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Whether any of the ex-boyfriends mentioned in my latest online essay will read it and feel offended, or—at long last—horrible about not being with me. (I only ever inspired one, to my knowledge still unfinished, called “It’s Not You, It’s Me.” I’m serious.) After six months he asked permission to kiss me on the steps and announced that he was ready to be together.

They had three boys together, and raised them in the neighborhood where my father grew up, where my parents still live.

A few months ago, I met an ex-boyfriend for breakfast.

It was just after Christmas vacation, and I'd blogged -- in my trademark, vague but explicit fashion -- about a romance I'd had over the break.

One night in mid-September it was a man on horseback, his hazy outline emanating outward in shades of fuschia and lime until it became the same man, in sharp silhouette and riding a miniature motorcycle. I interrupted these visions to feel guilty that even my insomnia-induced hallucinations are lacking in both clarity and function. It feels misleading, the way it feels to introduce myself as a writer or a native of Brooklyn. Though one or another of my three older half-brothers (like our father, expert sleepers all) were sometimes around in the evenings, at bedtime—to my perpetual disappointment—it was often just me and my parents in the house.

Their facial expressions—sympathetic, but some envy etched into those compassionate lines on their tilted foreheads—suggest that whatever image they conjure bears little resemblance to my actual nighttime routine: cocooned inside my elaborately concocted sleep zone—foam earplugs in, two fans going, eye pillow strapped and a small pharmacy amassed on my bedside table—spending hour after hour shifting my body in large, repetitive motions that fail to bring on rest. It felt like a legitimate worry at the time—it was Brooklyn, after all, and cars were occasionally stolen from our driveway—but looking back I wonder if I was really just afraid of being alone.

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More awkward when I've been intimate with the person in question. "It popped up in my Facebook feed and I happened to click over...

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