I consider myself a feminist. To some people, this means I hate men. To me, it means I love women. I love how we are not afraid of emotions, I love how we are not afraid to break and I love how if we do break, we don’t stay broken. But it also means that sometimes we take risks we shouldn’t be taking and expose ourselves to pain because we think it’s romantic. In this universe, it’s romantic to suffer.
That’s what I thought. To be honest, I still catch myself idealizing tormented lovers. That’s why I love Wuthering Heights that much. I wanted to be Catherine Earnshaw. To show how much I am capable of love, I wanted to love so much it would hurt.
We had known each other for quite a while. He became my first friend in Ghent, the city I moved to five years ago. He was eight years older and when I first met him, I thought he was smart. Later, I realized I had been misled by his age. He wasn’t smart, just a bit more experienced. I would soon catch up to him.
In fact, he was quite immature. When he told me that he wouldn’t move out of his parents’ house until he was at least thirty, I almost fell off my chair. Even I was more self-dependent and I was just a teenager.
But we got along. He complimented me often enough to make me feel better about myself and I convinced myself that he knew my worth. He knew me. The idea was even more ridiculous than it sounds because I was well aware of his flaws. He didn’t understand me. How could he? We had no similar interests whatsoever. He liked golf, rich people, and villas. I loved alternative music, feminist authors, and dogs. He planned on staying in Belgium forever. I dreamed of traveling. When we talked about me, I was very selective in what I would tell him. For some reason, I didn’t want him to find out how different we were.
When I got old enough to not be shamefully illegal to fuck anymore, he started flirting with me. Playfully, yet obviously. I would receive messages saying: “Taking a bath. Wanna join?”
He would only text me after midnight. At first, I thought it meant he thought about me a lot. Now I realize I was his booty call. He was proper fuckboy material and I didn’t even notice.
But he paid attention to me. And I liked it. I liked him. He was older and he was hot. I felt strangely aroused thinking about him. I thought it was love.
Anyway, one time, when I was feeling especially romantic, I kissed him. He had been feeling me up the whole day and it felt like the natural thing to do. He kissed back.
When I woke up the next day, I thought my future was settled. I had a boyfriend. Also, I was very horny. Later I identified the ‘love’ I felt for him as pure lust. But back then it felt very innocent.
I was waiting for his message the whole day, but it never came. I went to sleep worried, but tomorrow was another day.
The next day I went out for drinks with my best friend. She had just hooked up with a guy she would later have a meaningful relationship with. She was going on and on about how happy she was and I was glad but also kind of jealous. Why wouldn’t he text me?
I talked it over with my friend, and she, being very high-spirited after some good sex, decided it would be a good idea if I asked him out myself. Which I did, since she was the experienced one with good advice.
When we met up, he was very distant and wouldn’t touch me at all. That was very unlike him – even before we started flirting, he would casually pat my shoulders in one way or the other. “Great how we’re such good friends,” he said and gave me a tap on the back. I was taken aback by that, but I was also angry. Why the sudden change? Had I misread the signals?
After the awkward afternoon out, he had to get back to work. His workplace was just two streets away from my house, so he walked me home. Right before entering the house, he remarked that you could see my underwear through my dress. He laughed with the palm trees on my black panties. Stupid as I was, I felt flattered that he had looked at my ass.
By some cruel workings of the universe, it so happened that my parents were out. We settled down on the couch in the living room and he stared deeply into my eyes and said: “If only you knew how much I want to kiss you right now.” I was flustered and whispered hoarsely: “So why don’t you?” I said it so quietly that he didn’t hear, so I had to repeat it.
“You know I’ve got a girlfriend, right?” he asked as if, yes, of course, I knew. That was exactly why I had kissed him the other day. And then he reached out and his lips touched mine. And I didn’t object. The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. And I, the feminist, let him kiss me, while some other girl sat waiting for him at home. And I didn’t even mind.
He went on kissing me and I went on letting him. His hand found its way to my underwear. That’s when I heard the key in the door. My parents. We jumped up, both caught unaware and I abruptly pushed him away. It was then that I realized what I had done. And still, I wasn’t really sorry.
I walked him to his work and he gave me a hug in the end. I’m still not sure what went on that afternoon. But when I got home I texted him that I didn’t want to speak to him for a while. And I still ignore his messages. Because I don’t know what will happen if I don’t.