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Today's Story by Benjamin Wachs

If anybody ever asks I’ll say you hit me.

I’ll show you mine

I light an unfiltered cigarette. She lights a black herbal cigarette.  Hers smells better but will kill her faster.  We both know it.

“Maybe,” I say, “my parents withheld affection from me when I was little, and now I’m an emotional black hole.”

“Maybe,” she says, “I was molested by the first man I really trusted, and I’ve been trying to get a do-over ever since.”

“Maybe,” I say, “I had a grandmother who picked on me mercilessly until I hated my own body.”

“Maybe,” she says, “I had somebody close to me die when I was too young to process it right.”

“Maybe,” I say, taking a long drag, “I was ostracized as a kid, and got more angry than somebody that young should.”

“Maybe,” she says, blowing smoke in my face, “I was labeled the school slut for 6 years.”

“Maybe,” I say, “I got screwed by the first person who fucked me.”

“Maybe,” she says, “that was me.”

We stare at each other, hard.

“I’m all out of excuses.”

“Not me,” she says, her voice scratchy. “I’ve got dozens.  You can spend the night again, but tomorrow I’m kicking you out for good, and if anybody ever asks I’ll say you hit me.”

I move in and pin her against the wall.  I think she’s lying.  But either way, my list is getting bigger.


Benjamin Wachs has written for Village Voice Media, Playboy.com, and NPR among other venues.  He archives his work at www.TheWachsGallery.com.

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