We didn’t break up so much as we decided that we did not want to classify what we had been doing and were presently doing as “dating.” This was followed by the realization that if we were not in fact “dating” that would should probably stop sleeping in eachother’s beds, making out, having sex, and speaking to eachother in a way that anyone who heard it would characterize as “romantic.” We finished up this whole decision by around 8 o’clock or so and still had the whole night to do something with, so we put our clothes back on, finished off the beer, and went with our mutual close friend to a party down in Wicker Park. It was an okay party, not the slightest bit dampened by the frequent “no, we’re actually not dating, where did you get that idea?” sort of conversation we both separately had to have with the people we knew there when we each separately expressed attraction to someone else, people who were already used to the three of us arriving and leaving together as a kind of family. I didn’t even mind it very much when he left our group to pursue a girl who everybody knew slept with everybody who talked to her at parties. I grabbed a beer and went outside for a smoke and ran into a guy that I had met a few years earlier in college, a sculptor quite a few years older than me named John, and I spent a really long time talking to John, who was attractive and art-weird, and he kept telling me weird details about his sexual preferences, things like “I’m down for whatever but just so you know, I keep my socks on” and so on, and as the night drew to a close and I started debating sort of boredly if I’d actually go home with John, the guy that I was very decidedly Not Dating interrupted the girl that he was talking to mid-sentence to grab my wrist and pull me into the bathroom and lock the door behind us, and when I looked at him sort of surprised and said “what are you even doing?” he said “I needed to use the bathroom, what are you doing here?” and I said “leaving” and he said “wait. Please don’t sleep with that guy” and I said “you can’t ask me not to do things anymore” and he said “I just have a really bad feeling. I’m not trying to tell  you what to do. But, please. Please don’t go home with him” and he grabbed my hand and stared at me until I left the bathroom, and when I got outside, John grabbed me and showed me a stolen bottle of vodka in his coat, and I said “why don’t you go use the bathroom across the hall real quick and I’ll wait for you out here” and the moment the door to the other bathroom closed, I snuck out to the back porch, climbed the railing and ivy-covered wooden fence down to the alley, and went the fuck home. When I saw the guy that I was not dating the next morning, he told me that John had gone around asking everyone if they had seen me, and he told John that there had been no one at the party that matched that description, that I was a figment of his imagination “and a pretty bitchy-sounding one at that.”

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