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The same evening Chris fucks me in the laundry room of the brownstone where I used to live. I go to a rooftop party without panties on because I’ve thrown the ones I was wearing that day—cum-soaked, reeking of semen—into the trash. It’s at a friend of a friend of a friend’s place in the East Village. I’m mostly there because I don’t want to go home. All night long, the denim cutoffs I’m wearing press against me, the inside seam rubbing my clit raw, reminding me of the day’s transgression. When I pee in the tiny bathroom the smell of sex (alkaline, oceanic) rises into the air like a memory. Let me admit to loving the smell of sex, the way it lingers, its nastiness.

As a rule, bodies are gross, but I adore their grossness. The way they pulse and tumesce and leak. I can’t think of anything more endearing than the lovely pale bead of pre-cum on a man’s cock right before it enters my mouth. Even a bodily mishap is kind of cute—once, I tried to deepthroat a guy while I was too drunk and I threw up on his dick a little but it was just wine so I don’t think he noticed. Chris watched me vomit once! It was adorable! The salty tang of sweat—it’s always so salty, you never expect it. The sheen of it on the post-coital brow.

The day before we break up, Chris calls me up for lunch. I ride the two miles uphill to his neighborhood, which used to be mine, and coast, disheveled, onto his doorstep. I’m wearing a shirt that’s tight and cropped so my sweat pools in a salty lick on my lower back. When he touches me there in greeting, dropping a kiss on my mouth, his hand comes away glistening.

Do you ever realize something’s going to have to end but when you get there it still surprises you? It’s really sad, I mean. To see the exit. At twenty-two I’m young enough that all of my worst mistakes are still ahead of me, a hotel hallway of bad decisions. If I’m certain of anything it’s that the magnitude of my fuckups can only increase with time—still, what else are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?

We eat kale salads and drink in the middle of the day and I’ve been stressed out for weeks because I’m fighting with my family and the whole time it feels like there’s something small and sharp driving painfully deep under my skin. After, we go up to the tight, clean room he lives in. I lie next to him and he kisses me on the forehead.

“It’s going to be okay,” he says.

At the time I don’t know it’s going to be the last time but we fuck in his narrow bed with an urgency that brings me to the edge of tears. Perhaps it’s just that I’ve spent most of the week prior crying but there’s a intensity to our sex, a heat that runs through it. A taut, liquid membrane of desire that has me half-sobbing into his sheets, forearm over my eyes, as though if I can hide from my emotions I won’t feel them. Not that I’m sure I even have a name for what I’m feeling.

We lie there, entwined, for a while. I’m blissed-out and suffused with feeling, a glass too-full and quivering at the brim. He asks me what I’m thinking, and I say, “Nothing. I’m just happy.”

“Me too,” he says softly.

I’ve turned off the air conditioner because I was cold, and the air is still and smells like sex. When I stand up to get dressed and pee, his cum slides out of me, down my thigh, down to my ankle. I wipe it up with my fingers, feel it sticky on my palm.


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