1. You share a cigarette with a girl you like. You’re curious. You take the cigarette from her, let the smoke fill your mouth. She’s looking at your lips. The smoke doesn’t really taste like anything. You exhale, look at the cigarette. She’s still looking at your mouth. You give the cigarette back and now you can taste it, ash tray, stale smoke, and something that reminds you of the bitterness of coffee.
It’s months before you realise she was attracted to you.
It’s years before you realise you were attracted to her.
2. You wake up one morning exhausted and in the approximately two and a half minute it takes for you to get out of bed and into the shower, you forget that your body is not your body. For those two and a half minute your knowledge of your body rings true. You have two and a half minute of exhausted, innocent bliss.
You wake up in the shower.
You can’t breathe.
You don’t understand.
You think about that story with the dream and the butterfly.
People around you ask if you’re ill. Stressed. Tired.
You don’t know how to tell them that you want to crawl out of your own skin (not your skin!) and into your body (your real body!). You don’t know how to tell them that you’re scared. You don’t know how to tell them that you’re not what they think you are.
3. Boys are stupid, they say, and you clam shut. I’m a boy, you want to scream. You laugh nervously, agreeing that boys are stupid, and you feel like you’re betraying yourself.
Later, you hear yourself say I’m not a girl, and you wonder if you’re betraying girls everywhere as you say it. You think about your five year old self and wonder if you’re betraying her.
There’s a thin line between boy and girl and it cuts your feet when you try to walk it.
4. Your friends are playing that game, the one with the lists. Who would you fuck, on a scale from one to ten. They love the game. They’re all laughing.
It’s your turn and your tongue is dry.
Nobody, you say.
Surely there’s someone you think is hot, they say. Come on. Give us a name. Just one.
There are so many beautiful people in the world. Sometimes a beautiful person smiles and you want to look at them for days. Sometimes you might even want to kiss them.
You don’t want to kiss strangers.
You don’t want to make a list of fuckable strangers.
I don’t want to play this game, you say, and your friends call you boring.