I never did the whole

Pre-teen romance thing

The whole holding hands between classes and

Sitting together during lunch to mean it was official

I’ve officially skipped a lot of important steps in my life

The same way my mother used to skip steps when she relaxed my hair

She somehow didn’t think it was important to do the leave-in conditioner

Still, she left in conditioner every time she ran her fingers through my head

“Don’t mess around with boys” she said

I surely didn’t mess around with her warning

I was ready for the boys to come; I was ready to defend my “purity”

But the boys never came

Until one day one did

 

I never did the whole teen romance thing

The whole getting ready for your first date with your best friend

Sneaking in a goodnight kiss before your parent’s curfew

Instead I was in college, sneaking into the movies with a guy I met on Tinder

He spit while he spoke and pontificated everything

After the movie we sat for dinner in a Subway

On the subway ride home I tried profusely to wipe off the kiss he forced on my cheek

But one day, years later, a boy asked me if he could kiss me

And I told him it was weird if he asked

But it wouldn’t have been weird if I was used to it

 

I never did the whole relationship thing

The whole transition from liking someone from afar

To being up close and personal

Getting to know someone; getting to trust someone

I trusted that it would happen for me someday

As I wrote unrequited love poems in the pre-adolescent pages of my diary

But adolescence had produced no changes but my body

Changes that caused I eyes to wander and hands to misbehave

But no love notes, no courtship, no chains with his initials to wear around my neck

And changes chained me to insecurities of perceived impurities I could not shake

I shook my head no when I said “I don’t know”

But what I didn’t know could still hurt me

 

I never did the whole world-changing first time thing

The whole anticipation and waiting and falling in love

The whole, “I’m finally ready to take the next step”

I stepped into a situation, very adult and very direct

I don’t think it was butterflies I felt

Beer just doesn’t sit well in my stomach

And we didn’t sit on the bed for very long until he began to kiss me

I wanted to kiss goodbye diary-keeping adolescent me

The me who never gets the guy could finally get something

I thought I would be sure when the moment came

But I said “I don’t know” and he did anyway

 

I never did the whole, waiting by the phone the next day for him to call thing

I never did the whole crying when he didn’t thing

I never did the whole falling in love thing

I never  did anything but lay there.

I laid out in my head the events of the previous night but my memories needed more coercion than I had needed to change my mind

I changed my mind. I said, “I don’t know”, but I changed my mind.

I undressed myself before and I kissed him goodnight after

I went back the next day, because if my mind was made up now, it must’ve been then too

I went back to say what I didn’t say the first time

Because of all the “I never did”‘s that were going through my head

The most important thing I never did was say “yes”

-Chido

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