“We haven’t got girls like you in Ireland,” Aedan tells Meredith as she slips her skirt off in the bathroom of a type of place you could get a disease from slipping your skirt off in. She takes her shoes and socks off too, as though daring the floor not to give her a staph infection. She doesn’t care what Aedan is saying, what sweet nothings of flattery he should choose to bestow upon her as he delays the inevitable, perhaps willing the flaccidity of his erection to improve. He says he’s been drinking all day, and it occurs to Meredith that maybe Irish dick is worse than coke dick. How had she not intuited this before, what with this culture of constant drinkers and depressives? There was clearly a reason why she had avoided engaging in sexual relations with this race of men for so long prior to this moment.

But it was the talking beforehand that got her into this situation, allured her to Aedan. Or so she thought. Maybe it was just the fact that when she asked if he had ever seen Sing Street, he became extremely effusive, the friend he was with also mentioning that they lived right near the school where the film was shot. It’s really quite fortunate for Irish people that John Carney came along, otherwise their only modern pop culture claim to fame would still be stalled at Sinéad O’Connor. And honestly, no one in Ireland likes James Joyce half as much as the people outside of it. All of this she thought to herself while speaking to Aedan at the bar in her half-conscious state. She felt they had a rapport–or at least, more of a rapport than one does with the average stranger.

Apparently, this was his last night in New York, and he didn’t want to leave. Was, in fact, thinking of missing his plane for the right reason, or the right person. Meredith laughed at this, for she would never be able to explain to any foreigner just how bad it really was to live here, that it could never compare to the vision they gleaned from it on their whimsical little vacation. She bit her lip while biting her tongue, the ultimate sign to a man that a woman is giving him the green light in signaling her appetitive interests. Despite the cultural difference between them, Aedan still picked up on this, but he wasn’t attractive and therefore lacked the confidence to escalate the situation. As a potato-faced sort with thinning and nondescript hair, he was accustomed to nothing but a life of rejection.

So it was Meredith who took him by the hand and said, “Do you want to come to the bathroom?”

His eyes widened, and, like most people, he assumed Meredith simply wanted to share some cocaine with him. Also like most people, he was very taken aback when it turned out she had merely brought him to the private but public confined space to take her clothes off. Aedan got over his awe and confusion quickly, taking off his own shirt and unbuckling his belt with a doltish sort of slowness that left Meredith to stand before him in an awkward sort of fashion with nothing to do except wait as he finished disrobing.

Uncircumcised, red and hairy. That’s what it was. And that’s just what she expected as she proceeded to go down on him rotely to build on something that she could work with. After minutes of labor, however, it was evident that the drink was winning out over her mouth. She spit on the floor in disgust and wiped her lips with the back of her hand.

“This was a huge waste of time,” she seethed, her own brand of alcoholic reaction turning belligerent out of nowhere. “I need a functioning dick, understand?”

At first, he was ashamed and sycophantic. “Here,” he said, extending his head down to her still exposed pubic region. He started licking, but she shoved him away.

“You’re putting me up against the wall. I’m gonna get a fucking disease, and for nothing. For no pleasure of any kind,” she snapped as she started put her skirt back on. “Just go back to Ireland, okay? Maybe there’s a reason there aren’t ‘girls like me’ there.” She looked at herself in the graffiti-covered mirror and ran her fingers through her hair in attempt to comb it. “Some people have to take what they can get. And I think I just realized I’m not one of them.” She shrugged at herself and started to reach for the door handle to exit. But it was too late. Aedan had flared up, if not penis-wise, at least temper-wise.

Suddenly, he hated her. Couldn’t stand her. She was mocking and ugly and foul. Everything he despised in human beings. So he let the rage take over him. Let it invade his very Irish soul–naturally prone to the choleric–and whipped her body around to face him. He wrapped his hand around her neck. She gasped in a combination of shock and pain. Never would she have thought someone so complacently drunk could turn so abruptly into this Mr. Hyde incarnation. Mr. Hyde was at least British, and probably strangled people with more gentility. But Aedan gripped at her neck like she was a Squeezit, and oh yes, he was squeezing the fun out of her.

She felt as though hours were passing in the span of seconds while his grip only seemed to grow more secure. Would this be the end for her? She shows one momentary flash of confidence in herself and contempt for another and it’s immediately punished? She could have cursed Kendrick Lamar in that moment as his caution, “Bitch, sit down. Be humble,” passed through her mind. If she made it out of this bathroom alive, she vowed never to condemn another man’s flaccidity again, to accept them for what they all were: doughy nothings, adornments with an adorning appendage.

As it all started to go black around her, she remembered something the only good Irishman, Oscar Wilde, said: “Men always want to be a woman’s first love. Women like to be a man’s last romance.” Turns out, she would be Aedan’s.

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