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.