One Night Stand: “Memento”

I watched Memento the other day. To be honest, it didn’t really do it for me. Anything in reverse just makes me a little disoriented, and I hate feeling like I’m not in control. There’s an order in which I expect certain things to unfold, and when they don’t, I often need a minute to process what just went down, to make sense of things. I met a girl in reverse a while back, and making her acquaintance was particularly memorable. She was blonde and curvaceous, wearing a black dress. On the dance floor she kept it simple, but to great effect. She knew how to use what she had. She pulled me in close to her face, and naturally my right hand found the small of her back. We shared an affectionate nose-graze, and she let out a sigh. Orbit gum with a hint of Cuervo. Looks like I hadn’t been the only one hanging out with Jose that night. She slid about six inches to her left, positioning her right leg in between mine, enabling us to get even closer. It felt sort of like a tango, minus any proper technique and the Latin flavor, plus enough bass to make a quarter on the ground bounce. But the fluidity was there. I blew lightly on her neck before I kissed it, as if she had just come out of the oven and would otherwise have burned my lips. She brought her shoulders up to her ears, smiling in that “that-tickles-but-don’t-stop” sort of way. I didn’t stop. We had a class together, Italian, but had never really spoken. I left with her on my arm, headed for the implied after party, still having said very little.

It’s funny the things you remember most vividly about a night like this. Of course you remember all of the firsts—when her lips first kissed mine, undoing that first button, getting that first glance of her bare torso, barely visible in the dim light of the desk lamp, but in a way just the silhouette seemed sexier—and the sensations. Leaving a southbound trail of kisses on her stomach and tasting the metal of her belly button ring. Hearing her staccato breathing and recalling how it was perfectly in synch with a song from my Motown playlist. Biting my bottom lip and closing my eyes, so focused, like Luke trying to lift his X-Wing out of the Dagobah lagoon. The force was strong with me that night. But surprisingly, my most vivid, visceral memories are not of the action, but of the pauses, the meantime. The unforgettable look on her face as she patiently waited as I struggled with the stubborn lock on my dorm room door, as I cued up the Temptations Greatest Hits on my iTunes, as the shower slowly reached that perfect temperature, as I fished around my junk drawer for a bright green condom. She looked so at ease, so comfortable, exactly how I was feeling. I shouldn’t have felt that way. It was disorienting.

The next day was Sunday. I’ve always liked Sundays, especially since I got to college. They’re cozy, lazy, very reflective. Sunday evening is a lot like that awkward post-masturbation moment. You exhale deeply and snap out of it. You start to think clearly, looking back, mildly disgusted with what you just did. “You’re sick. How could you have enjoyed that?” you ask yourself. You slam your computer shut, and that’s that. Weekend memories, however, are more difficult to escape. I told myself I was embarrassed, ashamed. But I said it in a very recreational way, similar to how I tell people I’m a Democrat. To be honest I wasn’t ashamed at all, just confused. Something felt off. I needed something to help me orient myself, to make sense of what had happened. I walked outside, toward the dining hall. There she was, looking a little uncomfortable, a little on edge. Nonetheless, we approached each other.

“I’m [her name].”

“[my name].”

Now I felt better.

Editors Note: This article originally was attributed to Rebecca Golden in error. It was in fact submitted anonymously through

and TSL is not aware of the original author.

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