How much longer are you gonna just sit there all hunched into yourself? Seriously, baby, it’s freezing out, but still you wait, your ass on the cold stone steps, your knees hugged tight to yourself, bowing your head like trying to protect yourself from the harsh winter wind, while I wait, sitting all safe and warm in Kelly’s Diner just across the street. Baby, please go home ‘cause I’m tired, just so fucking tired of us doing what we’ve been doing for the past agonizing hour. You sitting, waiting, wondering why I haven’t come, me sitting, drinking my coffee, knowing full well why I haven’t. I relive our sweet short history again and again while I can only imagine you wonder about our future. But I need you to understand. Jamey, there isn’t any, alright? There just isn’t any.
Because see, thing is, while I know we’re over, that we have to be over, you don’t and it’s killing me. If you even just scanned the street you’d see me prominently displayed, all the better to see you, in one of the diner’s window booths. Nothing stands between us except glass and traffic. But your eyes seriously suck, don’t they, baby? You could scan the fucking street all day long and never see me. I hide in plain sight; find safety within your deficiency and knowing that’s what I’m doing shames me. Fuck, Jameson, look up, up to the sky, don’t you see? It’s maybe gonna rain. Baby, please, call them, call your others, let them come get you so, I can just go.
“Sir…? my waitress asks.
“Another refill, thanks.” I say, tipping my mug toward her and, with no further comment, she gives me what I need.
Understand, Jamey, please. I’m not coming and you need to go home.
My first part-time job, this was back in the late ‘80’s, was at this legendary music store owned by twin brothers -- Carl played bass, Jake rhythm -- who were legends in their own right in the local club scene in and around Atlanta. Beyond that, they had their store and they ran it with a kind of devotion that bordered on the neurotic and with a military precision that any four-star general would’ve admired. Everything had its place and that was just where everything should be. At. All. Times. And what they didn‘t carry, they could always get. We even had a vintage LP section that brought people in from miles around looking to maybe find some long lost memorie or, more like than not, to discover a few new ones. This was the section where I spent not only too much of my time, but way too much of my money and every LP I ever bought there, I still have.
Even though one brother or the other was always ‘in residence’ still, they hired us kids, some high school but mostly college, to help out. During the time I was privileged to work there, they had this one college guy doing weekends while me and Jeremy, we shared weekdays. His shift was 2:30 to 6:00pm and mine was 5:00 to 9:00pm and in that one hour overlap, we became friends, even to the point of sitting next to each other in Algebra II junior year. We double dated, partied together and what with our shared interest in all things music, we basically made time for each other, learned from each other and, in many ways, took care of each other. For a time we even played in the same garage band that made us just enough money to get drunk on the weekends we didn’t have any gigs and made me just a little extra to service my growing interest in all things motorcycle.
So, basically, working for Carl and Jake was amazing, having Jeremy as a friend rocked and since I’d discovered that I could pretty much have my way with any girl I wanted, life was kind of good.
Still, one night stands out in particular, one of my Friday shifts when Jeremy called me wasted. Now little dude never called me at work, especially wasted, so he had me…concerned. He was obviously somewhere partying and was just as obviously feeling little pain. I could barely hear him over all the rioting going on in the background, he was practically yelling into the phone, “Don’t ever do this shit, Braedon, hear me? You gotta promise me, man, that you will never do this shit.”
The night had been slow; restocking the sheet music for the past hour had put me in a near Zen state, which was now vaguely disturbed. “What shit, Jeremy?”
“Crack, man. You have got to promise me, Braedon. You have got to promise me, okay? I am totally serious.” And he was totally serious, I could always tell.
“Whatthefuck? Jeremy,” just a little of my calm slipping away. “Why you telling me this now, what’s crack got to do with anything?”
“I smoked some with Lonnie --“
“I know, I know, Braedon, but he was offering and well…since I never had, I figured whatthehell and swear dude, seriously, this shit is way too good, understand me? Shit is seriously too good. You’ll like it too much and it’ll fuck you up so, you have got to promise me. Alright? Braedon?”
“We can talk about this when--”
“No. Now. Promise. Me. Now. I know you, I know your ways and you will like this shit too--”
“Then maybe I should just give it a little taste, see what all the fuss is--”
“Not funny, Braedon. Really. Now Swear. SWEAR.”
