On nights we don’t see each other, Brody always calls me between nine and ten o’clock. In fact, there was one night when he drifted off and didn’t manage to call, and I started to panic. I ended up calling him myself at around eleven, and a very sleepy Brody apologized to me about ten times. Even though I was the one overreacting. Sometimes it feels like I can do no wrong in his eyes.
So when my phone rings at nine o’clock, I quickly answer in my most sensual voice: “Hello there.”
I stare at my phone in surprise and realize that the number is not Brody’s. It’s a vaguely familiar zip code, one I haven’t seen in a very long time. That was not Brody. And the voice on the other line is oddly familiar as well. Who is that?
Then it hits me. It’s Norm. Oh my God, it’s Norm. My internet boyfriend who I haven’t spoken to in months. The guy who I promised I’d fly out to see on the west coast, then backed out at the last minute. Before he could find out what I really look like.
“Hi,” I cough into the phone. “Norm, um, hey…”
“I take it that sexy greeting wasn’t meant for me then,” Norm says.
“Well,” I mumble. “Not really. No.”
“Then I’m not calling a minute too late,” he says. I hear him take a breath on the other line. “Emily, I’m going to be straight with you. I made a huge mistake. I’ve been beating myself up over it since we broke up. And… I want you back. I want to continue with you where we left off.”
“Oh,” is all I can manage to say.
“I was angry for a long time that you didn’t come here,” Norm says. No kidding. “I thought maybe you were making up some story to get out of it, which, in retrospect, is ridiculous.” Yep, totally ridiculous. What kind of horrible person would do that? “Your grandmother died and I was totally insensitive to you. No wonder you didn’t want to come here.”
“Yeah,” I mumble.
“I love you, Emily,” he says. And now he has one-upped Brody, who has not yet said those words to me. “You were, like, my whole world for a year, and then I completely blew it. I can’t live with myself. I can’t stop thinking about you.”
I hear his words echoing in my head. I almost remember how much I used to like him, how I used to stare at the photos of himself that he sent me, how we used to talk on the phone for hours the way I do with Brody now. And he, unlike Brody, is whole. He can actually do all the things we talked about when we had incredible phone sex.
But the truth is, Brody is the one I’m in love with now. And besides, Norm doesn’t even really know who I am.
“I’m sorry,” I say. “There’s someone else now.”
“Look,” he says. “I’m going to be coming to New York soon. On business. I signed up for this meeting because I really want to see you. Please, Emily. Give me one more chance. I’m begging you.”
Oh shit. Norm is coming to New York? That’s not good. He has my address because he wanted to send me flowers a few times. Oh God, what if he shows up here? That would be… really, really bad. No, worse than bad. It would be horrible. Monstrous. Cataclysmic. You get the idea.
“I’m sorry,” I say. “If you care about me, you’ll respect my feelings and leave me alone. I’m seeing someone else now, and… it just isn’t meant to be between you and me.”
“I think it is meant to be,” Norm says.
“It really isn’t.”
“I think it is.”
I hear a beep on my phone. Brody is trying to call me. I need to end this conversation right now. “Norm, please… don’t call me again.”
And then I hang up on him. Please let this be the last time I ever hear from him.
I saw this segment on The Daily Show a little while ago where Jessica Williams was complaining about how she can’t even walk down the street without some asshole shouting some comment about her body. Now Jessica Williams is a beautiful woman, and I’m sure it’s really unpleasant to walk down the street and get catcalls. But let’s be real here: she has no idea how much worse it is to walk down the street as a fat girl.
Most of the time, the men just ignore me. That’s preferable, obviously.
But sometimes I’ll walk past a group of young men, maybe construction workers or maybe just some kids hanging out, and I know they’re going to say something about me. I can feel it. And all I can do is walk by as quickly as I can, keeping my head down and pretending I don’t hear them.
Today I walk past two men in their twenties, and for reasons that escape me, one of them found it fit to yell at me, “Hey, girl, your ass is too fat for your jeans!”
Here’s the thing: my ass kind of is too fat for my jeans. But I don’t have the time or energy or money to run out and buy a new wardrobe every time I gain some weight. So I’m squeezing into these stupid Levis until I can’t physically pull them on or else they split a seam. Or the crotch wears out. Why does the crotch always wear out so damn fast on my pants?
Anyway, I was hoping it wasn’t that noticeable that my jeans were too small. But I guess I was wrong. And thanks to those two idiots on the street, that’s all I can think about when I take the elevator up to Brody’s apartment.
When he opens the door for me, he’s got a slightly dopey grin on his face. He looks so happy to see me, I almost can forget about my poorly fitting jeans. Maybe he doesn’t care.
“Hey there,” he says.
“Hey yourself,” I say, tugging on my jeans a bit. I glance around the apartment. “Where’s Mike?”
“Real nice,” Brody snorts. “Who are you dating anyway—me or Mike?”
“Can I have a minute to think about it?” I tease him. Obviously I’m just kidding around, but Mike’s actually been present during a fair proportion of our dates so far. It doesn’t even make me uncomfortable anymore. I know at some point, if we have sex, Mike’s going to have to be around to help out. But we’re not there yet.
“I had some different plans for tonight,” he says, his voice dripping with suggestion. “Let’s go to my bedroom, okay?”
My eyes widen. “Without Mike?”
Brody gives an exasperated huff. “Seriously, Emily?”
“Sorry,” I say sheepishly.
I follow Brody to his bedroom, feeling increasingly nervous. We almost never go into his bedroom. Aside from a few times when we cuddled in his bed after Mike was gone for the night, we have almost exclusively stayed in the living room. I’m not entirely sure what Brody has in mind, but I think back to that day Abby walked in on us in my bedroom, and that gives me a bit of a clue.
There’s a contraption by the bed that Brody called a “Hoyer lift.” Mike doesn’t need to use it, but apparently his morning PCA is female and uses it to help transfer him from his bed to his wheelchair. It’s a big metal contraption with hooks coming off it that attaches to a big red sling. As I said, Mike doesn’t need to use it, but he did use it once with Brody so that I could see how it was done. It was a little weird seeing Brody suspended in the sling like that, especially when he started having muscle spasms in his legs the second he got in the air.
The bathroom has even more crazy stuff in it. The toilet has bars surrounding it like a mini jungle gym on either side. And he’s got a second wheelchair in there that’s mostly made from plastic, and instead of a regular seat, it has what looks like a toilet seat. I asked him about that once and he told me it was his shower wheelchair.
“But how do you get into the shower?” I asked him, since the shower wheelchair didn’t have any sort of joystick control that he’d be able to work with his limited arm movement.
“Mike pushes me in,” he said. He frowned at me. “You realize that I can’t shower by myself, right? I get help with that.”
I hadn’t realized that. Although it made sense. Anyway, I could see Brody was a little embarrassed about the whole thing, so I didn’t bother him with any more questions.
Right now, however, Brody is staring straight at his bed. He has a very serious expression on his face.
“Sit down,” he says, gesturing at his bed with his wrists.
I obediently sit on the bed. He moves forward and starts kissing me. Of course, he’s kissed me tons of times before, but this time I sense something different is coming. Then I feel him pressing his arm against my chest. “Take off your jeans and your underwear,” he says. And when I look at him questioningly, he says, “Please.”
This is no easy task. As I mentioned before, my jeans are a tiny bit snug. Getting free from them requires about five minutes of concerted effort. There are angry red marks on my waist and where the seams were pressing into my thighs. I really wish this room were darker.
“Now lie down,” Brody instructs me, his voice thick with longing.
I obediently lie down on the bed, and I feel Brody nudging my legs apart. He kisses my bent knee, and starts to move his lips down my thigh. “You’re too low,” he finally says.
“Huh?” I say, lifting my head.
He grins at me crookedly. “Your pussy is too low. Do you think you could stick a couple of pillows under your butt?”
It actually ends up taking more than a couple of pillows, but I finally get in a position that Brody feels comfortable with. And then he goes to town on me.
