Love, or something like it.


I sleep it off in his car, the cherry red cabriolet. Four good hours of sleep before the sun decides to bid me a surprise visit, hitting me with one mean mother of a right hook. Just when I'm about to pull up my suave looking leather jacket over my head to escape the rays of light so persistently fighting to wake me up, he opens the car door to the back seat. His golden hair is all messed up and he looks very dashing when he says, he says to me, "You need to go now. My wife will be home any second."

How could I possible not laugh at that statement? A giggle escapes me, and he says, those bright eyes of his darkened, "Shut up. Shut the fuck up, Pat."

Oh yeah, his wife. A pretty little thing, for sure, the high maintenance kind of beauty that requires hours upon hours of tenacious work in front of the mirror. Yeah, that's beauty all right. Me, in the mornings I usually get up and get out, simple as that, and everyone always tells me I look like a model, a poster child for class and good looks, even he does. Right now, though, that pretty brow of his is furrowed, and with a vague smile, I roll over on my stomach, look up at him and say, "Darling, don't do that to your face. It gives you these nasty wrinkles."
"Yeah, I don't actually think my wrinkles are any of your business. Now get the fuck out of my car."

He's always so touchy in the mornings, the times when there's a probable risk she'll catch us, that pretty wife of his. But I know, I know he's not angry with me. Not really. If he had been, he'd have thrown me out by now, those wonderful hands of his hurting my shoulders, pushing me away as soon as I got up on my feet. Other mornings are the exact opposite. He'll wake me up gently, maybe with a caress on my cheek, he'll follow me to the door – if we're indoors, that is – and he'll kiss me, and everything will be so sweet, not unlike a commercial.

I struggle to get up, not at all an easy task. I guess the alcohol is still in my blood, running through my veins like a relentless stream. And he just stands there and looks at me, the wind in his hair a silent symphony of chaos, he looks at me and says, "You know, I almost told her the other day, about us."
Almost, but not quite.
I nod. "You know what I'd like? I'd like to just once be able to have breakfast with you, Tony."
"Maybe if you weren't so slow in the mornings, we'd have some time left. Now come on, get out before anyone sees you."

I knew from the start nothing good would come of this. I met him in a sports bar, and he was wearing white trainers, black tight jeans and a sweater with some brand name on it, and I knew right away. Then I looked into his eyes and it confirmed my suspicion: that there was my death sentence, and I mean this metaphorically, signed and sealed.
And then of course I worked up the nerve and bought him a pint, and we've been on this road ever since. I never seem to get tired of getting kicked out of his bed, kicked out so that his wife can fit in it.

He lends me a hand and I practically roll out of the car, almost landing in a little sorry heap on the asphalt. I pull on my jacket slowly, and I can remember what it felt like last night when he ripped it off. His teeth biting down on my earlobe, followed by a silent laugh. My hand down his jeans. You know how that goes.
"I'm sorry it has to be like this." He says this quickly, like he's afraid the words might burn his tongue or something. Or like he doesn't really want me to hear what he's saying, like he hopes I'll go "what?" so he can go "oh, nothing" with a clean conscience.
"Me too."
"I wish things were different."
"Me too."
"But I can't leave her, you know I can't."
"I know you can't."
He looks guilty. And then he's awkward again, acting like this is the first time this has ever happened, and I get the feeling that no matter how many times we repeat this same old show, it will still feel like we don't know each other afterwards. Not like he knows her.
She gets his days and I get his nights. But the mornings, they belong to her, and sometimes I think I could probably kill her just for that.

He embraces me, all manly like, asexually, neighborly. I want to kiss him then and there but I know that that 's forbidden. The sun's come up and it reveals everything. Draws everything out into the light of day. And we, what we have, it just doesn't exist between 6 AM and 11 PM.
"I'll see you tonight," he says, and he could've added, "Don't forget to bring your bowling shoes", and it would've made no difference to the general impression.

I haven't walked more than maybe five, ten metres before I hear him calling me.
Spinning around slowly, I put on my game face, it's as indifferent as his. I've been playing the game for some time now. I'm no amateur. "Yeah."
Like it's hurting him to say it, like every fiber in his body is screaming: "You... you're all right."
Thank you.
"I love you too, Tony."

Short story by Liv Sol Möller
Read 787 times
Written on 2006-09-26 at 09:55

Tags Bittersweet  Homosexuality  Love 

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