I was swiping away on the toilet one particularly freezing December night (don't lie, you do it, too) when I stopped dead in my tracks. There was Vanessa, a beautiful tattooed brunette. We matched, and I nearly passed out when she messaged me instantly. The next thing I knew, I was nervously sidling up next to her at a bar that only serves liquor and cake. I knew by our second date that she was eventually going to squash me like a tiny bug. She would become my summer love, and she would break my heart.
I was hooked. Picture all the sex appeal and glamour of a girly girl with all the treacherous, irresistible charm and emotional detachment of a f*ckboy. She’d treat me to a lavish dinner, then not call me for weeks. She’d gaze directly into my eyes with intense emotion, then go out of her way so I'd never meet her friends. She'd charm my father over brunch, then decline the invitation to my graduation party. Whenever I thought we couldn’t possibly eat a more delicious cheeseboard, she’d take me to an even better restaurant. Every time I thought I couldn’t come harder than I already had, she’d show off a new trick.
This wasn't my first rodeo — I should've recognized her f*ckboy behavior for what it was. But I ignored my gut feeling because she was gorgeous and we looked like some twisted Kardashian incest fantasy when we were together. Yes, dear reader, I knowingly dove into devastating heartbreak because I am shallow AF.
Every time I had the urge to ask what was going on between us, she'd kiss me until I was weak or play a sexy song and strip. By April, we had been together for five months and had yet to discuss safe sex, if we were seeing other people, or what our intentions were. Instead, we talked about art, sex, music, and books. It was perfect — aside from the fact that we never genuinely communicated about our relationship.
It was perfect — aside from the fact that we never genuinely communicated about our relationship.
Then, one night, as we sipped margaritas and ate ceviche on a trendy patio, she dropped a bomb. She casually told me she had gotten accepted into law school across the country in California. I was so excited for her! I was attracted to her intellect and hard work, and I was so happy that she had gotten into her dream school. Plus, this was new territory for us: we rarely talked about our personal lives.
I briefly wondered what her upcoming move to California meant for us, but since we hadn't even established that we were officially dating, I pushed that thought away. As the snow melted into warm spring days, and we traded our leather jackets (which are, indeed winter coats to Brooklyn lesbians) for crop tops and maxi skirts, I tried not to worry too much about what the future had in store for me and Vanessa.
With each beach day, with each rooftop bar drink, with each sticky-hot sex filled night in her apartment, I grew more and more acutely aware that September was approaching. But in typical "I’m a bad communicator fashion," I said nothing.
I thought I could handle her leaving soon, as long as I didn’t fall in love with her. One otherwise ordinary night, after hours of incredible sex (I had no idea I could squirt until I met Vanessa) we sat side by side in bed, debating on what to order for takeout. It was 3 a.m., so our options were looking pretty bleak. She joked about ordering gross pizza. "I used to eat Subway," she told me. "When I first moved to New York and had no money and didn’t know anyone, I used to eat lunch in Subway every day by myself.”
In that oddly specific, moment, I knew I was f*cked. The thought of her eating a nitrate-soaked, fake sandwich by herself every day made my heart feel like it was about to explode. I had gone and fallen in love with her. Then I began to flat-out obsess over what would happen come September.
I had gone and fallen in love with her.
It was so, so obvious that we weren’t dating, but I had ignored the warning signs for so long that I didn’t know what to do. Being with her hurt because I knew she didn’t feel the same way, but the thought of breaking up with her seemed crazy because of all the incredible sex we were having (and because of that whole "I realized I loved her because of a sandwich" thing).
Once you realize that someone is never going to feel the same way about you that you feel for them, it permeates everything you do. Every time she didn’t ask if I got home safe, or when she’d talk about living in California without addressing us, or when her friends met me and had no glimmer of recognition in their eyes, I was reminded that I was hurting, hurting, hurting. I knew that my summer love would leave me in a short month.
June and July wore on. I couldn’t stomach another vegan ice cream cone without knowing where we stood. I texted her, asking to speak to her about our relationship. She asked if I wanted to come over the next day. She even said, “Can't wait to see you :)” and she never used emojis.
It was 90 degrees when I walked in. She immediately started kissing me. I could taste the beads of sweat on her Cupid's bow mixed with her Kat Von D liquid lipstick. She yanked the back of my ponytail and pulled me onto the bed. As we moved sweatily together, my spray tan leaked off. I felt like I was melting and suffocating under her kisses. My question burned into my chest. It was now or never. OK, just kidding, I came first.
But then it was time to ask. "Do you consider me your girlfriend?" I aimed to sound apathetic, but I bordered on hysterical.
A siren whirled outside her apartment, mixing with the sound of ice cream trucks, squealing children, fighting couples, and thunder in the distance. I hadn’t caught my breath. She sighed and opened her mouth but no sound came out.
“No, don’t answer that,” I continued. The tears welled in my eyes.
“Well, I’m not seeing anyone else,” she started, “I think you’re amazing…”
As if my sweat spray tan runs weren’t enough, my flood of tears completely ruined the last of my $60 DHA coat. It only made me cry harder that she looked completely aloof.
I knew it was over. I knew we had broken up without ever saying we were even together. I tried to stop crying, but my embarrassment only made me cry even harder. She wanted to have breakup sex. I wanted to jump out of her apartment window. She had broken my heart. Just because you see the bus coming doesn’t mean it hurts any less when it hits.
The rest of August was a blur of Belvedere martinis, beach days, and dating app sprees. Come September 1, I could physically feel her leaving New York.
Then, just two weeks ago, she passed me on the street. It's summer again, and I was hurrying through Midtown when her green eyes locked with mine. We didn't stop staring until we had fully passed each other. I turned to watch her disappear around the corner. Sure enough, when I checked her Instagram, she had posted that she was back in New York for the summer.
I tried to laugh it off to my current girlfriend, Ryan. "I just saw my ex on the street," I told her. I wanted to play it off like a joke, or even a cutesy act of making Ryan jealous so we could have good fake-angry sex later. But the sentence caught in my throat. It wasn’t funny. Seeing Vanessa not only reminded me of the way she hurt me, but of the way I allowed myself to be hurt. Seeing her reminded me of the girl I used to be: one that wasn’t confident, that wouldn’t dare ever stand up for herself or what she wanted. The girl who sucked at communicating. The girl that was ashamed she wanted a real relationship. I never want to be that girl again.
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