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

Compromised by five different varieties of sketchy juice, S* asked me with bambi eyes if I’d ever, in the history of our knowingness, had “real feelings” for him. Almost too enthusiastically, I said yes because how could I not? My feelings were always real, especially with him; in retrospect he should’ve known that. Thin frame painted by the glowing lamp posts outside, he ran his fingers down my arm and professed I had the smoothest skin he’d ever known and then only after the goosebumps formed did he tell me I kissed funny and I lost sleep over that for months, even when I started kissing other people. In the morning our eyelids fluttered open and he put on The Edge of Seventeen and I felt seventeen, the kind of seventeen I never got to live. I clutched his hand and he did mine and I thought he was into me, that to him I was as sound as gospel. But he dropped me off after sunrise, hurriedly mumbled something along the lines of see ya around and left me pondering, yearning for days. The next day, a text: I have your necklace. It’s on my nightstand. I told no one about it. I didn’t care about the necklace. I wished I could’ve left more of me behind. I wished he had loved me, even just for a little bit, an afternoon or an evening or even just in a sentence. For a few hours I felt like his stereotypical indie film girlfriend, the one who’d write poetry about his dark eyes and dark hair and how he wasn’t my type but that didn’t matter, especially with him; I could be his manic pixie dream girl for good. To him I meant fling, to me he meant forever. I imagined meeting his mom, sitting on his family couch, resting my head on his dog’s stomach, flipping through the plastic album sleeves of his baby books. Who does that after a failed affair? I can’t watch The Edge of Seventeen anymore. I can’t think about that window view, or of “real feelings” and all of the light waking up and me silently begging stay, stay asleep just a little while longer, don’t walk me home, not now, not yet, not ever.

*S: redacted. His name doesn’t even start with an S. He might not even be real. Stop guessing.

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