I am 20 years old;
he has just turned 36.
I am taken aback by his looks,
the way he speaks,
and his sense of humor.
I want to sleep with him.
I know that one day I will.
My friend tells me he’s trouble.
I ignore her claims.
With a smile like his,
I don’t care about what could go wrong.
I never really do.
I am 21 years old.
He and I finally stop playing cat-and-mouse;
we’re sleeping together now.
I’m having fun.
I’m eating well.
He’s fucking me silly.
It ends less than three months after it began.
I meet someone else, and I’m in love.
We’re communicating routinely again.
He knows I’m not dating anyone.
Neither is he.
He asks me to go with him here and there,
but I refuse,
every single time.
I don’t know what he wants,
and I avoid asking.
I’m 23 now, and sick of my shit.
We continued to keep in touch despite my past behavior,
but I finally decide to see him.
He makes us margaritas and we watch the Knicks vs. Warriors game.
We haven’t missed a beat.
Two nights later,
we’re sleeping together once more.
Within a couple of months, I tell him I like him.
A few months after that, I tell him I love him.
I learn that he loves me too.
Sprinkled in between,
is the new and improved apology for how I handled things before.
He says it’s okay,
but I know that it isn’t.
He treats me differently now.
I am 24.
Ties are cut for the millionth time.
Tears are shed for the billionth.
I block him from calling and texting,
and my head hurts nearly as much as my heart.
I try to make sense of my emotions,
while simultaneously wishing they would go away.
If I could go back to that night of December 2012,
I’d do so without hesitation.
I would listen.
I wouldn’t have entertained the conversation that concluded our night.
I would’ve neglected my taste for trouble.
I have not regretted anything in my life up until this point.
I have not been this low since the man I chose over him.
It’s unbelievable, really.
I knew it before, but now,
it’s the clearest it’s ever been:
Love between two people is not enough,
and it never will be.
Poet: Stefanie Parrott