through layers. Warmth, then softness, and inevitably the intrusion
of light, pale and fresh, that lances across the city into my spartan
room, to fall upon my bed, upon me… upon the person that lies
My eye opens wide in realization of that presence alongside; that unfamiliar
pressure weighing down one side this bed I never share with anyone.
My breath catches.
slowly across the sheet at the familiar face, eyes closed; the
crooked nose and quaint overbite. He has a corner of my pillow in his
mouth, chewing it absently as he slumbers, and at another time I
might have found that amusing or endearing. But instead my heart
happened? Oh Lord, what did I do?
so as not to wake him, I peel the cover up to confirm my suspicion.
My nakedness glares up at me accusingly, as does his; our bare skin,
soft and pink, side by side… in my bed. The warm tingle of
fulfilment in my nethers and the fingernail marks upon his flesh both
offer further verification.
have I done?
begins to glitter on the tiles of my mind like the fragments of a
shattered vase. The pieces slowly begin to reassemble. There was the
opera, the cybernetic Satan… the hands. He gave up the hands
for me. I remained; when everyone else left, I stayed with him –
his innocent gratitude had shone from his face, but it wasn’t a
favour – I wanted to stay. Images fall into place; I
remember the simple and beautiful piece he played – he and I,
together. And although my conflicted mind recoiled from that brazen
outpouring of devotion, I could not help but clasp my hands to my
breast and weep in joy… in love.
not love… Don’t think that…
across at his sleeping form again; the unpretentious lines of his
face speak of candid honesty. No capacity for untruth could be
I have one eye. The world to me is flat planes without depth; when I
see a person I know intuitively that there is something missing from
the image, hidden dimensions beyond my perception, always something
more… just out of reach. But not with him… I sense that
I see him as he really is. Of course he can’t be a
two-dimensional cartoon, but I know that what I see is all there is –
there are no hidden agendas or nasty surprises lurking behind corners
of his soul. Everything is there, laid flat, laid bare. He is what he
is… and after living through deceit after betrayal after
deception, that blameless simplicity is like a pitcher of crystalline
water in the desert.
am I afraid?
memory. After the opera… we walked together, hand in hand, in
companionable silence. I was comfortable, content… and,
despite his audience’s response, he seemed to be as well. He
seemed happy, happier than I’d seen him in a long time. An
image flashes in my mind’s eye – myself reaching up to
loosen his bowtie for him… before leading him toward a quiet
bar for a celebratory drink. Just him and I…
drunk, I realize, chewing my bottom lip. We got drunk and came back
here and then… and then…
slept with Fry.
no,” I whisper to myself, and at the sound he stirs beside me,
mumbling something about grasshoppers and acorns in his sleep. I
watch him closely, and more images from last night fall into place –
his lips pressed against mine, his body pressing against mine…
and me pressing back, just as hungrily; breathless and encouraging…
wanting. I remember myself yielding to him willingly and the look of
dazed joy upon his face as I called out his name; I remember the
feeling of him inside me…
my eye. Not in shame – for I am not ashamed. Not in repulsion –
for he does not repulse me (far from it). But in anguish…
anguish for the pain I will cause him. For the best part of four
years I have evaded his advances, pushing him away gently… and
not so gently… encouraging him to move on. But now, to lose my
resolve and open my apartment, legs, and heart to him… how can
I now expect him to accept my inevitable rejection; the brush-off,
the ‘let’s be friends’ speech? I can’t –
it isn’t fair, he doesn’t deserve it. Last night was
selfish; I wanted something and I took it, in a moment, detached from
all consideration of the future I allowed our desire to rule us and
now he will think that we…
that can’t happen.
be with him, I know that. I’ve always known it. For all his
openness and loyalty, he is unambitious, unintelligent, unhygienic,
unscrupulous, unmotivated, un... everything. He can’t
provide for me, be a husband… or a father…
consider slipping away if I wasn’t in my own house. Perhaps I
could leave for work… but today is Sunday. Beside me Fry
mumbles and turns over onto his back, his foppish orange hair falling
in tangles. He will be awake soon, I realize as I stare sidelong at
him, and there will be no time to stall, to ponder delicate evasions.
get dressed, but as I begin to gently slide from the bed I hear him
murmur my name, and I stop as my heart threatens to break. How can I
do this to him? How can I keep hurting someone I love?
again, that word.
back and he is still asleep, peaceful and happy. My best friend in
all the Universe, the man who opened my eye to the world and made me
a whole person, the man who would die for me a thousand times over.
He is an extratemporal anachronism, unlike anybody I’ve ever
known, and his friendship means more to me than life itself. Perhaps
that’s the real reason I refuse to commit to him…
romance to me is associated with a long chain of disappointment and
heartache, nothing like the connection I share with him. It’s
so different… something pure and wonderful, and I shrink in
terror at the idea of changing it, of making him another lover who
will hurt me, haunt me, who I will never want to see again.
wouldn’t do that…
How do I
know for sure?
confusing swarm of contradictions, fears and desires, swim through my
mind. I sit up and run my hands through my hair, no longer
consciously perturbed by my nakedness or the telling sensation of
completion between my thighs. What the hell is it that I really want?
for things to stay the same. That’s just fear of change, the
fear of loss. But I fear nothing… at least I don’t think
I do… and I know that there can be no gain without risk. But
is this risk too great? What if I lose him, my friend whom I love,
this man around whom I have built walls of excuses and judgements to
keep insulated from the inner sanctum of my heart?
lose him. I’d die if I lost him…
won’t. Except by my own actions.
widens at that thought. Of course… he would never leave me. No
matter what happened. It’s Fry after all.
what’s the problem?
question. Through all the years and all the hurt, my defences have
become autonomous subroutines, operating independently without input
or consent. And it’s been so easy for me to pretend a
justification exists, to make such shallow superficial excuses and
maintain the quiet comfortable status-quo.
end of it all, I see the truth of the matter finally and completely –
I am a coward.
I gasp in
surprise and turn to face him, forgetting to cover my bosom (there
would be little point now). He is awake, propped up on his elbows,
watching me with worried eyes. He sees my conflict and fear, and he
knows what’s going on in my mind… but he isn’t
offended or annoyed, only concerned for me. I love him all the more
you okay?” he asks softly, and at last I realize that I am. I
I nod and
smile, feeling a tremendous weight detach from my soul. “Yeah,”
I murmur. “I’m very okay.” There will be no more
hiding, no more fear.
don’t… regret this?” Fry asks with nervous
restraint that I find adorable.
a moment I thought I did,” I admit truthfully. “But then
I realized something…”
I’m an idiot.” My smile widens and I lean close to him.
He grins sheepishly and encircles me with his arms.
he whispers, “happily ever after?”
him with a kiss.