“8 Ways You Used Me” by Eric Karl Anderson from Chelsea Station, Issue 4. Edited by Jameson Currier.
Billy addresses the unnamed object of his desire—his best friend—directly during the eight sections of this story. He’s looking back on their entwined histories, coming to terms with why he allowed the other boy to mistreat him for years. The reason is simple: his friend was handsome and popular and more easily passed for straight; Billy fell in love with him but also felt inferior to him.
Emboldened, the best friend imagined an important future for himself – The Julliard School and a life on the stage; Billy set his sights on more attainable goals – rising through the ranks in a fast food establishment, maybe owning a franchise one day.
The story uses keys moments in their friendship to describe the actual paths their lives took over the course of nearly a decade and a half, and explain how they have come to be where they are now. As in real life, very little has turned out the way either of them expected. It’s not an uplifting piece, mainly because the entire premise of their relationship is flawed—it’s not and never will be what Billy desires—but it’s definitely an interesting psychological profile.