How I met them: at Wawa (agh), on Tinder, on Tinder again, six months later (aghhghh), through mutual friends, in class, in the 4th floor of DRL, the math lounge, of all places. 

How I loved them: well, badly. Through all the amateur poetry. Why was it so hard to write about them? And why did every attempt turn out so badly? All I wanted was to remember everything. 

Like being with W last spring. The sweat collecting on his forehead like diamonds. Better than diamonds. I didn't know then that beauty never needs a metaphor. But anything worth writing about is also worth writing badly about. And failing in love does not mean failing at love. 

After sex: "What are you thinking about?" 


Nights in X's bed with the white curtains around his windows. Strength and patience rising off him as he sleeps. His chest. His shoulders. The fine dark hair of his stomach. God he's so lovely that just looking at him makes my chest hurt slightly. I never want to forget this. 

In six months he'll be in California, joining the ranks of professionals who are certain they will soon own luxury cars and at the same time manage to be good. 

Now I know that every person has many people inside them, little people each with their little ambitions, their exhaustion, their favorite way to eat an egg. 

Now you stare at the strangers walking in front of you on Locust, and feel the space between their fingers, which is love, a small space. 

And the guy from the math lounge wasn't my type, I don't like loud talkers, but he was so committed to his notions of symmetry and continuity, when I heard him talk about stochastic homogenization I wanted to press my mouth to his, my life to his life. Am I poly? Am I bi? Wrong questions. Here's a slightly less wrong question: How to kiss a poisson process? 

After sex: "What's your favorite number?" 

"I like powers of two. They make sense to me." 

"What sense?" 

"Like, 16, eight. They open up. Like trees. They're not rare, but they have their own natural beauty."

I met the first boy I ever had sex with at camp in May where I was the best writer in the workshop. If I had been just a little bit better, I would have realized that there were people my age, many people, producing work of a caliber beyond my comprehension. On one of the last days of camp he asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. I said no. I thought, people don't just date other people because they're there and you are too. 

And last week X said, "Let's just be friends." And smiled. Then there's the moment where he looks at me, and I'm supposed to say something. But I just want to breathe in what he breathes out. How to kiss a person's breath without kissing the person? Does everyone else think this much about sex? Does everybody else think this much about nothing? 

Now here's the real question, and if only STEM people would explain this instead of inventing new types of cars. Tell me where are all the people I've loved. And left. And who have left me. And how does love blow through life. And how does life still blow through time. And how does time blow through hair. Because I will always love you. Even when I don't. Even if I cross the street to avoid you. Whoever I'm with. Wherever we are. 

Now W and I are stalled at an elevator with nothing to say to each other. And if he'd asks what I'm thinking, I won't say, "Nothing." I'll say, "How incredible that we used to be in love." And remember that time when we were unhappy in that tiny room and it was all horrible? What if it wasn't? What if I'm thankful that it happened? That I did it with you? 

Today I'm 21. Soon I'll be 22. Soon May will be here again. Soon my nights with X will be gone. We know where this goes. Okay, days, come in. I’ve been practicing for this my whole life. I ate a peach this morning, I remember the sound it made at the first bite, like clicking teeth while kissing. "I won’t be your something," the peach said. "Okay," I said, and kissed it.