At 18
March 19, 2015 @ 3:48 p.m.
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        I grabbed my best friend and his boyfriend and told them to wait in the parking lot while I found a specific room with a specific person.
       What did Ricky say?… If you are not back in 30 minutes, I’m calling the police.
       I suppose it was only fair. To them, Draken was a stranger off the internet. But I didn’t fear him. There had always been a blind kind of trust.
       Teenage kind of trust.
       I found the room fast enough. As if I knew where I was going with those paltry yellow lights. An uncomfortable mixture of fear and anticipation beating harshly on my throat. Do you know what kept me from bolting? Common courtesy. How could I not show up when he traveled so far; drove more than eight hours west alone. Where my courage failed, polite manners prevailed. God save us from being unappreciative!

       It was a rollercoaster. A rise when I found the door ajar. A drop when I entered a dark empty room. And no sign of him. It is insane how the mind races in a few steps taken-- from the door to the opposite side of the room.
       It’s dark it’s dark it’s dark He’s not here I have no sense of self-preservation What does it mean? What are you doing Anna?! So, what, wait here? He could just say that on the phone This will be all kinds of funny if I end up murdered… and on and on and on.
       I reached and ran my fingertips along the back wall, pressed my forehead against its coolness. Do you mean no? Turned to face the room, the doorway now filled with a silhouette. A rise again.
       He said I had ran but, it’d be a lie to say I remember, or was aware of running to him. But I remember the hug, his shudder, the texture of his shirt under my hands. Years later, the only time I ever dream of him, it will be the same texture of the same shirt in my focus. The same scent, that damn CKOne.
       Everything else is a bit of a haze. I find it strange how all the clear details live alongside the big lagoons of maybe. Maybe we drove around for a while, maybe we went to the diner after, maybe before. But the mountains I remember. The blinking yellow lights. The dual-chrome nail polish and my fingers wrapped around. His silence. And the awkwardness. The awkwardness and the doubt and the uncertainty of it all.

       I didn’t make it to my room. I made it to my luggage still open in the middle of the living room. Grabbed the sheets I had brought back from that dorm bed where I had spent nights with a phone to my ear. Then curled up on the couch, still in my clothes, still in my make-up, and felt arms on my back like phantom limbs now gone; heard the frantic rush of blood in my ears while my pulse beat faster and faster.

       And for so long, it did not slow.

I suppose we’ve all had the obligatory internet affair

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