Sex and Mending 

By Samantha Updegrave

I came home from the hospital after visiting you. You, a used-to-be close friend. Your body orange and swollen, ankles bloated and feet cracked. Speech indecipherable. Making amends: it’s hard work because at this point words are useless. I don’t mention the years that have passed; I simply say I’ll be back tomorrow and the day after that I’ll bring my son. He’s three now! Can you believe it? 

I won’t have sex with your husband after you’ve died, although there will be this one night when I’m single, again, and think about it because he and I have gone to the gym and grabbed burgers and beers and two whiskeys afterward, and he put his lips against mine and exhaled his hit of weed into my mouth, my mouth waiting for his air. 

I think you’d be laughing your ass off up there – he and I together doing the dirty deed after the way he and I always bickered and nagged at each other all those years we were all friends. How we’d spend an entire party squabbling but by the end of then night the two of us would be laughing on couch while everyone milled about and he’d be rubbing my feet because I always ached and he loved feet. 

“It’s too weird,” I’ll say and back away after taking a second hit from him in the kitchen. 

I didn’t mend anything. 

In the Acute Care Unit, I rubbed lotion into your feet, working cream into the split skin and ran the tips of my slick fingers around your ankles and calves. 

I came home from the hospital and fucked my lover like the hungriest kind of animal, like it would keep us all from dying.


Samantha's writing career started in high school with cut n' paste zines. Her recent work appears in Atticus Review, Ghosts of Seattle Past: An Anthology of Lost Places, Seattle's Child, Brain Child, The Rumpus, Bitch magazine, Literary Mama, and Hip Mama. She holds a MFA from The Northwest Institute of Literary Arts and lives in Seattle, WA with her cool kiddo, where she teaches prose writing at The Hugo House, and is a cofounder of The Looseleaf Reading Series. Find her online at / Instagram samanthaupdegrave Twitter @scupdegrave (FYI – Atticus essay is out 3/15. Website: Instagram: Twitter: