TELL ME I’M DIFFERENT
by Madeline Anthes
When we meet you will tell me you’re tired of the same old thing. You will look me up and down and see what you like.
I will nod and tell you I know, baby. I will show you all the ways that I’m different.
I like football and beer and steak.
I am sarcastic and cynical and charming and funny.
I am sexy but I don’t seem to realize it.
I am strong and gentle and feisty and weak all the ways you want me to be.
You will smile and buy me a drink – a Manhattan or old fashioned – something manly and sweet. You will tell me I look sexy as I wrap my tongue around the straw and pull it into my mouth. You will watch as I sip slowly. Swallow with precision.
You will tell me you wonder if my mouth tastes sweet too.
As sweet as you want. Cherry cola. Sweet tea. So sweet your lips will pull back and you’ll smile so hard you’ll grimace.
You will put your arm around my waist to show everyone that this one is taken. This one. Me. I’m taken.
Take me somewhere. I will whisper in your ear and lean against you. You will feel so needed.
You will ask where I want to go but you already know.
You will run your hands down the granite countertops in my kitchen.
I love to cook. You will smile because you want someone to cook for you like your mother did. Dinner on the table at 6:00, snacks during the game.
You will lick your lips at the thought of me in an apron, poised over the stove. My hair in a bun, sweat forming at the base of my neck.
You will take the drink I give you and watch my hips as I lead you down the hallway.
I will pull you onto the bed. You want me to take control.
You’re mine now I will tell you, and you will nod and nod.
I will tell you things to make your chest rise and fall for me. I will tell you all the things you need to hear about how different you are.
You smell so good.
You are so chiseled.
You are so funny and built and not fragile in any way.
You are so strong and I feel so safe with you.
You will be just like every man. Cologne soaked and whiskey drunk. Clumsy fingers and dull eyes.
I could just eat you up.
While you sleep I will find your cracks and dig my fingers in. I know where to look. It doesn’t take much pressure to pop you open, core you from the inside. Leave you hollow.
What did you expect?
The other girls would have let you leave them, shatter them. They would have let you remain whole while they tear out their own insides bit by bit.
I am just what you wanted, I will tell you once I’ve pulled your sheets up over your shell of a frame. I will tuck you in so gently. This will hurt in the morning.
Tell me again how you want something different.
Madeline Anthes is the acquisitions editor for Hypertrophic Literary. Her writing can be found in journals like WhiskeyPaper, Lost Balloon, Cease, Cows, and Jellyfish Review. You can find her on Twitter at @maddieanthes, and find more of her work at madelineanthes.com.