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The Sugar Daddy

You say yes to things.

When the Sugar Daddy came out of his car he was holding a dozen red roses and I said Looking good old man, and he said That’s no way to treat someone who just drove two hours to your apartment and I said Forgive me my liege, and we walked into my studio and he said This place looks like shit and I said I know, and he said Are you happy to see me and I said Do you want me to be and he said Sure, and he rested his jacket and the flowers on the coffee table and said Do you want to have sex, and I said Isn’t that what you’re paying me for and he said I’m paying to help out with your surgery costs and I said Then I’m going to spend it on something else, and he looked at me inquisitively and I smiled a little and he came closer to me, and when we were done having sex I extracted four hundred dollar bills from his wallet on the end table, and he said Absolutely not and I said I’m extremely good looking, and he took back two of the hundred dollar bills and I said Your call boss, and a week later he texted me to rent a car and drive to his apartment further south in Florida on the water, so I rented a car with the money he’d wired me and drove up to him on his apartment staircase waving his clutched hands over his shoulders in victory.

We walked into his apartment and it was small enough that I immediately knew he had another house, I knew the house was where his family lived and his apartment is where he brought his transsexuals, and I knew the other transsexuals also knew what a shitty apartment this was but walked into it like I was doing, I was placing my purse on the counter like they were and slipping off my heels like they were and staring at him expectantly like they were, and he said I’m glad you’re here and I said I am too and I was surprised I meant it, and he said Don’t kill me but I have to run out to meet a client, and my eyes bulged and I said What am I supposed to do while you’re gone, and he said There’s burrata and olives in the fridge and I have a bunch of Blu-rays, and once he left and closed the door I looked around the apartment and decided to learn everything about it, and after walking around a while I found some picture frames on a bureau including one of him smiling with two teenage girls.

I knew that these were his daughters and that he had a wife, and I knew that I was not the sort of person you have kids with because I didn’t have a uterus, I knew I was the sort of person you brought to your apartment while your wife made ragù at your house, I knew I was the sort of person you left forty dollars for on the microwave for Thai food while you secured a piping contractor for your business, I knew I was the sort of person you compared to actresses with thick jawlines to make your wife laugh, I knew I was the sort of person to rifle through your bedside table looking for condoms and lube and finding heart medication, I knew I was the sort of person to drive to the apartment of a much older man I didn’t know because whatever was scary about that was less scary than being alone.

When he came back into the apartment he smiled and said How’s my favorite girl, and I said Your apartment sucks and he rolled his eyes and said I know, and I said Did you secure the pipe contractor and he said Yes because I was a slightly bigger asshole than him, and I said I’m sure you get that a lot and he said Back at you Brown Eyes, and I stared at him like I wanted him to kiss me because I did but I wasn’t sure why, and he did lean in and kiss me because people respond to the way you are, and I held the back of his head where the hairs were wisping into senescence and I knew I was in trouble, and we had sex on his balcony during which I watched the ocean the entire time, the ocean kept throwing itself onto the sand and I was wondering if I would ever be happy, I was wondering why I was having sex with a man I didn’t like for money I didn’t need, I was wondering why I was crying as the moonlight watched me get penetrated, I was wondering why I was the sort of person to stare at the ocean during sex.

While he was showering I put on a robe and walked around the apartment again, and once again I found myself staring at the framed picture of the Sugar Daddy and his daughters, and I imagined based on their features that his wife was tall with long black hair and tan skin, and I imagined the four of them sitting around a table by the window in an Italian restaurant, and I imagined one of the daughters saying Dad I got a B in history and him saying No you didn’t, and I imagined the other daughter saying No, I got a B in history and the first daughter saying Oh yeah, and I imagined the four of them laughing while the moon shone on uneaten plates of linguini with clams, and I imagined the Sugar Daddy thinking about what he cares about the most and it wasn’t me, and I imagined myself thinking about what I care about the most and it wasn’t me, and I imagined myself doing the thing I most wanted to do and it was leaving that apartment, and the shower knob twisted and the water ceased and I knew it was time, and I grabbed the rental car keys and my bag and I left the apartment with him in it, and I don’t remember where I drove to after that or how I felt when I got there, but I remember I was driving with the headlights on so I could see in front of me, I remember I could see a few feet in front of me because that’s what the headlights were falling on.


Photo of the author: a subtly-smiling woman with long wavy brown hair falling over her shoulder

JACKIE SABBAGH is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Her writing is published or forthcoming in journals including Passages North, Bennington Review, Nashville Review, The Louisville Review, and DIAGRAM. She tweets at @jackies_backie.


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