My Baby Loves Me So Hard
About the Writer
Benjamin Drevlow was the winner of the 2006 Many Voices Project and the author of a collection of short stories, Bend With the Knees and Other Love Advice From My Father (New Rivers Press, 2008). His fiction has also appeared in The Blue Earth Review and Passages North. He is a fiction reader at BULL: Men’s Fiction, teaches writing at Georgia Southern University, and lives both in Georgia and online at
My old lady, my baby-baby comes home and tosses my ass out of bed. What I mean is my baby hoists the mattress up like a human forklift (she’s got some killer thighs, man) until—me, already on the edge—I go a tumbling to the carpet. Rude awakening, shit, and on my way down I catch my head on the corner of the nightstand leaving me with one heck of a story to pass off on the fellas.
There you have it. I’m sprawled out all over the floor and covered in my grandma’s afghan, my mother’s quilt, and the stale gin and tonic from my father’s cure for insomnia. I’m pulling off my mother’s quilt and cursing my lungs out: Owie-Jesus-fuck!
But there she goes—letting loose with her girlie fists, pounding and pounding on my afghan head like she’s drumming out the intro to “Eye of the Tiger.”
“Wake up, asshole. I love you!”
One more knuckle rap to my afghan mouth—leaving me with a nice little split lip to throw in with the shiner, and it’s, “I’m home, motherfucker. I. Told. You. To. Wakethefuckup!”
My baby, she gets to loving me sometimes and she can’t even help herself. There ain’t much else to do but tuck in the elbows, curl up, and ride out the whooping under the covers until she turns on herself.
Eventually, sure, I’ll end up bucking her off my back, tossing off the covers, and pouncing on her before she has time to land one more loving right hook to the back of my head. Pin her flailing wrists and torso to the carpet so hard I’m afraid I’m gonna give her some wicked carpet burn if it weren’t for all the blankets still on the ground.
I’ll be honest. I’m a big guy. Capable of some inflicting some serious lovemarks, but when it gets down to it, I’m nothing but a big teddy bear, a real gentle giant. Man or woman—I’ve never swung on anybody in my entire life. Hell, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a rape fantasy, and this ain’t even gonna lead to any rough sex (if you’re wondering. And I oughta know). Nope, this carpet and bed covers tussling ain’t sexual.
But it is.
“Get off me,” she yells between bucking and squirming. Like a big sea sword fish you and about three paid fishing pros managed to wrestle onto the boat. But she ain’t quite ready to be your dinner yet.
And as she hawks and splatters snot and saliva all over my face, I must admit, the taste of whiskey and tobacco along with and the rubbing of her hips struggling to buck free from my loins tickles my testosterone just right and gives me a titch of a love pang—an itch, like the tickle of a mosquito landing on your leg really. A twinge of what it must feel like before you rape somebody (or gut a swordfish or splatter a mosquito’s body against your inner thigh for that matter). And I shudder for a second and try to shake the thought. But it doesn’t erase that twinge from my mind and it doesn’t make me stop or let go of her wrists.
That is, it’s her kicking me in the balls that finally makes me let go.
“Get the fuck off me,” she hollers and spits in my face once more for good measure.
Then it’s her turn.
“You want me,” she says and starts slapping her face with both palms of her hands. “I’m yours.”
Give her a little booze and get her riled up—my baby can do one heck of a Mike Tyson impersonation.
I try to tell her to quit messing around. To go sleep it off before she wakes up everybody in the building. But she’s in it to stay.
“Stop yelling at me,” she says, and the palm slaps turn to clenched fists. “Somebody’s gonna call the cops and I’m gonna start in on the crying.”
Going after her own face like Iron Mike on the speed bag—one dull girlie smack after another: Thwap…Thwap…Thwap….
“You wanna kill yourself, now?” she asks me and stops for a second to shake it off. “How about now?” Pow! Right uppercut to the kisser—mine this time, not hers.
Whew boy, I’ll tell you this much—thick, dark tufts of hair tossed all over her face, fists a flailing, and still time to throw one my way. This is why I love my baby—how she goes straight for the kill. No dicking around with petty youdon’tlovemes. No IhateyouIhateyous. No jabs, no hooks. Nothing but the haymakers, windmills, and uppercuts.
“How about now?” she asks, almost snarling, and grabs a stolen restaurant fork out of her purse and starts in on puncturing her inner thigh.
Goddamn her thighs! Like Goodyear Weather-Alls—over inflated by a minimum 10 psi.
But that’s my cue, and now it’s my turn to dance.
