The Spaniel

I guess you could say I slept with the Spaniel one last time because I felt what most people feel when they nearly get caught cheating: guilty and restless. Beads of sweat from his forehead fell onto my face, and I turned into the pillow. I kept my face there, where it felt safe. I had an orgasm but only because he forced the matter, then I immediately went home and showered.

I was seventeen years old and it was a hot Vegas summer, on the edge of my senior year of high school. I decided I wasn’t having sex with the Spaniel again. Never again, was my thought. If he was moving to college in Reno, then I was cleaning house. I pulled out that pink carousel case of pills from my closet and buried them under dirty tissues in the trash can in protest of that sex. Why I hid them I don’t know—my mom had already found my birth control on one of her snoop-fests. She had handed them to me with a pinched-ass face and then iced me out for weeks.

For the rest of August I made excuses to my boyfriend—whom my best friend and I called the Spaniel because of his soft Cavalier King Charles spaniel eyes—about why I couldn’t come visit him in Reno. I had to get ready for school, plan for college applications and tours, and travel to the beach with family. He promised he’d see me on a break in September, and we agreed we’d talk every night. But really, I knew what was happening.

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