By the time you receive this, I’ll be eight, going on nine days late. I know you’re hoping that I’ll let you know why I’m gone this time. Are you pregnant? Am I just a flakey asshole who can’t be counted on, like your sad friend Jill, who always texts twenty minutes before you’re supposed to meet for drinks to say she’s feeling “all headache-y” and “just really not in a place where she can be around people”?

You’re a determined woman — when I didn’t show up, you spent the week googling “breast tenderness” and “earliest symptoms of pregnancy” just like you did in June. You’ve always been curious, although not necessarily great at retaining information or evaluating sources. You skip over hits from the Mayo Clinic and WebMD. Nobody writes about their “hubby” or drops in a perfect bouncing animated emoticon the way they do on the forums at Café Mom. There’s no grit, no drama! Just a clinical list of symptoms, which, divorced from their context, could be indicative of anything. Ah, that just kills me.

If you finally decide that the sex with your Zoosk date three weeks ago couldn’t have gotten you pregnant, you’ll try to blame my absence on PCOS or endometriosis or some other “reproductive issue.” I get that. But you haven’t actually been diagnosed, you know? That nurse practitioner you saw in May, while kinda slut-shamey and way too into Taylor Swift, is a licensed medical professional. You’re an Event Coordinator/Administrative Assistant/Ping-Pong Table Cleaner at a startup in Long Island City and your MFA in poetry is collecting dust in your parents’ closet. Get it together.

I remember the first time I went away for a while, back when you were sixteen. Honestly, I’m still a little hurt that you didn’t try to find me. Not to bring up something that happened thirteen years ago, but c’mon, I was gone for an entire six months. Instead of concern for my well-being, what did I get? A whole fat lotta nothing! No cryptic posts in your Xanga, no notes passed to your BFF Kelly in AP History, not even a casual, “Oh, I wonder where my period is?” in passing to your mom. Nothing! It really stung. What kind of partnership is that?

Look, I want to clear the air. I’ve taken the fall for a lot of your bad behavior over the years. Every time a pair of low-rider jeans didn’t fit, every time you were too lazy to go to a warehouse party in Bushwick, it was all “Ugh, period bloat.” And what about last month when you drank an entire bottle of wine, sat on your parents’ couch, and cried through both VHS tapes (Parts 1 and 2) of Titanic on a weeknight? That was not my fault. But did you care? Nooooo. You told Kelly about it later, blamed me, and then the two of you just laughed and laughed.

Well, the joke’s on you, sister. I’ve had enough. I don’t wanna be the fall guy anymore. I have goals of my own! I won’t be restrained by some corporate 28-day schedule. No offense, but I’m a real artist, not some sell-out. I don’t “sometimes try to scratch something out on the subway after work.” I’m devoted to my craft. I live the work of the greats (Kim Kardashian’s period, the late flow of Ruth Bader Ginsberg (RIP)). Do you think those ten-minute long contraction-like cramps that keep you doubled over in the Trader Joe’s checkout are just thrown together last minute? No! It takes weeks of prep to get your pelvic, uterine, and lower back muscles to spasm in concert! If you think that perfect jawline constellation of cystic acne is just something I splashed all over your face with my eyes closed, you’re naïve about the process. The placement of those pus-filled pores requires inspiration and intuition. I watched a Ted talk about creativity last week. I know what I’m talking about here.

I realize we’ve had our differences, but let’s not stay mad, ok? I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I’m going to be gone a little longer than usual. I’m worried about you. You’ve been really tense. You stress-ate an entire bag of two-month-old Reese’s pumpkins last night to deal.

But seriously, don’t even try to blame that on me. Because I’m your period. And I’m still not fucking here yet.