The Sweetest Thing

I've never drunk-dialed, broken anything, or screwed best friends to get back at an ex after a breakup. No rebound relationships, and no rainy afternoons watching movies like Say Anything. No sobbing heavily into pillows. That's not me. I've attempted to stay friends with an ex, which may be why it has been so easy to fall victim to the drunk hook-up. But there's no way to ease the discomfort of sitting across from your "friend" at a diner, making jokes about wood paneling while battling flashbacks of intimate afternoons and struggling with the smell of his temples. Only makes it worse, in fact. I prefer revenge.

My first torn heart was from a teenage love, the 15-year-old lanky skater Brent. I initiated the breakup when I found him in a tickle-fight with my best friend from orchestra camp. The boy, who, like me, "got" Sonic Youth and appreciated lime Slush Puppies and airplane takeoffs, was a smart aleck who claimed to worship Satan. After the rift, a Jesus Loves You pamphleteer accosted me on the street. Using Brent's name, address, and phone number, I wrote a letter expressing enthusiasm for Jesus, requesting at least 500 more pamphlets, along with any other literature, so I, too, could spread the word of God. Months later, holding me with his de-virginized arms, he mentioned that religious people kept calling him. I played dumb.

The next white knight had jet-black hair and found me on the floor of Barnes & Noble thumbing through calendars. He passed me a note asking if I preferred *NSync or Belle and Sebastian. We spent winter break holding hands at home in Vermont, slumming for Christmas lights, listening to lite radio for laughs, and in my apartment, skin-to-skin under sheets. It was two weeks before we had sex, and the first time brought an instant orgasm from me and tears out of him—he never felt so beautiful, he said. Four months later his ex (from a chat-room meet-up) launched a Web site——revealing how he’d dumped her after securing me. I left him, and he became "the Flap" to my friends; subsequently words like flapilicious entered my vocabulary to describe the sappy, fake, and grotesque. He had a flap-over gut.

We finally made nice, and after 9-11 reached for each other and shared a bed. Often. Then, one intoxicated night, he discovered my dark-eyed roommate and her uncanny imitation of a German accent. He alternated between adoring her and calling a female co-worker from the kitchen on his new Motorola. He left it next to the microwave. Thirty seconds was enough. "What's that sound?" they asked me. "Cell phone." I always admired his good nature: He didn't even ask me to pay for it.

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