We'll Always Have Unfinished Business —​ And Damn*t I Still Miss You

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We'll Always Have Unfinished Business

There's too much between us to ever resolve.

I remember exactly how it started. You were giving me a back rub and you just kept going lower and lower. I kept making happy noises and you kept going, and soon you were down my pants (and then some).

You knew I had a boyfriend. You didn't care. I deserved someone who cared, but I wasn't thinking about that then: only your hands on me, that night and the nights after. I deserved someone who respected my relationship.

I said goodbye to my boyfriend. You didn't appear jealous. You didn't ask me to break up with him. Then I ducked back and met you, and you walked me to my car. You both almost drove up to my house on my birthday. We laughed about it afterwards: wouldn't that have been a sh*t show?

But what if it had happened, darling? Two boys both drive over 600 miles for their girl's birthday, only to find each other. Imagine the ugliness. Imagine the embarrassment. Imagine my parents. We were OK with that possibility then. I shouldn't have been.

We never admitted that possibility wasn't funny.

I moved out of the boyfriend's apartment and into yours, much to your roommate's surprise. We spent the summer smoking Marlboro Lights and having sex on your childhood fish sheets.

You snagged the cigarettes by the carton, stored them in the freezer, and gave me one whenever I asked. I never carried the pack. I never bought the cigarettes. But on those steamy summer mornings, pajamas and vodka mixers on the side porch, I got addicted. I smoked for ten years, long after you'd left and moved to Portland.

You hooked me on a habit that cost me thousands of dollars, gave me yellow teeth, made my breath and clothes and room smell, and later embarrassed me on a regular basis in front of my in-laws.

You were my best friend. We'd listen for people coming down the hall when we were having sex. Then we'd yell "Bring in the goat!" or "Oh, Sis, that's so hot!" or "Whip me harder!" We told people we were twins, then laughed at their faces when we made out.

You stood outside my window in the rain with a boombox playing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes," just like the movie Say Anything. I didn't know relationships could be performance art. (Relationships shouldn't be performance art, by the way, no matter how close you are.)

Then you started going on debate tournaments on the weekends. We should have been honest with each other. You always talked about a girl named Serenity, then finally admitted to doing body shots off her. We both know you and Serenity were doing more than body shots.

And me? While you were gone, I hooked up with your English roommate just to see what an uncircumcised penis looked like. It only stopped because one of your friends stopped by to see you, and I decided I couldn't do it.

I slept with the gorgeous art student, the one who made clay jars and left them everywhere. We did it in the art building, with my head banging against the pencil sharpener. We did it in his bed, quiet, sneaking so he didn't lose his job. He gave me a pot and told me he could smell when a girl was on her period. This fact didn't bother him in the least.

We should have been honest with each other. We never told. But all this is small, petty. 

You were gone for the weekend. I went out with two grad students, and the teacher who was supposed to come with us didn't show. The girl, Alex, drank one or two and ran. This left me alone with curly-haired Conley. I was a lightweight then.

He took me back to his apartment. He kept trying to get me back to the bedroom, but I said no. Finally I consented to shut him up. We were making out and I said, "No sex for Conley!" I said it just as he put it in, and I froze. He raped me all that night, with me drunk, too scared to do anything.

When I told you, you said I wasn't raped. I was just f*cking him. Maybe you did know about all those boys on the weekends.

I cried. I tried to get him fired from his job around students. I investigated my options for prosecuting him. They told me what every campus authority says: Date rape, hard to prove, will be a horrible experience for you, best forgotten.

Then you broke up with me because you said I cheated on you. With Conley.

You'll never admit any of the things I detailed. But mostly, you'll never face the fact that you gaslit a rape victim and broke up with her for it. Things went from relationship-as-performance-art to real life too quick, sweetheart. You couldn't handle it.

I still miss you. I still care about you. But we'll always have unfinished business.



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