You can remember the last time you kissed a boy. Of course you can: it was the last time (and possibly even the first) that sex meant anything.
For almost a year you’ve been trading sex for affection. You don’t kiss boys. You brush your fingers across their thighs, your lips against their necks, your hips into their groins. You don’t look them in the eyes—or—when you do, it’s literally too much.
You’ve been in worse situations—pressed against a tree; hiding, with a stranger’s hand finding its way inside you; pulled by your wrists into another man’s bed who you didn’t say no to, no, not really.
So why is this so hard? Why is this the one time you can’t walk away? He didn’t ask you to stay. But. He didn’t ask you to leave either. Only now. No. It’s different now. More men, more time.
You could mark the months with bodies, someone new to lie with every thirty days. You tell your friends that it’s fun, that it’s easier this way. You don’t have to worry about getting attached or all of the complications of the inevitable break-up. You tell them that this way, you don’t even have enough time to learn their last names, let alone who they want to be.
You tell them that you’ll stop.
So then it comes down to this: you smile at too many men and spend your days alone. You learn how to initiate things without making the first move. You keep your feet flat against the floor and your head on their chests. You count their hearts’ beats and note that they are faster than your own. You’ve learned to control this by now. It only gets easier, you say. You bite your own lip between the words.