In my adolescence, the only realness that held my interest was the realness leading to the first kiss — the chemistry, the overwrought conversations that seemed to ensure mutual understanding. I had not yet committed myself to anyone—I didn’t care to—though I willingly pined over someone who did not want me while anticipating future Ethan-esque romances. What was most real in love was potential, whether viable or a fantasy I stubbornly hoarded: the potential in an amorous encounter, in the emotions that engendered sexual potential in the first place. But in practice, realization of possibility meant that we had succumbed to erotic charge, not that we had embarked on a steady relationship. Too often, I shied away from a kiss because I preferred anticipation to fulfillment that I assumed would disappoint.