I’m stoned when I get to the aisle with the pregnancy tests, but I’m looking for tampons. This morning I bled all over my boyfriend’s expensive white sheets, watched it pool in the creases where our bodies slept. I pulled the top sheet taut and the splotches made wings.
“Don’t you use a calendar for this?” he asked.
“Yeah. It came early,” I said.
When I was in high school, my health teacher reveled in showing our class gory birthing videos. He sat behind his wooden desk with his legs stretched out, chuckling.
“Look at this, boys. Look.” He tapped his ruler against the cracked screen where a woman lay screaming. “This is why you have to suit up.”
My boyfriend is waiting for me at his apartment, spaghetti on the stove, but part of him must know I’m not coming back.
At my elbow, a sales boy appears. His nametag reads Ben, but he looks more like a Matt.
“Are you finding everything alright?” he asks, smiling.
I love Matt already: his skinny chicken neck, yellow teeth, gelled hair. Do I know you from somewhere? I want to tell him that the word love has always bothered me. No one has ever loved without wanting something in return. Matt should know that love is a bargaining chip, and sometimes it’s best to cash out, to suit up. Every month the lining inside of me falls away.
“I’m good, Matt,” I say, touching the sleeve of his North Face jacket.
“My name’s Ben,” he says, moving past me down the aisle. I stare at his back. The aisle plays tricks on me, makes him look farther away then he really is.
“Matt?” I call after him. “Where are you going, Matt?”
I wait to see if he turns to the name that’s not his.