Reader, there must be a resolution to this, a way to make sense of it; or am I writing a Modernist novel, a Proustian text that goes on forever? I always thought I would produce something out of fragments, a book of scraps and patches; yet here I am, back in the bed of a long, freckled boy I have been mooning over since I was 13, on a freezing Monday in March–
“You’re always kneading me,” I say, my hand slung absently in his silky brown hair. Not a half second passes before I realize the possible misinterpretation of my words– “– you know, like bread,” I say, trying to sound casual. Z., after all, appears to need no one, least of all me, despite the total– freakish?– ease with which we slip back into one another after long stretches of time.
He presses his thumbs into my hands, my hips, whatever’s in reaching distance. What the flying fuck, man. Remind me how I’m supposed to resist this. Remind me why I should want to. He is so tall, he exceeds the length of the bed. He smells like Newport Lites, Gatorade, and soap. His skin is crystal clear, nearly hairless, his chest dotted with blotchy freckles from years of sun tanning and surfing. We drift from sex to talking about the universe, the multiverse, I tell him about my latest existential crisis–
“I think in a way, I was always waiting to believe in god– but then, last Christmas, I realized– it’s just another story that tells you you end up in a place searching for more meaning, more afterlives, and it just exhausted me, I couldn’t bear the thought of it– my worst nightmare is dying and discovering a heaven that’s just another patriarchy– ugh–”
“I think it’s just consciousness that’s the gift,” he says back, lighting another cigarette, hastening his ride to whatever awaits us. “Even if it’s just something we notice that comforts us, just a tiny little dream while you’re dying–”
“A tiny little dream while you’re dying,” I say back, savoring the words in my mouth. “That’s beautiful.” And then we’re kissing again.
When we wandered upstairs into his bedroom, A Tribe Called Quest sang from his phone, and he said, “Better turn off the 90’s hip-hop,” but I stopped him. The 90’s hip-hop is part of what I love about the whole thing; it harkens back to being 13 and lusting after all the wrong boys. Sometimes, driving back and forth between campuses, I blare Biggie Smalls and Jay-Z, remember summers so hot and humid the air seemed like a muslin curtain you could part; the boys shimmered like daydreams through their haze of pot smoke, cracking jokes in their backward hats and baggy jeans, nodding their heads in time to Wu-Tang, so sure of themselves, so ready for a world I could only barely decipher. Sometimes, alone in bed at night, I close my eyes and my head fills up like an open mouth with everything I’ll never know, never do– there is the Cyrillic alphabet tied up in a little velvet bag, beckoning me like so much magic pixie dust, exotic shapes in shiny notes of brass that morph when I try to pin them down, there is a doctoral degree in literature tucked into the horizon, a bordertown, a place I’ll surely never settle in, and there are the boys, the music, a black voice spinning lyrics, and a rowdy bunch of poor, mostly white kids on someone’s back porch, sucking their fair share from the joy of the descending bass line’s marrow–
“Leave it on,” I said. “I love it.”
Reader, we are a serial from a 1920’s ladies’ quarterly, a novel you pick up in the middle and just read; we are barely friends and always lovers, free to come and go and come again, invested only in the time we fuse for a few sweet hours during which time everything, everything is easy, and fresh, and young– I take a drag off of his cigarette, drag my fingernails gently down the soft skin of his back, my pulse leaping and lounging with a lazy delight. “When I’m with you, I never want to stop touching you,” I say, glancing out the window at the streetlights making haloes on our shitty little town. “I love your body,” he says back, and I may as well pack it in. My blood is up. For a few hours, I’m a beautiful girl. It’s an illusion, a magic web that disappears when I walk out the door, and I know it. I know we’re doomed in the light of day. I think I want it that way. He is another, he is familiar, I can wear his scent and his touch like a shadowy dress that tucks me in and out in all the right curves.
So leave it on. I love it.