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BBHMM (An Open Love Letter to Rihanna) by Leah Donnella

On a beautiful spring day in third grade, I lent Julie Pillion fifty cents to buy blue raspberry warheads at the school store. And by lent, I mean gave, because I never saw that fifty cents again.

Later that day, Julie gave one of the warheads to Bobby DiSerafino, knowing full well that I had a crush on him. They ate the warheads together while making cute little “omg these are so sour!” faces by the slides. I creepily watched them, horrified, from across the playground. Julie never mentioned to Bobby that technically, those were my warheads. She didn’t offer me one. She didn’t ask me to join them. She just enjoyed them, as if they had come from the goddamn hard candy Santa Claus.

Julie Pillion was my best friend for many years. I went on vacation with her family. Her mother cooked me beautiful dinners every other weekend, when I would sleep over at their house. I received more gifts and love and kindnesses from the Pillion family than I knew what to do with.

I still can’t get over that fifty cents.

It’s just that it was mine, and then it wasn’t, and now there’s no way of knowing if Bobby DiSerafino was my soul mate because the moment passed and we went our separate ways. (Love is like the real estate market. If you don’t invest at exactly the right moment, the whole bubble bursts, and before you know it, you own a couple of shore houses that you never really wanted, but that dope spot in the Poconos right by Big Boulder lake is being used by a bunch of teenagers on prom night in some sort of low rent brothel situation. You know what I’m talking about.)

I don’t want to be cheap. I would love to be the kind of person who buys everyone a round of shots or treats some kids* to ice cream just because it’s hot out. Heck, I would even just love to be decent enough to give someone money for the subway when they forget a token. I would love that. I put my all into pretending to be that person. But really truly, in my heart of hearts, I am not. I have nail marks in my palm from clenching my fists so tight. I do not forget. I do not forgive. Pay me. What you. Owe me.

Did you ask to split the bill when we went out to dinner together, even though you ordered a diet coke and I just got water and your entrée was $2 more than mine? I remember that.

Did you not have enough cash when we were driving through a toll booth on the way to visit your sick uncle in a nursing home in Cherry Hill and ask me to spot you? I remember that.

Did you really want that limited edition Essie nail polish but your paycheck wasn’t coming through until next week and you promised to pay me back by Tuesday? I remember that.

Did you have to run right this second but your grad school application needs to be in the mail by 4pm so could I pretty pretty please mail it for you and you aren’t sure if there’s enough postage on it but if not could I just cover you and you’ll get it back to me ASAP? I remember that.

I remember all of it. Every cold fucking penny, I remember.

Congratulations on your acceptance to Yale, by the way. That’s really cool and you’re going to do big things with your life.

But if you think for one second that sixty years from now, I won’t come knocking at the executor’s door when your will is read, claiming what’s rightfully mine, well, then you don’t really know me at all.

*Oh, I don’t know. The neighborhood kids! Those kids that stand around ice cream shops looking sad and hungry! Get over yourself.



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