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To Be Young and In Love


by P.R. Mercado


We were in her boyfriend's room in the middle of the night. I was seated on the bed, and she was on the carpet poking holes in his condoms. We were doing it in the dark, to prepare for any contingency. The room smelled like old laundry and body spray. 

She said: “I've been reading some Freud like you asked.”

I said, “I didn't ask.”

“Well I read some Freud so you better shut the fuck up,” she said. “Or else I'll read your mind.”

I turned to a corner and there was a guitar. One of its strings was broken. I remember he used it to sing to her one time at the place where everyone smoked behind the school, and she was so flattered that she turned all red and grabbed my arm so hard that I thought we'd have to amputate by the time the song was over.

Then I knew everything was going wrong when one time at dinner she told me: “He doesn't sing to me anymore,” and then she added after a few bites of her food: “We still screw a lot, though.” After she said this, she just stared into space, in the direction of the fridge, and I think this is where the idea came to her, slowly.

“That's not how it works,” I said. “You don't get to read people's minds.”

“Well I know how you think,” she said, opening a new box. “I know the structure of your thoughts now. Id, ego, superego.”

“Your boyfriend has a lot of condoms,” I said. “That's your third box.”

“We screw a lot,” she said. 

“Each other?” I said. 

She looked at me like she was disgusted. 

“I don't think you have moral high ground in this situation,” I said. 

“You're such a superego,” she said. “The superego is the buzzkill. I want to be the id. The id is a pretty cool guy. The id knows how to party. The id would drink so much booze but would still drive home because that's just how the id rolls.”

I stood up and walked around. I went inside the bathroom. In the sink were some bloody blades, with dates written on them. “Look,” I said. “He kept the blades you sent him.” She sent him the blades she cut herself with, with dates and letters explaining the procedure and what she thought about while doing it, mostly about the pain of being abandoned by the love of her life. “The blood's beginning to coagulate. I wonder if he used them so your blood will coagulate together.”

“That's so romantic,” she said from the other room. “I love him so much.”

When she was done, we ate the leftover chicken in his fridge until he came back. I had to leave because they were getting affectionate. He was a bit mad about us eating the chicken without his permission, but I said: “Well, in nine months that's not what you'll remember. Ha, ha.” He looked at me like I said something weird then I just walked out the door myself. 

Maybe she was right. I am such a superego. 
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