ISSUE Magazine

XXX by Ahmad Donna

This is the second part of a series by Ahmad Donna, you can read the first: “Gay for Pay”, here.

Rafiq

There was something that wasn’t plain or ordinary about him, but this detail wasn’t striking, buried beneath a myriad of silly gestures and a placeholder smile. I knew that he was special in some way, and I wanted to know what way that was. He was tall and fair-skinned, a boy who was obviously well-bred, the kind you’d spot in a mall and stare at openly for a few seconds. His belly and thighs were smooth, the freckles on his face looked carefully painted on, a delicate boy who possessed some indelicate thoughts, I was sure.

He asked if I wanted a glass of water, a measured politeness, a kind of roleplay I was used to. I asked if this was his first time with a guy like me, subtly reminding him that my time was limited and not free, and he said “Let’s try to make it look like it is.”

He sat down and licked the side of my cheek, warm and mischievous, even his breath smelled clean and rich. He pulled my face to his, it wasn’t forced but it wasn’t tender. I’m used to being told what to do, some men don’t have the guts to say what they want, so their bodies give the instructions. “You taste sweet, like tanned berries.” I wondered what he meant by tanned berries, if it was something you could buy here.

The innocence of his statement, or my curiosity,  was abruptly broken when he slid a finger down my back and into my ass. Biting me squarely on the nose, licking the insides of my nostrils. I could feel his tongue slithering around, and I laughed the way a kid would if his dad told a funny joke. A few moments later he was inside me, shoving his way in – it felt dry and sharp – I could feel him scarring me from within, but the pain was comforting in the way it took over my whole body, pushing itself down into the toes and the chubby ends of my fingers, they all shook and willfully surrendered.

Afterwards, our bodies sick with a familiar gooeyness, we hopped into a bathtub too small for even one of us. I hadn’t experienced something this wonderful for a long time, I suddenly thought, squeezing into this tiny space with him, I was so tainted with sex and childishness. I scrubbed his legs, which were by my ears, his dick now limp and rubbery. He kissed my ankles softly, lips soft and nurturing, like a teenager who meant no harm.

I looked into his eyes, they were as deceiving as a friend’s, promising loyalty and devotion and all the things a man my age should know not to expect or believe in. Once done with washing, I put my clothes on and said a goodbye so scripted, I had forgotten his name but it didn’t matter, neither of us would be offended. Another encounter with some new, unexpected details. My heart stayed in its rightful place, a cosy darkness, so I could be who I had to be. On the way home, I laughed to myself, at my own stupidity, or smartness, I don’t know.

Haris

He’s been shivering in his sleep, in the middle of the night I wake because he’s burning up. Sweat on his back, pooled around his neck, as if he’d been swimming in a black sea. He tells me he’s been having nightmares and I ask what they’re about, he doesn’t know. I read his face when he says this, it is blank and untelling as it has always been.

I pass him food and water, and I leave the room so he has it to himself. This gives me a kind of comfort, to know that something I am doing can make him feel better or worse, that he isn’t impervious, that even Haris can feel pain and I can affect this — the way one would turn the volume up or down on a music player.

It’s noon on a weekend when I’m finally up, and he’s disappeared, the apartment feels lighter as it always does when he’s not around. It could be another place, I, another person, this life someone else’s. I open his drawers, his things are still there. Right at the top he keeps his best underwear, no doubt gifts from some of the men, the Versaces and Aussiebums. At the bottom, old boxers already shredding. One sock, the other missing.  Of course this would be Haris, arranging underwear as if his life was observed, keeping things impeccable for the stage, for an audience that has long been absent.

Aman

I don’t ask what Aman’s age is, I can see it on his face. It’s a red glowing pumpkin that is excited, about to explode. When he smiles, it’s flamboyant and apologetic, as if he’s intruding on a party he doesn’t belong to, desperately wanting to be liked, or tolerated at least. He is round in shape, even his feet are fleshy, he tip-toes around the room, as if aware of his size and not wanting to make an issue out of it.

He has a white shirt on, there are tiny dots on his upper arm where blood has seeped through the fabric. “Esczema,” he says, scratching the area irritably, stopping suddenly, gazing at me like a boy in a playground, arms full of toys and waiting to be made a friend.

It takes a bit of persuasion to get his t-shirt off, he finally allows me to and I see spots all over his skin. I run my fingers across his nipples, dipping into his bellybutton. There’s some lint there, I scoop it out with my tongue and he giggles. I suck on his toes and they taste the color of brown, something that is old, sad and rotting. Aman is dying and every time I touch or taste his body, I am confronted by the fact.

I try to be kind to him, find ways to make him laugh. I bite the side of his neck, launching at him dramatically and hissing like a vampire, he smiles to his cheeks with his eyes closed gleefully. I don’t ask if he wants to fuck, I know he doesn’t. His body is that of a boy’s – still mostly untampered with, it moves heavily and achingly, obliging itself to me. He must have loved someone once, I’ve heard stories like his. The before and after, the fulcrum that is this First and Last Person, the weeks spent in the hospital with needles down his back, men in white coats gathering blood. I remind myself that he must have loved someone once, and I try to be the man who reciprocates this. I kiss him fully, sensing that need for intimacy and for nothing more, thinking it is all he deserves. Both of us learning to feign the art of making love, the way lovers would.

When he pays me, I wonder where he got the money. His family, or if his colleagues know. I smile and peck him on the cheek, a devious bear-hug, and he says thank you with sincerity that makes me wilt. The transaction is done, I leave for home.

The apartment is quiet when I enter, Cheras is finally quiet at this late hour, the lights of the living room flicker on miserably. Haris still away, I fall asleep, my arms reach intuitively to where he should be. At some point in the night I feel myself sweating, as if I’ve been near a flame. My body is wrapped around Haris – he is shaking in his sleep, and I wipe the sweat of his face with my hand. His body is here, shaken and torn by a pain still unnameable, whereas Haris is off somewhere else. He is there alone and terrified – until he comes back to me – when he’ll be a little less alone but without an ounce of fear, like a man who knows his end is about to come.

Featured Image by Dhiyanah Hassan and Muizz Adam.

Advertisements
This entry was written by issuemagonline and published on 14/06/2013 at 04:00. It’s filed under Ahmad Donna, Fiction, ISSUE13, Memoir, Musings, Writings and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: