Sophomore Summer

Fiction by Angela Hui
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He comes over straight after a family dinner and his mouth tastes like beef and tomato sauce. I offer him water, but he declines. “I’m only thirsty for you,” he says, so earnestly that it’s a bit strange. I decide I won’t let him use tongue until his mouth starts tasting better, so I keep my lips pursed. He takes the hint. His lips are so thin, though, that when he kisses me it’s like I’m being bitten by a turtle. Or someone without teeth. But yes, looking at him, the lacrosse body, the square mandible, the tawny leonine curls, yes, this is what I want, yes, this is what I must do.

Because when a gingham-loving Asian boy breaks your heart, the best way to exorcise your sorrow is to fuck the dude he wishes he could be. Drew fits the bill: His parents have taken him to the opera since he was a kid, his mom evidently feeds him casserole, and he spends his days carving hash pipes out of stale bagels and studying to become a sports therapist.

“You have really nice eyes,” he tells me, probably because he assumes I’m insecure about how small and dark they are and he thinks I’ll be more likely to let him fuck me this way. Little does he know I already decided that was going to happen, hours before I texted him.

“Thanks,” I say, “you too.” I look straight into his eyes for maybe the first time and note their color: a mottled green-brown, like pea soup vomit. “They’re like a… patinated bronze,” I tell him, as if to say, See how I’ve conquered the language of your forefathers?

When he takes his dick out, I’m surprised at myself, at least momentarily. But I remind myself that I’m responsible. I know what I’m doing. I run my fingers over his dick, surreptitiously checking for sores. Nothing. So probably no syphilis, maybe no herpes. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be taken care of with antibiotics, and apparently Listerine even kills the pharyngeal stuff. We’re good.

With Gingham Boy this wasn’t a concern. I took his virginity. Well, technically he took mine too, but really it’s more important that I was his first. It means he can’t forget me.

Drew moans, and I start kissing around his dick in a way that I hope seems like teasing. Really I’m just psyching myself up for the requisite blowjob. His dick smells kind of sweaty and I wonder if I can trick him into the shower. Maybe if I lure him into the water in a kind of sexy way. But then my makeup will get washed off, and he’ll probably still be down since he’s already here, but he might be less eager next time, which would defeat the whole purpose. So no shower, no getting my face wet. I’m like the Wicked Witch of the West. Or, ha, of the East.

He tastes as sweaty as I’d feared. He’s pressing down rhythmically on the crown of my head with his fingertips, kind of like he’s dribbling a basketball. Apparently he’s the kind of guy with a need for speed. Without realizing it, I start counting the bops of my head like they’re reps and I’m a drill sergeant. Ninety-six, ninety-seven, ninety-eight.

He’s bigger than Gingham Boy, by a good thirty percent. I want to tell him that, you’re so much bigger than my ex, but I heard that sometimes when you bring that stuff up guys go soft. So when my neck gets tired I smile at him and say, “You’ve got the biggest dick I’ve ever sucked,” and let him imagine what that means.

Surprisingly, he gives better head than Gingham Boy, or at least I can tell he’s more technically proficient. I’m kind of grief-numbed down there. It seems like the papercut lips actually provide better suction, which is funny because I was always fawning over how nice Jamie’s—Gingham Boy’s—lips were. They were Restylane big, Angelina Jolie big, in a way that fit his face really well. In the beginning, when we were just friends, I told him he had blowjob lips, and he laughed instead of getting offended. I liked that.

He’s on top of me now, Drew, and his sweat drips on my face. “Condom,” I say curtly, like I’m reminding a kid to take his shoes off at the door.

“You got one?”

Without getting up, I point at my bedside table. “A whole drawerful.”

He has some trouble opening the wrapper and putting it on, which concerns me, because the word has always been that he’s a big slut. I wonder if he has any secret babies. Jamie and I were so serious about everything. We wasted maybe five dollars’ worth of condoms practicing before we even did it, and we had a whole just-in-case fund for Planned Parenthood. It feels crazy not to care. But that’s how Drew lives, I guess, stupid and happy, and it’s best that I learn some of that too.

I can’t wait for word to get out to Jamie. I can’t wait for him to imagine this moment right here—the shine of Drew’s skin, tanned near copper by shirtless running and shirtless surfing and all the shirtless activities one owes the world when blessed with such a body. The hair on his limbs, I notice, is almost golden, thinner and lighter than that on his head, and his torso is covered in a fine blond fuzz that makes him look a little blurry, a little airbrushed. Had he worn braces as a kid he’d be perfect in a movie; he could play the god of the sun.

It hurts a little, but not as bad as the first time with Jamie, which shouldn’t have hurt at all given that we used half a container of lube like my friends advised. This is more of a mild discomfort, like being bear-hugged while inserting three tampons at once. Suddenly I feel his dick deflate, and I’m horrified. “Did I do something wrong?” I ask.

“No,” he says, “I just came fast.”

“Oh. Okay,” I say, very politely.

“You’re just so sexy. I couldn’t help it.” Then, as if begging me not to be disappointed, he starts kissing my face and neck with an animal franticness that’s just a bit too weird, a bit too porny, for me to find hot. I’m unused to this kind of treatment. There was never anything erotic about what Jamie and I did. We operated with the conspiratorial camaraderie of two children conducting a backyard dissection—touch this, move the leg here, now doesn’t that feel weird?

“Well, I’ve got to get home,” Drew says, retrieving his boxers from the place between my mattress and the wall. When his clothes are back on, I almost feel like shaking his hand. Thank you. I got what I needed.

I speed-walk to the door, hoping to hasten his departure, because yet again I’m feeling that pesky pressure in my throat and behind my eyes, a sensation that has grown very familiar of late, and I don’t want Drew to see me like that. He’s a nice enough guy, for a man-whore, and he’d feel bad thinking he fucked up even though none of this has anything to do with him.

“See you!” I say, opening the door up wide. He kisses me goodbye, I kiss him back perfunctorily, and he walks away just as the first tears start falling. I hurry to the bathroom and pat a tissue at my waterline, catching the tears before they can run down my cheeks.

Still crying, I study myself in the bathroom mirror. My lips and chin are scuffed from Drew’s stubble; I’ll have to ask him to shave next time, and hopefully he’ll be willing to give up his rugged surfer boy look just for the rest of the summer. Much to my surprise, my neck and chest are littered with hickeys. This is not an inconvenience I have experienced before. It’s still too warm for scarves to be an option, so I’ll have to find a full-coverage concealer, which I will maybe be able to return once the marks have faded. Or maybe I don’t want them to fade; maybe I’ll pinch the skin so it might still be purple in a month, when classes start, and Jamie will see.

Until a few months ago I thought Asian skin was immune to hickeys—something about the yellow undertone, or the thicker layer of subcutaneous fat. Jamie and I never left marks on each other; I even tried a few times, with such determination that slobber ran down his neck, but always I’d find that my love was traceless.

When, one day, I peeled down his shirt collar to find a fresh blue bruise, I was more surprised that the mark had formed than anything else. It was a near-perfect ellipse, about two and a half square inches in area, on his left side, just above the collarbone. I bit down on it, hard, and the hickeyed skin felt just like the rest, so smooth and so soft, with the same slight give as a nearly ripe fruit. It must have hurt him terribly, but he didn’t resist at first, perhaps out of fairness, perhaps out of the last remnant of love for me he possessed. When, finally, he pushed me away, I saw faint tooth marks, but the bruise was no darker than before.