There's Only One Before

Using a line from What Began Us by Melissa Buzzeo as a writing prompt

"there will be no fire here. you are shaped for clearing."

you have a shape. you are one. or you were and now you're something new and i'm trying to figure out if my future circle fits in your past square.

i mean, what the fuck? who fucking cares if we fit. it's old, this conversation this table these drinks. old. and i'm digging around in my pocket smoothing it out under pants. occupying my moving always tense and folding hands. youve always had too many questions, wanted to much, youve always been too too much and one day youll see.

why is this about you? i write from something a line of words i didnt write but when i read i saw and so now i write. and here you are. i'll shut you out, make this the last line that references you.

i remember the first time i had sex after i was raped. i remember that feeling they say survivors feel: that floating above and watching and feeling both bored and a little scared.  there but not there. feeling? no. not feeling. it was all so generic. he hovered above, he broke a sweat, my eyes were heavy and nearing closing, a couple of beers only.

and then:

old high school boyfriend was now a new boyfriend again, 2001. rewinding with the hopes of it actually being a fast forwarding. fast forward me into a place where my skin looks different and the memory of rocking on top is something i have forgotten.  

in high school i kept a list of each guy that touched me. it was a long list. but short in content, always the same, there was the familiar back and forth, passing notes and maybe he likes me? then the kiss. then me wanting to crawl back out of this couch i had sunken into. folded into by fast hands. not quite right, could have been a different story but it wasnt. my teenage brain: i knew that queers went to hell and i didnt quiten agree but i wasnt quite sure and i wasnt quite ready to burn. so i was here. but my eyes kept track of that one kid who loved glitter eyeliner and slipping white socked feet into tight heels and something about him was beautiful and we would draw each other in art class. mirror between us. just out of reach but i could see him.

i wanted their names on a list. i wanted to remember, wanted them to exist somewhere else beyond me. document it, scratch some out and place a star by the others.


would drive me out to parks, sit under stars. for the first time i felt that vibration of connection run through me when our hands were resting on the center console. id drive roads late at night to get back to that finger fuzz.

im all over the place here. what im trying to say is that for the longest time i believed i wasnt alive, not like other people and i knew it so they probably knew it too. they could smell it.

you arent queer and she tricked you and thats disgusting. did you know she was a woman? did you did you.

my mid-twenties. im trying to map out the ways my body took steps to clean. whole. new. how far it had come. we just werent always on the same page; my body, my fingers, synapses here and there, firing. everyone wanted me to be clean. how do you feel today? better? how about now?

it was put on a plate thin like lox and they ate it. did you like it? did you did you?

one time he took me to a park (not that he from before. another.). its like those stories you read, somewhere remote, no one around, he lays you down on a picnic table. for a second you think this is romantic but then you realize hes pushing asking begging again. flash to scared but then back to not because you know him. dont you want him to be your first? he wants to pretty please wants to be your first. not today and you are able to lead him back to his car. lead him down country roads and he will drop you off at your moms and you'll say thanks lets do this again see you at school on monday call me?

then, a year later i bet you buy a plane ticket. hes in pittsburgh youre not, go and hit some golf balls. miss you miss you miss you. aol chat me and give me your answer.

pittsburgh: theres a hot tub, theres a king sized bed, theres the first orgasm youve ever had and its with him and youre gripping the bed frame and youre opening. its in your thighs and youre proud of yourself after.

im sure youre not following. im not sure im following but who ever decided these moments live in some sort of linear paradise. ive strung this from start to finish on one long string, ear to ear. im trying. hold one end for me?

but then next year theres a frat house. hes in a frat? gross but true. theres a room of smelly dude shit and lines of coke and all these people, clamoring, you say no but he says yes. falling the night before ripping gold pants and youre wearing them again but thank god you are in fashion school because you turn that tumble into rows and rows of horizontal rips. intentional. you look good and he knows it and actually, its been too long. hes just decided. too. long. hes just going to keep asking dont i know who he is? dont i get that he waited and waited and waited for the green light? a flash, like light maybe. youll finally go green. green glowing out of your ears and your fingertips and your vagina. but there was no green. you didnt give him green. 

maybe if you close your eyes and soften. the NOs will fill the room, right? blow clear up through the ceiling and then peter out into something else. 

but lets be honest, all this, its not you. its me. i bet youd know better dont you know better? you never sleep in a mans bed dont you know that? why would you do that. i thought this only happened to other kinds of girls. im sad for you, wish you knew better. it makes much more sense now. it must be so hard to hold these things in your body. you're on the wrong path, anyone can see. off the right on the wrong. maybe you want to come to church? it must be so hard and you dont have faith, something solid to stand on. ok, more therapy. you arent queer you just need more therapy. you arent queer you just need more therapy. did you tell her about the rape what did she say. 

here we are lets pretend this now: youre my high school crush and we are two boys touching under covers. youre new here. you have a particular glow, one ill stick around for. but its now, not then, fuck me back to there? i had a certain something then, wouldnt you agree? there will be a fire here. a sweetness. can you taste it? dont stop until you can taste it.