My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up

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My girlfriend, who I met on one of those online boards for “kinky” people, came to the city and I met her at the train station and we went to eat. We went to a fancy restaurant and she paid. She doesn’t want to be in debt to me in any way. Then we had a couple of drinks at a bar near my house where I ran into some friends. We went back to my apartment and she started berating me, but she’d done that before. I’d asked her on the way to my apartment, “What do you want me to do when we get inside.” And she said, “I’ll decide that, maybe I want it to be a surprise.”


    Inside the apartment she acted angry. “Why don’t you just tell me my scene? Why don’t you do that? Any more suggestions?” She slapped me across the face with every question. I shook my head and said I was sorry. “It’s too late for sorry.”
    The problem was, she had done this already. It’s a setup. If I don’t say anything she gets upset by my silence. If I do say something she uses it against me. She always starts with this angry thing and I knew she was just creating something to be angry about. This is the first time I knew for sure she wasn’t really angry, or not angry about something specific, just a general rage. It was a moment of insight, she was faking it. And I decided that I would make it through this and I would be okay and I would never see her again. She slapped me hard, on the side of my face, and my ear began to ring loudly, and I thought that this was another reason I wouldn’t see her again, because of health concerns.
    “Don’t you dare leave town again without my permission. You think this is just a scene, but it’s not. I mean it.”

I’m not allowed to wear clothes in her house or sit on the furniture. She embarrasses me in public.

     Some of the usual stuff followed. She stripped me naked and kept her own clothes on. A hard spanking. She grabbed me by the hair and banged my head into the floor several times. I don’t have the equipment she has. At her house she has bolts in the wall to hang chains from and thousands of dollars of expensive masks, strap-ons, sharpie disposal kits and cuffs and gags. I wasn’t tied up. I could fight back, but I didn’t. I just wanted to wait it out. I had looked forward to seeing her. I had been on the East Coast for two weeks. We hadn’t seen each other for three. And now I regretted it. All of it. And I also questioned what led me to this particular moment in the first place. And it wasn’t like we had anything to talk about. It’s not like outside of the bedroom we had interesting conversations or anything. She was hurting me and being mean and it was so unreasonable. Maybe if I was tied up or something I could get in the mood. But what do you do when you’re not in the mood and someone is hitting you and you want them to stop? She pushed her fist against my eye socket a couple of times and threatened me with a black eye.
    She was straddling me in her blue jeans when she said, “I’m not your father.” She was still angry about something I had suggested, or that I had hurried her out of the bar and she hadn’t finished her drink. It was all made up. A game. But I started to feel sad when she mentioned my father. I have such an awful relationship with my father. Aren’t you supposed to forgive and forget stuff? I was thirteen when I left home. It’s been seventeen years since he caught me and beat me and shaved my head and the state took custody and I became a ward of the court. We try to mend things but I get these letters from him and it’s just too much. He thinks he’s the victim. Like I have victimized him by making him out to be such a horrible father. But he was a horrible father and I spent a year, a full year, sleeping on rooftops and hallways and eating out of garbage cans and all he remembers are the times I came home to shower, proof that I didn’t have it so bad. I was only thirteen, then fourteen…
    Then she says, still staring down at me with such contempt, my arms pinned beneath her knees, her hands balled into fists. “I’m not your mother reincarnate.” And I’m thinking why would she say that. Who would say such a god-awful thing? I’m staring up between her denim legs, and she’s been slapping me so much that the side of my face is swollen. Try to imagine this, the feeling of her thighs, a Chinese printed top made from cheap fake silk; I can just barely make out her breasts. Her angry face which is long and oval like an egg that’s been stretched but hasn’t broken. A hardwood floor. She’s so angry and I shake my head just a little and start to cry.
    At first it’s a tiny muffled cry, a small something that comes out. And I’m asking myself, even in my own head where I always watch things from the distance, I’m wondering where on earth did that come from? She’ll leave soon, take the train home, and I won’t see her again. I mean, she’s already gone too far so many times. She’s cut me with scalpels and pierced me even though she knows I don’t like that. I’m not allowed to wear clothes in her house or sit on the furniture. She embarrasses me in public. I didn’t check the box that said "24/7." I didn’t sign up for this kind of lifestyle. I didn’t want this. But I don’t know what I want, I never have. And she’s always been honest with me, and I’ve done nothing but lie to her. Then I’m crying more, and soon I can’t stop crying.
    “It’s okay,” she says. But it’s not okay. What kind of a person would say something so awful: I’m not your mother reincarnate. It’s unimaginable. I never cry and now all these tears are just pouring out of me and I feel limp, like I have no bones. And she’s standing and pulling me with her to the couch where she sits and I’m kneeling in front of her with my face in her lap. “I’m not going anywhere,” she says. And she strokes my face and this makes me think she is going to hit me again so I’m crying harder. And soon I’m on the couch with her, curled around her waist, over her lap, still crying. I’m apologizing. I really want to stop crying but I can’t. “This is the place to let it out,” she says, like she’s a therapist. Like this is healthy or something. And then this time comes where I start to ask her to hurt me. I say it in this small, childlike voice, because I feel like a small child.
    “Please what?”
    “Please hurt me.”

