Seventeen

By PRIYANKA VORUGANTI

I started talking to an older man on an older people app a few months ago and I think I’m in love. He is a heroin addict and possesses the type of anger in his veins that instantly makes me wet.

I know all of this is so bizarre but perhaps my entire life has been leading up to this.
I think I was made to be his.

And everything is so futile beyond him texting me.

I’m such a child but I should embrace it, I should be dangerous, uninhibited, free-range.
I should get myself into situations I know I can’t get out of.
I should let him take me. 

I’m living out my adolescent life in extreme hysteria and mindlessness so I’ll have material 
For the Future.
We’ll all be floating, flying to work or whatnot, and everyone will be listening to my audiobook (through a chip in their brains)
Called Yes I Did That. 

I’ll be probably be dead by the Future, writing my memoir from my casket. 
But if I’m cremated that wouldn’t work. 
I texted my mom, please don’t cremate me.

I am often filled with buckets of extreme necessity. This is a period of my life I must jot down. There is something profound about this sadness, and later on, it will not be beautiful sadness. 

Just sadness. 

So many great writers are able to capture the essence of adolescence. They have the superhuman ability to detail each little, very unimportant heartbreak of 16 with precise remembrance.

But there is something very easy about doing that. It’s as if there is no emotional cost in dredging up the losses of the past. Maybe the sadness of one’s twenties is a bit harder to delve into, but it seems like once one escapes teenhood, the expansive years suddenly open up to creative interpretation. 

And then it becomes very easy to write about Johnny unearthing your vagina in the bathroom adjacent to the science classroom, even though the only form of consent you offered was a shaky laugh. 

Maybe it’s still hard to write about those moments, even for someone like Miranda July.
But I think even if it was hard for her, it is only because the writer in her is telling her it should be hard. 

Having that experience with Johnny haunt one’s forty-year-old self makes for a better story. 

But I doubt she’s plagued by that experience. 
She as in herself, detached from the writer. 

Assuming you can detach the two. 
I don’t know if that is possible. 

What I am saying is I am in it right now. 

I know the peculiarities of this terrible ache more than anyone else. 

Maybe with time you know it better. But I don’t think so. 

I am so afraid of forgetting. 

I had this thought suddenly, the day after my seventeenth birthday. I was filled with the dread of forgetting what it’s like. 

I searched around my bed for my computer but I couldn’t find it. Oh no I thought.  I’m too lazy to get up and turn on the light and get my computer and find the charger and wait for it to turn on and I will fall asleep, and totally forget. 

And then I will wake up tomorrow and forget this sadness, forget the sadness of the past five years of my life and be seventeen. 

Almost 18, almost out. 

So close to being out that I might just wake up tomorrow and pack away my life into a large UPS box and ship it somewhere far away, like Italy, to be found later in the Future.

Because maybe I will grow up in the span of the eight hours of my slumber and escape whatever I was before waking up. 

But then I woke up and felt the same pang, heard the same text notification from Nick, saw the same ceiling above me.

Everything is a mirage of the real thing. 
Nothing really sticks.

Happy Birthday to me, I thought.
I’m seventeen.