The Mechanics Of Sleeping With Your Ex’s Best Friend
You will need alcohol, enough to make you brazen. Enough to make you remember how to tell a man, one who has never shared your bed, that you want him.
You will place a hand lightly on his leg, only for a moment.
You will lean into him with laughter.
He will run a hand up your spine and knead your shoulder, only for a moment. He will give you a hug by grabbing your hip bones to his.
You will discover that you still have the ability to convey desire, and you will be infinitely pleased.
You will tell yourself, this is much better than a strange man from some bar, somewhere. You know this boy to be kind and you know him to be good.
You have sometimes glanced at him, half-naked at the beach or at the pool, and wondered how those muscles would feel, but you have never in these past years indicated any desire to him.
You have compared your body to the bodies of his girlfriends and wondered, idly, if yours could possibly fit into what he found appealing.
And as he looks into your eyes and says “I’ve always been attracted to you,” you are filled with power.
You will tell yourself that you are a Grown Woman who does not equate sex with love.
You will tell yourself that there is nothing wrong with having your desires satisfied, even it if has been less than a week since your 4 year relationship ended.
The hours you spend with him are a mix of familiarity and strangeness. You knew his body but not the most intimate parts. You knew his character but not in these circumstances. You finally unwrap the present that’s long been in your sight but out of your reach.
He takes delight in your body, a sensation you’ve long been unaccustomed to. He’s familiar with the drama of your past relationship and when you climax, he whispers, “I bet he hasn’t done that to you in a while.”
You tell yourself that you are not doing this to hurt your ex.
You tell yourself this is not revenge sex, and you are not being a bad friend to this boy in your arms. He is also newly single and he is also sad and you try your hardest not to feel like a monster.
You neglect to remind yourself that you have a wound in your soul. This wound is mostly healed but sometimes it rips open and you must fill it with alcohol and self-mutilation and disordered eating. Now you find that empty sex works just as well and fills the silence of your apartment.
And as he pins your arms down and your hip bones grind against his, you tell yourself that you will not cry because he is not using you, you are instead using him.
A few weeks later he will call off this casual arrangement and you will go back to being just friends, no benefits. And you will not be able to understand why this break up hurts so much more than the last one.
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”