I Should Have Known (An Excerpt From A Book I’ll Never Write)

They say you should never fuck on the first date. So we fucked on our second. We had intended on going to a coffee shop we’d both been to a million times before but couldn’t even make it out of the car.

“I know a spot,” I said. I knew he couldn’t see my devious smile in the dark.

We drove up the mountain and pulled into an unlit street–the way high schoolers do before they can even decipher between love and lust.

“I don’t usually do this,” he said, as he fumbled with the straps of my dress. “I don’t usually do this.”

He said it over and over as if to imply that I was special. A vain attempt to reassure me that I was more than just a vessel from which he sought comfort. It had been almost a year since I’d been touched by someone who didn’t leave my skin crawling with guilt and perhaps I was seeking comfort in him too.

I let his hands wander as his lips brushed against my neck.

“I don’t usually do this either.”

I didn’t hesitate when he asked if I wanted to.

“Yes.”

I said yes because this is what people our age are supposed to do. I said yes because in that moment it was all I wanted. I said yes because the thought of someone wanting me made me feel whole and I’d been broken a little too long.

I said yes because why the hell not?

All traces of unfamiliarity subsided as we quickly began to learn each other. His tongue traced patterns on mine and the weight of his body was unmatched by the lightness I felt. I lost track of the number of times I almost carelessly said “I love you.” I knew I didn’t, but it was a feeling I’d grown to associate with that sensation and this was the first time it didn’t apply.

We sat on opposite sides of the backseat when we finished–both trying to catch our breath and trying to understand how we felt. I could barely make out the shapes of passing cars through the rear window. The glass had fogged up despite the heat of late July pressing down on us right outside.

I stole glances at him as he drove me home and without thinking, I laced my fingers with his because it was the only way I knew how to sit in a car with a boy I wanted to keep.

But I should have known.

I should have known better than to believe that the boy I just fucked in the backseat was the kind of boy who would want to keep me. I was nothing more than a placeholder — his declaration to the universe that he was no longer hurting.

He was.

I should have known when I squeezed his hand and he didn’t squeeze back that this was temporary and I was simply being naive. His mind was elsewhere. He looked straight ahead and could not even feel me.

I should have known that the lies he told were just as sweet as the kisses he had planted on my body. I don’t care about her. She fucked up. I’ve moved on.

I should have known that his heart still belonged to the love of his life who had broken him just months before. I should have known that he was empty–that there was nothing warm for me between his ribs and I would never be able to call him home.

I should have known better.

I should have known.