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• 3000 words • 12 min •
Sandoval’s voice was rough, and had that well-worn quality of professors everywhere who speak clearly, often, but drink too much coffee. He had a strong vocabulary and used words in text and conversation that I secretly had to look up later.
He smelled like guy soap and Sweetarts, and was the kind of chubby and barrel-chested that made me want to snuggle up on him and take a nap.
This one’s going to be a long one – and a bit of an emotional ride. Buckle up, kids.
[Content Warnings: discussions of mental illness as the friends/family of someone who is mentally ill, emotional abuse, gaslighting. Pretty intense on those last two. Take care of yourself.]
His first message to me online was long, charming, and silly. He told me later he’d read and re-read my profile dozens of times before sending it, because he wanted to get it right.