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I met you at a concert a few months after I'd been dumped. I was standing there, watching the band, and I felt two very warm hands gently snake their way around my waist and squeeze. It should have been one of my bucktoothed, acne-faced friends. Instead, it was you: this freckle-faced redhead, a big girl but a cute one, and cuter still for giving me the unexpected hug. We talked—sort of: What's your name, where you from, what did you think of Titanic? "Give me your number," you purred. Then you pushed away through the crowd. "My fianc is going to be really pissed at me," you said. You had a ring on your finger, but you still called the next day. You told me how you hated your fianc, how cute you thought I was, all the things you wanted to do to me and wanted me to do to you—in detail. And you had a great voice. But still, slumped on the bed alone, staring at the ceiling and thinking about all the bad movies I'd seen that started like this, I asked, "Why me?" "I don't know," you said. I could almost see your finger hooked coyly in the corner of your mouth. Come see me, you said, at my mom's apartment. Okay, I said. You met me at the door in a light, loose gown—with nothing underneath. You'd done this a lot. On the couch, you said, you had a threesome with two bored neighbor boys. Your room was a blotchy mattress on the floor, one tiny window that looked out on a wall, and a full-length mirror with "You Can Do Anything" painted on it in red nail polish. You showed me your photo album: this friend committed suicide, this one turned tricks, here's when we carved each other's names into our legs. Then you led me to the mattress, but I pulled away and left. When you called the next day, I didn't answer. I took off for a week, up north, where you couldn't call me. When I came back, you were all over the answering machine. I deleted everything. I quit answering the phone. I tossed out your messages. And now I miss you something terrible.



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