Perfect Girlfriend Learns the Word, Normal

Photo Credit: ** RCB ** via Compfight cc

Perfect Girlfriend says yes, I do want to have sex with you in my best friend’s bed while she’s in the shower.
Let’s desecrate not only her personal space,
but also my respect for her.

Perfect Girlfriend says yes,
please fuck me in this camping tent that we are sharing with four other sleeping people.
They won’t mind.

Perfect Girlfriend says yes,
of course,I want to fool around on the couch after the movie we were watching with my mother has ended
while she is still passed out on the adjacent couch.
Yes; of course.

Perfect Girlfriend says yes, because when Perfect Girlfriend says no, Perfect Boyfriend says:

Don’t you love me?
I do so much for you and you can’t do this one thing for me?
If you love me then this shouldn’t be a problem?
Maybe I’ll go find someone who does care about me.
Other people do this all the time.
This is what Perfect Girlfriend is supposed to do.
And I don’t understand what the big deal is anyway,
You’re always getting crazy over nothing.
I don’t see why this has to be a fucking fight every time.

Perfect Girlfriend says yes, I’m being irrational.
Yes, I’m being crazy.
See, Perfect Boyfriend can’t wrap his head around the concept of a panic disorder,
so Perfect Girlfriend gives it a name he can understand; says:

I just feel a little crazy today; I think my crazy is acting up; That was totally crazy of me; I’m sorry I’m so crazy;

Perfect Girlfriend says yes, everything is fine.
Perfect Girlfriend is just seventeen,
thinks abuse can only look like black eyes,
too young to know she doesn’t know any better.
Perfect Girlfriend has had much worse; this is the healthiest it’s ever been;
she would do anything to keep her life this good.
So Perfect Girlfriend can’t say no.

Sometimes, she tries to form the word uncomfortable and Perfect Boyfriend says Don’t you think you’re being a little crazy? and Perfect Girlfriend says yes.
But Perfect Boyfriend is only temporary, and the years go on even though his presence in her life does not.
Older now, Perfect Girlfriend is with Normal Boyfriend.
And Normal Boyfriend doesn’t know what to do.
He is afraid to touch her, because he knows Perfect Girlfriend can’t say no.
He is afraid to ask because Perfect Girlfriend says yes, whether she wants to or not;
Hears I don’t see why this has to be a fucking fight every time when the question is posed;
can imagine him walking out the door;
can’t imagine doing the separation all over again.
Normal Boyfriend would rather not touch her at all than accidentally make her do something she doesn’t want to do.

Normal Boyfriend says You can tell me no.
Normal Boyfriend says You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.
Normal Boyfriend says Please don’t try to be perfect for me. I don’t want you to. Be whatever makes you feel comfortable: that’s normal.
Tell me no: that’s normal.
Only do what you want to do: that’s normal.

Perfect Girlfriend has never heard this before, does not know what to make of it; quickly learns there is no off switch on Perfect Girlfriend;
that perfect has been stitched into her impulse response.
She tries to pluck the threads from her anxiety like sutures, and learns that her muscle has grown around it, dissolving into their long-term memory.

Perfect Girlfriend still says yes,
still holds no in her throat like dipping land-locked toes in the ocean.
But she is trying,
wading in the water slowly,
adjusting to normalcy with stutters and setbacks and nervous laughter.

And this is the most herself she has ever felt.

Veronica Mattaboni

Veronica is an fiction and poetry author from Pennsylvania. She graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English: Writing and a minor in Creative Writing. Veronica's work has been featured in the GLVWG's Write Here, Write Now Anthology, Writer's Yoga Zine, and Daedalus. She has also worked as an Associate Editor with 823 on High, and as Editor in Chief of Literati.

2 thoughts on “Perfect Girlfriend Learns the Word, Normal

  1. Julie AndersonJulie Anderson


    Perfect Girlfriend … I know her well.
    This poem, like the other’s you have given Feminine Collective the honor of publishing, is exquisite.

    Thank you.

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