Because You Are 22 and Afraid Of The Dark
Because you are 22 and you have been living on coffee and cigarettes for three months, go home from the bar with the boy who took two weeks to call back.
Let him put his arm around you in front of his roommates while he pours his six and sixteenth drinks. Give him your hand when he wants to drag you away, sticky eyes following from the living room. Pretend you couldn’t care less. Forget to pretend when his skin hits yours. Let him mark you up. He was taught to kiss by carnivores and he will bite bruises into you. Wear these marks like battle scars, like love. Bite back.
Because you are 22 and you sometimes feel hollow in the places underneath your skin, fill your bathtub to the brim with Epsom salt and boiling water.
Pretend this will purify you. Pretend not to care about your water bill when you find yourself doing the same thing four weeks in a row, always on too-bright Sundays when the weight of your decisions needs to be pulled from your hair. Scream when the salt enters your tiny scars. Laugh when the water burns your scalp. Sit for hours by the window with your hair drying over the radio. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Because you are 22 and selfish, fall for someone exactly like you.
Hell, fall for three in quick succession—one because he reminds you of the first, the next because you feel like you don’t know any better. Make sure to find someone who makes you feel like your teeth are coming loose, someone who only plays winner-take-all. Someone who bets against you.
Hate that he plays at heartless. Hate that you never know what he’s thinking. Let your friends call it karma for all the ways you’ve treated kinder men. Promise you’ll be contrite if he only admits to liking you for something other than what you can make your mouth do. Come when he calls. Wake up early. Leave without saying goodbye.