a series of reasons why i have determined boys inherently do go to jupiter to get more stupider:

i am in the sixth grade and meghan miller is my best friend
my everyday at recess
sleepover weekends
matching pants from Limited Too
best friend, we do
everything together.
one day at lunchtime
tyler copenbender points his finger at the two us like
a loaded gun
“YOU GUYS ARE LESBIANS!”

to be fair
he was at least half right.

college summer reunion party
vaguely crowded living room,
swimming through keg-stand kisses
the fourth boy i ever dated is floating next to me
complaining about his new girlfriend,
about the horrible monotony of listening to her voice
(i am reminded of when he took my virginity on my eighteenth birthday)
but anyway,
when i say he should dump her
he backwards folds into himself like an old magazine poster because
she buys groceries for the house and then
she’s my ride to swim practice

sophomore year of high school
i break up with The First Boyfriend™ for jason monroe
captain of the soccer team, underclassman dreamboat jason monroe
two and a half months later
a myspace message
from a girl i’ve never met informs me
jason back-row-movie-theater-made-out
with her friend last friday and
apparently,
he doesn’t have a girlfriend.
in fourth period i ponder the honors english 2 irony of his last status update:
just because there’s a goalie
doesn’t mean u cant score 😉

senior year jason monroe
writes a novel in the back of my yearbook
declaring
his undying love for me.
(jason monroe and meghan miller got engaged last week)

boyfriend #3 is working at convincing me
we should “do it”
’cause Hailey and Ted from youth group already “did it”
(effectively comparing having sex with him to jumping off a bridge)
and i am fifteen years old trying to keep my head above water in the
ocean of a grocery store aisle
wondering when his hand in mine
started feeling like an anchor.
i am getting lost in an endless whirlpool of m&m varieties
thinking maybe if i milk my indecision
long enough,
maybe
he will stop asking.

they are the peanut ones.
a handful spilled on a desk across the room.

i can tell.
they’re a little thicker,
oddly-shaped, y’know?
they’re my favorite.
i am the captain of the university swim team,
one of my freshmen teammates
is tugging on my jeans for me.

come on, we have to go
her words are tiny brushes trying to
patch up the half-finished art project
i have become:
purple watercolors staining my arms
the smeared edges of my hips,
parts of me
screaming raw and pink.

the next morning
i think
in a house-party-kitchen instagram post
#thirstythursday
my glasses are tucked
into the front of his shirt.
his needle-point responses to my
terrified texts
sew up my mouth
to stash in his pocket
with my eyes:

ew

i think my bones might be
breaking between the pressure of my
friend Nick’s eyebrows pinching together
when he says
i thought you liked him

it doesn’t feel like i am drowning but
i think i can feel the tide sweeping back in
with the weight of his words–
can feel myself beginning to sink into the riptide reassurance that
this was something
that i wanted.

she tells me she loves him. there is
salt water
dripping from her lips–
not from the deep sea waves we
used to bring crashing through the gasping spaces between our mouths,
but rather each of our leftover
tide pool promises
now leaking from her eyes,
collecting in the lavender streaks beneath them that
match all to well
with the ones crowded on her collarbones like sea urchin.

i am swallowed in the ocean of knowing
i am not the one who left them there.

they tell me, boys will be boys.

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