You woke me up in the middle of a dream and showed me a newspaper article. You couldn’t get your apartment rooms sold (the newspaper made a mistake, they meant rented) for over $1231 a month, though the rooms were worth $1671 each. But the economy is bad and you had to take that into account.
Naivo, the Malagasy writer, didn’t show up to the birthday party held for children at my grandmother’s old house that my brother and I’d sold a thousand years ago, so there was hell to pay and the children roamed the old neighborhood. That wasn’t our responsibility. A little girl had a crush on you though and when you turned to talk to her, smiling, I suddenly saw your hair, longer than it had ever been before, even though I had just seen it short in your profile pictures. Years must have passed without my knowing it. Your hair was always black in that almost blue way but with dignified grey hairs cropping up when you were twenty. Now, with this mass that reached all the way down your back, those were invisible. You let your hair loose when I asked you to, and I marveled at it, told you it was beautiful.
At your parents’ house, I said hello to them, and your father was in a wheelchair, sitting next to your mother, as they both worked intently together on a single computer, discussing how to write an article and what pictures to include. We sat down in your living room and you told me that your father injured a disc, or something like that, which was why he was in a wheelchair. You didn’t sound worried, so I didn’t worry either.
We talked. Your hair was down again, but now it was braided everywhere, easier to manage and less tangleable. You leaned in. I didn’t move. I let your lip brush mine. But I didn’t move. It was your move. Your turn. Your decision. I was open to it, but my eyes were wide open and I watched and felt you hesitate, pull away, lean forward again and kiss me.
It was nothing like I remembered it. You poked into my mouth though your lips were as soft as they’d ever been. More vivid. We were naked and having sex with your parents in the next room until I pointed that fact out. You shrugged, pulled out, and I worried–we hadn’t used a condom. You shrugged again. I was on birth control, and hoped you were clean. I followed you out the door.
In a dark hallway, waiting for the elevator, people were milling about and when the doors opened I was about to get in but you stopped me. Started kissing me again. Told me it was my turn. And I fucked you against a wall but good. You held me but I fucked you. This was clear.
Neither of us climaxed. Those sensations seemed long gone and the sex quick and dramatic only in the mere fact that it was happening at all.
I told you you must be a man whore now. You shrugged, this gesture which had never been characteristic, and you said maybe. I asked how many. You said four. I asked if that was four hookups or four people you’d had sex with on and off. You said it was on and off sex. Nothing serious, was the implication.
You put me to sleep again and I found him there, in bed with me, waking up. I snuggled into his back. Warm and broad. When he turned to me I kissed him, recapturing his feeling. He was nothing like you. He was better than you, and this dream felt more vivid than your awakening. I kissed him again. He held me.I told him I’d had a nightmare, when in reality, I had no idea whether I was now in one of those or in a good dream, where you can taste and smell more, where time is more linear. Those dreams are calming, settling, and I preferred those overall to the reality I’d just experienced, which was so strange.
Because you stopped me before, when I tried to kiss you. You told me that I didn’t matter in the way I wanted to matter. And for the first time, I didn’t force myself upon you, and I accepted that you were different. I let you come to me. I took what happened on its own terms.
Still. I’m glad to be dreaming again.