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  • Two cracks in the red brick steps and the sun rose over the church steeple, but I sat on a stoop in an alleyway. I saw the ragged underbelly of the holy building, not the front whose unlocked doors welcomed sinners. Red bricks and two parallel cracks. I placed my feet over each one, hiding them. I had left someone sleeping in a bed alone while I drank water from a red cup and watched the sun rise orange.

    If I lay with my back to him, the one I left, his arm wrapped around me, I could almost pretend as he spoke that he was the one that I wanted. Their forearms were similar. His hand was a passable likeness to the palm that I knew much better and wished for. That was it. That was all -- a foot and a half of skin, bone, and muscle. Tendons, ligaments, blood cells, nerves. And when he kissed me, the one I left I mean, I remembered that he wasn't the man I imagined him to be. He kissed well and sweetly, but I felt absolutely nothing. Not a single amp of electricity. Instead, I thought of the way my veins lit up like a subway car traveling through the dark tunnels of a night city when I was kissed in a different way, by a different man – the one I wanted.
    I had gone to the one I left because I could, because I knew that he had thought about it and hoped that it might happen. I thought I would try it, a substitute that is. In a way, I wanted to know if the way I felt about the one I wanted was real.

    This was my experiment: The one I left was my control, and the one I wanted was my variable – anything could happen. I waited to see what would.

    And I loved him, oh how I loved him.
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