Charley reads various passages out of my book about preeclampsia. What he didn’t know before- because he hadn’t read more than a chapter and a half- was that I talk very openly about him and about our relationship. Even when he had told me several times “write whatever you want; be honest” finding a section in the book where I describe his text “I’m gonna cum so hard” and a dick pic makes him go berserk.
“Are you kidding me?”
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”
“YOU WOULD WRITE THIS, in a book, that you’ll share with family, with my mom-”
“What is it?”
‘Charley send a picture of his dick with “about to cum so hard thinking of you”…’
TAKE IT OUT! ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE IT OUT?”
“I don’t see what the problem is-” I got my MFA at an art school where everyone posed naked at some point and talked about sex like moms talk about the weather. The closest distress I had to imagining anyone reading my personal anecdotes was envisioning my conservative aunt and uncle reading this and a few anti-Trump rants, but even their assured disgust didn’t deter me too much, and this wild-eyed, book-crinkling anger from my own husband mostly just baffled me.
“ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE IT OUT? I WILL DIVORCE YOU. I WILL SUE YOU.”
“So you’re okay with me talking about your alcoholism and DTs but not a dick pic?”
“TAKE IT OUT.”
“I can’t talk to you when you’re like this-”
I take my crinkled book and hurry to the bathroom where I hide for the rest of the night in a bubble bath reading about English shepherds. Even a book on preeclampsia is “too scattered” and “personal” for him; I’m pretty sure we are never going to see eye to eye.
I felt like I was being scolded for eating apple sauce. He obviously didn’t understand the rush you could get from being uncomfortably open and awkwardly honest. Like when you pose naked for the first time in photography class and everyone is looking at pictures of you naked on the wall, in full color and you think, “well fuck it”. Nothing is a big deal. So you came so hard and have a dick. So you want a threesome and like a finger up the ass. So your mom will know you have sex and picture your wife with another man. Big fucking deal.
I don’t think anything feels as good as sitting in a tub and feeling the hot water rise over your cold body.
Charley comes in and threatens legal action if I don’t remove the sexual stuff from my book. I hate censorship. I don’t see this ending well.
Charley comes in one more time.
“I was going to help you promote it and everything-”
I’m rubbing my forehead and have nothing to say.
“Your daughter is going to see that someday.”
“I know, I dedicated it to her.”
“You’ve got to take that out. … TAKE IT OUT. …you’re crazy for thinking this is okay.”
I keep rubbing my head until he leaves. I don’t know what it is inside me that has to just spill all the beans and do things in this totally unorthodox manner but I have to and I’m not budging. So this is basically a nightmare.
He comes back again. “Our daughter [yadda yadda] how dare you [yadda yadda] remove it or I will-”
I’m spacing out. I promise to remove it. I’m livid. He’s ruining everything.
“This too, do you want this out?”
I point to the passage that says “Charley is thinking about a threesome and cumming…”
“YES. How dare you-”
“It’s just that honesty is what makes my writing any good. It’s not my story, my grammar-”
“I understand, and I’m happy you wrote a book and want to help promote it BUT THIS IS NOT OKAY AND-”
He leaves the tub a third time and I’m exhausted. A good marriage wouldn’t be like this. This is totalitarian aggression. This is censorship. This is shit.
I apologize for anything I have said that offended you but I am not sorry.