Fiona Helmsley

They All Want to Piss on You

High on heroin, we had sex on his mom’s blue-grey dining room carpet, and the small of my back was ripped raw and bloody by the carpet’s stiff fibers. Curly-q’s of frayed skin formed a frame around the tramp stamp of a wet wound. He went into the kitchen to get paper towels to clean me up, and me from the carpet.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” he asked.

“It was strange,” I answered. “It didn’t really hurt, but I knew that if we didn’t stop, there would be a consequence. I had to make a choice. Usually the pain makes the decision for you. I decided not to decide.”

I watched in the dining room mirror as he dabbed the area of my back with peroxide and care.

“This might leave a scar,” he said. “I’m not going to lie. I like the idea that I may have scarred you forever.” His eyes gave off an electrical medicated sparkle.

Over the next few weeks, he’d randomly lift the back of my shirt to chart the healing process.

When we last saw each other, the scab had fallen off, revealing a faded blue-grey bruise underneath, a surprisingly close match to his mother’s carpet.

There was a slight scar, but years later, only I, knowing what to look for, could ever make it out.


A few weeks into our coupling, my present boyfriend and I were having sex on the industrial carpet in his work shop. We’d been drinking, and were still in that first stage of a relationship, when you are polite and considerate, and on your best behavior. He was grinding into me, the small of my back flush with the carpet’s rough surface. There is something about that part of my back, sitting or standing, it curves inward, but lying flat, it aligns itself with whatever is underneath. Maybe all backs do this. I could feel the scraping this time – back and forth, up and down – the carpet as sandpaper, my back as a piece of wood. My boyfriend had read something I’d written online and decided I was a masochist. So early in our relationship, I didn’t want to let him down.

When we finished, I stood up.

“Oh my goodness,” he said. “You’re bleeding.”

He went to go retrieve his first aid kit. He’s like that. Every situation has its dovetailing tool. He came back, his hands fishing around inside the plastic box, looking, I assumed, for some kind of bandage.

“The spot is too awkward,” I said. “I don’t think anything would stay on.”

He touched his finger softly to the wound. “Your beautiful back… I think I might have scarred you…”

For a moment he seemed genuinely mournful.

“I kind of like the idea I may have scarred you forever.”


One more.

A few years ago, I became painfully skinny. The only thing I didn’t like about my size was my breasts. Every part of me had been reduced, my breasts included, and I became intrigued with the idea of getting a breast job.

I was seeing a guy in Brooklyn, who made a good salary.

“You should pay for me to get a breast job,” I suggested, one Saturday morning, over coffee.

He seemed to think about it.

“What if we broke up?” he said. “I wouldn’t want another guy touching the breasts I paid for. Nah, I don’t think I like that.”

“Obviously, you must have some doubts about of our relationship, if when you look into the future, you see some other man touching my breasts.”

“I don’t like it. Maybe I’d do it if we were married.”

“Well, I wouldn’t want to be married to a person who didn’t trust me enough to cover my breast job unless we were married.”

That seemed to put him for a loop. His large salary wasn’t based on intellect.

“I’d have to think about it,” he said, a sneaky grin spreading across his face. “I do kind of like the idea of scarring you forever.”

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