“Gone are the days of begging, the days of theft. No more gasping for a breath. The air has filled me head to toe.”
– Florence + The Machine, Between Two Lungs
It had been too long. Or had it been forever?
It was so much to take in all at once. I’d felt these things before, but it all seemed to be more acute now, more real. The smell of his breath and the warmth of his chest, the way I could see clearly all the small imperfections in his skin, and then his lips, and his eyes, and the way I touched my forehead to his and felt my breathing stagger in my chest.
I had never experienced human warmth, human closeness, human love, until this moment.
His skin was dark, the color of coffee. Mine was white, the color of unripened peaches. His breath was traveling through my lips, and back out again, caught between us, the breath that connected us.
His face alone, his lips, his breath, and then the sight of his deep caramel eyes, eyes that I felt no need to look away from, eyes that held me close, eyes that told me that I was loved and that he loved me, these things were enough to satisfy me. But then I remembered that we were naked.
We were naked and we were wrapped in a warm blanket on his couch, and our bodies were pressed tightly against one another. I felt with my hands the curves of his hips, I felt with my penis the warmth of his groin, I felt his feet with mine and wiggled my toes against his. I felt him harden against me, I saw him smile, showing his teeth, only slightly uneven, I pressed my mouth against his and closed my eyes and my nose touched his cheek as he kissed me and I kissed him.
I remembered a moment when I’d been at school. I had been walking through the hallway, and I turned a corner and completely at the other end I saw a boy with his hand resting on the wall, pinning his girlfriend there. She was smiling at him, her chest was heaving, and he wore a beautiful, beautiful grin. He had mischeif in his eyes, lust was radiating from him, but he was hers.
She had him, and I did not.
I didn’t have anyone.
I opened my eyes. My new lover was staring at me. Was he my new lover, or was he my first lover? Was he the only lover I’d ever known? I couldn’t tell anymore.
I remembered sitting in class. I remembered playing a game with myself, seeing how far I could see the shorts of guys who propped their feet up on chairs and stupidly wore boxers. I remember once in a while catching a glimpse at someone’s balls, and the hot, burning feeling that surged through me and tingled the back of my neck and made my chest heavy and hot.
I remembered shutting myself inside a bathroom stall and crying. I remembered walking between classes and going behind the building and skipping class and sitting on the grass and getting my pants dirty, and holding my bag to my chest and crying and staring out over the football field.
I remembered when I told the first boy I ever loved that I loved him. I remembered how he shifted uncomfortably and told him that we’d overcome that.
I remembered sleeping over with a friend and pulling him close to me and he unconciously cuddling with me in his sleep. I remember feeling my way down his sweatpants and grabbing onto him and squeezing hard between his legs, my mouth almost watering.
I remembered watching straight boys play “gay chicken” and see how close they could come to kissing, laughing and pretending to hump each other, and I remembered pretending to laugh as I became hot all over and my pants tightened and the wave of loneliness washed over me.
I remembered the feeling that even still at this moment I had, because resignation was the only thing that could keep me safe, that could help me to deal with it. The feeling of knowing the loneliness, of knowing that it was a friend, of accepting that it would be there for a while, to leave me one day. One day, whenever it was.
I remembered all of the times I laid on my uncomfortable matress on a rolling box spring, my hands working furiously beneath the covers, wetness pouring over my wrists and my waist, warmth shooting out of me and making my fingers sticky. The way I would lay there afterward, panting, not wiping away the warmth. Just laying there with it. It was the only love I had. The love for myself was the only thing that could save me.
I didn’t want to believe his breath was traveling through my lungs and back to his. I couldn’t, because it was too cruel to believe that, I had resigned myself to loneliness. I didn’t like it, but I’d learned how to know it and to live with it, even to love it a little, because the sadness was a pure, true emotion, and it made me love myself more. Here he was, with his dark skin and his heavy scent and his creamy chestnut eyes and his breath, his delicious, sweet breath, that was mine, I wanted to love him and I loved him and I didn’t know what love was and I loved myself and I didn’t know myself and I knew him and I trusted him and…
“Ssshhhh.” he placed his hand on the back of my head, and pressed my cheek to his warm chest.
He knew. He knew what I needed. He could see it in my eyes, he could feel it on my skin, he could smell it on my breath and taste it when he leaned down and kissed my forehead and ran his strong fingers through my hair. I buried my nose in his armpit and breathed in deep, his scent. He ran his fingers along my ear and the side of my neck and down my back and along my butt, and he held one cheek firmly and squeezed it. It wasn’t a territorial gesture, it wasn’t a sign of ownership, it was love.
I became suddenly aware of his cock flexing beneath me, and I hovered to his lips and opened my mouth and took his tongue into it, and he moaned and pushed himself against me and I climbed onto his lap and our cocks were pressing against one another, and our fluids were spilling out and his tongue and his lips told me I was safe.
I remembered peeking at the urinals, I remembered watching people through reflections in windows and tiles, I remembered staring at the asses of guys walking in front of me in school, I remembered not paying attention to anything but someone crack in front of me, showing from the lip of their underwear, I remembered when the halls were crowded and I was so close to someone that I could smell the shampoo scent in his hair and feel the warmth pulsing through his white t-shirt, I remembered walking through hallways and feeling that living was too hard, feeling that everything was a burden, feeling my shoulders weighed down with the desire and the urge to reach out and hold someone’s hand, to feel the warmth of a boy holding me, to beg anyone to do what he would with me, so long as I could pretend that he cared.
I remembered how I couldn’t hurt myself because I wasn’t suicidal, I wanted to live. I wanted to live so bad, and I just wasn’t living. I didn’t want to die whatsoever. But the warmth and the love pulsing within me, directed towards myself and longing to be given to another boy, how it was a pain in my heart and a weight pressing down on the back of my neck and sending chills across my body. The feeling as I stood in a dense crowd that I was completely alone, and that sorrow was my friend and that I was being honest with myself, I was an honest person and I had a lot of love inside of me, a lot of love that needed to touch another person, to wrap around him and kiss his lips and breathe in his moist breath and pour out my warmth and my love on his stomach.
And when we came together, he opened his eyes and looked into mine, and his hand still held the back of my neck. I whimpered and I think I might have sobbed, but I became weak and broken and spirit for one instant, and soon afterward he became spirit too and the warmth inside of us touched and our souls touched and we were shocked and electrocuted and we pulsated and our spirits grew mouths and tongues and penises and legs and they touched and fell into one another and my spirit penetrated his spirit and his spirit penetrated mine and blood flew across the walls.
And his breath touched my throat and his hand caressed my hair and he pulled me down to lay on top of him and relaxed me with his lips close to my ear, the sound of his breathing and the breath passed around my head, and I felt my head unfocus and my body begin to rock and the world slowly tipping sideways and back again, and with my nose against his neck and my head safe upon him and my body resting upon his body, I died in love and became new.