Lauren Dennis

This Guy.

The Story of Cupid and Psyche by Jacopo del Sellaio

This guy.

You know the one.

He is always so goddamned grateful it pours out in those little emoji prayer hands. Good luck getting an emotion in edgewise with this one. He will fill your head with kombucha and dreams of tantric sex positions, then, when he gets a whiff of your shit coming his way, he levitates the fuck out of there faster than you can say “Om Shanti”, which, incidentally, you were saying before this little mass of curls was licking your pussy with the reverence of a demi-god.

You meet in a park to have a Compassion Closure Ceremony, at your literary suggestion, because you know this is the only way to break up with someone who considers “holding space” a fucking birthright. You exchange gifts with random symbolism and fill in connection where there possibly was none. When he unwraps the small wooden elephant, tears pour down his attractive nose. “I’ve been looking for an elephant”, he says. You do not bother to tell him it is a re-gift from your parents’ vacation to Costa Rica, then you ask him, while he holds it in his delicate hands, where he thinks it is from.

He takes in a long breath; he closes his eyes.

Where he goes in these moments of apparent reverence and calm, you have not been able to figure out in the four months you’ve all but sucked the living guts out of each other. Perhaps he is astro-projecting to the natal land of this figurine. Maybe he is wondering why his butt itches when he is the most thorough anal washer this side of the Mississippi delta.

You decide to look at the water instead of him.

What is taking him so long to pick a goddamn country, any country? Maybe he does not like the question, but this young man, this kind of man, he is much too feminist and woke to tell you so.

When he opens his eyes, he smiles. He thinks he has cracked the case. The word “Africa” bifurcates his smile, and you shake your head. “No,” you say.

Now it is your turn to smile. You close your eyes and breathe deeply, imitating him. You breathe in and wonder how long this breakup will take, why you allowed yourself to be swindled by a much younger passionate heart breaker, you breathe in the foul grass of the park, the betrayal you have decided to forgive him for. Today. Right here. Right now, in this closure ceremony. It is then you decide to take longer than he did, just sitting here with your goddamned eyes closed against the sun, against his witchery, his the-universe-plants-signs-gifts-gratitude-intention-exploring-mushroomtaking-fuckinggoddamned good lover-plant-based-authentic movement-coconut-oil-lube-humidified-existence.

You take way longer than he did, eyes closed against the sun. You can still see the outline of his body and you note the impatience building, despite his years of meditating and sitting, living in an ashram. Nothing has prepared him for your cruelty when you have been hurt. He is having trouble sitting still now and just wants to know where you got this (he would never say it) goddamn little elephant.

You breathe some more. And a teeny bit more past that. You know he will not push you. He will keep holding space.

You will keep fucking with him.

This is why you have to break up.

Finally, after what probably amounts to just 47 seconds, you allow “Costa Rica” to waft out of your vengeful lips in offensively accurate Spanish.


Or what about this one, the DJ. The designer.

Designer by day/DJ by night.

A prince of a guy. Everyone knows his shaggy sandy 90’s throwback blondeness. You get free drinks because of it. This casually sexy man who spends his free time fixing up 1960’s watches to be shown to women to seduce them.

You know the type.

Mid-mod sex den, replete with Korean art porn books and Camera Obscura shit loitered about. The kind that likes to kiss in public and you like to kiss in public so you can kiss a popular boy (in public). The guy that has that girlfriend in New York, and he tells you about her. He must go to New York for his design work once every 2 weeks. When you consider getting jealous or wondering what her stance is about him fucking around with you, he tells you he can do everything but have sex with you.

Great, you think. There is nothing a girl who likes to get fucked likes more than not getting fucking fucked.

One evening, after a culinary delight of his procurement from the hip new pizza place he can walk to, the one without fucking sauces for the love of nothing but pure trendiness and possible tomato famine, he gets up in the middle of going down on you to flip the record.

You make a smart comment, a euphemism about flipping the record, and how, had you known “flip the record” was a sexual request, you would have considered it. But, no, in the middle of goddamn Cunning-Fucking-Lingus, which was subpar in the subparts, he gets up to change the record. DJ by night. Dumped by day.


Of course, the one you should probably talk about but don’t want to is the one that didn’t get away but still did, after 16 years of being together, 12 of them wedded in holy fucking matrimony.

You know the one.

The father of your children.

The man who you still must see every week until the children are 18 to exchange their goods, their sad little transition suitcases with false happy colors and rumpled clothing for the other parent to deal with.

One day, your daughter says she refuses to take this suitcase back and forth anymore. After all, she reminds you, it is not her (fucking) fault you got divorced. And who’s fault is it? You used to wonder more. But that was before you decided that question was irrelevant. That was before you decided to make up for lost time with lost losers. That was before you knew what you knew now, which is not a whole lot more than you knew at the time.


About the author:
Lauren Dennis is a mother of two, violently fighting against the confinement that may or may not come with that title. She writes because she must, and has been published in Scarlet Leaf Review, The Flash Fiction Press, daCuhna, and Microfiction Monday Magazine. Dennis has received formal critique and feedback from the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver, Colorado, where she resides.

Image: The Story of Cupid and Psyche by Jacopo del Sellaio (1441/42-1493). Tempera on panel. 23¼ x 70 inches. 1470s. Public domain.


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