He looked like the guy who raped me: dark hair, dark eyes, a veneered smile, and relatively short. He said, “I’m Micah,” as I handed the bartender cash in exchange for a vodka seltzer. The guy who raped me, his name was Sean. I had gone to college with Sean—had biology with him senior year—and a year after graduation he had reached out to me. He had moved to New York, he said: Did I want to get a drink at The Monarch? I had agreed because he was funny in biology, his last name Italian.
Micah scooted closer to me in the low-lit bar on the Upper East Side. I was waiting for my co-worker to finish editing a 73 Questions video; she would be done soon, meet me here. Micah said he was from Atlanta, just graduated from the University of Florida. He worked downtown in finance now. He asked what I did, I told him I was a beauty editor at a fashion magazine. He said, “No wonder you’re so pretty.” I didn’t blush when I thanked him, just smiled curtly and took a sip of seltzer. He was maybe 5’9”. I wondered why there were so many short men.
When Micah asked if I was alone, I said, “My friend’s on her way.” Micah said, Let me get you a drink and I remembered how the night Sean raped me, we’d had whiskey-Cokes. I was in Sean’s apartment when I came to in his bed next to him, wearing his lacrosse pinnie. If I’d seen us in a mirror it would have looked like I could be his girlfriend but my lipstick was smudged rough and when he kissed me goodbye he said, “I’ll see you again soon” so even though it hurt when I peed and had no recollection of going home with him, I said, “Can’t wait.”
Now at the bar, I wore a blazer and dark blue dress. Nude flats, red lipstick. I’d heard all red lipstick has lead in it but I still wear it. Still love it. Gold earrings, hoops. I liked how they curved down toward my shoulders, then rolled back up to where the very place they began. Reunited at the mouth of the earring with a backing. My hair was long and wavy; it touched my waist. I’d always loved long hair, enjoyed wearing makeup; I still liked my lipstick.
Micah pressed again, Let me get you a drink, and I politely told him no thanks, I’m not interested. Then he called me baby and said of course I was interested, I’d talked to him all this time. I said, I promise you I’m not. I’m not interested in men. I never have been. I loved girls before Sean. During. After.
Micah brayed and said, “You can’t be gay. You’re wearing lipstick.”
I told him I wore lipstick when I licked pussy, too.
Steph Osmanski is a candidate for the Creative Writing MFA at Stony Brook Southampton. Her fiction has been featured in Montage and The Southampton Review and her nonfiction in Cold Creek Review, Soft Cartel, and Darling Magazine. She lives in New York with her pomsky, Koda. Follow her on Twitter and find more of her work here.