Complaint 95.8

by Nicholas Grider

Trigger warning: intimate partner abuse and implied violence

The youthful urge to interpret his interest and amusement as affection and approval. The heroic urge to fix him by allowing him to fix you. The team-player urge to follow his schedules for what to wear, what to eat, and how much pleasure to permit yourself. The capitalist urge to regard each gift he says he’ll give you as the dawn of new, useful debt. The masculine urge to view discipline and obedience as investments in future freedom. The pragmatic urge to cry in the car on the way to his place so you’re less likely to cry in his presence. The romantic urge to let him devise a system of corrective punishments for when you forget to address him as Sir. The civilized urge to trust him because he’s older and owns more stuff than you. The mature urge to reward his love with silence and discretion. The gracious urge to agree when he says there’s no reason to doubt he knows what’s best. The empathic urge to let him manage your private attention and public conduct. The thoughtful urge to start following orders he hasn’t given you yet. The American urge to believe everything either will be okay or always has been. The generous urge to let him give polite names to all the ways he puts his hands on you. The masculine urge to split your time between being a good person and a very good boy. The idealistic urge to agree when he says he already has your permission so he never needs to ask for it again.

Nicholas Grider’s story collections include MISADVENTURE (A Strange Object/Deep Vellum) and FOREST OF BORDERS (Malarkey) and their work has appeared in Conjunctions, Guernica, Maudlin House, Rejection Letters, and other publications.

Photo by Anete Lusina.

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