I don’t think so. I mean, yes, that’s fine.” I say, flustered. “So, nothing interesting happened today?”

Chris thinks for a moment and shakes his head. “Nope. Just an average day.”

“Chris, have you checked your phone at all today?” I ask.

He grabs his phone from his pocket. Swiping the screen, he scans his various apps. “Yeah, I check it all the time. Why?”

I throw my hands up in exasperation. “Didn’t you get my text?!”

“No. What text? Was it important?” He inquires, concerned.

“No. I mean. Yes. Kind of.” I say, sheepishly. “I sent you a special text.”

“What kind of text?” His confusion is apparent.

“Like, I don’t know. A ‘for-your-eyes-only’ kind of text.” I explain.

Understanding lights his eyes. “You mean a sext? You sexted me?!” He exclaims.

“Shhhhhhh! Yes! At least, the closest I can get to one.” I shrug. “I just don’t know how it didn’t get to your phone. It said ‘delivered.’”

He reaches out his hand. “Let me see.”

I hand over my phone and he opens up my text messages. 

“Oh man, Liv. You’re a hottie!” he said, wagging his eyebrows up and down comically. 

“Shut up.” I laugh, swatting his shoulder. “What happened to the text, though? Did it get caught in drafts or something?”

He swipes around some more, then goes rigid. Standing up straight, he looks up at me with fear in his eyes.

“Liv? How closely did you check your contacts?” He asks.

“What do you mean? I grabbed your name and sent it.” I say.

“You grabbed ‘Chris’ for sure. Just not the right Chris.” He explains, slowly.

Realization sets in. And now I completely understand why Chris didn’t get my text. Well, my Chris didn’t get the text. 

But my father-in-law, Chris senior, did.

Well. 


Fuck.

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