We were best friends and lovers. We did everything together. He used to hold me in his arms when I got my period and the cramps were real bad. He’d reach into a crowd and pull me out with his powerful arms when it was time to go, the drunken, rambling, me being rescued from the vultures of the night--helped into a taxi and shuttled home, to his dark and over-decorated place, where he’d kiss me and hug and undress me, and then put me on all fours in the bath tub and force me to scrub my “fishy girl parts” with a super strong peppermint soap that burned my delicate skin and got stuck in my nose so that now, whenever I smell peppermint I think of myself red and swollen and ashamed, believing I smelled bad, believing I was a liar and a sneak and a stupid, stupid bitch for once upon a time dreaming of a future brighter than this.

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