If I were to see Radislaw again, which I most likely never will, I should like to fuck him.

This does not mean that it would necessarily be a particularly good idea, that it would be worth the cuckholding of my own husband, or that I assume Radislaw would necessarily be a good lover. Though, based on the delicious kiss he quite literally stole from my face, drunken at 7 am after a night of caviar, champagne and success before he drove off to Poland, scorned and blueballed (and married), he might well be quite good between the sheets. I laughed as I slid onto my own empty bed, scratching sheets, imagining through the cruel filter of my own lust and drunkenness, his terrible, frustrated drive. Desperation makes a good bedfellow at dawn, after a week or two in a tight single bed on the road, at any rate. Maybe. He rarely sees his wife. She does not understand him. He is certainly handsome enough. He was very kind. He was not the one upon which I chose to target my flirtations, my arts, but, seeing the photos now, I was the one he chose. This disturbed my sleep and I woke up only a few hours later, upset and craving the attentions of another man. Any man. I became ill.

I’ve been married some little time now. Long enough for the blush and newness of requited love to sober me, though it could be four months or four decades, as much as it has, in actuality, been four years. It’s been a series of weeks and years of expectations, unmet. He is older. He’s a fine man, I love him duly and very much. It is a good man that I married, very kind and from a good family. Some money is involved. I did not doubt that we should marry. But my fires are reflected in him as wet matchbooks. I strike and strike and strike, and there is simply no spark.

There was a spark. It was a potential. Any man with a libido and a large cock knows that here, with a slut as I am, eventually, one may reap great rewards. Great obedience. But a little fuck on the rooftop was too dangerous and obscene for him, later on. I was too prudent to reward him with my panties under the table at dinner, between the third and fourth course, early on. He was pretending, or playing. He thinks sex is fed with love. He does not know my innermost thoughts. Perhaps he guesses them, but he does not know for certain, at any rate, and I do not feel the threat of violation that I so crave. For all I know, its a world apart from his own sweet, obedient and kind love. Chivalrous love, gentle and still and soft. Hated and feminine and yielding.

I despise his kisses. I would throw them back at him if I could. I would gather them up in my skirts, if I wore them, work spells, and cast them out, turned to curses and fires. His kisses are death, are sickly domestication, and though now I simply turn my head, a new weapon, perhaps one day they will fill me with hate and bile and I will spit. I will never feel the delicious sick twist of conquest with him, his goodness and his sweet ways. My god, what was I thinking? I dream, I confess, of the men I thought, once, that I might marry. Deviants, bastards, scoundrels and addicts. My daydreams grow, they take over and transplant my waning reality, the incessant I-love-you’s and intolerable It’s-so-nice-to-be-with-you’s that torment me.

I was a lioness, a beast and a despicable person, the rotten half woman that all women hate, with good cause and little self esteem. I hid the fact that I stole boyfriends and husbands, only for moments! Moments are nothing, when they had all of time, and Chinese take-out in bed, and Thanksgiving, and beautiful weddings and beloved sisters-in-law who called long distance. I devoured the feeling of want and lust, and lived from these stolen memories and feelings. I was an idiot, I was weak with power, and I enjoyed everyone. These moments were not serious, I was not a serious person. I was promised a great deal which was never meant to be granted; nobody can take themselves seriously under those circumstances.

Now I reap my debts to women I barely knew. Trapped with a man who, with a little more temperament, would be wild with fury, trying to understand why his wife is always just a bit out of reach. But he knows his place, as I mine. We serve our sentences together; though I thought it was an escape, our wedding was, actually, a gift, meant to placate his own treason.

It has not been enough.

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SIRI ZERNAND MÜLLER defines herself by the people who crowd her bed. She has a dog, a husband, a cat who also would like some recognition, and the occasional prophetic dream.

29 responses to “The Polish Lover”

  1. Greg Olear says:

    I don’t know whether my comment should read “whoa” or “wow.” Either way, this is a fine piece of confessional writing, reminiscent of Elfriede Jelinek.

  2. Zara Potts says:

    Seconded. Wow.
    I’m going to have to read this through a few times to get a better handle on it – but the ‘moments are nothing’ paragraph is certainly stirring my thoughts up.
    Strong, strong piece.

  3. Gloria says:

    Absolutely captivating. Your writing is magnificent and brave. I loved this.

    On another note – we have a “sex” category on TNB? When the hell did that happen??!

    • Siri Zernand Müller says:

      Thank you, Gloria.


