I didn’t know if I should come forward to share my experience with the world. I was scared of being judged, scared that I would be the only person in the world that had been through this, scared that my ex would be mad at me for sharing our story without his consent. But then I remembered the wise words of my former lover: “All the times that I’ve cried, Keeping all the things I knew inside, It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.”

We met at a coffee shop. I couldn’t tell if he was flirting at first. He said he was looking for a hard-headed woman. Was that me? I had never thought of myself that way, but maybe I didn’t know myself as well as this stranger in the corner. There were so many women there, but somehow I was the one that took him home that night. He was silent the whole way home. I wondered what was going on inside his head but thought it best not to guess or project. I liked that he was pensive and shy.

We made love that night. Again, he was quiet, but this time it made sense: this was the kind of sex that required no words, no sounds, no mouth, and no penis.

We dated for three years. Three years before I found out the truth. He met my family, we traveled to Europe together, he tried anal with me for the first time. How could I have known? The sound was just so warm and realistic. Perhaps I chose to ignore the warning signs. He repeated himself constantly. He only talked when I put him on a record-player. He was a circle with a hole in the middle. But, to me, he was just ‘Tea for the Tillerman.’ ‘Til’ as I affectionately called him.

Two weeks ago, the bombshell dropped. We were at a dinner party, and someone asked if they could borrow Til. “Sure,” I said. “Just don’t keep him for too long,” I joked. What followed are words I will replay in my brain over and over again for the rest of my life. “Yeah, we’ll just give the record back when it’s finished playing.” I asked him 5 or 6 times to repeat himself before I even internalized what he said. He kept answering but I was too nauseous to hear him. “Once this vinyl record you’ve lent us is finished, I will hand it back to you. Sorry, whose friend are you?”

Am I angry that he lied? Yes. But I know there’s a part of him that always wanted to tell me. When I confronted him about his truth, he made it easy for me because that’s who he is. He told me that he loved me, that if I wanted to leave I could, and that he hoped I had a lot of nice things to wear. I thought that was a weird thing to add but the first two things were really lovely.

When I came to The Star with this story, they wanted to publish it with the headline “Local Idiot Dates Vinyl Record.” Thank you for letting me share my story in my own words.

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