I planned my weeks out on Saturday. Which is actually Tuesday because that’s my day off. Wednesday is Monday and Monday is Friday and Friday is like Wednesday and a half. Jennifer and Alice on Wednesday. Debra on Thursday. Angela and Annie on Friday. Jennifer again on Saturday. Someone new on Sunday. Danielle on Monday. Of course poor Danielle would usually be at the end of the week and she wasn’t very experienced so her impression of me was someone who could fuck forever and needed help to cum. The upside to this was that I could go long enough for her to really learn about her own orgasms and revel in them. But I take the weekends off and on a Monday I’ll cum like a motherfucker. The weekend is Tuesday. Monday is Wednesday. Before I realized it I was breaking up with people left and right just to spend more time with Danielle. She has my heart, and I love her.

Telling someone you love them isn’t easy. But it’s even harder to tell other people about your love. With you and the one you love there’s a short connection, a minimal tether over which that emotion, that intimate expression is carried. But other people are generally farther out on that network. The connection requires greater energy, and durability. The signal may be held to more scrutiny, or just the opposite, what the fuck do they care?

She said to me that whatever it is we’re doing, she likes it. I looked in her eyes and then shyed away. I told her that I do too. I wanted to tell her I loved her. But I couldn’t then. Just like I couldn’t at the pizza shop. Just like I couldn’t at the Jazz café. Just like I couldn’t in the heat of passion. But love is passion. It can be one of the most regrettable things to say at the height of orgasm. You can never take it back. But how can you tell someone something with certainty, even though it cannot be explained? Love is not something you reason. But I still knew one day soon I would not be able to contain my feelings any longer and I would be forced to make myself more vulnerable than I would prefer. I purposefully waited until after sex to tell her. That way I could feel absolutely sure. We talked about what it really is that we’re “doing,” and she said, “I get sad sometimes that you don’t feel the way about me that I do about you.”

I replied, “I have strong feelings for you,” But she exhaled sharply and turned away in a bit of a panic. Now or never, I thought. “You know, I love you.” Her head snapped back and she looked in my eyes.

“Wait, what?” She demanded.

“I love you.”

She lunged at me and said, “I love you, too,” before smothering me with kisses, her fingers deep in my hair. We kept the neighbors up that night. She truly can’t help it and normally, any consideration to my neighbors in this old building would involve me duct taping her mouth shut, or covering it with my hand, or smothering her with a pillow. And if I didn’t cover her mouth, she would do it herself out of embarrassment. But I held her arms back the night I told her I love her and let her screams ring out. I loved her cries of “fuck fuck fuck” more than the way Jennifer would go “shit shit shit” and more than how Annie would go “ok ok ok” or Debra’s “mhm mhm mhm” or Alice’s “yes yes yes” and normally Danielle gets so loud I can’t even finish because I’m afraid to keep going and tonight I thought, fuck the neighbors! This is love! And I gave her everything I had and finally lost control and when we were done I could hear the neighbor’s dog whimpering and I thought that perhaps that’s what our love is like. Because for me, love will always accompany the thought of trembling in the pre-dawn darkness, filled with anxiety and despair and wondering what’s next.

In the morning she said to me that David Bowie had left this world. I washed off our sex dander and put on the only Bowie vinyl I had, some garage sale copy of Dancing with the Big Boys. We sat there cuddling on the couch. I thought about everyone who I knew and loved. It was a short list.


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