This is part of the #NovemberNotes challenge, hosted by Sarah Doughty and Rosema. The song is Criminal by Fiona Apple.
If I led him on, it wasn’t intentional. I’d never been “available”, not to anyone there. Maybe it’s my fault for not understanding flirting, or certain social cues. Maybe I was too innocent. But I just wanted to be friends, and I’ve never discriminated based on looks or personality quirks. I’ve always been pretty proud of that. I’m terrible at maintaining close friendships, but I’ve never been closed off. Not since I opened up.
I never saw myself as outwardly beautiful. I hardly expected anyone on campus to pursue me that way. But I always made sure to mention that I was taken. It wasn’t a lie, and it wasn’t a secret.
“He likes you” was never a phrase I believed easily. And I hardly expected a boy walking back with me toward my building to ask for my number. Not when I didn’t know who they were beyond another student grabbing dinner. I preferred quiet, secluded spaces. Maybe, somehow, I looked available.
I felt hurt when he believed we were more than friends, because I knew him. We weren’t best friends, but we were closer than two strangers in a dining hall. I felt innocent, because he knew my position. Was it my fault? Does being too kind, too “innocent” make you a criminal?