No One’s Boyfriend


No One's BoyfriendI remember being with Johnny in my room. He wasn’t my boyfriend but I wished he was. He was no one’s boyfriend. This made him even more exciting.

He said, do you ever feel like crying when you feel something powerful? Not when you are sad. But when you feel.

And he said it in the way of 17-year-old boys—not the way I said it now—and I wanted to say I’m moved but I didn’t. I also wanted to say this was true for me. It was. But I was always saying that. Johnny would say one thing and I would nod and say ­yes. That’s how it is with boys who are no one’s boyfriend. They say things and you feel them, in your gut. They are your things—the things that you feel deepest but haven’t found words for, and here is this other person, telling you.

I’ve tried looking up Johnny. I’ve googled “Johnny” and “Johnny Gibson” and “Jonathan Gibson.” I’ve even googled “No one’s boyfriend.” When I do that I get a picture of Justin Bieber. He’s waving and eating a hot dog. I say, Johnny? Is that you?

Oh hey weird middle-aged woman, Justin says. Sorry, I’m not the guy you’re looking for.

Okay, I say. But maybe, I don’t know, you can be?

Can be what?

That guy.

I blush. This is not going as I had planned. I say—

—do you ever feel so moved that you start crying?

And Justin looks at me. Justin Bieber. He takes a bite of his hot dog and thinks. He thinks for a long time. I can tell. His wheels are turning. There’s a little icon that says “Justin’s wheels” and it’s hot and flaming.

Yeah, he says. I think I do. I get it.

He looks at me and smiles. I want to hold his hand which would be weird since he’s like 17 and a famous singer, not to mention an icon on my screen.

It’s okay, he says, mind-reading, go for it.

And I do. We hold hands though the computer which feels kind of weird and spiky, like all those bytes and giga-things are inside me, moving. I am not 40 years old and married to a man I do not love. I’m 16 again—I move.

Photo used under CC.


About Author


Leonora Desar’s writing has recently appeared in River Styx, Passages North, Black Warrior Review Online, SmokeLong Quarterly, Hobart, and Quarter After Eight, among others. She won third place in River Styx’s microfiction contest and TSS Publishing’s Flash 400, and was a finalist/runner-up in Quarter After Eight’s Robert J. DeMott Short Prose contest, judged by Stuart Dybek. She lives in Brooklyn and writes a column for New Flash Fiction Review—DEAR LEO.

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