In college, I dated a guy who threw great parties. He had friends who smiled at everyone and introduced themselves without hesitation. Conversations with them were hectic, always high speed and wildly creative. I remember talking about what kind of animal I would be, the kind of animals they were. It was like being on drugs, although I never was. They might have been. I remember being intimidated.
He also took great photos, so when he actually got out the camera, the parties were beautiful and well-documented. But he was focused on other things most of the time – like, fighting with me, or ignoring me, or being just affectionate enough for me to be ok with the fact that I was dating him.
After we broke up, we wanted to try to be friends. It has worked for me before, and since, but I probably should have known that it wouldn’t work then. One night – a back-to-the-future party, maybe? – I stole magnificent oversized glasses from one of his roommates. I was recently returned from a semester abroad and there was this other guy, a transfer student, who didn’t know about my history with one of our hosts. He flirted. It wasn’t terribly explicit, but my ex was pissed, felt it like citrus in a cut.
There is a picture of me then, captured to the side of another girl. You wouldn’t know, but the transfer student is standing behind me. You can see his foot on the coffee table in front of me, standing like a pioneer with one knee bent. I am skinny. I love the picture because it wasn’t of me. I was the goofy background with the magnificent glasses on my face.
We talked about it later. I said I was sorry. But it was already over.
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