100-Word Glances at Men and Memoir

[Trigger warning: not all these men were nice, some of them were abusive, perhaps abused, and little good came out of knowing most of them except experience. And stories. Some NSFW.]

[StoryADay May prompt: “Write A Drabble Today“]

The pictures on the wall, in the albums, on her phone replace those that wouldn’t have been taken, the ones in which your father, in the cluttered garage, is chasing you and punching you in the stomach because you don’t have any friends, because you brought him the wrong screwdriver (Phillips!), because you stacked the woodpile and when he pushed, it toppled over. The photographs of him screaming with a scarlet face that if you don’t stop crying I’ll give you something to cry about! Bruises, gashes, and in your scalp, stitches then scars.

“Oh, remember this one,” mom beams.

That’s when you learn how to love.

He glances at you through glass. He’s busy, transparent, almost done, always with someone. This is where he wants you but you have places to be: bed, in pieces, under the weight of him and your walking away. Keep walking to your car, to your apartment, to shatter. There are now places he and his wife and children won’t ever be where there’s room for you. You ignore his phone calls. You move a year later. On the other side of the glass, your reflection can be awake, alone, learn to love.


He arrived with my friend for a summer visit. The unexpectedness of him: the bluntness and good humor, the casual claiming of my bed for his bed, too, the best blow job I ever had, the easy way we came together.

Later, at the country-western bar, he told me about the teenage boy who turned to him for money, alcohol, and listening. Confrontations with the boy’s father. With care, what he wanted from two decades between them.

He left for a threesome and me sick with a full drink in hand thinking my lack of experience flagged me underage enough.

One summer night arriving home dark in the dark brought forward a dog walking eager to introduce me to her man. In his meet-cute opening she only felt comfortable with women, or gay men. I would follow that type of dog anywhere. He led me to his apartment where we talked, only talking without asking more making greeting nicer, kinder, lower pressure.

We developed, he in ways that found hidden vines climbing me like a tree and when two weeks in he said he was considering suicide I talked him down, set him safely home, never saw his dog again.

StoryADay May 2016 Day 3

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).