Don't fall in love with me

So much bile rises in your throat when he says that. I told you not to fall in love with me—he says—like a shield.

That sweet memory of the months together unravel: of him saying—don't fall...—before he kisses you in the street below your office. His cheeky grin as you wave goodbye. Your near-daily ritual escapism in three acts, (I) a flirty conversation over lunch, meandering between Star Trek and Dungeons and Dragons and how badly he wants to fuck you, (II) temptation lurching into heat, dragging you both into an afternoon quickie of pent-up lust and need, like exhibitionistic performance, (III) the rest of the day spent texting him furiously as you chase the next act.

It begins as ritual escapism—forbidden pleasure to break white collar monotony, friends with benefits, fucks of convenience, friends, period—but with time, it changes. Convenience gives way to need; gives way to realising you want him more than you should; gives way to distance, gives way to longing kisses; gives way to want;

gives way to him texting you longingly from under his blanket miles away in the snow—I wish you were here—gives way to you texting him from your bed—I wish you were here too—gives way to you resolving that he means something to you. Gives way to the question: Is this what first love feels like? He needs to know you feel.

So you tell him, excited and eager: Your feelings confessed over dinner, leading to, like so many acts before, fucking.

And you lie together in bed, in the afterglow, staring at the ceiling. You remember feeling so at ease then, limbs entwined. At bliss? Content. That shadow on the ceiling looks like a death star, you giggle. You will never forget saying that before he tells you.

—I have a boyfriend.

—I told you not to fall in love with me.

—I didn't mean to tell you this only after we'd fucked.

So the memories unravel and the comforting warmth fades forever. Everything a charade. Your first love withers before it ever blossomed. So much bile rises in your throat, you don't even know what to say. But you say some things. You want to hurt him the way he's hurt you. Insults, questions, more insults, more questions. Nothing makes the feeling of violation ebb, like so much poison.

The lacking boundaries become clear only after you leave him, those ambiguities you would always overlook.