And I figure whatthehell. Couldn’t hurt to promise the guy so, “Alright, man, calm the fuck down, alright? I promise. I promise.”
Say it? Christ! “Okay, alright, I’ll saaaay it. Crack cocaine will never pass my lips or be taken down into my lungs by any other means for as long as we both shall live. There, does that ease your paranoid little mind, wifey?”
Happily, he calms a little, saying, “Yeah. It’s…it’s just…I know you, Braedon. Shit would fuck you up and I don‘t wanna see you--”
“So you’ve said. Anyway, thanks for looking out for me. Now, what about you? You alright?”
“Yeah yeah sure sure. Understand, I can handle this shit waaaay better than--”
“Famous last words, Jeremy. Famous. Last. Words. Look, I gotta go, I got customers. Just call me tomorrow, okay?” And he does and everything’s fine and life goes on as usual. Miraculously, he doesn’t become a crack-head from his one and only encounter and interestingly, I never do smoke the shit and I‘m sure that’s only because of him. Whenever anyone would offer, I’d hear his warning clearly and that would be enough.
Eventually we graduate high school and I move to Los Angeles to attend UCLA, while he moves to Chicago to attend The Institute of Art. We keep in touch for awhile and we lose touch for awhile, but never completely. And whenever something does bring him to mind, I’m always reminded just how grateful I am to him for saving me the trouble of having to learn the hard way what he already knew about me to be true. Shit would have fucked me up, addiction is something I am detrimentally inclined towards and his warning has saved me from several.
But not from all. No, not from all because he wasn’t around a few months ago when I needed his sage advice warning me off an even worse addiction than crack. Just one little taste, that’s all I wanted. Swear. And I was so sure I could handle it, but my addiction was instantaneous, so complete, so much more fucking habitual than crack could’ve ever been that I am still amazed that I really didn’t see it coming, I must have been blind.
Just one little taste, just one and I, Braedon Matthews, a Southern Baptist-raised straight man became obsessed with a beautiful, intelligent, exotic gay man who gave me his heart, his body, and his mind as much as he could and who I’ve always known I’d eventually repay with desertion. How else really? Where the fuck were you, Jeremy, when I really needed you, huh? Where the fuck were you?
Can you imagine I’ll still come? Am I really the only one who realizes I won’t? Go home, Jameson, please and let me live my life without you. I can’t do this anymore especially since, really, none of this should have happened in the first place. You tried to warn me. Told me I’d break your heart and you were right. How did it come to this, baby? How did I let things get so fucked-up? Why am I doing this to you when all you ever wanted was to care for me? I don’t fool myself that you love me, but maybe…just maybe…I love you and that can’t work, isn’t possible. I’m supposed to love a woman, to marry, to have a child with, to live my life with a woman and these past few months with you were only supposed to be about fun. But you knew better, didn’t you? Ain’t having no kind of fun now, are we?
“How about now,” my waitress asks, leaning against the edge of my table, looking down over me, pad and pencil in hand.
“What soup would you recommend?” I say, looking up at her and with just enough of a smile to get one back.
She considers for a second before saying, “The navy bean with ham is real good and --”
“That’ll be fine and a small salad with Ranch and another refill, thanks.”
“Coming right up.” And she looks pleased, like by ordering I’d made everything right in her world.
But I haven’t in yours, have I, baby? In yours, all I’ve done is make everything so messed up. I just don’t understand why they haven’t come for you yet? You’re really starting to make me worry.
When he comes in, dignified and alone, we watch him, everyone does, all eyes are on him and knowing that, he moves slow and easy, taking it all in stride and again, I am amazed at the way he commands attention without really saying or doing anything, a small elegant man with striking longish white-blond hair who owns any room, every room, just by walking in.
He nods lightly to a few people, waves to a few more, with a Mona Lisa smile, as he moves toward his destination, a table set off to far side of the restaurant’s mid-size banquet room away from us, giving him at least the appearance of privacy and where Toby and Courtlan are already waiting for him. Once there, even from there, he remains the center, the focus of nearly everyone’s interest. Jameson Gwynedd-Alden, entrepreneur extraordinaire, one of the heads of a Welsh family that can, rumor has it, trace its linage back one thousand years and quite possible the most beautiful human being I’ve ever seen. And, trust me when I say, I’m not alone in thinking that.
