A beginning with no end

This was going to be the beginning to a novel but I stalled, unsure of how to continue. I might have no idea where to go from here, but I know enough that this is worth saving until I make up my mind. For now, I'll share what I have with you.


My first time was with a guy named Justin. It was quick, dirty, and so not worth the wasted memory. I was twenty, in college and in a cliched but terrifying self-destructive phase that went on for far too long. Justin was just an excuse to keep going after I got started.

We met on one of those 1-800 phone lines for singles. You know the ones with the commercials featuring some capped-tooth, siliconed actress about two steps away from just saying, "Fuck it all" before doing bad porn? Yeah, that's how I met my first. Classy, I know. But we "hit it off," as much as two people with nothing in common other than wanting to be with anyone but those that actually knew us could be. That would have meant being honest, sharing, and giving a damn. But neither one of us was into that. Instead, our dates centered around a lot of uncomfortable silences, forgettable conversations, and a lot of fooling around. I knew he didn't love me and he was probably hoping that I didn't love him. It would only have complicated something that was, from the beginning, meant to mean absolutely nothing.

I can't tell you the day he first kissed me. Hell, I didn't even remember his name until I found my old diaries. And according to my young and reckless self, we had sex sometime in August of 1998. Apparently, the event wasn't even worth recording for posterity except to say simply that we "had sex." I can only remember fumbling in the dark, marveling at the muscles straining against my fingers, and thinking, "that was it?" when it was all over just moments after the main event started.

He was gone when I woke up. There was a note that he had gone to work and that he'd call me later. But he never did. I might not remember a lot, but I definitely remember not caring. I was already on my next reason to hate myself.

The weird thing is that sometimes I find myself rewriting my history in my head. And the diary entry entitled "My First Time" would have been beautiful. It would have been breathless with wonder and nerves, bubbling with excitement, and full of so many details like what I was wearing and the song playing on the radio and if it was a clear night or if the stars I was seeing were solely in my mind's eye.

There would have been promises of tomorrow.

My first time would have been with Luis. I loved him. And if I could wake up tomorrow and have it be yesterday for just one wonderful moment, I'd rewrite my diary with Luis and my happy little college love story.

But why stop there? Why not tear out the pages with words like "depression," "bulimia," "hate," and "myself" on them. It would be like none of it ever happened. A clean slate. Someone else's diary. The "Once Upon a Time" to my "Happily Ever After" without the bullshit drama in between.

Is it possible though, to change the past without changing the present? To have taken a different path, made different choices, and still ended up where I am now? To still be me?