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  • I’m so ashamed of the things I did with you.

    You didn’t earn any of it.

    You looked like my ex. Not really; you had a similar style. The Vans, the tattoos, the dark hair, the height. In retrospect you are and never were anything like him. But at the time, at my most desperate time of missing him, you’d do.

    I thought it was a fruitless crush, as you barely spoke to me during our few weeks together in class. It ended, and that was it. My time was up. I probably said something, “It was super fun to work with you!”, maybe even gave you a hug. I’m sure you forgot about me.

    Years later, a mutual friend’s birthday. I had gotten my hair cut that day, I felt confident and pretty. Confident enough to presume that you remembered me when I saw you. And yet still shy enough to be surprised when you did.

    We talked. We flirted, guised as conversation. You were interested in me. We left the party in the main room for the DJ in the back. Drinking, more talking. Sitting close in a booth. I took the plunge and kissed you first. Or maybe it was mutual. Did you dive in first? All I know for sure is we were kissing each other, for awhile.

    We parted, my puckered lips flashing a huge smile. You didn’t seem as euphoric, your lips pressed together solemnly when they weren’t on mine.

    You told me you were seeing someone. I don’t remember how I reacted other than allowing you to kiss me again. You had a girlfriend. We kissed. It was serious. And yet I kissed you again.

    I’m ashamed. I should have slapped you for leading me on. For being so careless with another girl’s feelings, and my own. I should have screamed something, or better yet, shuffle out of the booth and leave without saying one more word.

    Instead I kissed you.

    I can’t remember how but you came back with me in my car to my place. Did we have sex? I think we did. I felt alive. I felt like something was happening for me, something I wanted so long ago. Of course, what I really wanted was too far away, living on the other side of the world. But you’d do. Something had to do.

    Would your girlfriend feel better knowing my interest in you was mainly as a portal to channel my real object of affection? No, probably not.

    I didn’t let it end. We IMed each other constantly. We sexted. It was hot, I admit it. I would stay online for hours hoping you’d message me. I felt turned on, not only by your dirty words but also by our secret. I felt disgusted with myself and pleased with myself all at once.

    I saved all of our online conversations so I could reread them to myself later. I did, over and over. I felt in the middle of a story, a sex novel. In reality, I knew so little about you other than the fact you were cheating on your girlfriend and you made me laugh. One should have cancelled out the other but instead I kept IMing you, encouraging your infidelity.

    A week of this went by, the foreplay unbearable. The moment you messaged me to tell me to come over to your place, I said I’d be there in 20 minutes and I was out the door that very second.

    I ran over to your place to find an absolutely tiny, kitchen-less, chaotic studio room in Hollywood. It was awkward. There was nothing romantic about this, obviously, but also nothing sexy. You seemed indifferent towards me. I sat on the mattress on your floor for what felt like an eternity before you kissed me, then fucked me. The sex wasn’t the goal; it was the act itself of doing something you know you shouldn’t do that made us both wet.

    I would go back home before dawn. I’d daydream about you at work, at the gym, in the shower. I went over there quite a few times. You’d pause right in the middle of fucking me to ask me to take out my contacts and put on my glasses. I was supremely uncomfortable and yet yielded to your nerd girl fetish. We watched bad movies together. I bought you one for your birthday, a DVD I sought out just for you at Amoeba Records. We’d go get KFC or McDonalds, our dinners together, and you’d never pay for me. It wasn’t a date, why would you? Then I’d go back to your shitty nothing place and fuck you. I’d let you do whatever you wanted to my body, things I wouldn’t even let my previous boyfriend do to me no matter how much he prodded over the course of our 10 month relationship. But with you, all it took was minimal attention.

    Without protection. Several times.

    I am ashamed.

    I am ashamed that I liked it. It’s not that I don’t think I should get sexual pleasure from kink, but that I was getting it from someone so despicable.

