It wasn’t until after we were through that I found out that she’d never gotten around to breaking up with her old boyfriend. It hit me right at the top of my stomach and churned up my ulcer something fierce. They’d been talking right along the whole time we’d been dating, mostly to argue with each other, and somehow or other she never got around to mentioning me to him. I heard plenty about him, of course, and what an awful guy he was, but that’s another story. When she went back to her parents they got back together, out of inertia as much as anything else, and it wasn’t until after they’d broken up again that she threw me in his face.
When we first started dating I gave her a cactus, a little prickly thing with pink blossoms like fragrant penises that she named Katakuri after the Japanese movie we were watching. I was sitting behind her on the couch and kept pressing little tentative kisses into the place where her hair swirled around. A few weeks later I went to pick her up and saw she’d cut the flowers off the cactus. “They creeped me out,” she said, while I was helping her into her coat. I closed the coat and pressed against her for a second, face buried in her hair, dizzy and careless and happy.