You don’t know how to hook up with me and I don’t know how to hook up with you. Just look at us: two idiots gazing moon-eyed at each other in the midst of implacable rain, standing in an empty parking lot, both of our mouths working around the same words. You say a lot of things like, “hypothetically, if we were to spend this night together,” and I say a lot of phrases like, “demisexuality, probably,” and, “enthusiastic consent,” and, “personal autonomy.” We’re both still staring.
We land on your couch, and you mutter, “There’s an order of operations to this,” but I’m distracted because I’m holding your bearded dragon, a tiny precious thing, all ridges and spikes. We still haven’t kissed by the time Peanut poops in my palm. I see your horror and I want to tell you that actually, I’m honored, but suddenly and at last I am too busy taking in the sensation of stubble scratching at the corners of my smile.
I’m not saying I know how to do this one-night stand thing right. I’m just saying that I don’t mind whispering facts about metallurgy and martensite into the softness of your pillows. I kind of like being regaled with trivia about sharks and wobbegongs in return. And when we never see each other again I’ll still carve a notch in my bedpost that says, I had a summer fling once, just like the rest of you. I hope you’ll carve one, too.
Avery Nguyen writes from MIT, where they are a chemical engineering undergrad and moonlight alternately as a materials scientist, nuclear engineer, and words enthusiast. They tweet @systellura.