I’ve never been eaten out before. Obviously. There was definitely a bit of self-consciousness on my part. I was worried about my hygiene, if I was too sweaty down there, if my thighs were too fat, if… well, a million different things. But pretty soon, it feels too good to care. Brody’s breath is hot and his tongue flicks at my clitoris expertly. I’ve never been exposed to anything beyond my two fingers, so not having control over it is a bit of a rush. And he’s really good at it. I mean, I think he’s good. I have no basis for comparison, but I’m definitely enjoying this very, very much.
I orgasm way faster than I ever have before. My thighs squeeze against Brody’s ears as I throw my head back and cry out. And then again and then even one more time. It’s not until I go completely limp that Brody lifts his head.
“Good?” he asks.
I roll my eyes. “Couldn’t you hear me screaming?”
“No, actually,” he says. “You were completely covering my ears.”
“It was amazing,” I tell him. “You’re really good at that.”
“Does that mean you’ll let me do it again?” he asks, eyes twinkling.
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
Brody laughs. He wheels around the side of the bed so that he can gaze at my face. “I really wish that I could lie with you.”
I see the longing in his eyes and I glance over at the Hoyer lift. I take a deep breath. Here goes nothing. “Do you want me to try to transfer you?”
He looks over at the lift then back at me. “Do you think you could?”
“Sure,” I say with much more confidence than I feel. “Mike showed me that time.”
“Right…” Brody bites his lip. And because he must really, really want to lie next to me, or else he’s completely lost his mind, he says, “Okay, fine. Let’s give it a try.”
I get out of bed and Brody quickly positions his wheelchair beside the lift. He’s pretty used to this routine, apparently. I watch as he makes an attempt to pull off the belt across his chest, trying to scrape at it with his fingers at first, then trying to get under it with his hand. But he just can’t get it.
“Nancy made it too tight,” he sighs. “Can you open my belt?”
I open the Velcro on his belt, and it’s hard not to notice how much his belly bulges out even though he’s not at all fat. He continues to instruct me: “Put the sling behind my back. I can lean forward, but you have to brace me.”
I help Brody lean forward. His body feels almost like a sack of potatoes leaning against me. He’s not able to help me at all. It’s kind of a struggle but I get the sling behind his back. Mostly.
“Okay,” he says. “Now take the two loops at the edges and pull them under my thighs.”
I lift up Brody’s left leg, which is relatively light at least, and pull the first loop under and do the same on the second loop. By now, I’m sweating like a pig. I’m sure he can tell because he says, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” I lie.
I feel like at this point, we’re both sort of wishing we hadn’t gotten started doing this. I can tell that Brody doesn’t trust me and feels really nervous about the whole thing. And I don’t trust me and I feel really nervous about the whole thing.
“Okay,” he says. “Now you want to attach the loops to the cradle.”
I attempt to do this. But obviously I’ve done something wrong along the way because the loops don’t reach. I’m trying my best, using all my strength, but they are about six inches short. I give them a good yank, which causes Brody to slip down in his wheelchair. “Emily!” he cries out.
“I’m sorry,” I say as I grab on to him to help him regain his balance.
“It’s okay,” he says. “But… I think this was a bad idea. Just take the sling off me.”
Brody doesn’t seem to relax until I’ve gotten him out of the sling and replaced the belt across his lap. What a mess. So much for even contemplating getting to have sex without Mike’s help.
“I’ll have Mike train you,” Brody says, reading my thoughts. “That way we won’t have a problem next time.”
“Okay,” I say.
He sighs. “I don’t love the idea of you having to help me in and out of my wheelchair, but I guess it’s the only way we’re going to get some privacy. You really don’t mind?”
“Of course not,” I say.
“You’re so great about everything,” he says. He looks up at me and runs his forearm over my own arm. Then he takes a deep breath. “I… I love you, Emily.”
I get this wonderful little tingling in my stomach. He loves me. He loves me. A man who has seen me naked in all my cellulite glory is actually in love with me. I know this would sound silly to most women, but I honestly wasn’t sure if it was something I’d ever experience.
I’m so excited by Brody’s declaration that I hardly notice that he’s staring at me, looking really worried. It takes me a second to realize why.
“I love you too,” I say.
His face relaxes into a smile. And when we kiss again, it’s even better than it was before, if that was possible.