Guys I Dated While Pretending I Wasn’t in Love with You

Casey, 26
Tall, like you, but carries his weight in his belly. Soft, teddy bearish. Eyebrow ring and tongue piercing. Wallet chain and black t-shirt. Buys me tacos. We talk movies—Reservoir Dogs, The Dark Crystal. Asks if this is going anywhere and hugs me anyway when I say no.
Corey, 24
Works early shift at the coffee place by my office. You’d recognize him if you saw him. Gives me a free latte and asks me out for sushi. We hang out at his place after; his roommates—all six of them—are out. We smoke a bowl while he explains his tattoos. Kisses my cheek at the door and says he’d like to be friends.
Adam, 32
Friend of my friend’s husband—both of them cops. Military fade, like yours, but the fuzz on his skull is darker, thicker. Tells me I’m pretty hot for a teacher. Buys me shots at the bar, then pancakes at IHOP. Falls asleep in the booth. We fool around on my friend’s deck. In the dark, I can pretend it’s your head I’m stroking.
Guy from Kegger in Baton Rouge, ??
Grad student from middle-of-nowhere Louisiana. Keeps my cup full and gives me drags off his cigarette. We stand on someone’s lawn and throw around theorists—Gramsci, Althusser, Jameson. Honey-thick drawl, slower than yours, melts like summer on my tongue.
Brendan, 29
Teaches in my department. Plays the saxophone for me and his cat. Introduces me to late-night cookie delivery and Battlestar Galactica. Tells me he loves me after three weeks. We sleep together once. Break up a few days later because nothing about him reminds me of you.




Meghan Phillips lives in Lancaster, PA, where she works at a public library and a small historical society. She is a fiction reader for Third Point Press. You can find her on Twitter @mcarphil.


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Cover Photo: AK Rockefeller (