“Dirty Condom Trick” by Christine M. Estel

Save for the few movie nights in my room or hers next door, or that awkward fight we had about how I wasn’t any fun because I didn’t go anywhere with her or Sarah — which made me cry for feeling inadequate as a friend, even though they lived life in a much faster lane, while I was preoccupied with depression and the kind of anxiety that makes you want to rip your skin off, even just walking across campus during broad daylight, and as a result of our different lifestyles, no one chose me as a roommate for the following year — Mindy didn’t know me all that well or the childhood experiences I had that forced me to become a shell of myself, never opening up in an unabashed, raw way, or share what I really felt or what I was really going through, or keep a journal because, deep down, I knew that my well-being depended on no one finding it, to know that shoving one of her leftover condoms (thank G.O.D. unopened) from her Spring break trip with Bill (the poor schmuck she strung along for months on end), into the plastic case holding my bed-in-a-bag, facing it upwards so my mother could see it when she helped me move out of my freshman-year dorm room for the summer, was not humorous. Mindy’s malicious “Oh, don’t forget your condoms!” as she stood in her doorway, while I made my way past her to the elevator, disgusted my mother and mortified me. Red-faced, I ripped it from the bag and threw it back at Mindy’s feet, insisting that the condom wasn’t mine, knowing the idea would be lost on Mindy that her move was a low-blow. And as convincing as I tried to sound that Mindy was playing a dirty trick on me, it mattered not. My mother’s scorn, coupled with my immeasurable embarrassment and guilt, hung over me during our short ride home, thick as clinging, overgrown ivy that never seems to die no matter how much you keep cutting and ripping.

Christine M. Estel lives and writes in the Philadelphia area. She tweets from @EstellingAStory.

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