"You roll your mouth off him, his taste still smothering your tongue when he says, “There is someone else.”
You laugh. The last time you saw him was a year before when he forced you out of his car somewhere in Queens because you hit him in the arm. He came back ten minutes later, drove you to your dorm at NYU, and you didn’t talk for almost a year when he sent you an email saying he missed you. You thought you loved him, so you invited him to your mom’s house in the Hamptons. He said yes, so you thought that maybe he loved you, too.
You look at the clock next to your bed. It is midnight - officially your birthday.
“Her name is Jackie,” he continues.
You laugh again. Your bed creaks; through the wall, you can hear your mother snoring.
“I really like her,” he says. “I mean I like you, but it’s, it’s just different.”
This is when you ask the question you shouldn’t. “What do you mean different?”
“You know that pumpkin cheesecake we had tonight?”
You nod. Every October, every birthday, your mother’s boyfriend makes you one. It is your favourite.
“You are like pumpkin cheesecake,” Matt says. He leans on his elbow and you try not to look into his eyes. “And Jackie is carrots. You’re great, but not all the time. Jackie is good for me all the time. You know?”
This is the thing you learn about yourself in the first few minutes of being nineteen: you are much more of an adult than last year, because when Matt says this, you don’t reach your hand out to punch him in the face. Instead, you say, “I understand.” Then you roll away from him and close your eyes until you hear his tiny snores rolling through your ribs.
You are mature because you wait. You tip toe to the bathroom and lay your face against the cold tiles and that is where you cry.
You realize that you do not know what love means. However, it is here on your nineteenth birthday you realize what it isn’t. It isn’t having your heart broken on your own bed after giving someone a blowjob on your birthday. It isn’t any of this.
You wonder though why love feels like laying down and letting someone roll over you - why love feels like agreeing to lay down and die."