Promises

Sean is on the stairs, paused mid-step. “I would’ve liked that,” he says, referring to the sexual rabbit hole Sammie has led herself down. It’s funny, how little he understands the pain he’s caused her, the unfairness she’s referring to when she tells him that he’s hurt her more than he can comprehend.

You know what else is funny? He’s on the way to meet his new girlfriend, and he’s telling her the thing he regrets is not accepting the non-monogamous lifestyle he harassed her into embracing in the first place. I don’t know, she briefly recalls him saying, not long before she took an ax to the dysfunctional bond between them. I just love you more. I don’t want you to hurt yourself. She asked him, So what about the last three years? He didn’t have an answer.

He doesn’t understand her actual complaint, or has chosen to ignore it altogether as to support whatever lies he’s spun into the story of THEM, especially with regard to THE END. No, what hurt was the constant crossing of boundaries. Telling her to fuck other people for his sexual gratification, to be a whore even when what she wanted was to be his partner. He made her sexuality the practice of meeting his and only his needs, and he humiliated her time and time again when his own neurosis entered the equation.

She can’t help but wonder how he’s treating this new girl of his. He doesn’t mention sex to Sammie, not with Meagan – just in reference to her own exploits, which fit well into his strange “slut” fetish, despite his recently founded relationship. Does he tell her that she should sell herself to men, like he did Sammie? Or is this Meagan just that much better than Sammie ever was?

And what about recovery? What about treatment? Sammie had one real wish when she went into Renfrew. She told him, I’ll work on myself. But please, work on this — whatever it is. I want to have sex with someone who doesn’t talk about me needing to dress like a slut, telling me I don’t dress the way you want. I need someone who doesn’t get off to the idea of me getting gang-banged, who can feel satisfied by normal means. At least once in awhile. He agreed. And he lied. And when Sammie came back, he had all the excuses that let him think to himself, I have no reason to hold myself accountable.

These thoughts are all twisted together; they’re like some flash of heat that sends Sammie into overdrive. It’s another shock to a system that’s been overstimulated. The anger she feels when she looks at him is so raw and abrasive that she’s spitting barbs instead of words. “Fuck you,” she says, shaking her head vigorously in some attempt to keep the rest of her still. “That’s not what I mean when I say that you fucked me up. I didn’t want to fuck other people. I just wanted to be able to enjoy sex with you once in awhile. I wanted you to show – not just say – that you loved me.” I wanted you to not harass me into have sex after disrespecting me. I wanted to be able to go to bed some nights without feeling like I’d need to serve you before I was able to sleep. I wanted a lot of things.

Sean ignores Sammie. He pretends, as he’s often been, that she hasn’t said anything at all. He makes his way down the stairs, turning his back to her. He opens the door of the house, leaving for a date with his girlfriend; he smells like a quart of cheap cologne.

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