Bend(8)

By: Kivrin Wilson


Or maybe that’s not why I couldn’t stop myself from bringing up this topic with him. Maybe, with just two years left, I’m finally realizing that I’m running out of time. Running out of time to find out if being that close to my best friend is as amazing as I’ve imagined. I want to touch him, to feel him, to know all of him—while I still can.

But the thought of Jay not being in my life anymore is one I can’t dwell on for long without feeling like I’m starting to suffocate. So I push it away, put my book down, and get up off the couch to get ready for bed.

I brush my teeth on autopilot. Change into sleepwear, crawl in bed, plug in my phone, and switch off my bedside lamp.

I lose my sense of time and have no idea how long I lie there, my eyes wide open in the darkness. Two minutes? Ten?

To hell with this.

I fumble around on the nightstand until I find my phone, tap the power button, and enter my passcode. Then I find my messaging app, select his name, and type: I’ll be at Three Oaks tomorrow morning at nine if you want to join me. Parking near the restrooms.

There. I hit Send, mute the phone, and turn off the screen.

Whether he answers or not, I don’t plan on losing any sleep over it.





When I get to Three Oaks Park at five to nine, the only vehicle in the parking lot is a black MINI Cooper Convertible with white racing stripes—Mia’s pride and joy. She made me come with her when she bought the pre-owned car only three months ago, to help her negotiate the price down. I told her she was dealing a blow to feminism just by asking me to do that, and her excuse was that she’s uncomfortable with conflict.

Which is true enough. And really unfortunate, considering she’s chronically incapable of keeping her big mouth shut.

I’ve been trying to keep those facets of her personality in mind ever since that clusterfuck on Friday night. That’s just Mia, I’ve been telling myself. Stuff pops into her head, and then it comes out of her mouth, unfiltered. Most people like her anyway.

I like her anyway. Like her a hell of a lot more than is good for me, probably.

I swerve out to pull into a spot farther down, but at the last minute I decide to back my truck in next to her car instead. It’s a petty and kind of childish move, done just to annoy her. She’s irritated by people who back into parking spots for some reason. I guess they slow her down too much?

I’m doing it as payback—or the beginning of my payback, at least—for the stress and lack of sleep she caused me this weekend. Because that crap she pulled the other night? Not okay.

So yeah, I’m here for our usual Sunday morning run, but that doesn’t mean we’re okay. And she’s going to find out just how not okay we are pretty quickly.

I’m gripping the steering wheel and staring unseeing at the dashboard, steeling myself. A melancholy Mumford & Sons song is playing on the stereo, the lyrics about love and sadness and death. It fits my mood exactly.

Have you ever thought about having sex with me?

Goddamn her. Maybe if she knew about the shit going on in my life right now, she’d understand I don’t have the energy to also deal with her obnoxious questions.

I probably should have told her about that shit. Should’ve told her a long time ago. But every time it’s seemed like a good time to bring it up, my mind has jumped ahead to the end of the conversation, and I grow terrified that she’ll look at me differently. Look at me like I’m…less. Less of the person she thought I was. Less of a person she wants in her life.

That’s how five years have gone by and she still knows nothing about the events in my past that made me who I am. And I have no plans to change that.

In fact, I’ve had no plans to change anything about my relationship with Mia. Which is why I was so blindsided by her questions on Friday night.

Have you ever thought about having sex with me?

Well, who hasn’t? I can guaran-fucking-tee that, except for her family members, there’s not a guy alive who’s met her and hasn’t thought about it. Plenty of women, too, probably. There’s this girl at our movie theater concession stand—a college kid, I’m guessing—who blushes every time we order our popcorn and drinks, and she sure as hell isn’t looking at me when she does it.

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