When I was younger I knew a boy
back when we were both in that weird stage in between adolescence and adulthood when you don't want to be around home because you live with your parents, but you're too broke and not established enough to get a place of your own.
We hung out at his place a lot because his mom was never really home between work and her boyfriend and as a result we spent a lot of time alone together hanging out.
Most of the time I'd go over and one of us would have picked up some meagre groceries with our minimum-wage job money; lettuce and meat and sometimes bread if he didn't have any, and would make huge sandwiches with big slices of cheese and mayonnaise smeared on and would watch episodes of Smallville or Rescue Me on the old couch in his basement.
Once when I was heartbroken we sat on the mattress on the floor in his bedroom and I cried and he held me and I realized that he liked me. Maybe loved me even.
I didn't know what to do so I didn't do anything.
I just let him hold me while I sniffled and shed tears over someone who didn't deserve them.
One time his house was so dirty that I came over and cleaned it while he sat on the kitchen counter talking to me and playing old records that his dad had left behind when he moved out.
He told me that I didn't have to clean and I said that I did. That I was over often enough that I'd made enough of the mess to warrant helping out and besides which his mom hadn't been home since Sunday (it was Wednesday) and it wasn't like he was going to clean, anyway.
He said okay and I vacuumed and dusted and scrubbed and we talked and after I let the dog out I turned around and he was standing behind me.
He kissed me and for some reason I kissed him back.
I realized that this had been a long time coming and I figured "whatever" and went with it when he picked me up and pushed me against the wall as he kissed me.
But when he put me down and my feet touched the hardwood floor it was like reality came back to me and I suddenly didn't know what the fuck I was doing.
Ten minutes later while I stood shivering in the snow waiting for my bus he came back and took my hand and said he'd drive me home because it was February goddamnit and I let him.
I really didn't know how to leave well enough alone.