Content warning: explicit sexual content and swearing.
“Mom, how did you actually meet dad?” I ask.
She glances through the family photo album in my hands.
“Margo, I’ve already told you. I nearly drowned in my three-day swim and he was the lifeguard who saved me,” she says. She smiles, save for her worried eyes.
“I’ve seen pictures of him before he met you, Mom – literally right before he met you – and there’s no way he could have been a lifeguard. He looks like he needed surgery to get the body he has in these pictures! Was there someone else? Am I … am I a love child?” I slam the book shut. I can feel her lying through her whole body.
“Relax. You need to relax. It’s your hormones making you this way. And you know better than to speak to me with that melodramatic tone. Do you want tea?”
“No, I don’t want tea. Spill the tea. Please, there’s someth–”
“I edited him.”
“I edited him.”
Are. You. Fucking. Serious.
“This is … this is just too much. I’m–”
“If you choose to not believe me, that’s on you. Every woman in our family has the power to do it.”
“I don’t want to hear it.”
My mom laughs and smiles her sarcastic smile. I toss the album onto the couch and walk to my room.
“You’ll hear her voice! I call it La Editora!”
“I call it La Editora,” I quietly mock her from behind the door. Yeah, okay.
I grab my purse and head out to my – well, my mom’s car – and hop in. The leather seat is blistering hot thanks to the Miami weather.
“She’s really losing it,” I say aloud as I grasp the steering wheel, the sun-soaked leather burning my hands. I drive mindlessly to my boyfriend’s house as ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ plays on the radio and I mutter my usual mantra: Just let it go, Margo. Just let it go.
Time feels slow yet fast, as though I’m speeding through it until I’m suddenly in front of Robbie’s house.
I knock. He opens.
He smiles and looks at me with his warm amber-green eyes. “Hola, mi reina.”
“Hola,” I say. I kiss him on the mouth and pretend he doesn’t totally reek of post-gym sweat.
“No one’s home.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Yes, please.”
We tear each other’s clothes off like our lives depend on it. Robbie is really passion-horny. He’s horny and a virgin, like me at twenty-three (which is pretty ridiculous). We leave a Hansel and Gretel trail of clothes to our destination: the shower. He turns on the water, blisteringly hot so that steam floods the small room. I glance at myself in the mirror. Before I have a chance to criticize every inch of my body, he says, “You’re gorgeous.”
Yes, but am I beautiful? I want to say. But all I manage is, “T-thank you.”
He lowers the temperature of the water and signals me to step in. I glance at myself again. I’m not that bad. Swimming two hours a day has its advantages. But still … I could have a six-pack.
Robbie grabs my arms and pulls me into the tub. The temperature of the water is perfect and I smile out of reflex and relaxation.
“Scalding hot,” he winks. “Just the way you like it.”
I giggle, my smile now spreading at his very excited package waiting to be delivered to me. Which I can’t have. Yet.
“Come here,” he says.
He smiles at me with his – God, I can’t even concentrate, honestly. How can I when his fly is pointed directly at me, calling, “Margo … Margo … Margo …”? He bathes me, the way a parent would bathe their child, yet it turns me on. He scrubs beneath my armpits, my chest, my navel, my back and when he gets to my butt he … hmm, how do I put this in a way that is flowery but still the truth?
He washes my asshole.
Surely, this is the true definition of intimacy, right? I assume he’s going to scrub my legs next, but actually, he’s starting to–
“Bend over,” he says.
“What?” I feel my buttcheeks clench.
“Just trust me.”
I trust him. I relax and bend over. Excitement blended with nerves and curiosity quake in my chest and stomach. He spreads my cheeks the way I assume a cop would to check a drug mule. Wait, is he about to –
Yes, yes. He begins to lick my … let’s call it a ‘donut’. Let’s call my ass a donut. Robbie licks my whole donut hole. Timidly first – gently – like his tongue belongs to a kitten. I laugh as if this is some practical joke and I’ve caught him in the act, except it’s obvious this is no joke. He licks with more confidence. Not so kitten-like anymore.
Wow, he really is eating my donut. And it’s kind of weird. And I’m kind of enjoying it. Until I remember what comes out of my donut hole. That’s nowhere near as delightful as sweet jelly.
“Your turn!” I laugh uncontrollably.
He moves and looks at me like I caught him in the middle of something mischievous. He looks ashamed. Innocent. Curious. Sexy. Afraid. Very adorably afraid.
