CW: Sex, mentions of genitalia
In the next few years, you’ll notice certain changes. Your sixth-grade teacher will wheel the TV and VCR to the front of the room, and actors will perform a conversation about your body and desires. Some time later, Hollywood will detail what’s expected with multiple cameras and choice edits. This is how you’ll learn to look everywhere in the room except at the man who decides to make himself your first. He will be only marginally older, so you’ll expect he knows as much as you do and has read the same vandalized health books where diagrams featuring vulvas are flanked by silo-shaped penises. You’ll be right, and like the drawings, he’ll crudely attempt to insert himself. He’ll fail, despite having studied you for the hour and a half drive at 11:45 PM from Port Orchard, Washington to Seattle without your parents knowing. The word asexual will never be mentioned in his books or yours. On the test, it will not even be an option in the fill-in-the-blank section’s word bank. You will think “There’s something missing,” but since you can’t name it, you won’t make a case for it. You’ll pick the closest choice (homosexual). This feeling of pride in being able to work well within the scope of what's assigned to you, however misplaced or damaging, is--like all sex education--a necessary survival tactic.
Ellie Gordon haunts Washington state, as well as The University of New Hampshire where she earned her fiction MFA. Her work has been found with Rejection Letters, HAD, Ligeia Magazine, Wondrous Real Magazine, Daily Drunk Mag, and others. Evidence of her existence can be disputed on Twitter at @autonomousbagel.