“I honestly don’t know if you just want chitchat or if you want something deeper than that.”
“I think we’ve confessed our deepest sins.”
“But we didn’t touch everything we could’ve confessed about.” David pauses. “You’re not the first guy I cheated on my girlfriend with.”
He pretends to look at the street and I think briefly about bar fights and of the Argentinian guy who died in one.
“I can’t bring myself to date a guy.” He coughs lightly. “I’m sure you know from experience that parents with their post-Soviet mentality are not a good crowd to tell anything if it manages to run away from the norm that was forced into their minds.”
I just nod. I know that from more than first hand, I feel like I’ve lived every torturous and venomous remark there could ever be for a gay trans man, which somehow betrayed everything a human should be standing for.
“I had no choice.” I play with my fingers. I pause, sigh and continue. “I had to. If I could just snap my fingers and look female to my parents, I would. It’s not worth coming out and feeling comfortable in your shoes in front of such parents, but you gotta do what you gotta do. You can’t keep it hidden forever.”
Our drinks are here and I play with the straw before trying out the pineapple and mint for maybe the fifth time ever.
“That’s… the thing.” David pauses and gesticulates. “I can keep it hidden if I never get into anything serious.”
He glances at me, realizing his sudden choice of words and I bite my straw.
“But once I do, I’m screwed.” He blows the paper from the straw to my direction and it misses me. “Or I’m screwed now. I don’t work, I’m just studying currently, so it would be cutting myself off from a life I’m used to. I’m not sure I would want to risk throwing myself into working only, but… anyway.”
“I work.” I nod. I don’t want to get into details, but I rub my eyes. “Studying is expensive and just like every other aspect of my life, I started doubting whether I want it.”
Now it’s my turn to drink the juice and look at the street. I look back and smile at him.
The problem is that I can’t ask anyone how will the future unfold. And what real mistakes I’ve made. I don’t know what the fuck have I done and how far will the wound stretch and if you’ll ever be able to trust me again when I’m clearly back in some Stockholm Syndrome. I knew that I’ve done the greatest mistake and it’s just like when I get calmer and everything seems to be fine, I start a fight. My body is a constant state of fighting whatever I can lay my eyes on, even if with years I’m getting better, it’s really just baby steps.
I sip the drink.
“I don’t think I would risk anything, but I’ve done that already. But I had no choice at the time.” I start talking because once I open my mouth, I can’t really stop at all. I feel like I hide my shyness with the truth, but somehow I manage to hide so much of it either way.
“I know we both come from different backgrounds.” David states the obvious and I always felt uncomfortable with his wealth which happens to drag onto today, he’ll always be far more successful that I will ever be. I even felt uncomfortable besides you so often, it’s just something distilled in my blood, something I was told as a child, that I would never amount to anything somehow and that stayed with me. Maybe that’s why I focus on different things like love, where I want to be the protagonist at all times. Maybe because no one told me that one could lose at love. I could gain that and then gamble with it, apparently.
“Yeah.” I swallow harshly and my throat aches for a few seconds. “It’s odd how that drags you through life. I think wealth and where you’re born is the only things which affect what happens really rather than something else.”
David moves his head from side to side, I guess he agrees but doesn’t want to discuss something which isn’t our lives.
“But everyone has different problems. I can’t ever come out if I want to remain in the wealth. Then, I’d have to start like you did.” He pauses, realizing that he’s showing my situation in a negative light, which is more than obvious, but still he decides to apologize for it. “Sorry, you know what I mean.”
I look away, possibly motioning to change the subject of wealth, because it’s not something that can change overnight. He stretches his hand and strokes the back of my palm. I have to look back at him.
“In the end, it can all change and I think the best comparison is one’s deathbed, but I wouldn’t even advice you to compare. Money isn’t everything.” He says and I just sigh, feeling tired from working at such an early age. It’s something I can never get over with, because I was promised a different life and in the end I was dropped in the middle of the lake to learn how to swim and get back to the shore. “Richest is the man who knew love and how to be loved in return.”
