The Hardest Truths Are The Easiest
by Michelle K.

You used to know that woman.

The thought passes fleetingly, as quick as the few months you spent as her friend, and you wonder if you should do anything about it. Strike up a conversation and buy her a drink. Catch up on old times, live the cliche of former friends. You can tell her exciting stories about the life you fled your small town for. You can see if she still has that shy smile.

You turn around and stare into your drink.


You met at a party. You were drunk, per normal. She had driven eighty miles to be with her boyfriend -- you hated him, but you hated most anybody that you didn't see as a way out of the life you were in -- and you couldn't understand why anyone would drive to Kenosha.

She blinked and said, "I told you. Chris invited me."

She recognized the reference that your name was. She was the first non-teacher to note it.

You weren't that impressed.

But when she confessed over a plastic cup of beer, "I can't stand it here sometimes," you started to like her.



You recognize Donna's voice. It seems that the choice about this meeting has been made, if not by you. You turn, and she's all smiles. "Donna."

"It's been, what, twelve years?"

"More than that, I think."

"Yeah." She's silent as her smile softens. "You mind some company?"

"No. No, sit down."


You kept meeting her after that, at incredibly pointless parties. Chris usually ended the conversation for you by pulling her into a back room. One night, she told you that it always hurt when they had sex.

"Then why do you hang on him?"

"I'm not hanging on him. I'm talking to you."

"You know what I mean. Driving eighty miles to see him every weekend. Why?"

She shrugged and sat back. "I don't know. But you're hardly one to give lectures."

"I was asking a question, not giving a lecture."

She glanced around before taking your hand. She brought you to what looked like the parents' bedroom, closed the door before kissing you. As you did it, you thought of the church your mother always liked to take you to. You thought of fire and brimstone, and the sins you committed that were much worse than this. There wasn't sex that night, but there was the next weekend. It was awkward, but you didn't hurt her.

After that, she was driving eighty miles for you.


"What brings you to New York?"

It comes out like a seductive line, and you wish bars still allowed cigarettes so you could take a drag and blow smoke into the dark air.

"My girlfriend. I mean, ex-girlfriend. Now."


"She moved here, and I wanted to see if we could work things out. But we can't. It's all for the best, though. She's... not what I want to talk about right now."

"Then let's not."

She nods. Smiles.


"I ran away once."


"Didn't get far," you say. "I'd never do it again. My mother..." It wouldn't have been like you to talk about the pain in her eyes, the feeling of sadness that sank into your skin. "...freaked out. It's not even a year until I leave for college. Then, I'm out of here."

Donna was strangely silent.

"Don't you want to get out of here?" you asked.

"Sure," she whispered. She kissed you. She softly trailed kisses down until she was between your legs. It took her forever to make you come.


She leans toward you. You can almost taste the alcohol on her breath. "Can you believe we got this far?"

"No." You also can't believe how unhappy you are, but that's not something you'd discuss with her. She's a stranger now. She always was. "It's pretty--"

"I mean, the White House. The FBI. That's... that's a lot of amazing. A whole gross."

She seems like she's about to cry. Or kiss you. You don't particularly want either to happen, but you're fairly certain you won't be able to stop her. You've always liked being kissed by someone in need. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine." Her smile is unconvincing. "It's just that everyone runs away from me. When I'm not running away from them. That wasn't an insult, by the way."

You shake your head. "I didn't think it was."

"I'm not trying to fall apart in front of you. I don't want to fall apart in front of anyone. I'm... I'm just going to decide not to fall apart."

"I think that's a good plan."


Underneath the table, she slides her hand over yours.


You didn't say goodbye like lovers, or even friends. You weren't particularly either. But Donna held you tight on that last hug.

Maybe she wanted you to love her.


When you get inside your apartment, she kisses you. It's not really like that first kiss -- maybe this counts as another first kiss. Your first kiss as screwed-up adults instead of confused children. It certainly does taste different; she no longer wears cherry lip-gloss or chews Juicy Fruit. And her arms wrap around you as you stumble to the couch.

You unbutton her blouse first, revealing silk that's not at all like the cotton underwear you once groped at. Both so sophisticated now, you think, and you don't laugh at your inner sarcasm.

She looks at you as she pushes down the straps of her camisole. Slowly moving toward you, she licks her lips. You move a hand to her breast as she returns her lips to yours. After her nipple is hard, you lower your mouth to her neck. She reclines, inviting you to move lower. You take the encouragement.

She moans.


When you make it to bed, you're both naked and her fingers are slick. She draws a line down your breast and licks her way up. She bites down as she sucks on a bit of flesh.

She's certainly gotten better at this. You wonder if it's the same for you, or if the fact that you've mostly been with men will make you out of practice. Then, she slides two fingers in and out of you, repeating the action on your other breast, and you just decide not to think. Not long after that, her head is between your legs, tongue sliding over your clit again and again until you come.

She licks her lips and gives you a feral grin. That also seems to be new, as is the way she straddles your stomach, rocking her hips against you. You shudder. She begs you to touch her. You do, starting with a steadying grip on her hips. She calms, closing her eyes. You guide her back on the bed and settle above her. She arches as you slide a hand between her legs. You use two fingers and a thumb and apparently, you're not that out of practice, because you make her writhe and moan until she shudders around you.

She closes her eyes as she comes down. When her eyes flutter open, she stares at you for a long while before pulling you to her for a kiss.

"See," she mutters. "Haven't fallen apart yet."


"It was nice seeing you again," she says after she's dressed.

You nod. "Call me if you're ever in New York again," you say, knowing that if you see her again, it'll be by accident.

It always has been.


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