“He’s ubiquitous, that one, always at the center of everything and always in control of what goes on, at least from what I’ve seen,” Tony, my current agent, says and both his wife, Angie, and my girlfriend, Eileen, nod their agreement. “Always taking the lead, shaking things up. Can’t help but admire him for what he’s accomplished.”
And Tony’s right; Jameson’s everywhere, well known to anyone who’s a part of our particular little strata of society, whether in Los Angeles or Seattle, San Francisco or Chicago, but mostly here in New York. “Yeah, I see him around, Jameson, right?” I add to the conversation. ” L.A., San Francisco, here…”
“Yes, you are right and you’ll keep on seeing him, Braedon,” Eileen says. “Helps that he not only knows everyone, has had dealings with just about everyone, and that he’s so entirely gorgeous--”
“You really think so?” I laugh as she gives me the ‘look’.
“But,” she says, “there’s also the fact that he’s apparently richer than god, owning approximately one half of this town according to even the most conservative of estimates--””
“Only a slight exaggeration,” Jeremy, my old friend from Chicago agrees, who, with his wife, Jennifer, is visiting for the weekend. It’s no different back home. And, from what I understand, he’s really pretty generous with all of those riches. Not that I’ve ever seen any of it, personally, but still, from what I understand--”
“Riches of theirs, darling,” Jennifer corrects. “And mostly old money supplemented just a tiny little bit by new. From what I understand.”
“Well, I’ve never dealt with him personally, either,” Tony says, “other than to indulge myself in several of the best dining experiences of my life at ’Gwynedd’, but I know people who have and I’m told he’s a very astute business man. Does things a little differently, but he’s a professional, a rare enough commodity in this day and age, and undoubtedly one of the main reasons he’s done so well. They even say he has, now get this, that he has honor. Amazing.”
“Still, I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of any of his people, Tony,” Eileen says. “They’ve all had a hand in setting-up the five ‘Gwynedds’ plus they share not only in the day-in, day-out operation of the restaurants, but in that of their supper clubs and probably even of their galleries plus--”
“That’s right,” Angie says, “And let’s face it, they’ve put together some of the best of these kinds of fundraising events I’ve ever attended. Personally, I try never to miss any--”
“As any cursory look at our bank account will attest--”
“True, Tony. I just can’t help it that I so adore the way Jameson and Caillen and the others work an audience. Swear, they could get a rock to bleed real blood--”
“Again, as even the most cursory --”
“Shut up, Tony,” Angie laughs. “And anyway, did you ever notice how…?”
And I allow their voices to fade, finding it difficult yet again to keep my eyes off of him. I can’t understand it and I’ve given up trying, but ever since I first laid eyes on him in L.A., maybe a year ago now, he’s occupied a prominent place in my daydreams and while all of that was controllable there, he just wasn’t around as much, ever since I’ve come east, he’s become a fixation. Do I imagine that he might have even had some minor role to play in my ultimate decision to make New York my permanent address? I don’t know if I’d go that far, but--”
“Braedon?” Eileen’s voice brings me back. “Braedon!”
“Yeah…yeah, sorry. Just kind of tired, I guess,” And even as I smile my apology, I watch him still as he leaves their table, heading out a side door going who knows where? ”Since you all are obviously so in the know, while I apparently wallow in ignorance, enlighten me. Why does he always take-off like that? I’ve seen the woman, Callien, doing it too, right?”
“He’s seriously claustrophobic. Didn’t you know? Neurotically so,” Jennifer says.
“I didn’t know. Wonder why?”
“Has something to do with when they were kids.”
“Kids?” I ask.
“They’ve all known each other since forever, since they were just little kids. And he’s like near clockwork, leaving after every 30-35 minutes or so when he’s in a place without the ability to see out. Or even to see out easily. Day time, night time, rain or shine, it apparently doesn‘t matter. Ten minutes or so and he’s back. Thirty-five– ten, thirty-five – ten…all night long. Toby doesn’t seem to have the same compulsion, but Caillen and Jayden do. Courtlan does, just not as badly,” Jennifer clarifies. “I’ve even heard that they know the way to all the windows in every major hotel or convention center from here to the west coast as if--”
“How do you know all this?” I chuckle and as she explains, this time I pay attention because I’ve decide that from this moment on, I won’t just learn more about him from others; but that I’ll also try to become friends with him myself. We have been introduced, a couple of times over the year since I first saw him in LA, but now I want him to be more than just a casual acquaintance because, as hard as it’s been to make myself understand, I finally do. I want him. I want him bad and I will find a way to have him.
