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To the boy I once loved,

I remember the moment I first met you. When I called my mother I referred to you as the gorgeous cowboy with green eyes who winked at me when I laughed. We spent Monday’s falling in love, faster than the spring snow could melt and made plans to travel the world together. You would roll down the window to smoke a cigarette, or two, and I would sip my diet coke through a straw; we accepted each others vices while simultaneously discussing politics, literature, the future.

We grew apart silently, slowly; an aimless process that prolonged like an Indian summer. Maybe, we were just too stubborn to admit that our dreams had altered, or perhaps we were afraid. The truth is I don’t know you anymore. And I’m okay with that.

Recently, I composed a list titled, “10 Things I Must Do Before Opting To Get Knocked Up” and I’m not sorry it doesn’t include you. I won’t apologize for envisioning a future without your last name as an anchor, or for hoping to establish a career and rock-hard abs. I’m not remorseful that I aim to complete travel goals without you, or that I won’t need dual custody to own my first dog; for saying “I,” and “me,” not “we.” I especially won’t retract or make amends for number six: “Sex. Have lots of it.”

But, you should. In reference to your recent accusations that I’m “sleeping around with everyone in NYC,” I am not a slut.

How dare you? I am not a slut. And although I owe you no justification or explanation, to clarify: I am not sleeping with every man in New York City. Because let’s be honest, who actually has the time/energy for that?

To the same boy who cheated on me with an “old friend,” I refrained from expressing to you the words I should have said, the ones that echoed in my brain at three am. The words that resurfaced whenever I closed my eyes, or went running, or glared at my suitcases in the laundry room; the poetic refrain of her name that lingered every time we seemed happy, because I still loved you, anyway.

I am not a slut.

Ideally, you would apologize. Atone for slut-shaming me, for making hyperbolic assumptions that no longer involve you, for effectively ending a three-year friendship. Did you want to become a cliche? Just another hot-tempered ex who succumbed to using offensive terms like “slut” and “whore” to insult women. A woman you once picked out baby names with when imagining the future; whose phone you’ve now deluged with shameful text messages over a mutual breakup that occurred eight months ago.

You are right about one thing, though: the ‘Big Apple’ has changed me. And I am very sorry that you don’t recognize what’s different. That liberating sound? Yeah, it’s called my voice.

Mondays no longer belong to us, cowboy; they belong to the 33 blocks my feet graze on my walk to work; they belong to the first person I smile at in the morning: the coffee barista; they belong to the steam from the subway grates that momentarily make me feel warm and filthy. They belong to New York City.

They belong to me.

Best of luck to you and your new girlfriend.
Love,
The slut, the girl you once called Lu.