When I meet My Sexuality, I’m digging a hole in the backyard, knuckling my way into the soil, trying to find a little jade dog I buried last summer for the fairies. It has just rained and the earth is warm, wet, and patched with red clay. I dig further, snapping roots and displacing earth worms. Lilly, she says, standing above me, the jade dog clean and creamy-green between her fingers. I stand and take the figurine from her. Fairies aren’t real.
It's true, I had never actually seen a fairy.
My Sexuality is polite to my family. She doesn’t eat too much but never denies another serving when offered. She knows not to cross her chopsticks. She keeps her eyes away from the wrapped magazines at the supermarket. She helps my mom load and unload the car.
Our first conflict comes when she reads my journals while I’m at swim practice. I cry when I first catch her but accept it when it happens again, and again.
During a game of man hunt at a birthday sleepover, we hide in her parent’s closet between velvets and cottons. The fabrics feel wonderful. She’s unzipping duffel bags and drawing silk scarves from boxes. I tell her to stop being nosy. She says I would be lying if I didn’t wonder what was in my friend’s parent’s closet. She reaches the last box and pulls a stringy set of lingerie. She puts it on under her clothes and I panic for the rest of the night.
I tell her I wish my sister’s best friend was my best friend. My Sexuality smirks.
At lunch, My Sexuality tells my friends that the smell of sweat makes me horny and they look at me like I have a disease. When we are huddled in the locker-room after gym class they leave a wide circle around me.
When dad buys me a phone, My Sexuality takes me down porn rabbit holes, making me look at things I didn’t know are possible, things that make my stomach turn. I beg her to stop but she keeps clicking on the next video. School Girl Gets Destroyed, Asian Babes Need to be Taught a Lesson, Freshly 18 and Curious. She clicks the next video and waits to see a flicker of enjoyment on my face so she can call me disgusting, depraved. I keep my mouth shut and my face still.
I start addressing my journal entries to her. Dear Sexuality.
She texts me almost every hour of the day, making sure I know how many people are looking at me, what they thought about my acne, my flat chest. They talk about you whenever you’re in the bathroom. They think the food you bring for lunch is weird looking. They say you act like a cliché.
My Sexuality teaches me where my clit is. She tells me to make sure every person I have sex with knows where it is too.
When I start dating Dez, she makes fun of his penis, whispers rumors to me, convinces me to fuck him in the back of his car after a football game, to grab his hair and yank. When he gets freaked out and leaves me in the parking lot, she kisses me and tells me that boys are simple minded and fragile.
She chooses my outfits, says my body is beautiful, thin like I haven’t eaten in days. She ties my hair in pig tails and lines my eyes so they look bigger, less squinty. You may not have tits but at least you’re skinny.
At night, when we lock bodies, she says I am the freakiest most sexual being she’s ever been with. She’s never seen better, she’s never felt better. She calls me a temptress, a nymph.
During my graduation dinner, she pours a Coke in a cup and drinks it slowly while locking eyes with my dad’s co-worker Chuck. She tongues the edge of the glass and Chuck’s mouth falls open, chewed deviled egg still in his cheek. I pull her into the bathroom and yell at her to stop. But she laughs and makes me agree that Chuck does have a nice ass.
I discover that my favorite books are Victorian era and have sex scenes that include multiple people. I want to be choked with a string of pearls. My Sexuality tells me it’s just another form of porn, but she doesn’t get it.
After meeting with our college advisors, My Sexuality tells me she has big dreams, that she’s going to med-school and becoming a doctor. She wants to leave me behind, travel the world, make incredible amounts of money. She says she will leave me before I leave her. I laugh and dare her.
My friends love her at parties. They beg me to invite her. She is the perfect amount of slutty and makes sure none of them text their ex’s. She dances on the hottest guys and then tells them to fuck off when they try to get into the Uber at the end of the night. I want her to dance on me like that and I tell her. You’re too drunk, let’s go home.
My mom calls and tells me that she’s worried about me. Have I been eating? She says I’m being influenced, lead in the wrong direction, that she would know because she’s been through this. I angry-cry and tell her she has no idea what she is talking about, that she could not be more wrong. She says she will bring me food, the food she cooks will help.
After I graduate again, I begin my first job as a receptionist at a doctor’s office. My Sexuality calls me dull and makes me download a dating app. We spend hours flipping through men and women, scrutinizing their every feature, making assumptions about what kind of music they listen to, what kind of positions they like. I never go on any dates but I fantasize about the people I see.