I grab her giant red purse from off the carpet next to her and make a big show of dumping it out high in the air for her to see like I’m six years old again and fittin to build me my Lego-Land masterpiece. And through the small pile of change, tampons, lighters, cigarettes, and girlie pills, I find just what I’m looking for. Aha! I whip out that box cutter she stole from me last month and hold it up in front of my face (My light-saber!) Click, click, click goes the box cutter. Flash my pearly whites just a bit and let my eyes go cross in the dark reflection off the blade.
Ha! I can play this little game, too! I’m not even bothering with the wrists. I’m going straight for the brachial—like a pro. I’m up in my armpit and I’m sawing me some skin and bone. I don’t even flinch when her fork comes zinging past, an inch away from my nose, and embeds in the drywall behind me—doinggg! She could whip out a can of gasoline and a zippo for all I care. I’m in the zone, my blood’s a flowin’ and I’m a goin to the bone.
Except she doesn’t—doesn’t even pull out my pills or my noose. Not her style. Just body blows and head shots and the occasional foreign object—nothing illegal or lethal. And now she’s given up on that, too. She just stops it all. With a small whimper, she throws in the towel. Almost a whisper, she says, “No… no… stop.”
And because I’m always a sucker for my baby, I hesitate. I look down at the blood dripping from the inside of my arm onto my grandma’s afghan at my feet. Then up—I see her body go limp and in slow-mo, take a dive face first onto the mattress now lying on the floor.
What a woman, this one.
There she lies, my baby, just a crying her muffled cries, nearly inaudible into the mattress, saying over and over, “It’s over, you win. It’s over, you win.”
How did we all get here you’re asking? How do bad things happen to good people?
Well, shit, just as it always does. My baby, see she wasn’t always my old lady. Take it back six months, my old lady’s still my wifey and she’s just about pushing me over the edge. Meanwhile, this one, she’s the new hot young thing that’s moved in down the hall, and she’s pouring all my goddamn beer out the car window—glug, glug, glug!—making a big old puddle of things right next to me and my wifey’s shared spot in the parking garage.
“Why so sad, silly drunken bear?” this hot young thing wants to know.
I want to tell her my twin brother hung himself in our closet when we were ten. When I was seventeen my old man kicked my sorry ass out the house when I knocked up my girl, who’s now my old lady and finds new ways to pain me every goddamned day, yadda yadda yadda—ain’t got no job, ain’t got no money, etc. You know the story, surely everybody knows the goddamn story by now.
But I don’t.
My old lady wants another baby, I say, and you just dumped my last beer.
To which this thing, she responds in kind—takes me by the hand, kisses each finger at the knuckle, plays the snake charmer with each bitten hangnail and bloodied cuticle on each swollen and infected finger tip, then smiles a vicious smile. “I’m not here to save you,” she tells me. “My mother’s a lit professor. My father’s rich and adores me insanely. I have a younger brother whose gay, but doesn’t know it yet, anyway. Sometimes I love them so much it hurts deep down in my temples—in the darkest dimples of every happy thought from my perfectly adaptive childhood.”
Then sticks my ring finger down her throat like a real bulimia beauty queen. Clamps down for all she’s got with her chompers sharp and honed. She rips and pulls like a twenty-pound Beagle on a penny loafer, then let’s out a grrrrrr. Tearing skin, then flesh, then what feels like bone.
She’s a powerful one, this one.
She snarls once more, naughty and coy. Then it’s one more heave, one more tug and snap, crackle, and pop, there it goes—my wedding ring right off my finger. Damn near my knuckle right along with it, out of her mouth and up and through the passenger window she hawks it—petooey, bleck, goo!—and there it pings out onto parking garage concrete, along with the puddle of three spilt beers, every car freshener I’ve ever owned, and any other woman I’ve ever thought about loving. Any thought of going back to my old lady, my kid. Everything I lived for in my car—until this evening, this love-fiend beagle from hell.
“Do what you want to your wrists and throat…” she says, licking the blood from off my skinned knuckle onto her index finger and then painting the blood on my arm and neck, “…brain stem and frontal lobe…” My path to suicide now anointed with my own blood. Finally, she reaches out and snatches me by the nape of my neck like she’s about to scold me, her little puppy. “I don’t want your love,” she says, and pulls my mouth to hers. “I just want to love you.”
And there you have it—the last drips of my marriage recycled down my tongue, tonsils, and throat. Dripping to the pit of my writhing, rumbling, bumbling, stumbling stomach, until eventually some months later, this hot young thing, now mine, passes out on that mattress still lying on the floor and snores her snotty, muffled snores the rest of the night until she wakes early the next morning to ask where all the blood came from, why is my head pounding, and what on earth did you do to yourself this time?