To: The Boy I Met At a Music Festival and Went On to Never Marry

Subject: I am going to write about you. 

I think it is best for us both to unknot the herb-knotted-mangalsutra around our necks. We were already wed in spirit because I insisted. You never made a pretense of wanting what I did. So I will do this for you, my final act of service. I want you to know that I am being charitable, I am being kind: 

I am preparing myself for marriage.

I like to think I was a woman when we met the first time; a local band covering November Rain, me in all green with my purple heels, you in your old yellow t-shirt that had a hole in the hem. You were poor, you told me, and I decided, right there in the middle of a music festival, that I would be rich for you. Being rich for you meant rationing time. It meant resisting the urge to check my wallet after each date. It meant letting my ears bleed with heavy metal and crying because we were nineteen and you could not marry me right that second. 

I liked marriage. 

It meant sharing. One day, I would tell myself, I won’t have to pretend to be rich for two. One day, I will send you a song that you will not immediately despise. One day, we will split the bill.

I also liked being a martyr. It was in the job description after all. I hate Beach House, you would say, and I would say, Oh, me too, and add a chip on my shoulder, delete Depression Cherry from my phone, and go to sleep happy. Mother used to say that marriage is a sacrifice. I asked her if she meant compromise and she turned back to the stove. She has sunspots even though she almost never goes out. I planned to become her one day, to live in the dark and still get sunspots on my cheeks. 

I was preparing myself for marriage.

I liked that you were shy. Sometimes I would say something provocative and you would blush furiously like men do. It would spread to your neck and look exceedingly pretty, so naturally, you grew a beard. I thought about that when I lay in bed some nights, your face between my legs, your beard prickling my thighs. I never liked that feeling, phantom though it was. I thought of growing out my pubic hair to get back at you but it pleased you to see it. Organic, you called it, before sending me a picture of your cock. 

I do not know why it never sounded odd back then, perhaps because I was preparing myself for marriage. 

I was not a virgin back then, no matter how much you wanted me to be. Someone had beat you to it. I missed her sometimes, her too-large bed and too-large hands. I compared your cock with her hands one day and told myself I was substituting one thing for another. You are the same size as two of her fingers stuck together. I never told you this. 

I was, after all, preparing myself for marriage.

A friend of mine said I had a savior complex. I did not know what it was back then, but I called her a jealous bitch and your only reply to that text was, told u so. She and you went way back. She saw you at your pimpled earnestness, singing Mad World with your best friend at an MUN. You hated her for that. I understood. You were sensitive, and I was preparing myself for marriage:

I loved you. 

(She and I are still friends.) 

I think it was the day after my accident that I realized all those chips on my shoulder had worn it down to the bone. 

I had come to see you. I had my wallet. You had brought a friend along. I said: Yesterday, I ate two blister packs of Xanax. I took a deep breath. I was slow that morning. I was about to add: I’m glad it didn’t work. I had an appointment to keep, and the appointment was, of course, you.

I paused to breathe and you laughed. 

Idiot, you said and went on laughing. Your friend joined you.

I clutched my arm (I could not inconspicuously clutch my shoulder; that would have been strange. There were people around and you had your friend along too.) (you said it in front of your friend) and laughed along. 

I was preparing myself for marriage. I made a mental note to get new shoulders by then.

K.S. is an aspiring writer/poet with a green thumb, and an immense love for Rochester garbage plates. One of the aforementioned is a lie.

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