the red cloak in the closet


So the big bad wolf rings me up early yesterday morning and wants to know if I’m seeing anyone.

“Just like that?” I ask, because it’s been nine or ten months at least since he shut me out of his life completely and I fell on my face in tears and crawled home all dirty and mangled.

“Answer the question,” he tells me.

I know there is only one answer that is going to be acceptable to him, and it’s not the answer that I have. So I sit with that for a minute and examine my position.

The big bad wolf is not good for me. The big bad wolf gobbled up my grandma, who loved me more than anyone, and at the time I couldn’t have cared less.

“He’s so misunderstood,” I thought, instead, going down on him. “He suffers so much. I’m the only one who gets that.”

And I still actually believe that.

But it doesn’t mean I was ever able to alter his predatory nature.

“Yes,” I finally answer. “I’m seeing someone.”

It’s a half-truth, but a half-truth in the right direction.

Technically, I don’t see the man to whom I’m referring very often, but I am in love with him. And I’ve committed myself to not veering off the path this time.

Not for him, but for me.

Because I’m overly familiar with what lies or lays out there in the scrappy wilderness, but I’ve no idea what happens when I stay on course. And I’m finally curious.

“You?” I ask the big bad wolf. “Are you happy? Been well?”

Meanwhile I pull up his Facebook page on my computer.

I’m struck by the conventionality of his profile picture, which features the big bad wolf with an adorable and pure-looking little blonde, both clad in shades and smiling greatly.

“No, no, and yes.”

I try to assimilate the answers he provides, which are in direct opposition to the presentation I’m observing.

“I want you to be happy, Mr. Wolf,” I say.

Because believe it or not, that’s the truth.

It’s what I’ve always wanted for him, even if the primary pull has been that he’s not.

I listen to his raspy, hungry breathing on the line for a moment.

“Could I see you?” I ask. “We could get coffee. You could tell me how you’ve been.”

I imagine the big bad wolf in a coffee shop, his inability to stay still, his shifty, mistrusting eyes.

“Get rid of your man,” he tells me.

And while it’s true that if it weren’t for the hunter, I’d probably throw on my red cloak and run right back to Grandma’s house this instant, crawl into bed with the wolf and stay there for weeks, abandon everything else I have going, I also recognize that’s not the real issue here.

It’s rescuing me, for the moment, but what I’d really like is to be able to rescue myself.

I think about all of the things the big bad wolf has going for him. His musical genius, for one. Perhaps because of those great big ears he has, he’s an incredibly talented DJ. Like the cadence of terrified footsteps, he always has a beat racing through his heart.

“I look forward to your one day realizing that I could be of benefit to you,” I tell him. “Aside from sexually, I mean.”

“But I love your pussy,” he snarls.

They are probably not the words every woman longs to hear. But I’m different, and it makes me laugh.

I did enjoy our physicality, but back when the big bad wolf and I were together, I’d also wanted to promote his music, protect his children, love him unconditionally and care for his home.

“Perhaps it’s time you give my intelligence some attention, instead,” I offer.

“Your intelligence comes with the package, knucklehead.”

I love being insulted like this. I’m not sure why. There are not many that can pull it off, but the wolf is one of them, and it makes him stupidly special to me.

“Send me a song,” I request, still wanting the best of him.

And within seconds there’s the pleasant chime on my phone.

“Get rid of your man,” he tells me again. “And let me know when you have. I’m not done with you.”

Of course he’s not done with me. I’m still alive, most of me having recovered from the ravaging he did.

“In the meantime, send me a picture of your face,” are his final words, before hanging up on me.

I think of the seductive, tough pictures I used to send him. Scroll through those on my phone now and notice they all show a certain vulnerability, tenderness. I’m raw, undercooked. He’d love that. I imagine his drooling over them. And don’t send.

For the remainder of the day I’m shaky, careful, slow.

“Am I the one?” he asked me, back then.

“Sure,” I answered. And he was. I swear to you; he really and truly was.

“No!” he growled, getting angry for reasons I didn’t understand. “I mean THE ONE! Am I THE ONE?”

“Yes?” I guessed, hoping he’d pull his lips back over those sharp, sharp teeth.

“Prove it,” he told me.

But I never could.

It would have meant letting myself be wholly consumed, which is what it would still mean now.

And there’s some delicate pink meat that I’m just always unwilling to relinquish.

What can I say? He smells it. He hungers for it.

But if I let him, he’d devour it without even stopping to know its taste.


3 thoughts on “the red cloak in the closet

  1. Never feed wild animals! What I really want to say, I feel I must restrain myself from doing so. All I will say is seek your own safe refuge. Your own castle with a moat and everything to keep you safe.

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