You better be real. I like you.

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I am making a new friend. And I have a cliche: it is different. For one, he isn’t a she. For another, he isn’t her. He is not my muse. He is a boy. And I am keeping him.

He asks me questions. I like being asked. He talks in a way that makes me believe I could be interesting. He hasn’t seen my breasts and I honestly don’t think he even cares I have them. Or thinks about pushing his face between them like other men have said to me. Did they think they were complimenting me? Did they think it would touch me?

My new friend is a riddler. He speaks in a code but I didn’t notice until someone asked me what was going on? “What do you two have in common even?” We are discovering we like similar kinds of things but not the same ones. We are not identical but we are not different. He doesn’t care if I’m pretty or not. If I’m fat. Or not. He cares if I give a fuck. “Plenty,” I said.
Let’s hang out and look at all the fucks I give.

He sends me pictures of tigers and quotes by Poe. I don’t know how he knows these are things I will know.
I send him songs and Bukowski. And elephants. He says they are more human than we are. That’s sublime. Then I remember how terrible we are. I think only some of us are more elephant than human (that is a big compliment so use it carefully).

I am unafraid, he is petrified. We are like the lyrics of a Gloria Gaynor song done so wrong. He says he is the most dangerous person he knows. I say, “I don’t know anyone less harmful than me.” Does he think I scare easy? It sounds like a good fit.

When we meet in September he says time will have crawled on bloody knees from now until then. I have never known a man who waited for me or with such simple anticipation. It’s like knowing what you’re getting for Christmas but being unable to sleep the night before anyway. I don’t know how to be someone’s present. But I am trying and it makes me feel very good. After a long time. After women who did not want me and others who pushed me out of their sight. After all that breaking and leaving and crying. Someone who cannot believe I could be real is waiting for me to see him and be seen.

“Tell me something,” he said. “How long before you call someone a friend?”

“What kind of question is that? Anything upwards of 11 seconds. Is that a good enough answer?”

You better be real. I like you.

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