I prefer the company of short women and tall glasses of wine, long conversations and longer fingers with jagged nails and words that can kill me if they’d like. Why am I attracted to the things that may hurt me? The sight of blood is a sign that we’re alive.

It’s time to make another bad decision. Where are my keys? They’re dangling from my jeans in a belt clip that swings as much as my mood—you can hear me coming for a mile away, even though I never do. Shall I drop her off at her place or drop her to her knees? Shall I walk her to her door or have her run from me? Shall I whisper goodnight or make her scream? I know the answers without a doubt. Sex does more than words allow. I can’t talk anyone out of feelings, but I can certainly fuck them out.

The night goes on exactly as expected. She calls me silly, saying ‘It’s the booze.’ I resent that it might be true. Like any boy who likes a girl, flirting is easy when I’m not thinking of what to do. We end up with just enough sweat to add a pinch of salt to her skin, in a bed fit for a king, his wife, and his mistress, not yet regretting everything we just did. ‘Did you think this was going to happen?’ I ask. ‘No,’ she lies. She didn’t pack a toothbrush as an alibi. She’s familiar with the way I see her; she knows how it feels to be held captive by my eyes; she only forbids herself to feel such delight to postpone her own demise.

We laugh, we kiss, she finally cries after deciding that being with me was a mistake that she warned her future self not to make. Ironically, she says that in between every kiss. She pulls away with her hands but not her lips. She closes her eyes so she doesn’t see the after, whereas I close my eyes so I can see before. I tell her to escape; she doesn’t try to anymore. She crumbles every single time, like a fragile glass just waiting for the wine. I fill her with highs that get better over time until she cracks and breaks and spills and overflows and realizes I prefer to drink from the bottle.

Drinks were had, so was she. I do this all too frequently. The night makes it hard to see the lack of true love embracing me. As I lay my head on one of my only pillows, having taken a bite out of a part of her she only wanted me to nibble, I turn to hear her drifting off, lying on the other side of a mattress that drowns any sight of her. I can only hear the fading lullaby coming from her soft, timid voice. I can only hear one heartbeat making any noise. She’s already in the morning, asking herself if she still feels the same joy, while I’m stuck in the past, hoping she loves the man I am as well as the boy.