Wednesday, May 5, 2010


The only mystery before sex is whether you get to fuck him or not, S said to me. What is the mystery after? After? S said, breaking the silence. After, the mystery is why you even thought it would last.


S’s speech grew more impaired as the count of his T-cells dropped. When I left the ward each time I would force my mind into a state of blankness. I would look at the trees lining the path that led out of the home; I would focus on the hue of the leaves, the texture of the bark. Sometimes, if there was a bird, I would focus on that: how it made its journey from one branch to the next; how it fell from the leaves to the ground, to pick at something there; a seed maybe, a twig. And then slowly, slowly, I would rebuild our conversations. I would excavate the words, dust off each turn of phrase; I would gather them alongside the feelings I could not then confront in S’s presence. Only then would I obtain clarity, of what S said to me: that his joints had been aching, more so lately, for example – it must be a sign, he said, half-chuckling – or that he would wake up at night, drawn out of his sleep by the smell of his body – the stench of my death, he said – or that he was feeling a little tired, and would like to sleep a while, if I didn’t mind. When S slept, his flesh moved languidly to the rhythm of his breaths, so that one might even, for a moment, see in the body a metaphor for bliss and serenity. I would watch closely before leaving, just in case. At the gates, the road in front of me stretched past the church; on Sundays, from where I stood I could see the faithful pouring out from service, their cars gliding past me, contentment locked in all their faces. I would make my way to the bus-stop just outside. I would slide on the ear-phones, so I would not hear the laughter resounding choral-like around me.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


L had been living on his own since sixteen, the year he was disowned by his family – his father, to be specific – after a neightbour caught him and her son, one afternoon, doing “dirty things” in her bedroom. In his rage, L’s father hurled a statue of Guan Yin at his son. The porcelain thing (made in China) shattered when it hit the wall, missing the vital parts of L. L’s mother swept up the pieces afterward, when she was done with the weeping. L’s father had grown tired of his own pointless tirade of blame and accusations – “a useless woman” etc. – he locked himself in the bathroom because that was where real men wept strong, silent tears. At night L dreamt of toilets flushing while his lover slept, its symphonic permutations.