    I’m also ashamed at how excited I got when you told me you and your girlfriend broke up. And how much it hurt me when you eventually revealed that she broke up with you. It means nothing if she broke up with you and not you with her. I thought you did it for me.

    I thought of you at my sister’s wedding on the east coast. You told me you missed me as you turned 30 years old, celebrating/mourning at a dive bar. You were drunk, and I was delighted. We sexted on the phone while I waited for my luggage at LAX. You told me you couldn’t wait to see me. That you think we’re going to get married. Followed by more dirty talk.

    I saw you as soon as I could. I went to your improv show. You saw me and acted like we were acquaintances, if even that – even when we were alone. You didn’t kiss me hello, you never grabbed for my hand. I went to Jumbo’s Clown Room with you and your buddies for your birthday, and spent most of my time staring at the barely clothed girls on the stage as you downed Sailor Jerry’s.

    I paid for your drinks.

    We slept together that night. Parking restrictions were over at 6am, which is when I left.

    I didn’t see you much after that. Where did you go? Weeks went by. Finally, we settled on a night for you to come by my place to watch the movie I got you for your birthday. I also got you tickets to a concert three months in the future – tickets that I presented to you but then hung onto, because subconsciously, I somehow knew this was not a love that would last forever, let alone til the end of the summer.

    After the movie, you told me you wouldn’t be sleeping over, you’d take the bus back home. I was honestly heartbroken. You said you had a really busy summer coming up. This was it, I thought.

    We had sex like porn stars that night. I truly believe you threw me around like a girl you’ve seen in an x-rated video, because I’ve seen those same videos. You never asked me if I was okay with what you were doing, you just did it, and I am ashamed that I was okay with these aerobic positions, and yes, the sex was so liberating and intense and titillating. But I was hurt that you didn’t think to ask me if I was okay participating. You just did whatever you wanted, and I went along.

    That was the last. And yet I yearned to keep you in my life. I could see how unhappy and hopeless you were underneath the jokes. You needed to be saved out of your depression. You needed a true friend. You told me over an awkward lunch about all the girls you had cheated on. I’m so stupid, I thought. You told me how wonderful I was, but that you were no good for anyone right now. That was true. I said I would be here for you. I wouldn’t let you down.

    I cast you in my new show I had worked so hard on. I wanted to be around you whenever possible, and since I was no longer giving you sex, the opportunities to see you were limited.

    I tried to get over the spell you had on me by signing up for online dating and going out with other men. I needed attention from someone, and you refused to give me any. The man I kept wishing you were was still far, far away, impossible to ever get back.

    I brought you to a show with my roommate and her boyfriend. You barely spoke. They asked me privately if something was wrong with you. That’s just how you are, I replied. Small talk was pulling teeth. I was miserable.

    The next day I met the man who would become my husband. The moment I met him, the spell was broken.

    Well, mostly.

    You see, I’m still here thinking about you, all these years later. But it’s not because I miss you. It’s not because I love you, I surely don’t, I doubt I ever really knew you at all.

    I am just so ashamed with myself.

    I’m ashamed at how much I let you get away with disrespecting me, your girlfriends, women in general. I'm ashamed at what I did to your girlfriend, because I'm responsible, too. I’m ashamed I gave my time and attention and body to someone who needs to grow up. I’m ashamed that some of our sex got me so hot.

    I’m so sorry to myself for allowing you to treat me like nothing for so long. I’m so sorry that I believed that I deserved that kind of behavior, that that was the kind of man I could get.

    My beautiful, wonderful husband has shown me that I am worth so much more. I demand nothing but the best from him, and he gives it to me.

    I am so proud that I have been able to make that change. I just wish I could have realized all of this on my own. But it’s better to get there with someone’s help than not at all.

    I hope you’ve grown up and found happiness, I do. I hope you’ve learned to love yourself so you can fully love someone else. I wish you the best.

    But I’ll still never drink Sailor Jerry’s ever again. You've ruined it.
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