With Tony, there was always a test. If you love me, he’d say.

I told him I did.

Tony and me went to high school together. He had curly blond hair that came down to his shoulders. He wore black leather boots. I was crazy about him.

Those boots of his clicked when he walked down the hall. I remember that morning, I was late for a class and my locker was jammed. He came up behind me, so close I could feel his breath on my skin.

I heard Tony say, do you believe in love at first sight. The locker door opened.

I told him I did.

We were barely eighteen and we moved in together. It was like playing house for the first week or two. We watched movies, ate pizza. We talked all night long and made love on the floor.

Then Tony grew quiet. He was distant. Distracted. Sometimes I woke up and Tony was gone. Everything changed and I didn’t know why. I asked what was wrong and he said he was bored.

There’s so much we should have; we could do so much better. If you love me, he said.

I told him I did.

There were waiters. There were crane operators. They worked in the bars or they worked parking cars. They knocked back a few and they knocked on our door.

They stopped on their way and went home to their wives, with my scent in their hair and my skin in their nails. They were men that you see at the park with their kids. They were regular guys, and I hated them for it.

I hated them, and I hated their girlfriends and wives for not knowing. I hated them all and Tony would say, if you really love me, there’s one way to prove it. I hated my life and I hated Tony, and I hated myself more than anyone else.

The money rolled in but I never saw it. I didn’t care. Tony kept track of it all. There was so much, he said, that we needed protection. He brought the gun home in a brown paper bag.

A Glock 43. Single stack. Compact. 9mm.

Do it, he said. There was always a test.

If you’ve got the guts, and I felt Tony’s breath on my skin.

I don’t think you do.

I told him I did.