*based off of/inspired by Olivia Gatwood’s “An Alternate Universe in Which I am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me”
I ask him if we are friends, sober, in the morning, and I keep asking questions until I am sure of the way he sees me in his head. I never romance myself into believing things are different than they are. I tell a boy “good luck” and mean it when he texts me that he has met the love of his life. I am wise enough to tell him that he doesn’t really love me, he just thinks he does, and I sleep in my own bed that night. I let him go. I let him go. I let him go. I never think of him again. I do not hold the elevator for the man who didn’t hold the door for me. Without a word, I trip the man that pushed past me on the escalator. I say that she is cool and beautiful, and maybe in another life, I would probably be friends with her. I am not jealous and I never lie to myself. Casual is cool, casual is fun, casual will keep me safe. I tell him secrets about myself because it is a warm summer night and not because I want to bind him to me. I never text first. I don’t even save their number. I am able to tell my father that I love him without expecting him to be able to say it in a way I understand. I introduce him too soon to my parents because he should be more afraid. I do not worry if this lipstick suits me, if they think I am beautiful, if they think I am worth anything. I do not worry that I am too fat to be so loud, too fat to have the kind of opinions I do. I do not worry about the parts of me that are unpalatable – I’m not safe for consumption anyways. I am fine and I am free.