For a minute there, sex is dripping all over everything.

I am wearing it like earrings. It’s in the popsicle I allow to melt all over my arm, white and snow-cold. I have never tried to get a man’s attention before in my life, usually I am doing the exact opposite. I only know how to do the exact opposite, but I am trying trying. It only seems to make him hate me.

My throat is closing up with paranoia and shame and I can’t eat. At meals I flee from him, stuff my face next to other men then crawl shamefacedly back to him. Certain my body is rounder, certain sex is scrawled red across my cheeks even brighter than before. Certain he’s fucking these girls who look like models while I am struggling to stay upright beneath his gaze.

I am wearing the sexy swimsuit I brought as a last resort because the other one won’t stay up over my breasts in the water. I probably flash a group of other boys. It is an accident but nobody cares whether the lascivious intentions they read in women are real or feigned. That, and my breasts are large, and I talk about sex when I get nervous which is a lot of the time. Soon I am a slut by reputation, which puts me somewhere between a laughingstock and a vaginal sleeve.

I suppose maybe I am a slut. I have sex when I feel like it and only when I feel like it. I once worked at a sex toy shop. I have an account on several BDSM websites.

I am an empowered and responsible woman, which men tend to think is a good thing right up until they’re interested in dating me.

The first guy I really fell for dumped me for the girl who lived one floor above him. He liked me so much he’d get turned on just looking at me, but she actually put out. She was also tiny and blonde whereas I was growing bigger daily as my body shed the anxiety of many years of starvation.

I learned some things then, about skinny Jewish nerds who think my activism is sexy. I learned that I’m the girl they fuck, and any love they feel for me is contingent on me reading their minds and being their fantasy come to life. I learned that what they feel when I refuse to act like a scripted creation from their own private fantasies, is rage. I learned that rage will cause them to betray and humiliate me. I learned it was my destiny to go along with this. To be the tree against which they sharpen their claws.

I stand up and blow on the back of his head simply to turn him on. It is the worst and bravest thing I have ever done.

He wants to sleep with me. He doesn’t show up. He says I never should have asked. I want to strangle him and I’m not being metaphorical, I want the person I used to see in him to bust out of this shell that used to seem like it housed a real person.

Months later I will wonder if I killed him accidentally. If he thought I was the kind of slut who fucked his friend when really, his friend took advantage of me. If he thought I would only want to fuck him if I was a slut.

Men stare at women and wonder what we think and feel. What we want, and who. I tried to tell him. My language was as shattered as I was but I tried. I am still trying.

He made me feel like the worst thing I ever did was want him. Sometimes I think it’s the only real thing I ever did in my life. What’s that say about me?

Writes all the things. Photographs the light. Smiles at odd moments. Reads in the shower. Sings to the trees. Hopes a lot.

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