Friends, lovers, aspiring lovers, your favorite angsty Jewess has moved her work elsewhere. She’s trying to turn these installments into something else (something bigger?), so unfortunately, her work cannot remain publicly available. At her behest, I will be disabling her Medium page in the imminent future. Text me to request access to her writing’s new home, a private blog. I know she would be honored to share her literary journey with you.

-Rebecca’s agent/alter ego

With her essay in hand, I hopped off the bed to my desk, which offered a hard horizontal surface ideal for proofreading and an unmistakably platonic message.

The Great Gatsby was written in 1925, and is a story of the American Dream-

Excellent, I thought. Taylor’s work was predictably atrocious, surely providing foolproof protection from her wiles. Even a page of this passive voice-riddled, meandering nonsense would easily consume twenty minutes. She would certainly tire of torturing me in twenty minutes.

So I got comfortable, furiously scribbling marginal notes, crossing out rogue commas, underlining obvious Wikipedia plagiarism. …

She did not await a response before entering. That was Taylor’s way. She did not ask for things; she simply took them.

Though clad in her typical athleisure, Taylor looked comely. Her appeal stemmed from her blatant effortlessness. In this way — but only this way — she resembled Brendan. She had deformed her Waltham Soccer t-shirt into a crop top, revealing a sparkling navel piercing. The latter, while not surprising in the slightest, was her most feminine attribute. On her head sat the same backwards cap; briefly, I wondered if she slept in it.

She strode up to my…

The next day was a Friday. For many, perhaps most, college students, such a day would deviate dramatically from the four days prior. Fridays entailed protracted alcohol consumption, bar-hopping, fraternity parties, sex marathons. 48 obligation-free hours furnished nearly infinite possibilities.

The word “infinite” is rhetorical. I’ve covered all the possibilities, none of which I’ve personally experienced, or even witnessed. And why, reader?

I’ve not yet mentioned this, but I really like routine. I recall following somewhat elaborate routines as early as eight years old. …

Jewish custom commands one week of mourning after a first-degree relative dies. This mourning period, called shiva, involves various uncomfortable traditions that I have never personally observed.

I decided to observe a perverse modified shiva after I lost my virginity. I’m not sure what exactly I was mourning. My virginity, which I wanted so desperately to lose for years, anyway? My hymen, which had likely already broken long ago by other means?

I do not know. Regardless, for the next seven days, I wore black, listened to Joni Mitchell, and endeavored to avoid people as much as possible. …

“I want to go back to campus.”

I found Chris in the dining room, talking to someone’s date. The woman, with her severe blonde bob cut and high neckline barely revealing her glistening pearl necklace, clearly aspired to be an autocratic mother of around six. I ignored her glare, likely at both my interruption and exposed back.

Chris looked at me, and he knew. He didn’t express this in words, but in a facial expression I could not quite diagnose. He conveyed concern, but infused with something else.

“Of course, Becca.” He grabbed my jacket from the closet and slipped…

“You look nice.” Brendan said, not coquettishly, or even pleasantly. He said it as if stating a fact. Dispassionate.

“Thanks. You do, too.” I meant that. Brendan’s evident inability to dress properly heightened his sex appeal. That he obviously cared too little to own nice clothes that fit aroused me, and not sexually. Over the past few years, I’ve developed an unrefined taste, recoiling from people who prioritize their appearance. I assume they are either superficial or insincere. Stilted well-educated types, afflicted with both flaws, tend to wear expensive shoes and own accent furniture.

My Caulfieldesque insight did not dent…

I did not expect Brendan to be easy. I don’t mean that purely in terms of sexual promiscuity. With his angsty mien and some tragic twentieth century American novel constantly in tow, Brendan did not solicit friendship. Lunchtime proved a nonstarter; he spent the entire 45 minutes reading, punctuated by caustic commentary. Spending much of my time deflecting intrusion, especially from my cross country teammates, I imagined interrupting would sentence me to a future of loathing, not desire. And Brendan loathed a lot.

“Is the Gender Studies department going for irony with that creep O’Neill teaching the Global Women’s Lit…

Chris and I became inseparable. Along with my forced integration into the ROTC lunch crew, our shared academic major — Middle Eastern History — abetted our friendship. Why I selected this major, aside from the self-aggrandizing fantasy of pro-Palestine professors stoning me, escapes me today. In any event, my pro-Israel proclivities proved predictably unconducive to making friends in the department. Fancying my life a Shakespearean tragedy, I took every action necessary to seal this fate. That is, I supported Israel so obnoxiously that I practically forced my professors and peers to loathe me.

I owned a t-shirt emblazoned with the…

I began my sophomore year as the female equivalent of an incel. That is, I was still a virgin. My teammates, of course, were no help in this regard. If anything, they cramped my style. I recall a pre-race dinner in Boston, an evening I’d later dub “Turtlenecks in August.” That the girl with the most androgynous wardrobe and flattest chest, i.e. me, wore the most revealing attire should have tickled me. Instead, I found it infuriating. I knew then that I needed to extricate myself from these Nancy Reagan acolytes, or else I’d remain a virgin indefinitely.

And so…

Rebecca Rosenberg

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