“It’s your turn,” I say with the confidence of a dominatrix. I think.
He turns around and glances at me like some kind of terrified puppy about to be given an unwanted bath. He bends over and then it hits me. I have to remove the tail between his legs and – well, lick.
What the fuck? Oh my God, what the fuck? This is a boy donut hole. A man donut hole. I can’t do it. I can’t. I can’t.
I can do it. I can. I can. No, Margo. Yes, Margo!
I focus on his wide back, which is so hairy, and his muscular shoulders, which are so hairy, as I massage his very hairy legs. I work my way up to his bubbly butt and act as though I’m teasing him while I attempt to gain the courage to actually do it. But my pretense has gone too long. It’s time.
I spread his cheeks apart and take a peek. Woah, baby! That’s one hairy donut hole!
He turns around, as if sensing my apprehension. Shit. He looks at me and I smile instinctively. He smiles, too, as though a sigh of relief. We stay quiet, just looking at each other. I know he’s pretending to be confident, too.
He bites the side of his thumbnail. “You really don’t have to.”
“I know.” I feel the familiar exhilaration of the first time I ever rode a rollercoaster. It was Dueling Dragons, and it took my dad half an hour to convince me. And I loved it. “But I want to,” I say as I turn him around. Oh God. Oh God. Oh. My. God. I can’t back out now. I’m doing this. I’m going to lick my boyfriend’s donut hole. My very first one. I’m doing this! I’m doing this!
I crouch down, positioning myself ass to face. Face to ass. On my knees. I remember how my waxing lady once told me, “In sex, everything goes. With consent, of course.” I’m pretty sure I was getting a Brazilian bikini. “Just be an animal!” she had said. Like it was that simple. It is that simple.
So an animal I am!
I spread his cheeks timidly, like I refuse to open the door fully. Terrified of what awaits me behind that door. A hairy donut hole. No, a very hairy donut hole. No, a very hairy boy donut hole. I want it hairless, a voice in me interjects. Completely hairless.
Just don’t think about it. You’re in the shower. Everything is clean. Besides, Margo, you’re still saving yourself for marriage. And I think he’s the one. Yeah, Robbie is the one. Okay, I’m ready! I open his butt.
Wait, what? Where’s the black hole of hair and intimidation? Somehow, staring back at me is a perfectly hairless, brownish-pink donut hole perking its lips for me.
“You’re sneaky,” I say coyishly.
“What?” He’s taken aback. He turns around and faces me.
“You shaved it while you turned around.”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Yes, you did…”
“No, Margo. I didn’t. Look at your razor.”
I glance at it. It’s in its usual plastic cubby attached to the wall. Not a single stray hair. I peek at the drain. Hairless, too.
“Why are you lying?” I laugh humorlessly. “It’s okay if you did actually –”
“Why would I lie about the truth?”
“Because three minutes ago, I was about to lick your butthole and there was a shit ton of hair, and now there’s none!” My chest is heaving. My jaw clenches. Why am I panting?
“A shit ton of hair …” He deadpans.
“I mean,” I shrug my shoulders, “there was. It’s a lot – I’m sorry. I-I’m just freaking out. Can you please just tell me the truth? You shaved.”
“Baby,” he places his hands firmly on my shoulders, “there was never any hair there.”
Yes, there was. I didn’t even want it there.
Oh my God. La Editora. Oh my God.
I shove him off me and scramble out of the shower, throwing my dress over my wet body as I grab my purse in what feels like less than a nanosecond.
“Margo, what the fuck?” He crosses his arms over his chest.
“I have to go. I-I’m sorry. I really have to go.”
I avoid his face, his body, his everything, and race out of his house. My chest feels like it’s going to implode while my heart beats like drums. I hop into my car and take deep breaths the whole way home. My left temple is pulsing furiously.
I told you.
She told you.
You know now.
I contemplate what my life in a mental institution will be like as I park my car and sprint inside. I ignore my dog whimpering in glee to see me and the plethora of texts from Robbie. Then I see her.
My crazy-ass mother. The woman who did, in fact, spill the tea earlier. The woman just casually standing in the kitchen, cleaning the already clean countertops.
“Que te pasa?” she asks. What’s wrong with me?
Words have left me. Panic spreads all over her face. “I think I … I think I –”
“I-I edited him.”
