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Dinosaur Jr.

I was standing behind a man wearing a Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt. On the back were a list of tour dates and cities from the Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness tour that took place in 1995. He looked young. I was born in 1985. I was nine years old when Kurt Cobain killed himself, on my birthday (April 5) I would later learn. This seemed significant to me. It still does.
It was now March 22, 2017, and the ‘90s were most certainly alive in this music hall. There was a mixed gathering of flannel and facial hair waiting for Dinosaur Jr. to come on stage. I had bought a ticket because I knew it would be an important show. It would be important for me to finally hear “Freak Scene” live. I did and then suddenly I realized it was 11 p.m. I found myself leaving the show early to go to Taco Bell so I could have something to eat while taking a bath before going to bed.
I walked into Headliners Music Hall as the opening act Easy Action were half way through their set. I immediately felt like an …

Bad Habit

“You think too much.”
I will never forget the way he said those words to me. His ability to make me feel less than human was his super power.
His back was turned away from me as he began to undress. I was standing alone in the bedroom of someone’s parent's house wondering if what he said was true.
Twenty minutes earlier I watched a teenage girl come out of the bathroom with her boyfriend.
“You ever do coke?” she asked.
“No…” I said as if in slow motion.
“Good, it’s a bad habit,” she said.
My bourbon and ginger was flat and almost empty. I made another drink, waiting for him to get back from the store. I walked outside with the couple so they could smoke cigarettes and I could sit by the dying fire.
“So, how do you know him?” the girl asked me.
“We met in high school,” I said. “I used to go see his band play.”
“Oh ok, so are you two…?”
“We’re just...friends,” I said, with an ounce of hesitation.
We’ve never been ‘just friends,’ I thought. But there wasn’t a conversational diagnosis for whateve…

Ten

Jackson He drove a red truck. I was a senior in high school. He was older and stilled lived at home with his parents. The first time we did it, he wouldn’t take off his shirt. The second time, the phone rang. He stopped and picked it up to look at the caller ID. He didn’t answer. I thought that was nice.
JeremyWe met for the first time in person at a greasy 24-hour diner. He had long eyelashes and pale blue eyes. I was still living at home. We mostly hung out in his dorm room. We used to rent adult films and fall asleep. I was convinced he was the one.
PatrickHe was in a band when I was in high school. I had wanted him to notice me. When he finally did, I wished he hadn’t. Even from hundreds of miles away, he knew what he could do. This went on for years. I blocked his number last year.
DavidHe was from a small town and would drive to come see me. He liked heavy metal and The Eagles. That should have been a sign right away. We would end things over coffee and eggs at a Waffle House. I ch…

The Same Bed

He doesn’t know I’m awake and that I’m thinking about his hair. His oil black hair and how my hands would feel running through it.
When our toes met underneath the covers I feel my body whimper. I have an urge to gently move my cold body towards his, but this goes unseen and remains useless in the black light of the hour. I wait for my heart beat, moving quietly without skipping a beat as if expecting her to speak.
His snoring sends waves swimming through my spine. I toss and turn. I feel my mouth smile. My eyes shut tight as if trying to making sense of how we got here.
I tell myself we are just two people sleeping in the same bed. And then I wonder when it becomes more than that.
If I thought to move my body closer to his and wrap my arm around his stomach, I also thought his body might push me away. As if everything I touch immediately turns to sand.
If he is dreaming, I wonder what he is dreaming about. I am laying still, wishing for heavy eyes. I dream of nothing.
There are dog sounds…

What I Want You to Know

I have never had poison ivy. I didn’t spill flour all over my legs. The only birthmark I am aware of is underneath my left breast. My skin has been burned because I don’t like the touch of sunscreen grease. No, I haven’t been painting recently.
Do you remember when she told me she wouldn’t be my friend because I looked like Michael Jackson? I do. Were you there when the young boy walked past me at the pool and exclaimed my legs were disgusting?
I used to see you sipping sugar through red and yellow straws. I have felt your eyes. I looked forward, and sometimes I looked at the ground because it was there I felt safe in the cracks of the cement. My heart would linger and wonder what you saw. But I knew and kept it to myself.
I had to learn what the word ‘pigment’ meant. I was starting to grow into my body and was immediately interrupted. Clothing became another hurdle, especially shorts. They were complicated and made me nervous. If only I would buy boxes full of khaki colored Band-Aids. I…

There Must Be Something Wrong With Me*

*formerly titled Say Anything
“We have to find a way to make you less afraid of me.”I didn’t know how to respond. I felt my heart drop, and let the weight continue to sink. We were standing in the kitchen making dinner, both of us barefoot. I was leaning in the doorway as if I couldn’t step any closer. He had finished cooking the chicken and moved over to sauté the greens. I was staring at his black shirt, wishing I had the courage to stand behind him with my arms around his body. That’s what normal women would do, I told myself. There must be something wrong with me. I don’t have anything to say.I grabbed a couple plates from his cabinets. When I turned around to hand them to him, he was there. We briefly embraced and he kisses me. It felt reassuring. My hand went under his shirt and I let it slide softly across his stomach. He pushes back laughing because he is ticklish. I smile because in this moment I was myself. We let go and put some food on our plates. In the living room we sat …

Difficult Information

            This was in January. I was bar hopping with a friend when he approached me. I was wearing a black dress with purple and gold fishnet stockings. We had met before, knew a lot of the same people. We were hitting it off and after a couple drinks, we decided to go dancing. He followed my friend and me to the next bar and one thing led to another. He asked for my number at the end of the night. I was surprised when he texted the next day. We saw each other casually a handful of times throughout the next few weeks. It was reassuring to know my heart could still beat the way it used to.              It was late on a Tuesday night in February when I got his text. I hadn’t heard from him all night when suddenly, I have herpes. My ex-wife didn’t get it and hopefully you won’t either. I wondered how to approach this. It would be the first time I would have to expose my secret. Even though I hadn’t even so much as kissed this guy I didn’t question the timing of this message. Since I’m…