Night comes crawling, pulling itself along, sweat on its brow, supplication on scorched lips, begging on its knees. Our night comes not like perpetrators do but laden with guilt, and we can’t help but do the same, kneel by its side and call it a day, call it a night, adorn it with achievement. As you fumble between the sheets, I can sense the despair inching closer to your bones. I feel you moving and my body wants to move along yours. Then breathing and doing nothing else, then moving again.
All I want to do is ask you what’s wrong because I know that’s what good lovers do even though they already know the answer. For a very long while I have known what’s been bothering you.
But I wonder, if I skip the questioning and abandon fully to the knowledge of the answer will I still be the good lover?
Because I do, I know the answer already, I know what’s bothering you. It’s buried deep inside of you. I know this because I’ve felt it too, I’ve been there too, I’ve been working with those demons my entire life.
I have broken you in the process of conquering you, not following the old adage of divide and conquer, but thinking that were I to prove myself incapable of loving the whole of you, I could be capable of loving at least one part of you.
Grandfather talked about similar demons, similar but entirely different somehow, mainly because he’d not been introduced to these new ones we’ve been acquainted with ever since we came out of our mothers’ wombs.
Grandfather held his right hand on the Bible and talked about Adam and Eve and about how we’ve been carrying their sins ever since, and how could you not hate Adam and Eve? They left us with nothing but the sweat and pain of labor. The life we could have had there in Paradise. Grandfather would sigh at the end of this parable, stand up, and continue working.
Grandfather then ate and slept as if Adam and Eve never existed.
But Adam, he was a man, the man, he lost no sleep over the whole forbidden fruit conundrum, he slept, he ate, and fucked, and lived the rest of his life not only as a man but also as a reminder, until he stopped being a man and remained forever a reminder.
You stir again between the sheets and I almost speak to you except that I’m afraid I’ll startle you and my voice won’t be heard over the sound of your moving limbs.
I know what’s bothering you, trust me on this one, because as opposed to grandfather we’ve had another ancestor, one that our grandfather doesn’t know about. Unfortunately, this, our ancestor doesn’t have a name or a face for that matter. He hasn’t fought wars and though he was there, in the background, all the time, he never had the courage to come out. Our ancestors were closeted as well. We don’t need to know his name, at least for now, we only need to assure ourselves of his existence.
Who was the man that first dared to yearn for another man?
Not grandfather’s Adam, because Adam had to be Adam.
We ran back to the origins while playing hide-and-seek, literally, we hid from those who were not necessarily our enemies but rather from those we considered enemies because of the simple fact that they were looking for us. The secrecy that stems from hiding and from being searched for always verged on the illegal, and somehow we felt illegal.
But, conceptually, I thought while you were sleeping, that first man who longed for another man had to be told about that yearning, had to be taught. Somebody had to explain things to him. How could he have known otherwise?
Wake up, please wake up and explain this to me.
You would wake up and look at me, then you would close your eyes again as if mentally preparing for a long explanation. Then you would open them again, swallow in vain, stand up, lean against the railing of the bed, swallow in vain again, and then set on explaining, gesticulating, moving your lips, sometimes arching them as if in disgust. You’d start with banal matters, you’d start with the controversial discussions about the origins of their universe and then move on to our universe. You’d start with that particular distinction even though I would’ve never thought of you as a methodical person.
Yes, you would say, the origins of their universe is controversial, but ours is not. Our universe is simple, there was no Big Bang, no sudden revelation. Wait, yes, revelation might have been involved, but it wasn’t sudden for sure. Ours was gradual revelation.
Imagine Adam the Second, our Adam, Adam from our team, monstrously beautiful Adam the Second who descended from the most noble bloodline, our very own bloodline, so much cooler than their bloodline.
Imagine Adam the Second descending the stairs of Heaven down into the world. No, he wasn’t being expelled from Heaven. He had been ceremoniously asked to go into the world and discover the world by discovering himself. And he’s going down, pretty happy and excited thinking about the things he is about to discover down there, or up there, depends which point of view you adopt in this story. He’s pretty psyched about the entire experience.
He was happy because he had also been told that down there he is going to be immortal and live for thousands and thousands of years. I mean, he’s still alive today. Wait for it, you’ll get to the point eventually. So he’s immortal, still roaming the world in search for his ultimate love and the meaning of life, a difficult task if you ask me.
On his way through the world he encounters another man. In fact, he encounters many many other men, and women, too, and he discovers friendship, then, after thousands of years, he discovers affection, and so on and so forth. Basically, with every thousand years that pass he discovers new sentiments and does his best to explore them to their fullest potential only to discover that they are not what he was looking for. And with every emotion that he discovers and explores he feels as if each and every one of them is just another step toward that ultimate love he is in search of. And he goes on doing that, but he is unable to forget any of the previous experiences.
They are never lost, they hang in there forever and he can’t do anything at all to get rid of them. Whatever he does, he can’t.
Then, at one point, he discovers this thing we have, this thing the two of us have. And he registers it, he stores it, and once he does that it cannot be forgotten.
And so on, you know the rest.
You go back to sleep.
I know what’s bothering you.
Our imaginary talks feel like small betrayals.