Danny and I sat in the sun at Federation Square.
“Kiss me,” he said.
I had thought of doing nothing else since I first laid eyes on him.
He tasted like sweat and red liquorice.
He told me later, and in passing, that people were staring at us.
I didn’t notice.
Why did he?
Behind the hooded sweatshirt and tie-dyed earnestness,
He was scared. Scared of everything and nothing.
He talked big, and bigger –
“I love you. Will you marry me?” –
And we got lost together in it.
It didn’t last.
He stayed lost.
Mitchell was fun,
With his crew-cut and his thrice-pierced ears,
And his eyes, crinkled around the edges from so-frequent smiles.
I tried to avoid getting lost and just have fun.
We watched B-movies; played arcade games;
Spent nights spread-eagled, naked, in the cool semi-dark.
Six months in, I thought, maybe, I was in love.
“I never said we were exclusive.”
Grindr notifications wink up at me from his cell phone.
“If you’re looking for a prince
To ride in and sweep you off your feet,
I’m sorry, that can’t be me.”
In retrospect, I couldn’t say I imagined having a future with him,
But boy, did his certainty sting.
“Are you hitting on me?” Jordan said,
Smiling a Cheshire Cat smile.
Naturally, I was mortified.
“Stop being subtle about it. You’re cute, and I love writers.”
It was a whirlwind romance, in every sense of the word –
Skipping across campus, hand-in-hand;
Gorging ourselves on cheap wine and hamburgers;
Urgent rendezvous in bathrooms, in shower stalls.
The whirlwind drew closer and closer.
We were too busy to notice.
In love? Perhaps.
When it hit, we looked to see what could be jettisoned.
Little did I realise,
He was looking straight at me.
Over vegetarian lasagne and ten-dollar sangria, she asked us,
“How did you lose your virginity?”
We went around the room and told our stories.
Tanner didn’t have that story.
Under duress, he admitted that he maybe –
Kind of, sort of –
Had a thing for me.
He was the most beautiful boy in the room, all blonde hair and sharp angles –
What was I supposed to do?
We dated tentatively;
Spent days doing crossword puzzles;
Exchanging well-meaning presents and chaste kisses;
Sleeping in separate beds.
He challenged so many of my assumptions, but, in the end,
It didn’t matter.
“I don’t think this relationship is going where you want it to go.” He watched,
As I realised just how lost I’d gotten.
There’s a new boy. Isn’t there always?
By James Brown
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