No One Says the Right Things

Dayton J Shafer

She has a harelip and we only have hate sex.


It’s winter and everything is desperate. We sit on the side porch and listen to a fisher cat tear into a fox pup. The shrieks of the fisher cat, the whipping body of the pup, the fight of the mother and fisher, all the shrieks, they crescendo. All together until a steel bumper and rusty axle spin them through machinery. The horn blares. We jump off and sprint past the empty horse pasture to the street side. The trio are in pieces. Flanks and skins and guts and faces. All just mixed up. She looks at me and says,


“I love the smell.”


She kisses me and I taste whiskey and another woman. She heaves the heave I know and gives me the look I love and we have sex on the side of the road. It’s at a slant. As we cum the moonlight hitting off the frozen creek streams across her face; a shining bolt, its jagged corners hit my favorite points—a trio of moles that float from the left corner of her mouth and the gray patch on her tuft. I roll us down the hill. Our faces smack back and forth. Her nose is bleeding. My gums are gone. I smile a blood smile and she sticks a piece of receipt up her streaming nose. We climb up the hill and collect the beers that rolled out of her satchel. We step onto the shoulder of the road.


I grab a strap and say,


“I can’t believe it’s only been six days.”


She looks at me and knows I’m trying to be sincere. She grabs a handful of gravel and shoves it into my face. It’s unexpected and I push her back. She goes bowlegged and wags out to grab imaginary grips. I’m full of bourbon and questions and deadweight into her. We fall into a dirty snow bank. She bear-hugs, spins, and sleds me back down the hill. We fall into a dome of blue pine, watching the snow melt on each other’s faces.


She grabs my ear and says,


“It’s been five days.”


She rolls down the waistline of her jeans and says,


“You got my hip pretty good.”


The glowing point of her hip hits me. I bite it until her legs rumble. She swings one up, drapes it around my collar and leg-locks, hard—the vein in my left temple saying hello. She releases, smacks the blood off my mouth and we start walking the couple blocks back to the pub.


Her boyfriend is there and so is my fuck buddy. I drink more whiskey, so does she. We don’t speak again until we find ourselves packed into a swaying foyer where people blow smoke out the one open window. She pulls on the tendon behind my knee and says,


“You’re the only one that feels me…”


She cups my shoulder, digging her fingers between the muscle.


“…the one that says the right things.”


I lean further into that space, the emptiness where I’m not supposed to be, the space between those that are unavailable and the rest of us. We look into each other and want to say the same things. Friends interfere. We stop before it becomes too much. We don’t get this chance often. I’m fucking someone and she’s fucking someone that doesn’t make her cum.


We first saw each other at the farmers’ market. She had baklava on her harelip and was sipping earl gray. I was chatting with a vivacious French woman selling gut-heavy doses of peppered quiche. There is this sexuality that revolves around the market—everyone picking, smelling, groping, thumbing around to find the perfect pressure. We looked, smiled, breathed into one another, and were finished right then.


I walked up to her and said,


“Harelip backwards is pilerah.”


She told me that she likes to come to the market and watch people accidentally bump into one another. She told me that most people are so damn awkward and anti-social that she purposely bumps into them and chats—as if they were best friends in the middle of conversation that only got separated by a heavy crowd.


“Then I said to that son of a bitch, ‘You know, maybe that’s why no one ever wants to sleep with you.’’’


She always finds it fascinating that people never stop her. Sometimes the corner of a smirk will twitch, maybe the rim of an ear will flush with hyper-consciousness, or the puce bags under their eyes will jump and pulse, but nine out of ten they just meander away.


I only say that we have hate sex because every time we roll off one another she always turns to me and says,


“I hate you until you make me cum.”


I’m not tall or striking or even nice, truly don’t even know how I swing them half the time, but they always seem to come, and then we just ruin each other’s lives. It’s probably because they know they can run all over me and not worry about being left because I’m just that lazy. Maybe it’s because I don’t really care about things like harelips and stretchmarks and bald spots and body hair. I was actually having a bad go before I met this one. A metal splinter had jammed itself beneath the nail of my third toe, and my terminally-ill fraternal twin sister had decided that she wanted to become a man in her last days, so pretty much become me.





 About the Writer

Dayton J Shafer makes a mean BLT. He also loves the stage and has even done fancy stuff like interviewing and publishing Guggenheim Fellows. The majority of his post-BFA life has been spent in taprooms, on hiking trails, and writing for local and national publications. He doesn't regret a thing.