Enamoured of Death, Misshapened Joy

A: How was it?

B pauses for a full minute before saying anything.

B: I called him up after a few days I’ve been in Firenze, and he sounded surprised to hear from me. He was having a few drinks with his friends that evening and invited me to join him then. Of course I agreed. Had a hard time deciding what to wear, etc. and had a harder time finding the place. But that’s beside the point.

I always thought it cowardly to meet someone when you’re meeting your own group of friends…but anyhow I went in anyway. It was noisy and dark and crowded and I felt a bit frightened. Luckily he spotted me and called out. I think he must’ve had his eye on the door. Our greetings felt really fake amidst all that noise and laughter and I began to feel very isolated during the round of introductions. He had his girlfriend, M, there. His friends were the sort that did not make any effort to make you feel comfortable with them, but I tried. I felt so young in that crowd. A couple of drinks. During that time he and I did not talk much. I mean, I could clearly see I was not being included in their conversations and felt rather left out. But that was ok, I was there to see him, I did not care about anything else. So I went out to have a smoke in the cold and sat on the bench outside. He joined me a few minutes later (When somebody joins you outside, does he feel obligated to come out to find you, or he sincerely wants to be alone with you, but just didn’t have enough courage to ask?). Offered him a cigarette and he said, ’No thanks, I only smoke roll-ups.’ ‘For fuck’s sake,’ I said vaguely, and he took it after a moment’s hesitation. Passed him my book of matches.

’Why do you smoke so much?’ he mumbled quickly, as if to cover up his narrowness by chiding me.

I let out a short laugh and looked at him. ‘Why do I smoke so much?’ I asked him.

’Why, because…’ and he started to ramble on about some phallus complex. ‘…But I don’t know when it comes to you,’ he ended, and looked at me with a prying gaze. I looked away.

’What else?’ I said, when he stopped, hoping that it sounded friendly enough not to sound like a challenge or a taunt, but not too friendly to show that I wanted to smirk at his idealisations. He continued to gaze at me, so I looked back at him expectantly. It was a full minute before he said anything else.

’You know, I could never touch you,’ he said very quietly.

I felt emotion seep into my eyes and looked quickly away. A great silence ensued. I was slowly sinking into the bench. I’ve never sat so still, nor felt so engulfed in my skin. Felt like my inner workings somehow stopped and left everything in the lurch.  The cigarette burnt out to its end with the ash still hanging in one piece from the butt clamped between my dead fingers. He was on the brink of saying something, of breaking that poignant silence where unasked questions pushed in urgently at the edges on both sides, when he was interrupted by the opening of the bar’s door. It was M.

’What are you doing out here in the cold?’ she asked and shivered dramatically. Again I felt that hostility. The question sounded like, ‘What are you doing out here with her?’ It was broken, that moment that connected us. Not it felt like I was the one intruding upon them. Dropped the cigarette onto the ground and crushed it with my shoe.

’Hey guys, it’s getting late. Think I’ll go off now,’ I said, trying to sound cheerful. I stood up to go. ‘Hey, it was nice meeting you and all, M.’ and prepared to walk off. ‘I’ll walk you home,’ he said, also standing up. M. immediately cut in and offered to walk me home instead, since it was mostly his friends inside. I wonder what she was so worried about. Did they talk about me before? Both of them stood arguing for awhile. ‘Hey, hey, I’m good on my own, it’s not so faraway, don’t fuss over it, I can walk home on my own,’ and rushed away. ‘Bye!’ I shouted and quickly turned the corner. I stopped. I could hear my heart beating in my chest. When the bar door opened and shut and I heard the footsteps fade, I slowly released my held breath and slid down the wall.

The next moment I was sobbing hard, my knees pressed tightly against my chest. Suddenly, I heard footsteps approaching and thus tried to remain motionless, my tear-stained face hidden from view. It stopped beside me. At the back of my mind I thought this passer-by was going to throw me loose change and mistake me for a beggar, so I looked up. I saw that it was him, never expected him to come back for me, stood up really quick and started walking away briskly. I was angry that he had seen my tears. He merely caught up with me and matched his long strides with my short fast ones. I shut him out. I could feel him trying to push into my sphere but I shut him out completely.

He was still there when I unlocked the front door to my rented apartment. ‘Can I come up,’ he said, and followed in after me. Climbed the steep flight of stairs in the darkness to my room. He shut the door quietly. Without removing my coat I moved to the window and lit a cigarette. I heard him moving in the background, removing his coat. The silence was deafening. It was quite a bit until I felt him drawing closer to me, whereupon he slowly removed my coat, and gently but firmly slid his cold hands underneath my shirt. I gasped silently. His hands moved lower, encircling me, and unbuckled my belt and undid my pants with a sure hand. My pants pooled to the floor when he slid his hand down the small of my back into the arch of my buttocks, all the way across them, down into my lower crevices. I felt myself respond, but I did not want to show it. My underwear went next and he pressed his body against me. I realised he was naked. He propped his leg on a chair nearby, hooking my leg on his. His fingers touched my wetness and I dropped my cigarette, swallowing hard.

Suddenly all that mattered was that he was hard and that I was wet. Could I have loved him then? There was only this way…I wonder now…I leant back on him and he bent down to put his lips to my neck. Sat me on the windowsill and came into me. I shuddered and searched his face. It was a mask of darkness and just the right amount of attention to make you not suspect. Could he have loved me then? This was the only way…

He moved, and I came for the first time, with him holding me over the window ledge, moving against me, moving against the world, and I felt him come too. Making love to me for all to see…

A: He left, didn’t he…

B:…Yeah, but without a goodbye, which could be good, because it could mean that we’ll be seeing each other again. Or not, because I still don’t know what to make of it…

~22nd. November 2007

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