Stain by Genna Edwards

His cum is dripping out of me onto my 100-thread count Egyptian, and he pulls tight red boxers over his four floppy inches and says, “We need to talk.”

I’m like, “Oh. Yeah?” I lean up on one elbow, trying to angle my hips just right so I look like a magazine model. Flip hair over the shoulder—there we go.

He says, “I’m not sure this is working for me.”

“Sorry?”

His shirt now—his arms go in first, then his head pops out.

He says, “I’ve been talking to someone.”

“So?” I laugh. It doesn’t come out right. “I talk to people all the time.”

“Kenz, don’t make me.” David looks at me now, caterpillar eyebrows raised high. “Both of us knew this wasn’t gonna last. We’ve had a good run.”

I don’t think I’ve ever had a good run in my life. In high school I was always the last in the mile—panting, chubby, arm fat flailing. I’d sweat through my clothes, shorts sticking like I’d sprinted through a rainstorm.

Sitting up, I cover my body with the top sheet. There’s a draft coming in through the cracked window, midnight March air meant to sift out the sex smell.

David puts one sock on, then one Jordan. Then the other sock. Other Jordan. Like a sociopath. He has long, bony feet. Toes like tree branches, winding this way and that. God fucked up on him. I see what He had in mind, with the barely-there stubble and the guitar-playing hands and the eyes. But the toes, the pepperoni nipples- David’s a glitch with good cock game but not much else. Not much else at all, like—I never cared about him anyway.

Weird feet fucker. Whatever.

I say, “What did I do?”

“Nothing. I’m just—some personal stuff.”

“And I can’t help?”

“No.”

“I was gonna dump you next week anyway.”

“We’re not together.”

“Well, yeah. You just dumped me.”

David shakes his head, lets out a sigh like he’s Atlas holding the world up or some shit.

He says, “I’ll let myself out.”

He lets himself out. I hear the front door close.

I say, to no one, “Fucker.”

I look down at myself, pretzel-legged and shaking. There’s a spot spreading under me, an amorphous milky-white blob. David. I can’t sleep on these.

Okay. Game plan: I throw on sweats and a hoodie and strip the bed, piling everything up into a ball. The laundromat down the street runs 24/7, it’ll only take five minutes to walk there, roughly two hours to clean this, walk back—I can sleep by three a.m. Not bad.

I’m outta the house so fast I see the faint tiny outline of David down the street, in front of me. He even walks like God’s mistake, legs too long for his torso. Slenderman fucker. If my arms weren’t occupied with sheets reeking of stupid Old Spice I’d squint my eyes, hold a hand up, pinch my thumb and forefinger around his neck. Lift him off the ground, his gangly limbs flailing.

The laundromat sign, this hideous green neon giant, reads L UND OM T. The lights haven’t been fixed in months. No one’s gonna do it. I can see it now, years down the line, this place still chugging with one less letter a season.

No one’s inside. The old woman who owns the joint hangs out upstairs in some kinda loft space, only coming down if the meth-heads start causing a riot.

I’m not crying. In fact, I expected this. Yeah. It wasn’t gonna last. It had to end, like everything ends. It wasn’t out of the blue and I’m not shocked- makes sense. He has weird feet. He had weird feet.

I am very calmly inserting quarters into the machine, opening the washer, ladling the sheets in. I stare at the cum mark, spread out like a spill, an accidental. Oops, so sorry I dropped my genetic material all over your room. Buy a blacklight. Bleach. Burn the whole apartment down, your roommates won’t mind. Cover yourself in gasoline, grab the Zippo. Fuck the landlord anyway. Capitalist scum.

As I try to put the quarter in for the detergent, I drop it. It squirms under the machine.

I get down on my hands and knees. The floor’s dusty, caked in dirt and cigarette butts. I peer under the washer. Only dark, dark and more dust.

The jangle of the door opening, the little bells. Footsteps. Humming. Some tune in a major key, and I look up, and there’s that girl from my bio class balancing a basket on her hip. All legs, her body is all legs—stick-skinny, sky-high.

She doesn’t notice me at first. I can’t get up from the floor. I need a second. Minutes, hours. Please don’t look at me. Please please please—

“Hey, Mackenzie, ya good?”

I shake my head and the movement turns into a nod as I smack a hand against the side of the washer to pull myself to my feet.

I smile. “No, yeah, hey.”

She—I can’t remember her name, it starts with an A—looks from my face to my Crocs to the contents of the open washing machine. She says, all cheer, “You need some help there?”

“I, um.” I pull my hoodie down where it’s risen up. “Lost a quarter.”

“Oh, right,” she says, rummaging through the front pocket of her Disney sweatshirt, “Here.”

She hands me a quarter. It looks brand new, all shiny and untouched.

I nod and slide it into the machine. There we go. Press the button.

The sheets whir, smacking against the sides of the drum. Counter-clockwise. David always rolled his eyes at me that way--counter-clockwise--whenever I made a pun or laughed so hard I snorted. Then he’d smile, this endearing crooked thing, a twitch of the mustache sprouting above his upper lip. I always took it to mean “you’re hilarious, you silly goose.” I always took it to mean “I could love you.” Two months of going to every horror movie that came out, a shared appreciation for jump scares and cherry Pepsi, David’s palm inching up my thigh as the credits rolled—almost love, my pasty ass.

I stare at the sheets. Circle circle circle. The machine sways, roars, with exertion. Circle circle. One time David took me to these old ruins under the bridge, these decaying walls covered in graffiti. We laid down in the middle of the dead house, dirt sneaking under my boots. He said he was overwhelmed with life, his exact words: “I’m overwhelmed with life, Kenz. I don’t want to graduate. I don’t know the world.” I kissed him, thinking it would make him better, thinking it was what he wanted. His tongue swirling in my mouth. Circle circle. I was on my period. He jerked himself off, lying on a muddy Doritos bag, frantic. The movement of his hand, the way he hunched over himself as he got closer—a seizure, it looked like a seizure. I hadn’t seen his cum face until that moment. He usually buried his head in my neck, breathed out some kind of expletive.

His face scrunched up like a crumpled receipt. The full-body spasm, the relief that followed, all this muscle turning to string. He’s a puppet, David. He was a puppet.

I went on birth control so he could cum inside me. He said it made all the difference.

All the difference—I could love you.

The sheets fall from the top of the washer to the bottom with soft, wet slaps. The twirling stops. No more circle. I’ve been sitting on the floor watching for an hour now. Beep beep means transfer to the dryer. I transfer to the dryer. I stand in front of it, hands flat on the top, leaning. The girl from bio class is pointedly avoiding looking at me, face buried in a Rupi Kaur paperback. I am not crying. I feel remainders of his cum start dripping down my leg. I am crying.

Beep. The dryer hums. Circle circle circle. Bio class girl sits on a washer, clicking her tongue to the rhythm of the machines. Circle circle. All the difference. Circle circle.

I could love you.