When do we choose to stop? If I would’ve stopped with the boy I kissed on trampolines and against oak trees, who tasted like spearmint and taught me how to smoke cigarettes, held me on his front porch in rainstorms and painted abstract versions of me while I wore his sweaters, I would have never felt the pain I felt. I know this, because ten years later on Christmas, I lowered myself onto him in his new apartment in Conshohocken, and the next morning he still asked me to breakfast. He made an Instagram to follow her and make sure I wasn’t being hurt, when he owed me absolutely nothing. All these years later. He was good. I think he’ll always be that way. I drove home slamming my hands against the steering wheel and listening to Beach Fossils trying to justify what had happened and feeling guilty for not feeling guilty. I should’ve stayed. But then I wouldn’t have cut my teeth on growing up with the gap-toothed boy with the peach air freshener and British mother. We’d lay on basement Berber while Algernon spun and he’d go down on me and make me promise never to forget him. I thought the boy who tasted like spearmint was just a pebble next to this boulder of importance. Until the sweaters unraveled and I moved north and I realized the gap-toothed boy was tanned and smart but terribly broken.

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