During a year where summer comes halfway through spring, I bring her to a wedding. My sister is marrying a man who drinks craft beers and wears shoes that are ugly but practical. The reception is in an old barn. As I say hello to aunties that haven’t seen me since I was a little xio bao bao, My Sexuality mopes in the corner, her sixth cocktail sloshing in her hand. I tell her that she’s ruining the wedding. She calls me a bitch and says that I’m ashamed of her. She says I’m performing, everything is a performance. I tell her to deal with it and she runs outside to the stables and throws up behind a stack of logs. I leave her there and start talking to Sean, a groomsman with a baby face. We go to his hotel room and fuck with the sheets still tucked in beneath us. He keeps asking me if I’m okay and I keep nodding, yes. I am completely dry but he keeps going. I think about how much I hate My Sexuality as Sean’s belly bounces against mine.
Eventually I apologize to My Sexuality and we go out to dinner. She’s still mad and orders crab cakes and the most expensive bottle of Chardonnay. She cusses me out between bites, hag, whore, bitch, slut, until she is chewing and crying at the same time. She complains that there is too much breading. I pay the bill and walk her down the street. I let her punch my arm as we walk. She hits as hard as she can, fists closed. She even lands the point of her heel on my shin. I stand there and take it. When she runs out of energy I fix her hair and trace her collar bones with the tips of my fingers. I kiss her and tell her I love her.
I realize I have unused PTO and we take a trip out to the countryside. We stay in a cottage in the middle of a field of wildflowers. We stay naked because we are far enough away from everyone. We take naps in the grass, sun warming the black of my hair. We snip bouquets of different colors and hang them to dry on strings from the porch railing. We read books about murders on trains. We drink cherry wine, nibble figs. In the evening, she runs a bath, bathes me in lavender-soaked water. I lay back and she attends to each one of my limbs, kissing my skin when I have my eyes closed. Then she braids my hair, and we eat olive oil-soaked rosemary bread and arugula drenched in raspberry vinaigrette, purple and bloody. We talk about the people we knew when we were younger. Our laughter soaks the log-stacked walls, and my body feels my own.
I tell her I want to move out to the cottage with her and live off of dandelions and she calls me stupid and tells me to get real.
When I return to work, a new receptionist has moved her things into the desk next to mine. Her name is Laura and she has hair that winds around and around itself. I sit at my desk and separate the strands with my eyes.
Laura is from Memphis and loves basketball. She has a shellfish allergy and has embroidered a pouch for her EpiPen. She is a twin, and they are identical. She has never had sex with another woman before. She likes to keep her Grizzles jersey on when we fuck. She misses her mother’s birthday to go to a concert with me. We push against each other in the crowd and her curls bush my shoulders.
My Sexuality likes Laura but wonders if I might be missing out on other things, if Laura is enough. I spend night after night trying to convince her that Laura is more than enough. Doesn’t she feel more like a friend, like someone who won’t be able to reciprocate the passion? You are passionate, you are unbelievable, she is missing something.
When I’m with Laura the next night, I try to take the jersey off, to see her whole body. She pushes my hands away and tells me not to. Rejection burns my cheeks.
I break up with Laura. She wants to know why but I can’t give her an answer. I try not to look at her at work. I can’t focus on anything I’m doing with my shame just outside my periphery, curls in her hair, annoyance in her eyes.
I blame My Sexuality for ruining my perfect relationship. She tells me it was my fault for dating someone from work. Don’t shit where you eat. I tell her to shut up, that all she has ever done is boss me around. She says she can’t even look at me, that I have the body of a ten-year-old boy, that she’s surprised anyone has ever touched me. I feel my fists clench. She calls me pathetic, and I hurl a hairdryer at her. She ducks and it hits the standing mirror behind her. It shatters, and she stomps away. You almost killed me you fucking lunatic. I follow her out the front door and tell her never to come back, never to contact me again, that she has ruined my life. Her laughter echos down the block.
I lay in bed, eyes swollen from crying and wonder what evolutionary benefit sobbing uncontrollably could possibly have. Why do we do it? If it’s a way to communicate with other humans, why do I do it when I’m all alone, a pathetic sucking and writhing animal?
The next day I open the front door and see myself standing there. Thin, stick black hair, spine curving away from the sunlight. I have lines around my eyes and mouth, and I look so tired. My Sexuality sticks her head out from behind the giant mirror and gives me a hopeful smile. We carry it upstairs together and prop it against the wall. It has a thick gold frame. We kneel and pick up the broken pieces from the old mirror, staring down at a mosaic of ourselves. You are so beautiful Lilly, there is no one like you. Forgive me. We reach for the same piece and I slice myself. She runs for a bandage and I watch the blood, thick like dark honey, run through my fingers and pool in the palm of my hand, red, sticky, warm.
My Sexuality dresses my wound, presses her lips into the bowls of my palms, and tells me to trust her. At least she is still here. At least she has returned for me. She sighs and I feel her breath against my skin.
Kale Choo Hanson is an emerging queer, Wasian writer. She lives in Philly and is currently a MFA candidate at Temple University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Main Street Journal, Caesura and Lunar Lit Magazine. In her free time, she enjoys brewing loose leaf tea.