Do you remember when we first started hooking up? All the way back in high school? We both skipped class and made out in an empty classroom. You did well. I wanted to keep going, but you said you had to get back. I did my best to talk you out of it. You brought up that the teacher I was skipping out on was much more lenient than the one you were dodging. You were doing your best to be a bitch about it, so you gave me a look and rhetorically asked what you were supposed to do to get out of trouble: announce a bout of diarrhea? I was too nervous at the time, too insecure about the perverted landscape of my mind, so I said nothing, but what I thought of then and there is still with me. I had wanted to say, “Well if you’ve got diarrhea, let me plug you up.” A finger in the dyke isn’t nearly as important as a finger that keeps your panties from an unfixable stain. Back then, you were innocent; a few months later, you would tell me in no uncertain terms that nothing was to ever go up your ass. But I still can’t help but wonder what would have happened if, on that day, I had been so bold and dutifully offered my opposable thumbs as your own personal diaper.

The way things actually played out, I can’t really recall. You were a good kisser that day, but you went back to class. We would keep making out now and then in the library, in bathrooms, the elevator, etc. Do you think everything could have been different had I just been more bold? If I had just been willing to own all that is disgusting and wrong about me from the get-go? You probably can’t tell now: hindsight sure as hell isn’t 20/20, it’s indelibly marked by the present’s point of view. So, of course you’d say it wouldn’t have changed anything, or that if it would’ve changed anything, it would have made you abort our horrible relationship before it even started. But I’m not so sure, I still wonder; and maybe if I actually send this letter, and you read it, maybe then you’ll wonder too.


“First” is an excerpt from Richard Power’s new memoir, Letters from a Heartbroken Pervert. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.