You in Other People – Jennifer Gruber

I used to die glamorous deaths, but they’ve been increasingly seedy and tacky as I come closer to giving up.

And here another piece of me dies on the inflatable mattress of this “straight” male stripper/bartender who’s been pushing his drinks and hands on to me this whole boring Labor Day. He doesn’t care that I lied about being a lesbian so I could navigate a gay bar without biphobia. I don’t care that he works in a gay bar and doesn’t know what “pansexual” means. It’s going to be a while before this opportunity comes again. His friends said he has a big dick. I’m lonely and curious to how I’d react to a one-night stand. So why not?

The boys around him weren’t kidding about his dick, and this guy is drunk enough that he’s basically obsessed with me. I’m drunk enough that my laughter towards his affection has skipped from “coquettish giggle” to “blustering guffaw.” We’re drunk enough that we’re just doing this for our own gratification, although his is apparently directly correlated to my own.

You’d think I’d feel something towards him. You’d think I’d feel any physical sensation at all.

I feel bites and kisses and something going on down there, but I’m already in a mid-space between the ceiling and our mashing bodies.

Just like the last time I ended up in a new bed, he is watching. Sometimes he stands on the foot of the bed, reminding me that I will never be as good as he was at divorcing love from sex. Punishing me for daring to try again.

Of course, it’s difficult to stand on the foot of an air mattress, so tonight he has settled for crawling along the ceiling. His head will probably spin in every direction. He’ll hiss a few curses at me. The delusion is certainly more interesting than what’s being done to me.

But he is not alone this time.

You’re watching, too. Your look is nothing close to the judgment of our friend along the ceiling. Hell, he was standing on the foot of the motel bed when you were the one drunkenly mashing yourself into me, and you didn’t judge either of us. I can hardly call what you’re doing voyeurism. My sexual descent is your spectator sport. You’re eating fistfuls of popcorn, kernels flying out of your mouth along with various obscenities. “GET THAT DICK GIRL. BOOOOOOOOOOOOTY.”

Between thrusts, I wonder if my fucking these new people is my attempt to run away from him. Maybe if there are enough people over enough time, he will believe that I want nothing to do with him. He will let me escape so I can rebuild the life that was crushed underneath him. My eyes water.

I wonder how much happier I’d be if I was next to you rather than underneath this poor guy. I realize I’d give anything to join you in shouting crude jokes at some other rapidly decaying two-some, the way we’ve always done throughout our friendship.

This is where I start to cry. I arch my back enough that the bartender can’t see the tears. Hopefully he’ll mistake it for an orgasm and roll off.

He does, but tells me he won’t stop until I let him make me cum. This is my cue to leave, as I’d probably die on that mattress before I successfully came in front of a stranger. I redress, fumble an excuse for why he can’t have my number, make a half-assed promise to call him, and drive home in tears.

I have a lot to tell you.