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Five Wives

Five Wives

Amina Harper

Mondays

 

She’s the only one who still texts before she comes over, which is unnecessary because she knows Mondays are always for her.

 

Mondays are for Emma, who comes over at 10:00 a.m. She has to wake up early for lecture, so she doesn't sleep the night before.

She’s the only one who still texts before she comes over, which is unnecessary because she knows Mondays are always for her.

Mornings like these are perfect because she’s too tired to put on makeup, and I hate getting foundation on my pillowcases.

Emma walks in wearing a pale knitted sweater and greets me with a halfhearted smile. Her strawberry blonde hair is tied up in a messy bun that she pulls down as she kicks off her Uggs and leaves them by the door. I make her favorite flavor of peach tea and hand her the mug after she drops her book bag next to the coffee table.

In the past, we would’ve engaged in more small talk, but now we just head for my bedroom. I crawl into the soft cotton sheets and cover myself with the rose-printed comforter that she picked out because it reminded her of a quilt she had back home. She stands at the foot of my bed and watches me for a minute before she slides in next to me.

She wraps her arms around my waist, places her head between my breasts, and squeezes me like a boa constrictor. “Will you run your fingers through my hair?” she asks in a tiny voice, and I do so as she presses her lips against my collarbone and inhales deeply.

We stay like this until 2:00 p.m., with sips of peach tea in between. She has to be back at her sorority house by 3:00 p.m. because her sisters are having a planning meeting for some sort of fundraiser or formal. She doesn’t seem very excited about it.

I walk Emma to the door and she hands me four hundred dollar bills before giving me a chaste kiss on the cheek.

 

Tuesdays

 

I joked that he couldn’t afford my dowry, but after some serious back and forth we negotiated a comfortable price.

 

Tuesdays are for Randy, who proposed to me the first day we met. I joked that he couldn’t afford my dowry, but after some serious back and forth we negotiated a comfortable price. I won’t marry him, but I will go to his work functions, attend fancy dinner parties, meet his family, and go to sporting events with his friends and their girlfriends.

He tells them that Tuesdays are my only days off and I can’t spare any more time than that.

They believe it because he believes it.

Randy likes to take me on long walks in the park around the lake, especially in the fall when we can huddle together in our giant scarves and watch the sun set. I like these walks and insist on more of them; I wish we had the time for things like that.

He pays me via PayPal, so it doesn’t ruin the romance.

 

 

Wednesdays

 

He likes me to wear these things when I walk along the arch of his back and crush his toes beneath my heels.

 

Wednesdays are reserved for Mr. V. He’s about 6 feet 7 inches and the sweetest man I’ve ever met. He buys me flowy pink dresses, pairs of Mary Janes the color of cotton candy, and perfumes that smell like cupcakes. He likes me to wear these things when I walk along the arch of his back and crush his toes beneath my heels. Mr. V also likes to talk about werewolves, even while I shove jawbreakers into his mouth.

He never tells me anything about himself, and I never ask. When we’re done he bends down to kiss me on the forehead, hands me the money, and tells me he’ll see me next week.

Sometimes I even get a lollipop.

 

Thursdays

 

Sometimes we’re lovers, sisters, or rivals screaming obscenities at each other on miscellaneous street corners.

 

On Thursdays is Ophelia, an actress exploring the boundaries of improv, who’s taken to dragging unsuspecting strangers along for the ride. I go out with Ophelia (as in, out of my apartment) to a different location every time we meet up. She calls me that morning and tells me where to go and who to be; I don’t get more info than that.

Sometimes we’re lovers, sisters, or rivals screaming obscenities at each other on miscellaneous street corners. We’ve dressed like school girls and business women, we’ve been pregnant and drunk and inconsolable, sobbing messes who can't understand why our lives are falling apart.

I’ve never had to wonder why this is what she wants; she obviously loves the attention and the catharsis. The last time we did this she acquired special effects makeup and molded scabs and boils and bloody gashes onto our unblemished skin. I had to admit, it was funny to see cashiers and baristas panicked and flustered due to our gnarly appearance.

“Hey, you think this is bad?” Ophelia said, a flap of bloody silicone flesh peeling from her forehead. “You should see the other guys.”

Before she pays me she wraps her arms around me in a dramatic embrace, dips me, and kisses me deeply while discreetly slipping two hundred dollars into my back pocket.

 

Friday

 

I’ve never had sex before and never had the urge to do so, but if that changes it would change for Aaron. Free of charge.

 

Fridays are my easiest days because they belong to Aaron. A man who doesn't ask for much, except to hang out, play video games, and eat blueberry pancakes. His only days off are Fridays and he chooses to spend them all with me. He comes over at noon and we always start our sessions by playing Chinese Go because we both love games of strategy. He taught me how to play months ago, but I don’t think he realized he was teaching me how to kick his ass because he hasn’t won a game since.

“I’m losing because I’m in love with you,” he laughs as he pushes his thick, dark bangs out of his face.

“So, you’re letting me win?” I ask. He reaches over and takes my hand in his.

“As we are now, I’d say I already won.”

Our other homebody activities include eating breakfast for dinner while I sit on his lap and paint his cheeks with brightly colored eyeshadow. Watching K-pop music videos and talking seriously about making our own. Inventing communicative dialogue for my cats in cute baby voices and joking about creating an Instagram for them. And listening to podcasts on my couch while he places my long legs across his lap and gingerly strokes my calves.

Kissing him is second nature and I do it  without trepidation.

I’ve never had sex before and never had the urge to do so, but if that changes it would change for Aaron. Free of charge.

He’s the hardest to get out the door when our time together is over; we cling to each other so desperately, as if our relationship has no barriers. Aaron could stay until 3:00 a.m. and melt into the little world we’ve built for ourselves, but he still can’t bear to look me in the eye and place the money in my hand.

Instead, he hides hundred dollar bills between the pages of the copy of The Art of War he gave me, each one with little, red pen-inked hearts scribbled over Benjamin Franklin’s eyes.


 
 

Amina Harper is an arts, writing, and snack enthusiast with a lot of feelings and a love for anime. Follow her on instagram.

Illustrations by Allegra Lockstadt


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