The Dark Place

by Lauren Sharkey

My mother hated you. This made sense. Dad offered you a beer on our deck, and you both laughed when you refused, “Not me – I’m driving.”

On the same day, you called me Kim and played Coldplay as we headed east. Mom caught your slip and made me cry about it later. Did you know X&Y was the first album I purchased for myself?

You said it wasn’t over. You said you were getting a promotion. You said you’d visit me. You said I was yours. You said you’d call me back.

I wanted to wait for you, but he found me. He found me and made me love him. I don’t know why your friend request remains unanswered.

I picked up your call when I thought he couldn’t hear. You were upset I hadn’t called – asked if there was someone else. I realized then I was the liar. He stood in the doorway. I said I had to go.  I didn’t wait for your reply.

Who was that? A friend. What friend? A friend from home. A guy? Yes.

He was furious. He was jealous. He knew what kind of guy you were. You never called again.

You asked me not to write about you, but this story belongs to both of us.

*

You were the first person I called when the bruises began to fade. I took the train out to Ronkonkoma, and wore skinny pants from The Gap – the Audrey Hepburn ones. The sun was setting as we made eye contact on the platform. The years hadn’t aged you, and I was grateful.

I cried while you fucked me and laughed when you told me you were seeing an Asian girl that reminded you of me. I didn’t love you then, but I wanted to.

On the train ride home, I hugged the parts he’d damaged only a few weeks earlier. I begged the wounds to stay, wanting to keep a piece of him with me. That night, he came to me in a dream and raped me. It was still better than anything you gave.

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