“You can take one thing on a desert island.” He says it like this is some novel concept he’s just concocted. He’s so smart, this one. So entertaining. “Okay.” “And it can’t be a person.” He says this part with a quick smile in my direction, as if he’s sure I’m about to choose him. Cute. “Alright.” “So... What do you take?” Psychiatric medication. I could use some now, actually. “Um… A book.” “What book?” he pries. We’re sitting in a Walmart parking lot. His knees are propped up on the steering wheel. We have nowhere to be. I send a prayer up that maybe my phone will ring with some catastrophic incident that demands my immediate attention, something he can’t possibly invite himself to. Like a death or something. Nobody comes along for the ride if there’s a death. Not that I’m hoping it’s anyone important. Maybe my great aunt. Someone’s gotta call her number soon. “The bible.” It just slips out. I think I have a bible in the stack of books holding up my TV. I’m pretty sure I stuffed it in the middle of my textbooks from last semester, the one I dropped out of. I kept the books just in case the urge strikes to do some independent study. It won’t. “Really?” he asks, and he’s genuinely interested. This fucking guy. What am I doing here? “No, not really.” “Oh.” I don’t think he’s the religious type. I think maybe he’s a pseudo philosopher who thought for a split second he was on the fringe of some deeply involved conversation about religion, the nature of which I cannot provide for him on account of I do not give a single flying fuck. What’s his deal, anyway? College kid home for Christmas break seeks lonely townie to fuck in Walmart parking lot. He’s got some kind of awful soft rock playing through his shitty speakers and I am regretting every bite of the shitty dinner he bought me and he keeps running his hand through his shitty hair and looking over at me like I’m supposed to be impressed by all of this, this former football star turned big man on campus. And I’m wondering why I even swiped right on him and I’m wondering why I downloaded Tinder to begin with and I’m thinking about everything else I could be doing, literally anything else, like lying face down on my bed waiting for the sweet release of death because honestly that’s all I’ve been getting up to lately and honestly, maybe that’s why I swiped right on this pretty boy with the pretty blonde hair and the pretty smile and the pretty economics major. Maybe we’ll get married and he’ll impregnate me in the back of this Hyundai Elantra in the Walmart parking lot and he’ll work in finance and our children will have trust funds and I will spend my days as a housewife, face down on an even nicer bed, planning an even nicer funeral. A girl can dream. “I think I’d bring---” “Do you wanna fuck or what?” I’m not sure where the question comes from and neither does he. He blinks at me and I wonder if girls who go to college like to small talk and pontificate over what they would take to a hypothetical desert island but I, a townie, would really just like to get plowed in the back of this Hyundai. I, community college dropout, am trying to secure the bag on this economics major, knowing all too well he does not have a condom and if he does it’s both in his wallet and expired. This is my thought process as he drops his jaw and searches for words in his little boy brain. I can physically see him make the comparison between me and the other girls he has plowed in the Hyundai. I know his ex-girlfriend, she works at the grocery store where I buy discount cigarettes, she got into real college but it’s cheaper for her to stay home. Her parents can’t afford a university. I know this because my parents said the same thing about me before I dyed my hair blue and dropped out and started crying all the time, but she doesn’t seem like the type to go that route. She’s pretty and smart and always smiles at me when I buy two packs of cigarettes every day, forty cigarettes, and she tells me to have a nice day like we both don’t know I am not going to. He’s still staring at me and I wonder what it would take for him to pick up what I’m throwing down here. Do I just say fuck it, take my top off and hope his wallet condom is expired? Or do I keep waiting for the nonexistent emergency phone call to come? Man, they told me it was a free country but who knew I’d have so many options. “Right… here? Right now?” He’s looking at me like the Walmart parking lot is not the classiest of our options and I’m asking myself why I left my red carpet at home. I am a community college drop out with blue hair and a smoker’s cough. This is a 2004 Hyundai Elantra. What is he not seeing here? I think of his pretty ex-girlfriend ringing up all forty of my cigarettes and picture them having missionary sex in the room down the hall from his mother’s, and he screws his eyes up and tells her he’s cumming and she’s been staring at the space of ceiling above his left shoulder for twelve minutes, waiting. I almost laugh out loud, and then I remember the last time I had sex, with my face pressed into the pillow in the room down the hall from my mother’s, and he told me he was cumming and shot all over my back and I laid there refusing to move until he wiped it off with one of my dirty t shirts. Romance, am I right? “I mean, we could go somewhere else if you want,” I shrug. I am wearing a light up sign denouncing my own self esteem. “I don’t really care.” Finally, after several strained moments of the gears in his brain grinding forward, he throws me a wicked grin. My favorite kind of boy grin, the kind where the corner of the mouth twitches upward and the eyebrows raise. “You’re wild.” It was like instant dry for my pussy but I digress, they can’t all always say the right thing. Then he says he knows a place and I am impressed. The pretty boy with the pretty hair and the pretty economics major knows a place to fuck girls in the backseat of his Hyundai. He starts the car and starts off toward our next destination. We knew each other in high school. Really, I knew him. I don’t think people like him paid much attention to people like me back then. I say back then like it wasn’t two years ago, but a lot changes in two years and we are proof of that. He was preoccupied on the field and I was very busy underneath the bleachers letting grimy dudes grab my tits for five dollars a pop. Look at us now, speeding off toward what is inevitably a clearing in some woods he used to go off-roading in with his buddies. This condom better be expired. His parents have money, the kind of money that disqualifies you from financial aid, and they live in one of the big houses on the hill. If necessary, they would totally take care of his accident baby and its accident mom. He’s a nice guy, really. Good grades, money. Bought me dinner. Seemed like he was interested in conversation until I cut through with the good stuff. And maybe it’s good for me to branch out. I don’t suck nice guy dick too often. I don’t--- And my phone starts going off, and I wonder if it is my mother telling me about my dead great aunt. It would be just my luck if this bitch decided to roll over and die right when things started getting good. I wrestle my phone out of my purse and look down at the glowing screen with pursed lips. It’s the kid, the kid who shot all over my back, and he wants to know what I’m doing. He’s done with band practice, or whatever it is boys with tattoos and guitars do on Friday nights. And I think about him, this dirty punk boy squatting his best friend’s living room, and I think about the economics major and his rich parents, and I think about what’s best for me and I think about my thirty ninth cigarette, and maybe I smile a little bit. “Hey, I’m sorry. Something just came up; can you take me home?” “What? Oh. Yeah. Everything okay?” I think of the boy and his calloused hands. “Yeah.” I hope his condom is expired.
Tessah Melamed is a writer and proud slut based in New Jersey. She works at a sex shop and studies Liberal Arts at Ocean County College. She's passionate about cherry bombs, chaos and problematic men. Her Instagram is a haven for thirst traps and thoughtful musings.