It happens every time: chest tightening, eyes widening, fists clenching, teeth grinding, and the sudden need to chain smoke. Once the initial exhilaration of hearing, “Will you be my girlfriend?” wears off, a sticky panic sets in like peanut butter or grease growing in my gut. I feel trapped. I need to get outside. I excuse myself for a cigarette but really to get far away before she catches glimpse of the restrained horror in my eyes. I want her, I like her, but I know that within 60 days she’ll be gone. I’ll make sure of that. This is who I am.
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