I smirk, because that’s what I go by and here I am betting you away.
I wish, when you’re gone, that I would remember every memory we had. Because that’s what’s going to happen, isn’t it? I can barely recall how we met and I only reconstruct it slightly with my memory because you tell me little snippets which make you blush, when you’re drunk, as you tell and that’s that.
“I’m sure we score enough on that board.” And he strokes my hand again. I just grin at him, knowing into what rabbit hole I am actually falling into.
You knew where I grew up, where people would laugh about Bowie’s bisexuality and love him regardless, but would talk about how much of a shame it was that the greatest musician was queer. So of course, neither of us wanted to come out but you knew that as well. You’ve felt it and the more we see accepting families on television, the more I ask myself where actually are they? Are they all in America? What about everyone else and what makes a redneck America different from the other ignorant bastards who crawl the Earth?
My thoughts trail and I remember what I should’ve edited into the previous lines, but excuse me for the sudden thoughts, I’ve cried while writing this because I am terribly vain and this is all hope and some apology for making you get back with me, if you decide to leave me. This whole letter is a plea, because if I tell the truth, it’ll be your decision rather than mine to tell everything or not. I’ve chosen my path and the thing is will you join me again, knowing how screwed up I am?
Do you know that it took me over a year to listen to Bowie again. It was on the plane to Brazil, I had him stashed in my phone, I knew that the right time would come. I just wanted to hear storytelling, songs full of stories, to let me forget everything and live with someone else for a bit, hear Bowie sing it all into my ear.
I don’t think I spoke much of the loss he had given me, because I take loss really badly and with each death it gets worse, because I’m a firm believer in the fact that it never gets better. That one always mourns just as much, not even the loss of memories make the pain duller. So it never got better after Bowie’s death. Even if I wasn’t into him as much as you ever were, the songs still followed me through my teenage years and I would let them shape my life and now all of a sudden, they couldn’t because they all were filled, envelopes filled with death with my address on it. Maybe somewhere tucked in with the fact that I would accept the plane crashing on the way, I accepted Bowie’s death after so long, because I had accepted my own. I didn’t feel fear of death like so much of my family had. So many were petrified of death and I just seemed to be accepting it, one death at a time and I wanted my own as well.
Maybe I was drawn to Bowie as well, because he and David held the same name. But then it was David who showed me him, just one song and then I didn’t bite it until I had encountered him myself later and a different song as well.
It’s weird to think that there are still things I wouldn’t reveal to David. It’s weird to be so secretive, but it’s all because I’m too scared and I recall that when I would be honest, that would push him away and that fear just carried me throughout my whole life, giving me fear of you too. It’s also a lack of faith in myself. There are things I wouldn’t mention in the conversation now, like how much I mourned Bowie, like a grandparent who I care about a lot. My parents are alive, so I haven’t felt that loss yet. Instead I get confusion and wondering why do we value the bond of blood so much, because sometimes I feel like it’s just obligation to stay. I wish it was like that with lovers, no matter how you screw up.
What about friends, who had turned on me because I came out as trans? Why couldn’t I keep those instead of family, who just stands me somehow because they’re supposed to love what they get on the plate no matter what? But then those friends would hold the same useless value as family. Maybe it’s best that some leave, but what about David?
Did he have to leave too? Did he have to age to come back? Because we still change even if we claim that we don’t, that’s just the way the world happens to go, we age and we grow out of being angry stubborn teenagers. Instead in this day and age I think it’s more fear of the world than anything and seeing in perspective how much worse do some people have it or maybe how bad I have it. I don’t know anymore. I don’t like patting myself on the back at all. I don’t even know why I talk to myself in my head if I can’t stand myself so badly.
“Do you ever wonder…why is everything so screwed?” Now I stroke his hand, as I take a sip from the juice. Maybe I should’ve taken some alcohol but that would loosen me up even more. I get surprised at my own question, but I let it roll, just so I can see how well it will unfold.
