I meet a guy online. I have school the next morning and it’s later than I said I’d keep my options open, but he lives close and wants to do all the things I’ve been picturing in my head all night.
He is handsome and intense and I’m glad I came over. We stay up late asking each other questions and giving honest answers and I fall asleep while he’s talking about the difference between being in a relationship as a top and as a bottom.
I wake up as the sun is rising and sort of remember him saying that he never gets to do what we just did in the relationship he’s in now, but he wants to have sex again and I soon forget. He makes me coffee while I’m in the shower and we kiss for a while at the door and plan to see each other soon.
The next day, I wake up to three texts from a number I don’t recognize:
Around midnight: “hey, my name’s jim, i’m mike’s bf. he says ur really hot. u should come over so we can all fool around :)”
Around 2 AM: “listen, i know u were here. i’m not stupid. i pay his phone bill. call me. it’s ok, i just wanna talk.”
Around 3 AM: “U EVER COME IN MY HOME AGAIN UR GONNA BE LEAVING WITH BROKEN LEGS”
I save the number to my contacts as “Jennifer Aniston.”
I fall hard for the wrong guy. He uses way too many drugs, way too often and every time I say goodbye, I think it could be the last. He’s a lot bigger than me and has about ten different cell phones. I save them to my contacts as “BenBear,” “BenBear2,” “BenBear3” and so on.
Whenever I want to see him, I call each one. Whenever he doesn’t pick up, I assume something has gone wrong and start to retread our whole fucked up relationship in my mind until he calls back.
The last time I see him before he gets arrested, he falls asleep after we have sex, face-down in the bed with his pants around his ankles. I take pictures of his body from every angle of the room with the camera on my phone.
Months after his arrest, I look at the pictures - lying in in bed or waiting underground for a subway train - and retread our whole fucked up relationship in my mind.
A year after his arrest, I get an upgrade on my cell phone. The guy in the store puts my old memory card in the new phone and tells me everything will transfer. My contacts are there and most of my photos, but the pictures of Ben are gone.
The guy in the store is really apologetic. I tell him it’s fine, that it was nothing too important. But I spend the whole way home looking for them in the new phone’s memory and retreading our whole fucked up relationship in my mind.
I realize before heading over that I don’t know his name and put him in my contacts as “Stud.”
He is unaffected and smart. His apartment is manly and lived-in. The sex feels relaxed and special and smart and lived-in. He leaves me in his apartment with his vaporizer to go buy beer and Chinese food. We watch a cheesy horror movie when he gets back and we have sex again before we go to sleep, sleepier and softer with the beer and food and pot and fatigue.
In the morning, we get egg sandwiches and coffee from a bodega on his block. We ride the same train for a while before he kisses me - in front of everyone - and steps off to go to work.
I go straight to my acting classes and a few girls notice I’m wearing the same clothes as the day before. I spend the whole day answering too many questions about what he’s like, why he’s different and smart and funny and special. They all coo and tell me to hold on to this one and that I deserve it.
I never see or hear from him again. I call him once and text a lot, until I finally give up. I joke about him being an asshole with the girls in my acting class, but a part of me still thinks he’s the nicest guy I’ve met in a while and no part of me thinks it’s funny.
I see him one day in a subway station. He’s getting off the train and I’m getting on. I watch him closely as he walks away. By the time the train pulls out of view, he still hasn’t changed his gait or given any indication that he’s seen anything he recognizes.
I pull out my journal and write a bad poem about New York feeling like a haunted house, starting all these memories that it’s too big and unwieldy to follow through on.
I step above ground at the next station and my phone buzzes with a text from “Stud”:
“was that u?”
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