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The Silent Hookup

Lena Malick



Everyone’s got one, right? That sexual encounter that’s unlike any other. The one that’s completely out of character. The exception. The crazy one night stand or impulsive fling. Hopefully it was a good experience, something you can look back on fondly.

Mine was. I’ve relived every moment of my one strange sexual encounter countless times. It happened when I was twenty-two. Up until then I was about as normal as they come. Boring even. A couple boyfriends. Normal sex that happened the normal way. No crazy college experiences. No crazy anything.

It was the end of summer. I had been in a down mood for the past few weeks. Not exactly depressed—it was more like a general anxiety had taken hold of me. I’d recently broken up with my boyfriend, so at first I thought it was that. I asked to see him again, thinking maybe there was something unresolved I was struggling with. We met for coffee. After about five minutes I knew I was wrong. Whatever was dragging me down, it wasn’t him.

The next day, I decided to do something I hadn’t done in years. Something I used to do, secretly, years ago. Instead of going to yoga class and doing all the other things I’d had planned, I spent the afternoon as if I was getting ready for a date. I took a long bath, doing all the extras. I thought about the man I was going on a date with while I carefully applied my makeup, imagining every aspect of him. I picked out my best clothes, deciding on a skirt, sweater, heels, and my sexiest black bra. It was late afternoon when I left the house.

Not having an actual date to go on, I sought refuge in my favorite place—a bookstore. Bookstores are like a sanctuary for me. A place I can go to for peace. And it’s a great place to fantasize. All dolled up, I strolled the isles, pretending I was just killing time, waiting for my date to show up. I sat in a cushy chair, rereading parts of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, a book I’ve read about a dozen times. I was so familiar with the book I could read and keep my fantasy going at the same time.

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