The first thoughts I begin to believe in after Kristian leaves is that I will never hear from him again. But the first thoughts I have are unrelated to whether I will hear from him again or not; instead, I'm more concerned about why I can't find the shirt - the shirt I let him use after the dust settled and the heat had reached its limits in my small room. Is it this shirt? Is it this shirt? Is it...this one...is it...And before long, my mind is beginning to wonder if he was ever here at all.
Of course he was here. I smell my forearms, then I put the the bottom of my shirt in my face, and I slowly drag my tongue over the dimpled skin between my lips and my nose. Of course he was here; he was here because I can still smell him and taste him.
And I can feel him, too...if the only thing I'm feeling by him is the emptiness and slightly unsettling ordinary-ness of my room. The floor is still a bookshelf for all the books - mostly poetry; all the Ginsberg, Whitman, Goethe, Eliot, Dante, Plath, Homer, everything that constantly reminds me that I have so much reading to do, but these Greeks and Beatniks also share the chaos of my floor with my Silver Age comics. The Flash and the Green Lantern shine their perfectly masculine smiles and costumed muscles up at me, along with a new Captain Marvel issue to my right and the nebulous heap of undershirts, underwear and other clothes scattered in a frenzy across the area to my left.
They are all still, the books and the comics and the clothes, but the fan is spinning widly. Everything is so quietly the same. I can feel my stomach churning. It's something not digesting properly, maybe the Frosty from three hours ago, but more than that, it's all trying to wrap itself around a familiar fuzzy emptiness. I usually feel that indefinite vagueness in my stomach when I pass a couple kissing or think of Erik. It's the damn romantic in me that always hurts when he doesn't get what he wants most. I only feel it now because instead of enjoying this - enjoying even the aftermath of it - I am trying to make it something serious.
"I gotta be cool / Relax / Get hip, get off my tracks...Gotta be cool / Relax..." I have been trying to make this serious from the beginning. I have to remember that the only thing I have to light knowledge on this thing is Erik. But things were particularly clear with Erik simply because we both made it clear from the beginning what we wanted most is what we needed from each other. That's why the relationship clicked together quickly only to burn slowly out on itself. But Kristian and I are moving at lightspeed, and that's precisely because we don't need each other. And the problem is that it's not "just a hook up" because at the same time we care about one another just enough to make it matter. This thing with Kristian is moving so fast that the only thing I can do to slow it down is maybe knock it over the head.
As I brush my teeth in the mirror, I try to remind myself that I have no reason to make things so serious with Kristian, just as I have no reason to expect anything from him. He knows this because I've told him. We've both admitted that neither of us want a relationship right now, and I know more and more everyday that a relationship with Kristian might not last long at all. We work well as friends but we could destroy each other in anything more. Even though we both refuse to "see" anyone else, I don't think he's as stuck on me as I wish he was. I know I'm just trying to save myself the pain again. I can't go through what happened with Erik. I knew from the moment we got together that Erik and I would never last the summer. But that was different. Because I do care about Kristian. But I fell in love with Erik.
It's not serious, Matthew. And, for right now, it doesn't need to be. This is what I've told myself every time I see him. That's why, instead of making the same mistake I made with Erik and always worry about when the spell will be broken, I will savor every day I spend with Kristian and always assume that it could be the last. It's not a fatalistic mentality, and neither is it merely realistic. It's just how I remember not to put my fingers around the neck of this thing and choke it into being serious. So that it will live.
My favorite thing will continue to be how his smell stays all over my hands and my shirt for minutes, occasionally even hours, after he leaves. I will continue to keep my hands off the steering wheel and let this thing drive as fast as it will. And I'll continue to believe. Not that I will never hear from Kristian again. But rather, believe that this - this, this moment...really is worth my while.
There's something slowly creeping down my forehead; I am still sweating.