“Oh,” she says, slowly moving to the kitchen table to sit. She’s lost in thought as I sit in the chair across from her. My heart finally begins to slow.
“How did you edit him?” She asks, leaning back and tapping her foot against the tiles.
“Umm …” How do you tell your Catholic mother that you were about to eat your boyfriend’s ass, but then made all of his asshole hair dis-a-fucking-ppear with your mind?
“Nevermind. You don’t have to tell me.”
“You don’t want to know,” I say quickly.
She eyes me suspiciously. I suddenly feel betrayed by her.
“How? Why? Why? How?” I cross my arms. Since when?
She gets up to rub my shoulders, but they tense up more at her touch. I shrug her hands off of me.
“What else don’t I know?”
She sits back down and crosses her arms. “How did you edit him?” she asks again.
“I just said you don’t want to know!” I clench my fists and resist smacking them on the table.
“I … I made his eyebrows thinner!” I lie.
“Why? He has wonderful eyebrows.”
“That’s not the point!”
“You’re lying, Margarita.”
“Do not call me that. And I am not the one lying. You’re the one that’s been lying to me this whole fucking time! Did dad know?”
“Of course not! And if you curse one more time Margar–”
“What? You’re going to kick me out?”
She looks up at the ceiling, as if to pray, and sighs. “You know what? I think you’re just hungry. Have you eaten? Do you ever eat at Robbie’s house? They never cook, do they?”
“How can I eat when I just discovered I have the power to – wait a second. It was you. You edited Dad. You made him look like a swimsuit model and then you married him. That’s why the pictures … the lifeguard …”
I stand up and pace around the kitchen table like a mad scientist. I cannot look her in the eye.
“Calmate,” she says softly.
“No, I will not calm down. Did he even know it? Did he ever know?”
“Margo, you need to calm down!”
“I am calm! You need to calm down! I mean, you probably weren’t even a virgin when you married him!”
“I was!” Her eyes tear up.
“Well, I don’t want to be!”
“Is Robbie not a virgin?”
“That’s not the fucking point.” I cup my hands to my mouth. Shit. Stop cursing.
“You shouldn’t curse. You’re a polite woman, Margo, and polite women don’t –”
“I know, I know!”
She looks at me with shame oozing out of every pore of her. “Fuck,” I say.
“Control yourself!” she says with a sharp glare. She smiles in recognition of my silence, though she avoids my eyes. “That’s better.”
My stomach drops. My body knew before I did. “You just edited me. You fu-fuck. You edit me.”
“No, I didn’t,” she says quickly.
“You edited me right now, Mom. Admit it. God, you’re a terrible liar.”
“That’s not true. Your grandma instilled honesty in me.”
“No, she didn’t. Besides, she’s a terrible liar, too. Just tell me the truth, Mom.”
Black dots suddenly fill my vision and I feel lightheaded. I think I’m about to faint, so I cross my arms on the table and bury my head in them. Breathe, breathe. In. Out. In. Out. Hold it together, Margo.
She paces around me. I feel her overbearing, worried energy all over me. I glance up to peek at her.
“I have to take you,” she says. Her hands are shaking slightly.
“Where?” I croak.
“The editing room.”
“It’s at your grandmother’s house.”
I remain silent for a moment. Just breathing. In. Out. In. Out. “So you admit it …” I finally say.
“I can’t, I’m not allowed.”
“You just did. How much of me is really me?” My voice cracks.
She lets out a small whimper, as if she’s about to cry. Angry tears stream down my own cheeks, but I don’t feel faint anymore. “Spill the fucking tea, Mom.”
She winces and nods her head. “Yes, Margo. I have edited you. I’ve edited you plenty, but that doesn’t give you the right to use that hurtful tone with me.” She cries like a little girl in pain.
“Fuck you,” I want to say it over and over again. I try to imagine all the possible times she’s changed me without me having a single fucking clue. Did I really want to go to church every Sunday? Did I really want to finish school? Did I really want to dump my first boyfriend? Do I really love Robbie?
“Margo, please …” She tries to put her arms around me, but I push her away. “Please.” She kneads her hands together.
“Where?” she asks. There’s a glimmer of hope in her eyes.
“To the editing room.”
We get up and leave the house. I promise myself to find out the truth. The whole truth. Nothing but the truth.
You can read Anaregina’s memoir, Always, on Amazon.