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Cold Like Being Afraid


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"It's a fun song. And it's a song." She said song like she was talking to somebody who didn't understand English. "That's all it is."

She pushed flyaway hairs out of her face with her wet hands, leaving suds on her right ear. I heard the little sizzles of the bubbles bursting, dying into invisibility.

She bent her head down and smashed the suds away with her shoulder. She looked at me, waited for me to say something.

I waited for her to forget about it, change the subject, but she just stood there. She let the greasy water out of the sink, and we both watched the suds go down the drain in a swirl; we listened to the gurgle of her plumbing as the sink emptied. It was kind of like the sound I make with my straw at the bottom of a milkshake, but louder.

She picked up the dish soap, squirted way more than enough all over the sink basin. I've told her using too much soap can leave the dishes sticky, but she still does it. She does it with laundry detergent, too.

She started the clean water, and then she stood there, shoulders squared, waiting. She was still waiting for me to say something.

"What exactly do you think is fun about vandalizing her boyfriend's vehicle? If he's cheating on her, wouldn't it make more sense to just break up with him?"

Edie frowned. "What's fun about it, exactly," she mocked me, "is that it's an exercise in fantasy, in venting. It's verbal, cerebral. Everyone knows Carrie Underwood isn't really out there keying her goddamned boyfriend's truck, Jeromy." She always uses words like cerebral when she's mad at me. I think she does it to make me think she's more intelligent than I am. "You're reading way too much into it."

I doubt it. "Come on, Edie! If some guy wrote a song about beating the hell out of his girlfriend's Mazda or whatever girls drive, you know everybody'd be mad about it."

"And by everybody, you mean women. Get away from me, Jeromy."

I tried to apologize.

"I mean it, Jeromy, just get out of here. I don't want to be around you right now."

She didn't talk to me for almost a week. I knew I shouldn't have said that, but it's the truth and it makes me angry that she won't admit that some double standards benefit women.

The last time Edie was that mad at me was the semester she graduated. She was in some philosophy class, and she had to write a paper on Marxism. She asked me what I knew about it, but she said to explain it so she'd understand it.

"It's simple," I told her. It's just like feminism, but without the vagina."

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About Cindy Kelly Benabderrahman

Cindy Kelly Benabderrahman lives and writes in an Appalachian foothills valley, just at the place where Yellow and Licking Creeks meet in Amsterdam, Ohio. There is no cell phone coverage there, but the sky is dark and clear at night, and she sometimes sees owls. She holds an undergraduate degree in English from Kent State University and a Master of...read more Science in Reading from Franciscan University of Steubenville. She was recently married in the old Arab Medina of Tunis, Tunisia. She and her husband spent their three-week honeymoon exploring the ruins of Carthage and counting stray cats in the Medina.


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