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Side Door

An Open Letter

Do you remember the night we met? We barely said a word, just danced. You asked for my name and I told you. I asked for yours, you replied, but the music drowned it out. Later you'd tell me how every time you looked at me I'd blush. Your fingertips pressed into my skin, your kiss was addictive. My heart was racing, no one had ever touched me like that, wanted me like that. I liked it.

I should have known better.

Do you remember our first time? I never expected it would happen like that, with a guy I'd known for three days on a resort in the Dominican. We were all nerves and hesitation on a queen-sized mattress. My hair was still wet from the shower, you were still drunk off the liquor. It hurt, you tried lube, it was cold, I was tense. Eventually we gave up. I thought you were mad at me, but you kissed the tears from my cheeks and held me as we fell asleep. I didn't want to let you go.

I got your number from a friend. The one who made sure I saw you that night, the one who gave me the condom, the one that nearly walked in on us. I remember the inhuman speed you used to get under the covers before he burst in, asking in inebriated slurs if I was "gonna fuck him?" or not. You replied to my text within seconds.

Remember when you drove to my house? You told me you shouldn't have to take the highway to see me, I laughed and stared at the GPS. We were in your Jeep. I liked that you drove a Jeep, I've always thought they looked cool, black ones especially. You always took wide turns, I used to tease you for it. You'd defend yourself by saying that Jeeps tend to flip if you're not careful, then bring up how I always drive one-handed. I'd tell you it's not my fault I only need one hand, I'm just that good.

We always met at your dad's house. I never saw your mom's place, you said you had less privacy there. Your room is in the basement at your dad's, we used the side door to get in. I got used to that route every time I went over. I'd park across the street behind your Jeep. I'd text you, "here," and wait for your response.

"Side door," as always. Sometimes I'd start walking there before you'd even sent it. I'd walk along the grass beside the driveway, down the path and towards the wooden gate. The sound of the metal latch cutting through the silence of the suburban court always made my heart race. I'd hold my breath, as if that would silence it somehow, then I'd wait. It wouldn't take long, a minute at most, the light would turn on, the door would open, and there you'd stand, occasionally accompanied by cats.

From there, it was down the stairs, through a small door, past the kitchenette and to the bedroom. Your room has a desk in one corner next to your closet. You have a TV, a computer and a game system - Xbox, I think. There's a zombie poster on one wall and a Superman poster on another, you said they were presents from Christmas or a birthday. You have a shelving unit cluttered with water bottles, trinkets and books. There's a double bed in the corner near the door, I'd take the side nearest to the wall. You sleep with a thin, navy blue comforter and two pillows. The bed frame squeaks now, my bad.

Remember the night you met my friends? I invited you to hang out with us. We were all sitting in the basement. You were standing awkwardly to the side before I said you could sit if you wanted to. You talked about your mom and your sister and about the summer internship your mom was offering you with her company. I sat on the couch with your arm around me while you drank something mixed with grape soda. As soon as we were alone, you pulled me close and tilted my face towards yours. I don't know the exact mixture you drank, but it tasted amazing on your lips.

It was a short drive from my friend's house to yours, about seven minutes, but that wasn't fast enough for you. I'd barely left the street when your hand started rubbing my inner thigh, it wasn't long before your hand slipped under my leggings. My breathing was heavy as my nails dug into the steering wheel. I willed myself to focus on the road, keeping the right speed, watching the lights. It's only a misdemeanor if you're caught. When we got to your house, you kissed me in the middle of the street, your hands under my sweater, my body pressed against yours.

Remember the night your parents were out? It was the first time I'd used the front door. We stood in the kitchen while you mixed Kraken and root beer. We talked about graduation and when we were kids. You told me about the time you'd gone to see your first play. Before the start of the show, you overheard a couple talking a few rows down. One of their names was the same as yours. It hadn't occurred to you that other people shared your name and you spent the whole show trying to catch a glimpse of them. Your mom stopped taking you to shows after that.

We moved to your room. I was teasing you over something you'd said, but you knew I was only trying to provoke you. You were more aggressive when I pissed you off, and with no one else in the house, we could be as loud, or as rough, as we wanted.

We wasted no time after that. There was biting, scratching, choking, hitting, you pulled my hair and left bruises on my skin. You weren't afraid to hurt me and I craved the sensations. As you ran your nails down my back you laughed. "You really are a sucker for pain, aren't you?" It was more of a statement than a question. I could only nod in response.

Do you remember the first time I got high? We were in the Jeep, windows slightly opened. It was the beginning of August when the air was still warm, even at night. You coached me through how to inhale properly - slowly, trying to get the breath down to the bottom of your lungs - and made me practice it a couple times, just to be sure. I used your elephant pipe instead of the bong, it seemed easier to use.

It didn't burn like I thought it would, only a slight itching at the back of my throat, but I did cough. A lot. I tried sipping water, but it only got worse. I felt like I was hyperventilating. Every breath would get caught before it could reach my lungs. I was starting to panic, but then you leaned across the middle console and kissed me. Instantly, my body relaxed and my breathing picked up.

My nerves were on fire that night. Every touch sent an electric current through my body and left me wanting more. I could barely form a sentence, all I knew was I needed contact and I needed it immediately. The longer we went, the more sensitive I'd become. By the end of it, the brush of your thumb was enough to send me over the edge.

You were the first to fall asleep, as usual. I didn't mind though, you looked cute when you were sleeping. It was one of the only times I could really look at you. The shape of your lips, the mole under your left eye, the way your hair curled. You never liked your hair, I guess that's why it's always cut short. You told me you straightened it in the front every morning so you could gel down the curls, but I never understood it. I liked the curls. I liked you.

Do you remember telling me about her? It was two weeks after you'd met her, but you'd waited to tell me, just in case. The text read, "I've kinda been seeing this girl." You told me we shouldn't see each other anymore, that even though the sex with her was "shitty," it wouldn't be a good idea. Like I was supposed to feel better about the fact that you'd deemed her more dateable, because hey, at least I'm the better fuck. You didn't try to correct me when I said you'd been using me as a backup plan, you never told me why.

Remember the last time we saw each other? We were at a party, a Halloween party to be exact. I was just starting to light my third bowl when you stumbled outside. I didn't think much of it at first, I'd barely looked up at all. Then I heard it, the unmistakable sound of someone retching. You went on for some time, hunched over at first, then standing against the fence, then sitting, leaning on your forearms. You looked like you were praying. I wanted to help you, but I didn't know how.

There are still questions I wish that I could ask you - Why me? What did I do wrong? Why wasn't I good enough? - but I know you couldn't answer them, even if you wanted to. It used to consume my thoughts, preoccupy my mind whenever I wasn't busy, I'd do anything to distract myself. For a while it was hookups, it was a way to stop thinking for a few minutes. I practically had it down to a routine. Move the right way, say the right things, make the right sounds, swallow don't spit, say you had a good time, and leave. It was never the pleasure I was after. I just wanted to feel wanted, even if it was temporary.

Really, I just wanted to be wanted by you.

And I fucking hate it.

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