He helped me find a vendor in Chinatown who sold tiny metal school buses. It didn’t occur to me to be in love with him until, one night as we lay on his bed talking, he draped an arm over my chest. On New Year’s Eve we went to different parties and I got home to find a letter on the bed. I will miss being with you tonight…
He was the first one I ever slow danced with, not counting the stranger who picked me for a snowball once at a bar mitzvah. I didn’t stop talking until the song was over and at the end of the song he said thanks. This is the beginning of something, finally, I must have thought.
I said yes to dancing but later it made me feel ashamed, as if I’d taken advantage of him. On the fourth of July, we sat on the roof to watch fireworks. It was cold and I snaked my arm through the sleeve of his jacket.
We played pinball and he insisted on paying, saying I know how to show a girl a good time. Then in springtime we were sitting in the courtyard.
I was the only girl in my linguistics class. Someone called, did I want to have dinner at the Russian restaurant. I agreed to go for a walk by the river. Years later, I saw him in front of a giant advertising balloon.
I was a sophomore and practiced what I would say the night before. Class was in his library office with two others. I made an appointment to see him because he was the only one I trusted.
He had spent the night in jail recently for beating his wife, and they were going to get a divorce. He pressed his new address into my hand, making me promise to call. I was afraid of his loneliness and wondered if he would ask me to marry him.
He was from Oklahoma. He had gray hair, and he was depressed. We watched a movie and in the middle of it he started to stroke my arm and then he said head up meaning that I should lift up my head.
He was my friend’s lover and I liked his body. I brought a bottle of vodka downstairs for my friends. Lying with my friend’s boyfriend I listened to the things he said to me. You are beautiful, you are so beautiful…
I was drinking too much sangria. In his living room he fiddled with the broken stereo. Two years he told a story about the best pickup line he’d ever heard. He apologized to me after the party, but I had no memory of saying it.
I was wearing a three-piece suit. He knelt on the floor in front of me. Later in his room I sat on the window seat and he flounced over and kissed me, then walked away.
He was a heartbreaker and I think it was understood that I loved him. One time he came over drunk and kissed my roommate. We watched movies together and did drugs. After college we stayed friends and I stopped resenting him for being my friend.
I sent him a black paper heart in the mail every week for six months, thinking it would make him love me. There was one day that I wrote six poems about him in my green journal. I thought it was barely credible, that I must really be suffering.
When I went skiing I couldn’t eat anything because I loved him so much. We played a game of Scrabble, he and I, and the tiles stuck to his hands. He whispered to the tiles, fuck you, fuck you. A decade later, we met for a date at the Empire State Building.
I saw him for the first time at a lecture, sitting far on the other side of the auditorium. I gave him a pipe and he gave me a Latin dictionary inscribed ad libros… puellae meae carae.
I went to his parents’ house on 89th and Lexington. I came with a suitcase and his mother didn’t bat an eyelash. We ate meatloaf sandwiches together. Then we ate salsa and carrot sticks. Later we went to a show at the Cooper-Hewitt and shared a cab downtown.
I wrote him fan mail. I knew where the interview was and pretended to meet them by accident. When I got there, he had been insulted and was in a black mood. But he remembered me. So you’re so-and-so from so-and-so as if he had been thinking about me lately.
He was a drug dealer and we were sitting next to each other on a bed. Someone was lying underneath it, tying his shoelaces together. He whispered something in my ear and I turned my head toward him quickly.
At the advice of friends, I invited him to the Christmas Cotillion. I ate salad for dinner and he ordered a garden salad, not realizing that there weren’t going to be any more courses. I saw him a few times afterward and wanted to apologize every time.