It’s not you, it’s me. It’s not that I don’t feel this, it’s that how I feel doesn’t matter. It’s not that I don’t like you, didn’t want this to happen, didn’t plan to get that drunk and sit in your lap and, okay, maul you in a Burger King booth in front of that family with their four small children. It’s that I really am too old to do those things and also I have two small children of my own and a husband and I can still taste the fry oil in the back of my throat and it, and you, are giving me heartburn. It’s not that me sleeping with you was symbolic of who I used to be and the way I used to act, it’s that I’ve been trying desperately to not turn into something symbolic, something comfortable, something that fits easily on a key chain, something that everyone recognizes when they see it, something sticker-like and shiny, but not too shiny, like maybe a puffy little pink heart sticker on the back of a Mother’s Day card. It’s not that me sleeping next to you wouldn’t remind me of uncomfortable, brave, unrecognizable experiences and feelings, it’s that I don’t get to do uncomfortable, brave, unrecognizable things anymore. It’s not that you aren’t pretty, because you’re so pretty, so pretty I scooted next to you on that bench and asked for one of your fries, the only vegan thing on the menu, which was why we went there in the first place, and I’d been making fun of you all night for being vegan, but actually I find it so appealing, so beautiful that someone cares that much about anything anymore. It’s not that I wouldn’t cast this all away in a minute, because I would cast this all away in a minute, in a second, so fast my entire life would be an intertwined blur of the past rapidly decomposing and you and me driving down the highway in my runaway minivan, Indigo Girls and Dar Williams and KD Lang on your shitty old iPod shuffle, your hand on the back of my neck, my hand on your knee, above your knee, the part of your knee that tickles if I squeeze even a little. My hand on your knee and my heart in my throat.
Hannah Grieco is a writer and editor in Washington, D.C. You can find her online at www.hgrieco.com and on Twitter @writesloud.