I'll never forget the night I woke up to you fingering me. Seinfeld was on TV and I had on a towel. You were still in your gym clothes and smelled of the Gatorade you'd dribbled all down your T-shirt. Our first and only date was a workout. When I whipped around, you grabbed my neck before I could scream, but not before I could kick. I missed, so you were still able to do what you wanted to do. It didn't matter that I struggled because you'd been lifting weights for the past 10 years. Thus I became the moth to your bell jar. I fluttered until I froze and I froze until I fell, withered, too exhausted to whisper.
You said, “It's cute how strong you think you are.”
You came on the towel, then pushed yourself off of me.
“Easy cleanup, right?” you asked, grinning.
I said nothing, not unlike before. "No" means "no," but what does silence mean? Silence can mean no. A kick, a shove — those can mean no. Unless the person on top thinks or wants otherwise.
You shrugged. “Well, later. Gotta study or History 303 will get my ass.”
I was in the 98th percentile for History 303, until I dropped the course. It was supposed to be my fun elective. But the prospect of burning under your gaze from across the lecture hall changed that.
I spent the rest of the semester dodging you. I just wanted to get out, go far away. I wanted to live in a place where I'd never see the glint in your eye again. I hoped graduation would give me that.
I decorated my mortarboard with glitter glue and a map of the world because I was going to trek my way across the globe. Before I handed in my final paper, I was already packed.
From the Great Wall to Linlithgow, it didn't matter. I still saw the glint. I still couldn't breathe. I still felt my heart racing and my wings pounding until everything stopped. I fainted at the foot of the Eiffel Tower without a wedding proposal in sight. Instead, I saw your lid coming down from the sky.
It didn't matter where I was; the moth cannot escape the bell jar.