The more I realized how I felt about you, the more I realized how important you’d become to me, the more I pushed you away. Showing up late for our trysts, leaving earlier then I originally said I would, all running from you. And you knew, I saw the concern in your eyes every time like so unsure if I’d ever come back.
And this time, this time when I called, asking you to meet me, I knew, alright? I knew I wouldn’t show up, that I’d leave you waiting so, Jameson, please go home. Please, I can’t leave until you do, until I know they’ve come for you and I want to go. Have you even called them? Do they even know how I‘ve stood you up, left you alone? Are they even aware yet what a piece of shit I am? Eventually, they’ll know, will realize how I set all this up just so I could desert you. Will you ever understand why? It’s because I need you to hate me since knowing you do will be the only thing that’ll keeping me away from you. I don’t want to ever see that hate in your eyes so, I’ll stay away. If I was a better man, I would’ve told you to your face, but I don’t have that kind of balls. I could never look at you and tell you I don’t want you anymore. So, please…
“Sir, can I get you anything else, some pie maybe or how about--”
“Just a refill, thanks.” Might as well, I know I’m going to be here a little while longer. Even if I also know that sooner or later they will come for you. You’ll have to give it up, let it go, come to realize that you were right all along about what kind of man I really am.
He’s been mixing and schmoozing, chatting it up with everyone for well over his normal outside limit of 30 to 35 minutes and soon he’ll need to find his way to the windows. And I’d promised myself that this evening I’d follow. I’ve debated back and forth long enough whether or not this is a good idea and have finally decided I don’t care. Good or bad, right or wrong, fucked up or not fucked up, I want him and that’s all that matters. Some things just are what they are and tonight is my time to act.
So, to that end, I arrived a little early, having already checked out the corridors surrounding the room where the dinner party is being held and, thankfully, there are only a couple of places where Jameson can find his views. And what with all of his people, his others out of town, it seems like the timing is working to my benefit.
Sure enough, a couple of minutes later, watching as he leaves, I casually follow, leaving behind at my table Ryan with Stefan and Ethan with Cheryl, friends who can handle themselves just fine in my absence. No Eileen this time or anyone else I might have to contend with. I leave by a different door and circling back around, check the place I think he’d probably go first, but when he’s not there; I check the next most reasonable place, but not finding him either, I start to panic a little, my heart pounding, my pulse racing so, imagine my relief when I do find him at the third and frankly, the final place that I know to check.
He’s so focused on the nighttime view of lower Manhattan that he doesn’t even sense my being there. I stay away, hang back, just for a minute, watching, him before taking a deep breath and saying, “Jamey,“ and he startles, turning from looking out to looking at me and instinctively, he backs away into the corner. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean you scare you, I just--”
“Is alright,” he laughs, shrugging it off. He knows me now; we’ve become a little more than casual acquaintances over the past couple of months so, he isn’t concerned. “Really, Braedon, I was just so unaware. Probably shouldn’t have been, but I was nonetheless. Have you…uhm, have you come to take in the view? This is an especially sweet one.”
I hesitate. I can’t help but be a little nervous. “No, no no, not for the view, Jameson, I’ve…I’ve come for you.” And before he can scan my words, before he can make any real sense of them, I step up into him, pushing him back, pinning him against the corner he’s backed into, my crotch, my cock hard, straining against his belly, my hands gripping along his back, pulling him against me and I hold him tight. How long have I wanted this? For far too long. And now. And now.
He moves his hands up along my chest, also gripping like crawling his way up me, finally laying his arms along my shoulders, his hands cupping my neck and he whispers, “Braedon?”
Using one hand to hold his face up toward mine, my palm along his throat, my other cupping the back of his head, I brush my mouth over his ears, his eyes, across his lips and I breathe him in, kissing into his hair the words I have so long wanted him to hear, “I will fuck you, Jameson. Understand me? I will. I will.” Holding him as tight to me as I can, I run my fingers into the white-gold strands at the base of his neck and then gripping him, jerking him hard, bringing his head back, forcing him to look into my eyes, I repeat, “I will. Understand me, Jameson, Fuck I need you.”
