Numerically Speaking

By on Sep 12, 2011 in Fiction

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Numerically Speaking graphic

There were


Girlfriends whom I know about.

1.    Alice. “The night before Alice moved out, she walked into the kitchen in a T-shirt without panties. I rubbed her ass, and she just melted.”

2.    Jana. “Jana couldn’t achieve orgasms because of her medication.”

3.    Wendy. “Wendy wouldn’t let me perform oral sex on her — you’d be surprised how often that is the case.”

4.    Suzette. “Suzette was my 4-foot-10 Catholic girlfriend. She got completely drunk at the first party I took her to. But we stayed together for a couple years.”

5.    Laura. “Then, the investment banker, who spoke beautiful Spanish.”

6.    Stella. “Stella, the book agent. It just didn’t work out. That reminds me, I need to dig a rock out of her garden for her.”

Every time a name was mentioned, I put down the feminist theory book I was reading. While I wanted to be a strong, self-sufficient, empowered woman, I was determined to make him want me.


The pounds that I lost while I dated him, to tack onto the 60 previous pounds I took off before meeting him, thanks to Weight Watchers.

Five Hundred

Dollars on clothes and pedicures to make myself alluring.

Three Hundred

Dollars in gifts for him. He liked gadgets. I found the self-cleaning electric shaver, the crepe pan from Crate and Barrel, the juicer.

Two weeks after I helped him move, over wine and vegetarian sushi in Ault Park, he told me that he had not felt any emotional connection during our two-month romance.

I protested.

“We’ve only been going out two months, and you’ve been working on your artist colony. Of course there’s no emotional connection. We’ve barely had time for one another.”

“Look, I want dazzling chemistry,” he’d said.

It was true that he’d had a singles ad once that said he was looking for a woman that would be like the refreshing river bank that he would never leave. I wondered what Freud or Jung would make of the flowing water image.

“I’ve seen a lot of growth in you the last two months, though. You know, in your weight and sexuality. Really, I just want to be your friend,” he said.

Looking at the park’s peonies and iris plants, I unapologetically cried.

“So, do you want to go see a movie?” he asked.

“You just dumped me!”

“Well, I do like to stay friends with all my ex-girlfriends. I’ve traveled with two of them. Slept with them in the same hotel bed with nothing happening.”

A few weeks later he called and invited me over. He proposed the friends-with-benefits clause to the newly-instated friend contract. I don’t want to be your boyfriend. But you know what I like and I know what you like. And if someone else comes along, we will stop seeing each other.

It was compelling. Perhaps I would be finally praiseworthy and redeemed in his sight.

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Carrie M. O'Connor earned a master of arts in journalism and communications from Marquette University. She has worked as a reporter and freelance writer in Honolulu and Milwaukee. Recently, she was a guest essayist on WUWM and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Her fiction has appeared in Bamboo Ridge and Auscult, a literary journal of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

One Comment

  1. Wow! What a great story. I was reluctant to read it at first, but it sucked me right in and kept me going. Now I know there is such a thing as an on-line page turner. I loved the characters; I was right there in the room with them. Thanks for making me smile on a cloudy Tuesday.