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Whenever I tell your story, I always hear “yes, and.”

The three women to whom I’ve said something, more, too much about us have all said: “Me, too” and “Here’s my story, my boy.”

Which is interesting, I think.

You’re generative even when you’re not around. Even in absence, invoking your presence makes other women say: “ok.”

The last, the oldest, was knowing, about us.

I knew, she said. When you came back. I thought that it was more than you said.

I told her that you read my writing, my fic, and she asked: Why?

To know me, I said. To see who I am, now.

And to know me in that other way, I said, I swept, I repeated. The way that he can’t have, except in text.

[For now, I thought, but did not say.]

You know you’re getting into dangerous territory, she said, too certain, a little too smug.

Oh no, I said. We’ve always been there. We have a fucking base camp in dangerous territory. Except now we actually acknowledge where we are. Get out of the tent and look around, every once and awhile.

If you could, do you think you would? she asked, as if the answer weren’t written on my face as if it had never left.

Oh yes, I said, a little too certain. Trying not to say: I’d fuck him in an instant. Or: Want to make him senseless with my mouth my hands my mind. Or: If he would have me, I’d have already had him.

Instead I said: It’s complicated.

We’re so much alike in some ways, fundamentally opposed in others. Him: stability, family, certainty. Me: selfish, impatient, wanderlust.

Ah, she nodded as if she knew, as they all do when I say love to them in the context of you.

I have heard of the one who yearns for freedom, the one who’s coming to her wedding, the one who got away after years of fuck-and-run.

And I laugh, every time, because none of them are you.

But to my friends, in the telling, you are theirs, for a while.

To my friends, in the telling, you aren’t mine, even then.

The difference between wanting, having: all of that I know. All of that: no shit. But for now, planting a flag in your chest is almost as good as having.

Almost.

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