Sunday, May 29, 2011

three in the car

We’re in the car- the three of us, the original family.

The newbie’s in the car behind us, and he wants to race. He pulls up beside my father’s Accord, and the two men with identical builds and matching smiles meet eyes in playful competition before my brother’s blue Prius whizzes by us and my own chariot follows suit. An unexpected slowdown on the mildly busy road forces my brother to slam on his brakes and my father to force a quick stop behind him nearly rubbing noses with his alerted brake lights, a loud horn from an unrelated vehicle accessorizing the scene.

My mother is furious.

“Do you want to kill us?”

She would give the right-of-way to a worm.

“I was just having a little fun.”

“You’re going to kill us all with your little fun.”

This is the same conversation they’ve had for thirty years. It always ends the same way. The exasperated sighs, eyes rolled to the sun roof, but the tiny twinge of a smile nearly unnoticeable at the corners of their mouths- a smile of familiarity- perhaps of roles played out: the constant jokester being scolded? Or relief? In the tiny glimpses of smile, they speak their language to the other. I watch my father reach over and squeeze my mother’s knee. I watch her pat my father’s hand. I think about us all dying- swirling away in Technicolor. If he killed us all, I think, picturing us three like candy bits in a Cuisinart beater, our colors circling round and round, our toppling into each other, I think that would be alright.

Because for this thing that has to happen to us. Seperately. One at a time so that we have to watch. So that the loss of our three-ness can reverberate off of pictureless walls and pour over us like gravy and smell like freshly fallen petals, well, that seems harder. Natural, maybe, but harder.

Friday, May 27, 2011

edgar and brandon

Love is this, thought Edgar, touching the curve of his lover’s back. He could see through skin, through bone, through blood. Brandon was more than his blood cells. Edgar had loved him this way for years; that part wasn’t new. He took in the wholeness of Brandon’s stretched out body. He always slept this way: sprawled. So that if Edgar got into bed after him, he would have to slide in sideways and gently move an extended arm draped over Edgar’s side of the bed. He would always keep the arm, always place it on him or around him. Brandon always looked sexy while he was asleep. Edgar remembered other lovers looking boyish or angelic or vaguely like his father while sleeping, but Brandon always looked muscled and soft and honeyed. He always made Edgar feel wide-eyed at his natural beauty. Edgar wondered when it would be that he would look over and see it happening, when he would see a disease take over that place on the bed where Brandon had been. When it would hurt too much to touch him. Or be touched by him. He wondered which image would stay with him after it was all over: the healthy one he’d had for nine years or the impending one, he was both too afraid to picture and obsessed with at the same time. How could he live for today while simultaneously preparing for tomorrow?

Brandon’s body moved rhythmically with his breath, and Edgar watched it. His lean torso rising and falling, the gentle waxing and waning. Edgar thought about everything that made up a person. He thought about quiet things until he, too, fell asleep.