    • James D. Irwin says:

      I’ve know, but being British I just don’t talk about it.

      This post sort of stunned me. One of the best opening sentences I’ve read here… certainly catches one’s attention…

      • Siri Zernand Müller says:

        Thanks, James. Yeah I guess it was sort of a big opening.

        Now that I’m actually reading what I wrote, it kind of stuns me, too. But maybe for different reasons.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          Well, to tell you th truth the first thing to catch my attention was ‘BERLIN’ at the top of the page. I get inappropriately excited when I find another European here at TNB…

          I’ve never been, although I have seen a little of Munich, which was lovely.

          Whilst I’m here I will add that I have read and enjoyed your other works here at TNB, although I don’t think I left any comments saying so…

        • Siri Zernand Müller says:

          I totally understand. I feel that way when I hear people speaking English on the trains, though I have learned to stop leering hopefully. People find that uncomfortable.

          Very kind of you to comment, thanks. I’m still finding my way around things.

        • James D. Irwin says:


          This is my third year writing here, and the second version of the site layout I’ve had to deal with and I still keeping forgetting how to get around. But that’s mostly down to my own lack of intelligence, it’s fairly simple. And friendly. Ludicrously so. Not quite to the extent we’re happy to leer at each other, but I’m sure the day will come! And what a glorious day that will be!

        • Siri Zernand Müller says:

          Friendly leering is next to godliness, so let’s all hope so.

  4. dwoz says:

    Ownership is truly the death of dreaming. Perfectly captured. And probably much closer to home for too many people to count.

    Wait…my last name is Wozmak (nee Wozniak)…

    ….where the HELL did I leave that passport? I could have sworn it was here in the top drawer….

    • Siri Zernand Müller says:

      Thanks! I can’t imagine that most people don’t have at least a good idea of what I’m talking about. Which is perfectly normal, as far as I’m concerned. Anyone who says marriage (or something like marriage) is easy is lying.

  5. Irene Zion says:

    I would read you regardless of the subject matter just to watch how you mold your words and sentences to be so perfectly fine-tuned. You had me at the first line, but it just kept getting better. I envy your talent.

    • Siri Zernand Müller says:

      Wow, thank you Irene. That is especially nice coming from you; I’ve had a chance to catch up a little on your writing (there is a lot here to catch up on, from everyone) and I LOVE your writing. I was just sitting here envying you, as a matter of fact.

  6. Irene Zion says:

    You are very kind, but if we were talking about dinner, you’d be the meat and I’d be the whipped cream on dessert.

  7. Mary Richert says:

    It’s funny the way being committed to a person and a relationship can change your perception, isn’t it? I’m also somewhat newly married and still coming to terms with what this level of commitment means. It’s not that I didn’t think we should get married or that we have any real problems, just that marriage isn’t the simple “happily ever after” of the fairy tales. Beautiful work getting this into words.

    • Siri Zernand Müller says:

      Thanks, Mary. It’s a strange place, isn’t it? We define it all on our own, every day. I hate having that kind of responsibility. Or do I love it.

  8. Brian Eckert says:

    After reading this, I have the strong desire to fuck somebody I care nothing for.

  9. Keith says:

    ever read lynn freed’s “the curse of the appropriate man”? —


    …please do! i think you would find much there that reflects what’s in your work and your thoughts!

    • Siri Zernand Müller says:

      Never read it, but I’ll check it out. From the description she sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the tip!

  10. Pam says:

    A great piece. Stunning in all the ways short fiction should be.

    Thank you!

  11. zoe zolbrod says:

    So, I can’t help but wondering: Does your husband not search the English-language interwebs? Or did he proofread this for you. Or something in between.

  12. Siri Zernand Müller says:

    Is it very important for you to know?

    Thank you for your comment, which was useful on getting me very clear on something (which may or may not be relevant to anyone else but me): My story, here, for you, is the words I write, not the life I lead, though those things obviously have everything to do with one another, sometimes more, sometimes less, sometimes only in the way a drawing of a sun in green crayons looks nothing like the sun itself, even though that’s clearly what it’s supposed to be.

    That may make me an outsider here. Or it may make me even more accessible. Maybe I’d be less interesting if you knew the circumstances around those words for certain, or the things I write would be less irritating. Maybe you’d like it more. Or maybe not. I can’t really worry about that, anyway.

    In everything I do, people will think about me, or my work, exactly what they’d like to think, no matter what opinions I may have about it, myself. I think that’s fine. I kind of get off on it, truth be told.

    Is that sort of an answer?

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