My boyfriend and I are sitting at a table, on the right side of the hall, in the middle between the door and the food. He is going to get himself some more mini cheesecake squares. I’m surprised he can eat, when I’m sad I lose my appetite completely.
I drove from Chicago to Cleveland, I borrowed my roommate’s car. When I got to his house no one was home aside from him, his father and mother were out getting food to bring to his uncles house. He was to meet them there in two hours. We went to his bed and made love. And for the first time since our first month together, it hurt when he penetrated me. It was because I was tense. When you’re nervous your sphincters cannot relax and it makes anal sex painful. The first time I had sex with him and it didn’t hurt I thought it was a miracle. No not a miracle, I was just comfortable with him finally. It was amazing. I haven’t felt that pain in so long I forgot the feel of it. I forget it now trying to describe it. It is illusive, but with a flat tone. A dull pang of pain, raw. My shoulders jump up and my arms push into my ribs. Eyes almost close, my mouth, drags a quick pull of air. That time he noticed my reaction. Not my nerves.
His aunt passed away last Wednesday. He rushed to the airport before I could see him. He wanted to be there for his dad, apparently they were very close. He called me when I was getting into work, he was upset and sounded tired. He gave me the update on the family, his dad, his uncles. Told me the dates for the services then said goodbye right as they were boarding his row. I told him I would be there for the wake and the funeral, no matter what. We’ve dated for eight months now and I of course wanted to be there for him. He said thank you, and said I was so sweet. But sounded weary. I thought it was because he was tired. But right before he hung up he whispered into the phone. “So I’m going to say the rudest thing I’ve ever said to you, but you know my extended family doesn’t know I’m gay and I don’t think my aunt’s funeral is the best time to let them know so if you could keep us under wraps…” I was silent for a bit, then he rushed “I’m sorry. I’ll call you later.” I said a quick bye. We hadn’t talked until I arrived.
I wonder if he’s worried right now that I will tell someone. He did hesitate when he said he was thinking about getting another cheesecake. But maybe I’m thinking into it too much, he could just be worried about his weight. One of his friends who is sitting at the table was teasing him before he left, “Now don’t pull another FiberOne bar challenge here, it’s not a competition!” I have heard that story three times already, each of them eating twelve each then shitting at inopportune times in school, but I am sure I will hear it again, he tells me the same stories over and over, forgetting he already told me. I’ve heard dozens of stories about the two of them, over and over again. The shot taken out of a shoe, the vomit in an alley sitting in a grocery cart, the missing bathing suit after a dive in a lake. Would his friend be embarrassed I knew this? Probably. I wonder what he knows about me? I’m sitting at a table with a group of eight of them, all but three friends from high school. The only person I know is Danny, his best friend and old roommate in Chicago who I spent many a Friday night with. Danny looked at me at the mention of FiberOne’s, apparently I’m not the only one suffering from the retelling of these tales. The friend speaking is Paul, he’s very gregarious, his best friend from high school, who shares the same big smile and conversation style as my boyfriend. “So,” he says to me, all the other friends look at me smiling, “Tell us about yourself. We don’t know anything about you! How do you know our bud?”
This pain was similar except that my shoulders stayed where they were, my arms continued crossing across my chest, my eyes seemed sewn open by needle and thread, my mouth felt permanently fused with glue, my nose taking in the necessary breath. This pain was not flat. It ached. And another difference, this pain will hurt him too.