Behavioral Patterns Of A Reluctant Masochist

by Lauren Yates

It was my mother who taught me to buy clothes in the size
I wished I were. She called this motivation. Like the time she
promised to take me to Disneyland if I could lose ten pounds
in a week. The guilt of spending her hard-earned money on
ill-fitting dresses was supposed to make the weight drop.

If I donated clothes that did not fit, she would either yell
at me for not going to a consignment shop, or stage a
rescue mission, hanging each piece back up in my closet.

I see glimpses of my mother in my almost girlfriend.
She never texts first, not even on my birthday. She cannot
touch me without being three beers deep. When she wakes up
next to me, there is always a glass of water waiting for her on
the window sill, a makeshift nightstand. She never questions
where it comes from, only knows she is thirsty. That it is here.

The day I let her go, like a blazer too tight in the chest, she spent
the next three days hemorrhaging excuses. She asked if my inability
to tell whether she liked me happened all the time or just in person.
As if either is a viable option. When I pick up the phone to call

my mother, she asks why I have not called in so long. I remind her
that when I last saw her, she said my pussy is all I had to offer.
She corrects me: “All you have left.” As if either is a viable option.

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