• Katarina

So Excited I Couldn't Breathe

You left a hickey on my skin. High up the neck, close to the hairline behind my ear.

You know...

...where I told you not to.


And I don't mind; I really don't. It's just that I wasn't prepared for it to appear — bold and accusing — smudged in the shape of your lips in the middle of class today.


I can't hold it against you that you don't understand why it bothers me. Honestly, it doesn't too much, because when your friends see it, you'll get a high five.


And I'll get the look.


'Cause, you're the one who got yourself a pretty girlfriend, while I hang around older boys. It's just another status symbol for you.


No. You can't see anyone judging me, because you aren't trained to observe their looks. You haven't felt them on your skin, so you can't see as they eye me — sometimes a glare, sometimes a shot of pity, and most often is what older girls, you call your friends, share between silent lips.


She should have known better.


For you, the glances seem harmless. Like a 'hello', or a 'I haven't seen you before.', or like, 'Hi, can I borrow your pencil?'

But I see them through a cloud of forbidden smoke in the bathroom between the second and the third period. In the high arch of perfect eyebrows that rise up like kids on a jump rope whenever I move up the lunch line. In the glares of senior girls when I run in PE. In the gasps of younger kids when I open my locker.


Because you only do what 18-year-old boys do. And I'm the fool who falls for it.





I know! I shouldn't care what other people think. I don't, but it's not just them. It's also about how you quirk your lips whenever you spot me in a hallway. For all it matters, you could shout to the whole school that you've seen more of me than they have.

It's about how you see me: the expectations you have as this famous 18-year-old boy who can't get his hands off me.


For someone who's not me, it's flattering.

Where a person would usually say thank you, I can't say anything.

Because you want me, and I can't breathe as you try to get me.


Yes, of course, it's excitement. It's not like I want to throw up as you crave to caress my body.


To think that I was excited the first time you held my hand as you took me to the movies for our second date, or maybe the first; if you don't count that concert we accidentally sang together the whole night.


I was excited as you reached for your wallet to pay even though I offered to.

I even laughed as we sat. When you made the all-time favorite joke about finishing the popcorn before the movie even started.


I know you never knew that I never eat popcorn too early. It's this long-standing tradition of going to the movies with my younger sister who eats them like she's just escaped the desert, and I just hand mine over to her when I'm about halfway done.


I wanted to tell you that story. It would've made me seem mature.


But you assumed my maturity before the commercials were up. With the seemingly innocent hand on my knee, I might have even liked the thought of me appearing brave enough to do anything with you right then and there, in the last row of the old cinema.


I was as brave as your demanding fingers were for those two hours. I was brave as I shook from what you mistook for nerves and giddiness and all things girly.


I know what you told your friends and no, I wasn't playing hard to get when I told you I couldn't go to the park behind your building at midnight.


But I was brave enough to kiss you goodnight when it seemed like you would turn around and go your own way.


I was brave enough to tell you I'll see you at school tomorrow.


I was brave enough to hold my breath as you pulled me behind the bleachers in the morning and even braver to laugh and say that I have to get to school when I had to shut my eyes so hard until I saw dancing lights before me.


You held my hand and kissed me again, just behind the ear, and at that moment, I wished that I wasn't there.


I stripped down my facade of courage by the third date when you asked me to stop by your place.

Your parents weren't home and my blood ran cold. I pressed I told you that my parents were and that they knew, about me and a boy two years older.

I got a bit bolder as I told you that they were against it.


Spoiler alert: they knew all along.

I couldn't keep it a secret. I even wrote you a song.

Back before the first date. When I just wanted you to hold my hand.