Kiss, Like Formaldehyde

In a tiny back room in the library, in the dark of night, on a beaten old couch at a small table, I’m sitting with my boyfriend, and it’s as quiet as this paragraph makes it sound.

We’re only dating because I was interested in his roommate, but invited them both over to mask my intentions. Which is how I wound up in my dorm room watching a movie alone with this guy. We’re both shy, but somehow at the end of the night we were an item.

Which was elating only briefly, because he’s the product of a stereotyped Asian upbringing: He rarely speaks, is impossible to hear when he does, is entranced by the idea of romance and terrified of kissing. Him being too embarrassed to kiss even in complete privacy killed this relationship; I’m just chickenshit enough I’ve waited a month to bury it.

And now we’re in that first silent paragraph, and I know damn well what this room is for and he just sits there. The words “I want to break up” swell in my chest. They burble toward the surface, growing, where they are about to burst free... when he kisses me.

Well, shit.