your first real boyfriend is two inches shorter than you. he smells like mountain dew and hair gel and wears a black and red sweatband around his left wrist. he kisses you in his parents’ garage on the fourth of july with the lights turned off and the hard plastic shell of an xbox controller digging into your spine. your shorts stick to your thighs when you stand up again. his best friend punches him in the shoulder. laughs. calls you “matt’s girl” while you’re watching fireworks, but never actually says your name.
your second boyfriend is older. two years, maybe three; he’s as vague about his birthday as he is about the other girls you’ve seen him talking to. he tells you he was born in switzerland. you buy him an $80 jacket for christmas. he makes jokes about oral sex that you don’t understand until he offers you a practical demonstration. he undoes the clasp on your bra with one hand. you get your first bikini wax. he teaches you how to say “i love you” in german. you meet his parents. after you break up, he shows his friends pictures of you in your underwear. you keep in touch.
your third boyfriend falls in love with you at first sight. he talks to you for hours about nothing; about everything; about what his plans are for your future together. you order a panini on your first date. he always makes his bed before anyone comes over. he uses terms of endearments like they’re easy. like they’re platitudes. like they’re weapons. he lies to you. you lie to yourself. he gives you a tiffany necklace for your eighteenth birthday with his own initials engraved on the attached silver pendant. your friends coo about how romantic he is. he follows you to college. you let him.
your fourth boyfriend is your fifth boyfriend is your sixth boyfriend. they blur together; fade into one long string of mistakes. you hook up with your kickboxing instructor in a grimy bar bathroom. you eat vegetarian pizza in a stranger’s backyard. you feed your roommate’s ball python a frozen mouse. you stop drinking malibu, start wearing lipstick, and have phone sex with someone else’s husband. no one offers you forever. you don’t care. you don’t.
Your seventh boyfriend–