My friends roll their eyes at me when I explain that, for me, it would be better to choose dating a predator than dating the prey. See, I know I am a tiger; I see my stripes. Intense is my trademark adjective; I am always on, and bluntly barefaced about that fact. I am overstimulation in a not-quite petite package.

I am a predator, eyes facing forward.

And like attracts like. Opposites do not attract so much as momentarily entertain with the novel before degenerating into the realization that “I am in love with a stranger.” My parents were opposites, and they fell apart as slowly as they had fallen together quickly, swept up in the beauty of their differences.

The boy they approve of…he’s a lamb. He’s docile, with laughing eyes and a girl’s flirting mouth. On the other end of the spectrum, the boy they don’t like, is, like me–quick-witted, sharp-eyed, knife-edged, eyes-facing-forward predator.

Not quite like me, because that would be boring, but his mind moves carefully en pointe with the same intensity that mine leaps in arcs. He is someone who could perhaps understand the fine dance between danger and delicacy, the rapid-fire calculations, the allure of the mercenary.

Sometimes, I entertain the theory that the more we are in touch with our capacity for evil, the less likely we are to honestly consider it. The admission that one’s inclination is “predation,” is intensity, was scary before, but now it’s comfortable, knowing how calculating and how crazy I can actually be…and understanding, as a result, who might be able to manage that madness and who might not. Even if I cannot accurately explain it.

There is something to be said for knowing your own kind.

I am a predator. The boy they offer is prey. And I know that while I can play a lamb, I cannot be one. One day, the claws would unsheathe and my blood burn even as I fought for control. Or I would get tired of playing the lamb, and walk.

They roll their eyes at me and say that nothing will come of me (of my heart, never-been-kissed never-been-touched) if I think that way. The declaration stings, but my skin becomes steel in that moment. I may be wrong now, but for now this seems right-est.

Better, after all, the devil you know.



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