I wasn’t thinking of you. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse. But when he said he had a girlfriend, I didn’t even worry what your name might be. I climbed off his lap, just for a second. But when I realized he was telling me out of obligation, and not because he wanted to stop, I let myself pretend he hadn’t said anything.
The act itself was exactly what you’d expect from letting-a-guy-cheat-on-his-girlfriend-after-hours-in-the-seedy-bar-where-he-works sex: desperate, aggressive, and more than a little vulnerable for both of us. I mention the back of the bar because it’s important. I didn’t go home with him, he didn’t go home with me. This wasn’t premeditated. This was the heat of the moment and drinks poured too freely in an empty bar. When the owner left the two of us alone, your boyfriend made me a drink. Whiskey and ginger ale, my usual. In hindsight, it’s probably just because I’m there all the time, but it felt significant that he knew my drink of choice. That was nice. The other nice thing? We talked. For over an hour in a dingy half-booth off the kitchen, we shared stories heavier than I tell my closest friends. If you knew me, you’d know I’m not much of a talker, but I could tell that that was special. Me, the commitment-phobic mess, and this older, brooding, otherwise-attached boy sharing something more intimate than I’d ever shared with anyone. It was heartbreaking, and it was beautiful. Then the sex. Maybe it was just that we’d opened up and been so intimate that we had to make up for it with aggression, but it wasn’t tender. We fucked. And it was electric. And I am not sorry for a second. After that, we put our clothes back on, talked for a while longer, shut off the lights, and locked the door. Outside, he kissed me goodbye and it was slow and lingering – everything you want a goodbye kiss to be. He whispered that we could never tell a soul, and we broke apart and walked our separate ways. I got home at 5:26 to a Facebook message: “Wow.” That was all. I fell asleep grinning.
You might wonder why I’m writing this if it’s not to say I’m sorry. And honestly, I don’t know if I even have an answer for you. I just need you to understand all that it was, because weeks later I still find myself thinking about it and trying to understand it myself. Maybe you need some epilogue. We didn’t talk again for two weeks. The weekend after it happened, though, he messaged one of my friends to come to the bar, and that he wanted to see her. It was then I realized what I’d been denying: if it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone else. I guess I’d been blind to it because to me, it hadn’t felt like a hook-up. It had felt like art. I’m used to giving people what they need from me – for your boyfriend it wasn’t just someone to touch, it was someone to talk to. We took the weight off of each others’ troubled souls. At least, that was how it had seemed. Like I said, I’m used to giving people what they need. What I’m not used to is needing something in return. I let myself be most vulnerable with him, and somehow didn’t expect him to take it for granted. And even though he did, I’ve found myself craving that connection, and that intimacy and wondering if the way I felt that night is how you feel every second you’re together. And if not, is it because of people like me? If that’s the case, then I’ll admit I truly am sorry. But not because of what I did. Because everyone should feel like art. And maybe you know what he does, or maybe you don’t. Maybe him hurting you is what makes you feel like art. If not, find something that does. Because it’s rare and intense and gorgeous.
You should know that I’ve seen him since. Two weeks later I saw him at a party at a different bar. He accused me of telling someone, and left me standing alone, crying. I’m not a crier. This was rare and intense. The next day was his birthday. He sent me a drunk message, and I begged him for forgiveness, despite not having done anything. He forgave me and asked me to bring him Gatorade. He was very, very drunk. I smiled again as I fell asleep, knowing things were okay. When we see each other now, we pretend none of it has happened. Last weekend, we settled on not-quite-friends. In two weeks, I’ll move away and we’ll never see each other again. I’ll carry on and have other adventures, but this will always be one for the books. You should have adventures too, with or without him. Find art. You deserve it.