“Imaginary Boyfriend” by Jessica Bonder


My pretend boyfriend, he’s seriously the best. He’s the best pretend boyfriend a girl could ever have. He’s better than anything I could’ve ever imagined, which is hard to imagine since he’s pretend.
Like for my birthday—you know where he took me? That place in New York where hot chocolate comes frozen. Then we swam with the dolphins, leaped through Saturn’s rings, rode unicorns into the sunset atop a banana split. My unicorn riding shooties were literally rainbow jimmies.
Rainbow, not chocolate, PBF knows they’re my favorite.
Ma and Da, really, they’re so happy for me. They said where did I meet a boy ever so nice? I said picture something better than Amazon Prime, than one-click ordering, that is my mind. My mind, can you believe it, is where we first met. That’s the story we’ll tell our kids when we, of course, raise them pretend.
Look not everything about my boyfriend’s pretend. I’m not all pretend either—that’s called honesty. We can be real with each other, as much or as little, until we get bored with Netflix, binge-drain our queues. Then we won’t break up for realsies, we’ll just pretend stay together. Unlike each other’s profiles, better yet, delete the apps. Wax up our Burtons, shred snowcones on Mars. Worst best case, he’ll text me: hey.




Jessica Bonder is an American fiction writer. She has published short stories in The Stockholm Review, FIVE:2:ONE Magazine, Split Lip Magazine, The Lonely Crowd, STORGY Magazine, The Writing Disorder, and The Cabinet of Heed, among others. Recent honors include: Longlisted for the Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize 2017/18; Longlisted for the 2017 Berlin Writing Prize; Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open March/April 2017. Find her on her website (jessicabonder.com) or on Twitter @jessbonder


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