It’s just five in the morning—the sun’s made no plans to rise—but Sharon’s shift at the 24-hour McDonald’s two blocks away ended early, and all evidence of my presence has to disappear before she gets back… including me.
I shouldn’t have come. I’m not the one to console him while he cries about his unlovable wife. And I should have told him enough after his third shot. Better yet, I was supposed to be gone before his homeboy arrived with the weed. Instead we three hotboxed in his car parked on the street, and I got so high I couldn’t feel the ground beneath me. Or his lips when he kissed my neck once back inside the apartment. When he slipped his cool fingers under my shirt, looped his belt around my ankles.
“This isn’t right,” he said, but pressed inside me anyway, and I cried into his oversize shirt while still grappling for his hips, needing to feel him closer, telling myself again and again, This is wrong. You’ll never get over him if you keep fucking him…
He sits at the end of the bed, fully dressed, his back turned to me. He lights a cigarette, blows smoke toward the spinning ceiling fan overhead. I wish he’d just look at me, assure me that we’re still good, that we can at least remain friends.
You know that will never work, that nagging voice of reason tells me.
I shake into my too-tight skinny jeans, denim scratching against dry skin. I try to ignore the images that arise when my breasts slap against my chest as I bounce to pull the jeans over my hips. His teeth, his tongue, the urgent ins and outs of his strokes. Last night never happened, I tell myself, if we want it to remain a secret.
Only, I can’t find my bra. I pat my hair for loose ties, hanging Bobbi pins. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I look like a fucking slut with no shame, and it’s how he treats me.
“Will you walk me out?” I cross my arms over my chest, tuck my hands under my armpit, try to conceal my sagging breasts, scrapping at my last bit of dignity.
He takes another drag, blows, nods, still avoids eye contact. I follow him down the hall to the front room, where he checks the window before twisting the deadbolt.
“I’ll call you,” he says with a shrug. He leans against the open door and drapes his arm over the top.
Don’t answer. All he has to offer is drunk, lonely sex, that voices says again, but in my heart, I want to stand on my tiptoes and stretch for his lips.
He dips his head, pecks me like birdseed, so quick it’s easily swallowed and forgotten. He scans the parking lot for his wife’s car, then pushes me along. The door is slammed shut and locked before I can take the first step off the stoop.
Part of me wants to stay here. Part of me wants to be caught, so I can stop living this lie. I’m drained of dreaming a fantasy that my love whom I’ve loved since high school will finally love me back.
I don’t always participate in these types of challenges, but this Throwback Thursday First Heartbreak prompt was too tempting to ignore. Plus, the topic is pretty on brand with my Lovely Curses identity, so here goes…
1. How old were you when you had your first heartbreak?
2. Who broke your heart—first names only?
Nope, not doing it. His name is too unique. And I know he’s read my blog before (because he told me so), which means his wife has read my blog before (because she doesn’t trust him no farther than she can throw him), and there may have been some overlap between when we “officially” broke up and when they “officially” started dating, and she may have called my phone and left a threatening message once before…
All in all, I have no tolerance for that kind of drama in my life anymore, so he shall remain nameless.
3. Do you remember how the breakup happened?
We’d broken up and gotten back together so many times over the course of almost 4 years I’ve lost count. But the first time was through text. And the last time was through text. Matter fact, I think all of our breakups were through text.
4. Did you have a ring or token of your love? Did you return it?
I still have a necklace he gave me for my birthday—well, the pendant; the chain broke years ago. I don’t keep it because he gave it to me. I keep it because I like the necklace.
5. Did you think this was true love?
I don’t think I ever once referred to him as my true love. The person I’m with now—who apparently uses a burner account to follow my blog, and I still haven’t figured out which one of my followers he is—is my true love.
He was my first love though.
6. Did you play any sad songs to soothe the pain? If so, do you remember the name of the song?
Tinashe’s In Case We Die mixtape was pretty much the soundtrack to our roller coaster relationship for me. From beginning to end, every single song painted a snapshot picture of that particular scene in time—pre-getting together, after getting together, post-first breakup, getting back together, post-second breakup, etc.—evoking a different emotion each time. Every. Single. Song. It was as if she was in my head when she wrote them.
The songs I always had on repeat were “The Last Night on Earth,” “That,” “Boss,” “I Tried,” “This Feeling,” “Stumble,” “Crossing the Cosmos,” “Biding My Time,” and “Chainless.” “Stumble” was hands down my favorite. The lyrics were a perfect description of our constant back and forth cycle, nothing ever changing.
If you’d like to re-experience that tumultuous relationship with me, here’s the playlist (“Stumble” is track 10, by the way).
7. Were your parents sympathetic?
Nope. Not in the slightest. They were glad to finally be rid of him.
8. How long did it take you to get over it all?
It wasn’t until he got married that I finally decided to let go of the possibility of getting back together for the millionth time. He was never good for me, but it took me several years to realize that and my worth. He still tried to hang on to a friendship, but like I said, his wife is petty, and I have no tolerance, so I completely cut them off.
(Side note: A song that quickly became my anthem in the “post-final breakup, let’s be friends but not tell my wife” stage was Dua Lipa’s “New Rules.”)
I still write stories about that time in my life, though. The sadistic writer in me is always drawing inspiration for a new “lovely curse” from my past hurt. Just call me fiction writing’s Taylor Swift. None of my exes are safe. And I’m sure my current love has recognized himself in some of my stories too.
9. Do you remember this person fondly or is it someone you prefer to forget?
I have some fond memories, others not so pleasant, and one that will forever haunt me no matter how hard I try to forget…
10. After all was said and done, was it for the best or did you remain longing for a love lost?
Despite some of the questionable decisions the characters in my stories make, I have 100% moved on with my life. I ain’t crying over that ***** no more. 😛
She traces the stretch marks down her side in the full-length mirror. They’re the width of her finger, have spread further since the birth of her fourth child. She sucks her teeth. So much of her body has changed since she was young, thin, and…
Startled, she spins around to find her husband standing in the threshold of their bedroom door, smiling and with eyes of adoration.
“How long have you been watching me?”
“The last 12 years.”
He turns her to face the mirror, embraces her—caressing the stretch marks—and presses his lips into her neck.
Written for the Word of the Day Challenge. The word of the day is “stretches.” I didn’t quite use the word, but this is the story that came. 🙂
Let's fall in love
the way the leaves
fall from the trees,
how eagles nosedive
toward the earth when
they select their mates—
lovers' embrace, full
trust that before we
collide with the ground
you will swoop me up
in your angel wings and
carry me to heaven's gates.