But, despite how tight I hold him, he’s still able to pull his head forward into my chest and he murmurs “You say these words to me as if I have no choice in the matter.” He hides his eyes from me and, breathing softly but rapidly, almost like panting, he waits.
Realizing what he means stuns me, stops me cold, because of all the ways I have imagined this night ending, none involved any other outcome than my fucking him senseless because he wants me to. That any other possibility could even exist sends a sharp chill through me, rising in me from the base of my spine to the base of my neck and I shudder, realizing with sudden certainty that I’m now in a place I never wanted to be.
So, for a minute, I just wait with him, his face still buried against me, feeling him trembling, but then slowly, so slowly, he raise his face to mine, his mouth to my cheek and he says against my skin, “No.” A kind of whimper and nothing more.
And in that second, that sharp chill that has spread along my spine suddenly spikes straight out of me, shattering into the air above me and, like shrapnel, falls back, impaling itself into me and it fucking hurts. No. He said no. Oh fuck, he said no. Pushing him hard away from me, back into his corner, I turn from him, now realizing that it’s my time to look out into the dark of night, which had suddenly become nothing but a blur.
“Braedon? Please, understand.” He sound so lost and I don’t care.
“Understand what, Jameson?” I say, pretty calmly. With a calm, in fact, that surprises me. “You’ve made yourself perfectly clear so, just go the fuck away, alright? I need a minute so, please…just go.” I feel him backing away then, see his reflection in the glass as he moves away from me, his head down even if he is still looking at me, wary, and toward the hallway, but he hesitates so, “Please, I’m fine, I just need a minute.”
“Understand,” he says, stranded somewhere between staying and leaving, “I can’t. You’ll end up breaking my heart, don’t you see? You won’t mean to, of course, you won’t mean to, but I know you will nonetheless because, I know who I am, how I’ll end up feeling about you and I don’t need that. Surely you can see my reasoning, yeah? I‘ve never needed that, but have had to learn reality from the hard experience of my past. And what I’ve learned is to evade, the only way to protect myself is to evade. You can understand that, yeah? I know that you can.” And having made up his mind and having said his part, he’s gone.
I wouldn’t have responded even if I’d had the time and I didn’t need to ask why, I know why he believes I’ll only end up hurting him, why I’ll only end up breaking his heart. The hard experience of his past, all in the way of straight boys with gay boys and not a game he needs to play. Or is it maybe just the way of it with him? Still, the pain of his rejection twists inside me, becoming instantly a cold and a very hard place that, I know even in that moment, will stay with me. Returning to the dinner party, to my table, I grab my shit, say my good-byes and I am gone.
A car slides into view, a shiny black slash against the grey of the slick rain-wet street. Finally they’ve come. Still, you wait, still curled into yourself, for them to finish the last part of their journey. From the driver’s side of the little limo, Marcus steps out while Jayden steps out from the passenger side. Marcus slowly makes his way around the front of the car and to curb, leaning back against the limo while Jayden, looking over the top of the car, almost leisurely scans the street and I hold my breath, but there’s no pause, no hesitation when his eyes drift over the diner’s windows and, realizing he doesn’t see me, I’m able to breathe again. Turning, he slowly walks to you so, taking the last gulp of my coffee, throw some money on the bill, I move to the glass door where I can see without the car blocking my view. I need to see him with you. I need to know that you’re safe.
He stands over you and when you look up to him, taking his hands from his pockets, he gently brushes his thumbs under your eyes and it’s then that I know you’ve been crying. I can almost hear you telling him how sorry you are. Sitting next to you, mimicking your posture, he leans into you and he’s quiet, I can feel it from where I am. He’s here only to listen, there’s no anger, no recrimination but you need to confess. Angry words come from you, angry words about me and I feel the pain of them deep inside me.
“He is beautiful, isn’t he,” my waitress says, coming up quietly behind me, startling me. I can only nod. If I tried to say anything, I’d give myself away completely. “I’ve seen you go up there with him, you know and, if you don’t mind my sayin’ so, you’re better off without him. I glance back at her and she offers me a little smile. “Yeah, I’ve had you pegged from the minute I saw you come through that door and I’m just sayin‘, they’re a strange bunch, him and his friends, and I have to imagine it’d just be best not to get too involved, can only lead to trouble, you know? Heartbreak and such. He certainly does look like a heartbreaker to me, but you’d know best. So…listen, hope to see you again sometime.”
