CHAPTER ENDINGS FROM A BOOK I’LL NEVER WRITE

Alternate titles:
A Collection of Real and Fake Stories: All Involving Hand-Holding
Repressed Trauma, but Make It Art
These Characters Aren’t Real, so Stop Guessing
Or Are They? Perhaps Partially

I.
Even in the dim of the theater, I was almost too aware of him. I can’t precisely describe the awareness, but it was as if the act of him sitting next to me made his presence an extension of my body. Our hands did that stupid thing you see in coming-of-age movies: dangling off the sticky arm rests, clammy palms “accidentally” grazing, every tiny shift electric-shocking up my arm. And the next thing you know, he’s holding my hand. It just happens. It feels like dying a thousand oxytocin-fueled deaths, like that Sublime sh-t you hunt for in English literature. He fingers the dips between my knuckles and I, glowing scarlet, turn to him in that pale cinema light and tease by whispering I’m not your f-cking piano. We do that throughout the whole movie. I don’t even remember how it ends; that’s how overwhelmed I was by his knee weighing against mine, the nectarous smell of him so new and already saturating my lungs. When I got home, I paced my room trying to catch my breath for an hour. I couldn’t shower. I just kept looking at the ticket stub, a madwoman unsteady and aching to time travel back to just hours before when I hadn’t yet felt the rush of him close to me. I wanted to experience that completely submerged, utterly inundated sinking feeling for the first time again. I still can’t cough it out of my lungs.

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