A to H: Him

Him. Him. Him. Him. Michelle measured her life in a string of Hims, Hims harmonizing, crescendoing and fading like they were strapped to a wheel, mowing her over. Him. The first, brown hair, blue eyes, first kiss, soft lips, on the stair after a middle school dance, ears ringing, heart beating, she could feel the imprint of his hand on her cheek for hours. Him. Black hair, dark eyes, red lines hashed into his wrists. Test cheater, weed smoker, sneaking joints from his older brother’s stash. Him. Second kiss, a week after her first. She never broke up with that first boy, he just faded away, like the cuts that barely broke her skin, she dragged the sharp paper clip edge into her forearm until it was pink, until specks of blood appeared, then stopped, pinching her arm, numb, is this right? Is this how they did it? First smoke. First time, shirt on, pants at her knees, in her second boyfriend’s older brother’s car. Then the older brother, about a month later, same spot. She still hasn’t broken up with anyone. Third boyfriend, three years older. Boyfriend? Strong word. They fumbled in the backseat of his car, parked behind the high school. High school, now, fourth, fifth, sixth. One week of being single between sixth and seventh, and she felt like she couldn’t breathe. Is this love? Is this sex? Should it hurt this much? Should I be so indifferent? Do I want this? Do I want you? Eight lasted weeks, then months, coming on a year when his best friend asked her if the rumors were true, if she did it at thirteen. Eight was still a virgin. Seventeen. She was fine with it. Best friend was not. Eight. Then the best friend. Then eight was done, so on to nine, or was it ten, now? Floating from man to man like a piece of pollen, like a dandelion wisp, like a ragdoll being tossed hand to hand across a playground. No, not tossed. She threw herself, she leapt from body to body. Ten, eleven…she just wanted to be happy. Twelve and thirteen at the same time, then thirteen and fourteen at the same time, then fourteen and fifteen at the same time. She would leave one house and drive to the other. Always looking for more. Always getting bored. Him. Him. Him. Her? First year of college, she started back at one. One girl, long blonde hair. Curly. Blue eyes, an All American girl. One cheated on her with who would become four. Michelle didn’t mind. This sort of thing happened. Two. Sixteen. Seventeen. Three. Then four, at a party. One was a bit angry. Michelle smoked a lot now, but didn’t bother counting her joints. Michelle burned through joints even faster than her lovers. She was in the dozens, then likely the hundreds by the time she was nineteen, always high, her thumb calloused from sparking the lighter, her lips dry, her eyes perpetually red. Eighteen boys, now, and only five girls. Now, a game. Six. Seven. Eight and nine, at the same time. Ten and nineteen at the same time. She grew her hair long, she worked out, she did poorly in class, she showered less. Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. Back to twelve. Fourteen. Fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen all in one night, and then eighteen, nineteen, and two twenties all in the same room. She had done it. Forty people, an even split. She bought herself an ice cream cone. She was happy with herself. She didn’t need love. She didn’t want to limit herself to one person. She was a giver. She was a lover. She liked doing things, she liked meeting people. She liked being an individual, even if she was always in at least one relationship. Summer. Long distance? No. Single…single…single…she had already burned through all the boys at home, and no girls were interested. Single…single…single…Michelle was going crazy. Withdrawal, from weed and people. Phone. Scrolling. Names, numbers. 1-20F, 1-20M, she lists them in her head as she reads their names. She needed someone to keep her busy. She hesitates on a few, then keeps scrolling past. Drying out, this summer, like a 12 week program. She laid on the couch with a headache, watching cartoons. Her parents worried. She didn’t bother to worry. Who is Michelle? What do I do, beyond other people? What do I want, beyond being Undeclared? There was no direction to go, so she laid still. There was no one to love, so she began, slowly, to find a way to love herself. Relapse, boy number twenty-one, she met at an ice cream shop. Disgust. Get over it, tell him you want to be alone. First break up…she felt good. Good. Single is good, I need to learn myself before I learn someone else. I don’t need someone else. Michelle went back to school determined to stay single. She would break her cycle. She had beaten her addiction. New boy, a freshman, down the hall, into skateboarding and theatre. New boy. Craig Wu. Twenty-two. Him…him…specifically him. She invited him to smoke, first smoke, first boy in months. I know myself enough now, I suppose.


4 thoughts on “A to H: Him

  1. I reiterate WGR56. Very well put together!

    Sir Leprechaunrabbit


  2. Wow. This grabbed my attention after the first few lines and held it right until the end. I love how Michelle wasn’t named until a good portion of her story had been told. Nice work!


  3. Very interesting technique, not breaking this into paragraphs. I’ll admit it bothered me at first, but I understand why you did it, and it lends itself to the subject. You’re really putting lots of time and effort into this A-to-Z, and that’s good to see. Good job!



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