The Hard Part

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Words || Cameron Colwell

We set a time: 7:30, before dinner, but when Tom has had enough time to recover after work — we’re like a couple a decade older than we are, like that. I have the day off, so I clean up our bedroom, put on some incense before I decide that’s A Bit Much and stash it away. Our room is stylistically minimal. Our bedsheets are grey, our walls are white, the wall art upon them is similarly monochrome, abstract. We have bookshelves and they are also black. There are clothes on the floor, but they are mine, never Tom’s.

I love to do this, as I limp about the house, occasionally sitting down with my laptop, scrolling through Facebook, getting assessments done in a thousand cuts, and doing my readings. I love to remember that so much detailing of my current life can begin with the qualifier ‘our.’ I think about going to the store and appeasing my housemates by getting groceries with which to make dinner, it is a nice bright day, and I have recently worked out the path to the Woolies down near the station that requires the least navigational thought. But also it would require I put shoes on, change out of this pair of tracksuit pants (this caveat is negotiable), and fit my leg on, and who could be bothered?

We haven’t fucked in weeks, hence the forethought. Tom is constantly working or studying and I am tired all of the time, the state of forgetting what being energetic is like is one of those things I haven’t recovered out of yet. Tonight is the night, and nothing except a relapse of the severe migraines is going to stop me getting a root.

I want this to be easy, I think, in the front yard, legs twined, fingers crossed around a cigarette. I want to dissolve into him like aspirin in water. I want to open up like one of the grey myrtles in our front garden did in the last week of winter.

Also what I want is to feel intense hot vivid violent passion, but it’s so far away, these days. The ideal idyllic future I recall I’d envisioned in my late adolescence bore a strange resemblance to the life that I am living. Life is, for the most part, cool, calm. We lack energy but also drama.

I don’t do anything all day that I do not want to do, except when I shower with the razor and the shaving cream to prepare myself. After it’s done there’s blond hairs circling and then clumping around the drain. I try to get myself in the mood (But it’s hard because it’s always hard because my legs are full of lead and my arms are anvils) and play around with the dildo. I don’t come easily but when it’s the erogenous horizon I stop and then I’m gasping in the shower, fist curled around the top of the glass frame, and then I think (absurdly) of all the things I’ve missed since those two headlights came from the blue on that road I always got nervous around and then came the long grey procession of waiting rooms and doctors and pains I found it hard to describe because the words were always out of reach when I needed them.

Recovery comes with its own set of milestones, and this is one.

I would like sex to be like it is in the gay indie movies Tom adores, which is to say I wouldlike it neon-lit and designed for the pleasure of somebody else watching. I want a string score, I want a fade-to-black. I would like to have a good fuck, which would require something else.

In the evening, I sit on the bed wearing a white shirt that still smells like ironing spray. These clothes are dry, crisp. The anticipation I’ve felt all day has become physical and my skin aches to be touched. There’s a skylight on our ceiling and right now in the evening it’s lighting up the room. It feels good to have carved out this space; last time it was like this we had two separate things on and then began an encounter both of us drunk and coincidentally on the same bus home together and then we got yelled at by some bro in a Michigan University jumper, and when we didn’t stop making out I copped being called a faggot and a bottle of Coke on the head, and then Tom called out that it’s Newtown and he shouldn’t be here if he doesn’t want to see that, and the driver stopped the bus and we had to walk home, only it was council cleanup so we found this one black sofa and cos it had been so long we just fucked on that — after Tom did his spiel on how the lock-out laws were pushing out all the dickheads to the good suburbs — and I felt good about it but when I told my friends about it I acted like I was ashamed.

Tom’s coming up the stairs. He shuffles through the door, wearing his Coles shirt that’s a little too tight. Like always, he collapses on the bed and gives a big wheeze and I lean over and kiss him and he pulls away at first, looking at me quizzically before he remembers what day it is. “Oh, right,” he says, and kisses back, before he slumps away from me again.

“How was work?”

“Exhausting.”

I try and put my arm over him but he’s too big. I wonder if it’s going to lapse like it always does into a circular conversation where we exchange complaints about how tired we are. “Alright, then.” He says, and turns around, and lifts me up with histhick fingers on my waist. He laughs and I ask why and he says, “You look so virginal,” and I smile and then his tongue is in my mouth, I can taste his lunchtime Vegemite sandwich. I take off his pants because by now I’m good with my fingers, they know the way around his hook belt and his zipper, and then I shuck off my pants. We’re sitting there on the bed and I can’t tell how much I’m enjoying this because all I can think about is the relief that it is finally happening. I sort of go limp when he kisses me, like there’s an ice floe on me and he’s piercing it with his kisses on my mouth and my neck and my clavicle, and then I’m being unpeeled, and then there I am in my purple Bonds with his finger snaking slickly underneath the waistband and — Christ, when did he even open the lube?

His finger enters me and this is the hard part, the part where I have to give in and be weak for a bit so he can turn me over, because it’s one fingers and then two fingers and then I hit the bed with a “Fuck!” as he enters me in his short but thick way and I think about how I was worried not having the spontaneity of our earliest hook-ups — we started as mates who met one another on Grindr — but it doesn’t matter because my vision’s kaleidoscoping like pleasure’s rocketing so fast through my body it has to project onto my sight. There’s a warm spurt on my own chest and I ball sheets up in my hand and he’s still going, and I’m resigned to this feeling now, and I realise through the post-coital haze he is telling me he’s telling me how good this is, and then there’s a fragile crisp moment where he sort of grunts and withdraws and I can feel his head hitting the pillow next to me and it’s done, it’s done, it was good but now it is done.