All of those books seem to have the same message, that it’s okay. I despise that message.

    Why do I want her to hurt me now? Now that I feel so vulnerable and sad. But she’s not saying mean things anymore. She’s pinching me hard in places, my nipples, so hard I scream. “Beg,” she says. And I do. “Please don’t stop,” I say, my voice getting higher and softer the more she squeezes, the more it hurts, until I’m certain she’ll break the skin. Why do I like it now and not before? It hurts so much. “I want you to cut me again,” I whisper into the pillow, curled around her. I’m her baby. “I want you to carve your initials on me. And I want you to pierce me.”
    “You didn’t like it before,” she says.
    “I did like it. I just didn’t know how to respond.”
    She promises. She says next time I come to see her at her home she will dig her initials into my back.
    She keeps going, spanking me really hard, tying up my penis and balls, dragging me around the apartment by my hair. It’s hours later when we go to sleep and she’s missed her train home.
    I sleep on the inside of the spoon. She’s my abusive boyfriend and I feel safe, her arms wrapped around me. She looks wonderful in her underwear. Her skin is warm, brown and smooth. She smells so good. In the morning I don’t want her to leave. I slide my face between her naked legs. She opens her eyes and looks down on me. It’s only six, and the alarm will ring soon. “What do you think you’re doing?” But she doesn’t make me move. She grabs my hair and closes her eyes.
    I take a taxi with her to the train station for the seven a.m. The first time she came to the city I had also accompanied her to the train station. And before her train came she grabbed me roughly by my vest and pulled me to the other side of the station where she kissed me. That was our first moment of intimacy. That was a long time ago.
    It’s a bright day and her train has gone and I’m filled with hunger. I feel like I could eat three meals. It’s always been hard for me to imagine that there are others like me out there, healthy couples who tie each other up and beat each other with belts and then go to the movies or something. And of course there are other people like me, lots of them. You can judge it by the size of the BDSM section on porn-store walls and all the videos and books they carry even in regular bookstores. All of those books seem to have the same message, that it’s okay. I despise that message. Sure, you have to live. And of course, if there are people like me, people who want to be hurt, a normal enough guy who fantasizes at night about an anonymous woman running a razor the length of his body and cutting him open, then there exists the opposite of me. Women like her. She wrote me a letter, while I was in Washington D.C. She said what she’d really like to do, in her fantasy, to beat me way past the point of crying, to the point of screaming, and the neighbors wouldn’t come. Nobody would come.
    She wanted to hit me across my back with a chain. But still, even as I’m missing her, and knowing that I will see her again, the question stays with me. The idea of two people finding each other. A person who wants to be hurt and another who wants to hurt someone. We’ve never had sex. We won’t have sex. I’ve never even seen her naked. I just don’t understand where it comes from, how someone could say such a thing.  


©2003 Stephen Elliot and

Stephen Elliott is the author of six books, including the novel Happy Baby and the story collection My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up.