“What do you mean by everything? The world?” He asks and I just nod, recalling how even with everything going on at the time, it feels like now it’s worse, it feels as if it was calm back there. Now everything feels like it’s tumbled and all the liquid is getting out, seeping through every single crack and distorting reality. “I don’t think about it. It used to drive me crazy and I would be checking what the hell is going on every day, but I can’t change it and neither can you. It’s just the setting we are given. And we need to survive with it.”
It seemed like something he would say at any age though, because we wouldn’t speak much of politics and the state the world was in or maybe I don’t recall it as much. It’s been long and I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last night.
I don’t know why but knowing that I can’t change anything rails me up even more. Everything just seems to be chains to me, because everything we do, every action is done to be safe and to avoid the most damage. That’s why we never follow our intrusive thoughts, because dropping the phone into the water has consequences, like slapping someone harshly. I’ve told you this, but I’ve kept myself safe for years because I knew that no one would react normally when I would come out, so I had to keep it secret and steal my dad’s shaving foam just to cut myself through the bad acne I used to have. I would do those small things to keep myself sane, but I don’t like speaking of it. I didn’t like the fact that weeks and up to a year I had hold before telling anyone, I couldn’t even speak of it properly to a friend, I couldn’t utter it until I left home. And I knew that soon enough this comfort would go away, but how was I supposed to rest with the fact that I had to hide who I was? I had to walk on my tiptoes tiredly.
You’ve told me repeatedly that I need a therapist, because there’s still things which gave me flashes of old times, things I never want to recall or even confront and if I could I would never move forwards, I would accept that what I’ve been through stopped me from life, but that’s not how you go at all. And I can’t convince you otherwise. You want a future, when I just want to settle. Just like I had settled until I could get out. I was on the brink of those two thoughts I just told. I liked knowing that nothing would change and I wanted out. My head is in turmoil and I would never confess that to a therapist, I don’t want to hear after the smoke settles, that I cheated on you. It’s my poison to bear rather than to tell and feel sorry for myself.
I don’t even know where I would start with the therapist if I would ever agree to bare my soul to a stranger. I’m insane, that’s all there is to it and if I could, if I truly hated myself instead of some twisted desire to never hurt myself, I would finally break everything and let you go as well. Maybe I would be left with David, just with the hope that he would treat me just as bad as he once did and I would wait at home, red eyed and drunk, hoping for him to chase less skirts, because I would be the faithful husband. I thought of writing wife, because that’s what I had always thought, or at least thought for such a long while. When I reach a really desperate time I just start calling myself names and misgendering is part of it. No matter who I am and how I pass now, how I look. You just don’t know how much I want to end everything, just like I waited to get out of the house and tell people who I was. I was never thankful. It was driving me up the wall, when I knew who I was and I would trace the walls every night with my fingertips, knowing.
Why did I feel comfortable with a man I barely knew now? I barely knew him and yet I was baring myself. It’s not like I haven’t done that before, but it was more of the fact that I was doing it again somehow. I would always fall down in desperation to hook up. I liked being used, but I would increase that desire with the more broken I would feel. Because the more I would play, the more I would mute out my thoughts and feelings. I was running away from you by causing more trouble. I wanted you to go away and stay at the same time.
I could stare at you forever. I could write this letter forever. I could never send it also.
This whole novel is a love letter to disaster.
I finished writing this, but my mind drifts to things that I could’ve added and I know that it will stay like this forever. I often think of stories which are long gone. I kept thinking of the songs we liked which didn’t have gay subtext but were open about it. Looking back, it was very odd for what we thought it should be. But then it was really just two guys, albeit none knew of that.
The keeping it hidden from parents was from a conversation I had with someone else, who inspired a lot of my recent work. Because you can still hide bisexuality and whatnot form relatives if you can. I’ve been writing shorter back stories, to make the story more precise rather than me revealing everything.