And she’s gone and when I look back to the street, to the stone steps that lead up to the little condo that has become my home away from home, so are you. Jayden has already ushered you into the car, but before he joins you, he looks without expression directly over its roof at Kelly’s, first to the booth where I was and, not finding what he was looking for there, he scans along the front until he finds me standing behind my glass door. He looks at me, just for a second before climbing in after you. Marcus comes around the front of the car and after checking traffic both ways, he trots across the street, quickly reaching the curb and after a slight bow, he mouths, “Thanks for not leaving him”. Nothing more. Returning back to the car, he climbs in behind the wheel and he drives you away.
Pushing open the door, with one last smile to my waitress, I pull on my coat, my hat and, with my hands in my pockets; it really is cold out, I drift off down the street with nowhere in particular to go, trying to remember the last time I felt so alone. At the corner, just before crossing, I turn back looking one last time at the stone steps that lead up to the place where I now know you really did love me.
The next time I see him, he comes to me. It’s a couple of months after the disastrous dinner party because honestly, and not unreasonably, I’ve been avoiding him and apparently, he’s noticed. I’m on my own, at my favorite neighborhood café, sitting reading peaceably at an outdoor table when he joins me before I really even notice and it’s too late to object. Seeing him, especially so suddenly, makes my heart skip, takes my breath away, reminds me why I wanted him so bad in the first place, but still, I play nonchalant. “To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“Where you been? You haven’t been around. I was only just wondering why you haven’t been around is all.” I can’t help but notice how confused he looks, head titled, looking up at me the way cats do sometimes, questioning.
“Busy, Jamey. Just…busy, ya know? I’ve been in rehearsals for--”
“We’ve heard, sounds like a great part, a wonderful story, should be an amazing play. Really.” And he’s so earnest; I can’t help but smile, just a little. And so does he. “So look…look look, I’m sorry. I am. Really. I don’t want this. I--”
“This, what this is between us, between you and me right now, is just what I was trying to avoid, right? When I said no. Losing you, which I have, is just what I was trying to avoid so--”
“You haven’t lost--”
“The fuck you say, Braedon? Of course I have. Anger keeps you from me, keeps you away from me so, we might’ve as well have fucked, yeah? Because I feel like my heart’s been broken anyway. Because what we have now is only the bad bit, the pain, or at least I know that’s how it feels to me anyway, but without the good bit, the being together. I don’t want this, Braedon. Plus, okay seriously, I keep hearing your words all running through my mind, I keep hearing what you said to me and…and--”
“Jameson,” I lower my voice, I lean across the table coming in so close to him, “I don’t want--”
“Wait. Wait! How do I know you...? Wait, wait, do you even still want me? Oh my god, how do I even know? Am I totally like embarrassing myself--?”
“You aren’t. Listen to me, Jamey, you aren’t, okay? Please, understand me; I don’t want you giving yourself to me just because--”
“I’ve been thinking, I have and I shouldn’t’ve said no. I shouldn’t’ve. I should not have said no. How can I make this right?” Then, coming in even close, he sighs against my cheek, “Braedon, Braedon, you still want to fuck me. Hummm? Do you?”
So, throwing some money on the table, I grab my book and his hand and nearly run us to my apartment which is, thank god!!! just halfway down the block. All I want is to get him home and into my bed. All I want is to make sure he knows he hasn’t made a mistake in trusting me, that what’s happened in his past isn’t what has to happen in his future, and that some of us, the rare few of us like me, really are better than that.
And into the future? It’s been a couple of months so our routine is fairly set. Nothing formal, we meet up when we can, mostly for two, three days at a stretch and at his place more often than not, a little brownstone up in the east 80s that has, alright seriously, the most beautiful stone steps leading up to the most beautiful front door, beyond which lies, you got it, the most beautiful interior ever. Perfect locale for the most beautiful human being I’ve ever seen, let alone been with.
Still, and as much as I try to ignore it, I can already feel it happening, he’s becoming my world, making me realize that I really don’t need, don’t even want, anyone else, I know that this is a situation that probably can’t go on indefinitely, that it is ultimately unsustainable and while I hope I never become the person he was afraid I would, a heartless jerk, I am…concerned. Maybe one day. Maybe one day I’ll have to let him go, but right now curled up next to him, oh so warm in his big and ancient bed that’s piled mountain-high with the softest covers ever, I can’t even begin to imagine when.