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I met Herd in a yoga class. I liked his Half Pigeon. I liked that his feet were clean. I saw inside his shorts one time when he was in Happy Baby. He wasn’t wearing underwear and I spent the rest of the class imagining sex with him. Him in Dolphin, me in Happy Baby. Me, Downward Dog. Him, Mountain.
       After class Herd went up to ask the instructor how he could improve his Bridge (or Herd in Bridge, me in Downward Dog) and I unrolled and rerolled my mat so I could walk out the door with him. When he told me his name was Herd, I didn’t say Herb? I think that’s why he asked me to coffee. Honestly though, the question of his name never crossed my mind.
       Two months later we were living together.
       Six months later we still hadn’t gone past missionary position.
       Now, almost a year later and every day Herd follows me around the house. Herd follows me into the kitchen. Herd follows me into the yard. Into the corner of the yard where I ask him if he will please go away, just go away. He kisses my cheek and goes to clip a nearby hedge.
       Herd’s parents named him after the buffalos his parents saw on their honeymoon in the canyons of Montana. Buffalo was on their list of names too. And Bull. But Herd is not a Bull, will never be a Buffalo. Straight out of the womb and his parents already knew, could already see, sensed somehow that Herd was a Herd. That he would one day dumbly follow others off a cliff. That he would one day find a cliff in me.
       I’ve tried to warn him. I’ve tried to tell him that I am hopeless in relationships but Herd only says that he understands. That he can wait. I don’t know what it is that he understands, or for what exactly he is waiting.
       “You’re just confused, Grace,” he says.
       My parents, on the other hand, what could they have been thinking? I am no Grace.
       Herd drives a Prius because that’s what the environmentally conscientious with adequate disposable income do. There are three other Prii (not Priuses, Herd has informed me) on our block. In the morning the Prii migrate downtown to work. Unless the weather is nice, then the Prii-y all load their iPads and Greenware sandwich containers into their locally made saddle bags and ride their bikes.
       Whenever we drive my Camry, Herd tells me that I could probably trade it in for a more fuel-efficient car like a Camry Hybrid. He tells me that he’d be happy to go with me to the Camry lot, help me make the trade. He’d be happy to do some research for me. He’d be happy to walk around the lots with me. We can go grab a coffee first. We can bring sandwiches, picnic in the park afterwards.
       I tell Herd No thank you, I enjoy burning fossil fuel. It gives me a warm feeling inside.
       Herd thinks I’m being cute. I’m not being cute. I’m being angry. I have things to yell that can never be yelled at Herd. In Herd I will never find the man who drove me home from night class and raped me on the side of the road. Herd’s arms are not arms that pin women against car doors, and so I will never get to scream with a rabid fury, I will never get to bite off his earlobe, spit him away, shift my weight just enough to knee in his balls. I have practiced it a thousand times in my mind, I know I could do it.
       Looks like someone’s had a rough day, Herd says, on one of those days when my organs are boiling in a hot broth of bitter acid. When his fingers move to do that thing on my neck that I hate that I love, I do it, I finally boil over, releasing a hot shitstream of profanity onto Herd’s unsuspecting rosy cheeks, cheeks fresh from shoveling the snow that I did not want shoveled—snow that I needed to close me in, but there it was, shoveled away, leaving a neat path straight up to me. First I scream. A pure, wordless scream that immediately drops Herd to my ankles, thinking (I think) that I have sprained one of them, or maybe that I have stepped on a nail.
       It is Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve. That’s how evil I am.
       Why don’t you want to make me better?! I scream.
       I don’t even know what I mean by these words. I don’t want to be better, I want him to be worse—I think—which would make me better—worse at first, but then better.
       But you’re perfect, Herd says.
       No, Herd. I’m not.
       I think you’re perfect.
       You should be yelling at me. You should be throwing me against the wall!
       I can yell at you, Herd says, if you want me to. Aaaah! There, I yelled.
       He is stunned when I ask him to move out. He thinks it’s just a knot in my neck.
       Eventually, though, he goes. He does finally leave. Like every other good man before him. It’s all the same, though. Good men, bad men. One puts the hurt in you, the other holds it down.

© 2020 Kathleen Lane

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