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December 22, 2017

 "He wants to hook up with you,” Katie said, beer-breathed. Katie and I fell asleep holding hands, once; Miley Cyrus was on the television. Her hair always smelled good, and I trusted her. 


That night, this party, it was a Saturday: tech rehearsals every night except for this one, my thesis due on Monday, hadn’t started a thing. I’d eaten a whole carton of Tofurkey in her suite, along with at least a sleeve of Oreos, post-smokeout. It had tasted good at the time.


He had hair like a mop. I don’t remember much of what we talked about, but he promised me weed and cake. I know he swore there was frosting. I imagined it was pink, strawberry, but in fairness, I don’t know if that was part of the deal. “I have to go to sleep after,” I said, and hoped he’d take the hint. “So you’ll walk me home?” “Yes,” he lied.


It wasn’t cake (no weed, either). It was banana bread, dry and lackluster. A misrepresentation. I was indignant, and felt duped. We fumble-kissed a bit, but I was bitter about the frosting thing, and had had enough. It was too late to walk home, he said, and the subway was too far away. 


He’d known the distance to the subway before I got there, I quipped silently, but pretended to fall asleep anyway, acquiescing to a hand on my hip. I kept my shorts and shirt on, slowed my breathing intentionally, even faked a little snoring. I don’t snore.


His hand ventured lower, under shorts and underwear. Of course. It was boring even to me. He was predictable, and I was, by the way, still hungry.


“What are you doing?” I asked into the dark. Guilty throat-clearing, a pause. “I just—I didn’t know—I like you. You’re beautiful,” he finished lamely. I knew he’d meant to say that he didn’t know I was awake. 


At five, I slipped out. “Where are you going?” “Breakfast.” “Can I come?” “No.”


My mother asked me later why I didn’t go out with him again. “He’s a creep,” I tried. 


“You think all guys are creeps.” I knew she wouldn’t understand about the frosting.


I bought strawberry cake mix the next night. I ate gobs of frosting in my dorm room and ignored his texts. 

Laura Dorwart is a Ph.D. candidate at UCSD, who just completed her MFA in creative nonfiction writing at Antioch University, Los Angeles. She has existing or forthcoming bylines at Catapult, VICE, McSweeney's, The Establishment, and others.

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