Powells.com, one of the coolest bookstores on the internet, runs a series of original essays. They've asked Neil Gaiman and Dara Horn and Robert Thurman and now they've asked me...which is pretty damn cool.
It started as a dare.
The girl I went out with was friendly, funny, flirty — and all of this was confusing to me. I was a punk-rock kid on my better days, elegantly styled in unkempt hair and an artfully ripped t-shirt held together by a bare minimum of strands that kept it (barely) from coming loose from my shoulders, revealing something both embarrassing and dangerous, like my belly — but, more often, I was just a geek. She was popular, beautiful, successful — traditionally pretty, I mean, but actually beautiful, too. Except for the one random friend we had in common, there was no reason we should rightfully be talking to each other.
Except, of course, that we were.
What was weird was that we got along. Even weirder, we had similar things to say. Not about everything, but about a lot of things, including comic books (Madman, Hellboy, and all the X-Men spinoffs — the more melodramatic, the better), television (Veronica Mars), and food (vegan, lots of courses, served together and eaten separately). We weren't in lurve — we were barely in like — but we were intrigued by each other. We were interested.
And before we had the chance to question it ourselves — no, really, us? — she was sexually assaulted.
keep reading >