This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Solstice Black, is from BABE by Dorothy Chan, released by Diode Editions in 2021.
When I Tell Him About the First Girl Who Loved Me,
All he says is “Wow,” like that’s the only response when the woman you could love might have ended up with another woman in another timeline, and I picture me and L, my first girl, suspended in a glass box filled with water, like subjects in a Ren Hang photograph shot on a hotel bed in lime green light, and the glass never shatters until the end of time—Hello, Holy Grail of a femme making love to another woman, the metaphor of the unreachable thing that men can never have, and cue the fantasies, but this is real. He asks me about L—L as in lips, or how he says I have the most beautiful mouth in the world—L as in Let’s call this practice, she used to say each time we kissed and went down, and I’d play in denial—L as in Lauren, her name—my Ralph Lauren blouse body on top of her flannel, clothes unbuttoning as I whispered sweet nothings in Cantonese to her—L as in love, as in real time, he calls what we have Whatever this is, and boy, I’ll make up my mind someday, and I wonder if I did love her, remembering us holding hands as she walked me home, saying “We could do this every day, you know.” I remember those nights, me at 20, headed home after sunset, already knowing the world could be all mine. I know I want him. But I don’t tell him. I worry we’ll never reach that level of intimacy, of him doing my makeup after sex. I wonder about me and him in that glass box in lime green light—all ours—recorded. I wonder if I’ll ever let him go
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