I guess it’s called normal for a reason, it’s what most people have. I don’t have a normal life, and I haven’t in a while. I’d bet there are people who assume that I’m already dead, if they think about me at all. So it guess it makes sense that his thought pattern is long term. Mine never has been. If I make it to twenty-one, well… I didn’t think I was going to make it to 18 and who knows, I still may not. I can remember when that seemed a long time away. I wish he’d stop scowling.
~~~121~~~ And that’s his reality. He won’t be alive to see twenty-one, so why bother with anything other than instant gratification? I would actually admire that except for the fact that he has no interest in his own safety or comfort. I don’t understand. I hate not understanding. This is one that I really can’t wrap my head around. If he’s not planning for a future, then why not enjoy the present? Why punish yourself for the time you’ve got left? I look over and the reality of his statement hits hard. I wish I could hold him without hurting him.
~~~122~~~ He’s staring at me contemplatively. “C’mere.”
I narrow my eyes. The little boy thing doesn’t work on him. “Why?”
Technically it’s his dime so I do. He shifts so that I can sit next to him and then pulls me back until I’m leaning against his chest. His arm is wrapped lightly around my waist; one of his legs is straight against the back of the sofa. “Comfortable?”
I actually am. I nod.
He sighs and we just stay like that. He runs a hand through my hair and over my arms. I don’t know what he’s doing.
~~~123~~~ He actually asks me what I’m doing. I want to make him stop talking so he can stop breaking my heart. “It’s called affection.”
He tries to pull away but my grip around his waist tightens. He winces and stops. “You okay?”
“I’m fine. What do you want me to do?”
“Sit here and be comfortable.”
“I don’t get it.”
He really doesn’t. He had parents. Hell, even my parents showed affection occasionally.
“What do I do?”
he’s still for a minute and then wriggles his ass against my groin. “You can fuck me.”
I don’t respond.
~~~124~~~ His fingers in my hair feel good. The warmth of his chest against my back feels nice too. His hand never moves to my waistband or under my shirt. I think he’s trying to comfort me. My mother used to do this when I was little. I haven’t needed it in a while. I don’t need it now. This isn’t why he’s paying me. He said he didn’t want to touch me 'til I was healed but now he’s kissing the top of my head. I offer sex. All movements stop. I miss them more than I thought I would.
~~~125~~~ “I’m not going to fuck you and you’re not going to blow me. Tonight you’re safe, and warm, and you’re going to sit here and remember what it’s like to part of the human race.”
He starts to say something but then just sighs as I run my fingers lightly along the side of his face. He’s crying. “hey.”
He shakes his head and tries to pull away from me. I don’t let him. “hey.”
“Brian… I can’t.”
“Why not?” I hold my breath, wondering if he even knows
I kiss the top of his head. “I know.”
~~~126~~~ I try. I sit there and let him touch me and all I can think is, “Please stop. Please don’t make me do this.” Here’s the irony, those are the phrases Isaac taught me. The ones they love, they ones we laughed about… until the first time I used them. I was a wreck when I got back. They knew they didn’t have to stop. They didn’t stop. And I’m thinking about that, and relaxing against him. I try to shut myself down. I should be able to ward off affection. I can feel the tears behind my eyes. “Brian.”
~~~127~~~ “Brian.” It’s plaintive and I can’t tell if he’s putting on his little boy act or genuinely upset. I let him go and he moves quickly to the other side of the sofa. He turns so I can’t see him wiping his eyes. “What the fuck was that about?”
I’m out of ideas. “Nothing. Thought maybe someone touching you without hurting you would be a nice change of pace.”
“Well, it wasn’t.”
I shrug. I’m done. I like the kid, he’s smart, he’s pretty fucking strong considering what he’s been through but I think it’s time to cut my losses.
~~~128~~~ He shuts down. I recognize it. I’ve perfected it. I tell myself I’m relieved. I am actually. If I’m too far gone for anyone to help, then there’s nothing I can do, right? he hands me the remote and moves to the computer. “watch whatever you want. I’ve paid for the night. don’t leave before eight.”
I flip through the channels and bite my thumbnail. Isaac could touch me. I never really minded that, but then that was practice. I wonder why he never had me practice anything softer. Maybe most people don’t need to practice that. I am broken.
~~~129~~~ I shoot off a couple of emails to people I know who own investment property. One of them must have an apartment for him. He’s biting his nail and shaking. I stand up and pretend I don’t notice his gaze following me. I get a blanket out of the closet and hand it to him. He looks at me questioningly.
His teeth are chattering. I nod. He’s blushing but ten minutes later he’s still blushing. I walk over and put a hand on his forehead. He tries to swat it away. He has a fucking fever.
~~~130~~~ He asks me if this is a drug thing. When I don’t understand the question he rolls his eyes. “Are. You. A. Junkie?”
He puts a cool cloth on my face and I pull away. “Stop that.”
“You have a fever.”
I shrug. “It’ll go away.”
He looks at me oddly. “You really don’t care.”
“That I have a fever? Not really.”
“If you live or die.”
“It’s not really up to me.”
He grabs my shoulders. I think he’s going to shake me but he just stares, holding my gaze. “You’re the only one it is up to.”