BY EMILY SMITH
After a party, wander into his room and roll around in his bed until he takes your clothes off. He doesn’t understand why you won’t kiss him. Maybe you still want him to want something.
When he asks if you want breakfast in the morning, tell him it’s not that kind of arrangement. Tell him last night was an accident, then go back again the next night. Keep telling him he’s a mistake.
Don’t look at his body. His guerrilla bones. Close your eyes when he’s between your legs. Slip your dress on before he’s even done wiping his mouth. Leave him naked and wanting in bed. Don’t think what you’ll want later when he’s gone. Don’t think of the girl down the hall.
Listen to him talk about that girl. Feel warm with happiness for him. Wish he didn’t talk about her in your bed.
There are always things you never say. Want to write your silence like a love letter.
Start getting comfortable with him. Go to a diner late at night when no one will see you and half joke about eloping. Plan your future. Wish you liked his friends. Wish you liked the way he looked. Wish you didn’t care how he looked. Lie when he asks if he’s your emotional blanket. Tell him he’s not a placeholder.
Look at his chest. Love it. Coordinate outfits for dinner. Love him. Look for a mirror to fix your hair before a date and realize he doesn’t have one. Wish he could look in the mirror with you and like what he saw. Think that you’re not that different.
Take advantage of his kindness because you expect it. Schedule massages, watch him clean your room, curl up into his body. You are precious in him. How long has it been since someone held you like a star?
On the last day stare at your pretty eyes in the mirror and apply mascara. Don’t look at him sitting on your bed. Tell him it’s over and smile. Watch him cry onto your sheets and leave him for a party.
Dump him for a girl you’re not ashamed of. Get dumped.
Think of him every day.
Think of his big bones crushed up like aluminum foil. Hear his folds spark. Repeat the image like film stuck in a reel until it makes you sick and sad. Try to fold up into him like an apology.
Dream about him. Wrap your arms around your body and pretend they’re his. Wonder what kind of wool he’s made of. Realize blankets are worth more than their heat. Promise you won’t ask him to keep you warm.
Emily Smith is a queer writer currently blogging for Ploughshares, and the Managing Editorial & Communications Intern for the Cambridge Writers' Workshop. In the past, she's worked as a freelance writer for OpposingViews.com. Her creative work has appeared in Ayris, Highbrow Magazine, Scandalous!, and Essence Poetry among others; she's also attended a craft-of-writing workshop with Tin House. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from New Hampshire Institute of Art.