There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.

~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts, the other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.

~Charles Peguy


Fortune

I wish he knew when to quit. I wish he could take the fucking hint that I don't want to see him anymore. So, maybe that's not the complete truth. Maybe I miss him, but the point is, when I can cut him out of my life, not have to see his sweet face or hear his familiar, comforting voice, then I can pretend not to feel anything. I can lie myself into believing that I don't have such desires burning my soul. But he calls, and he invites me to lunch, and I say yes. I don't know why I agreed, I knew how it would end: just the same as it always does. I leave him feeling even emptier than before, sick inside, and I hide myself away and cry until I just can't anymore.

Sometimes I hate my parents for the way they raised me. I wish I could just let go of the things that hold my happiness from me, but I can't. I wish I could forget Cody too, but I can't. He's the first person I ever loved, the first boy I ever kissed, the one I wanted to be in my life always. I wanted to let him into that intimate part that you share only with someone whose heart completes yours. I knew it at a young age, and I felt it with every fiber of my being.

I still remember the day when Daddy took me aside—I was thirteen—and he looked seriously into my eyes, and he told me that boys liking boys was wrong. His words were quick, and simple, and he never knew that they killed me inside. I was barely able to fight back the tears until he left, and I ducked into the bathroom, fell to my knees, and wept for hours. I looked up to the ceiling through the tears filling my eyes and begged God for an answer. Why didn't He tell me before I fell in love? Why did He allow my heart to be bonded to another—only to rip it to aching shreds. Cody was the one, I was sure of it more than I'd ever been sure of anything before or since then, and we weren't allowed to have each other. What kind of God does that? What kind of God gives to you such a beautiful thing only to crush it to bleeding bits?

I never told Cody. I tried not to feel that way about him anymore, and if I did it right I was able to pull it off pretty well even to myself. I even got engaged to a girl I cared for deeply, but in the pit of my heart I knew I couldn't care for her just quite the same as I loved Cody. I could never give my whole heart to her, because it belonged to someone else first.

We drifted apart. I made sure of it, because it got to the point that I was bitter at him for what he did to me, even though I didn't know if Cody ever knew it. I think I could have been fine with cutting him out of my life for good, but during a conversation one day, he just happened to bring up something that brought every bit of pain back to the bubbling surface.

"You know something funny, Ted?" He asked, his pretty eyes glittering as they caught mine. "When we were kids, I had a huge crush on you. I wanted…to know what it was like to kiss you." His cheeks burned red, and I shifted in the seat of my car, my heart suddenly tight in my chest and my eyes suddenly stinging. I didn't know what to say, I just laughed nervously, the sound seeming just as choked as I felt. "It would never work, would it? Your Dad wouldn't have let me see you ever again." He said quietly, dropping his eyes to his hands as he played with them in his lap.

"No." I whispered out, struggling not to cry. "It…it never would have worked."

But God, I wanted him in my life like that so badly. I knew we could make it work, we could go far, far away, and it would just be me and my Cody together with no one to take me aside and tell me that loving him was fucking wrong.

"Ted, are you okay?"

"Yeah. Fine."

I wish Cody would have never told me. Knowing that he felt the same just made it all so much harder, and awkward. If I couldn't have him in my life the way I truly needed him, then I didn't want him in it at all. Maybe it was selfish, but it just hurt too damn much to have him so close, and not be able to hold him. I just wanted to tell him I loved him, without feeling like I was damned to hell.

But I told you, he wouldn't let it go.

At least a year after that confession, we were alone again. We'd just pulled into the parking lot of our motel where we were going to share a room for the night—separate beds—and just that would keep me awake the majority of the night, let alone what happened next.

He'd been talking about how he had come to the conclusion that was attracted to guys. He'd figured it out a long time ago, and he was open about it unlike me. Cody was the only person in my life who even knew I might harbor such things, and even then I think he probably thought my attractions to the same sex were only focused on him. I'd learned more about myself over the years, that it wasn't just Cody. I was attracted to other men, but it was rare that I allowed myself to think about that. I dated women. I did what I was supposed to. I kissed them, and I tried to like it as much as I knew I should have.

"Have you ever kissed a guy, Teddy?" Cody asked, tilting his head at me.

"No."

"Have you ever thought about it?"

That answer couldn't roll off my tongue as quickly as the first.

"I…I'd really like to kiss you…if you'd let me." He said, his hand brushing against my thigh.

If he only knew how long I'd been yearning for this moment, both dreading its arrival and excited for it, the tornado of emotions at his simple request I couldn't describe. I tried to say something, what I thought my words would convey, I don't know. I didn't say anything though, just moved my lips like a fish out of water and picked at the steering wheel cover.

"You don't want to?" He said, pulling his fingers away. "I understand if you don't."

"I want to." I leaned close, and I kissed the man I loved.

It was short, a brief melding of our lips, the movement of them together in synch like nothing ever before. I didn't want to pull away, as his tongue tried to slip between my teeth, but I forced myself to, my teeth catching his lips as I made a hasty retreat.

"That was hot…" He smiled, giggling a little, touching his fingertips to his lips.

I didn't say anything. It meant so much more to me than just being hot, and it kind of hurt that was the only thing he could say to me, when I'd just done something that I knew would torment me endlessly.

"Yeah, well…we oughta get inside." I said, fumbling with the lock and the door, mentally stealing myself against the waves of sorrow that wanted to wash me away. It physically hurt, my chest, my head, my stomach, my soul, it all hurt so bad. I grabbed my stuff and hurried to the room, burying myself under the covers, and forcing back the sobs as my tears poured quietly into my pillow.

It was that kiss that made me stop caring about Cody. That kiss made me numb, and hollow. He tried to talk to me, he wanted to know why we were drifting apart, why I didn't want to hang out with him, and I always made some excuse.

I had other friends, and I surrounded myself with them, but over time that became just as painful. A couple of my closest friends started to creep into my heart too, and as I'm prone to do, I cared for them deeply. I'd often wondered what a life would be like with one of them by side, what their lips might feel like touched to mine, or just how it would feel to be found in their embrace. It didn't matter, because I couldn't ever have any of them.

"Are you okay Ted?" Cody asked me today over our lunch, as he twirled some Asian noodles around his fork. I looked down at my plate of food, barely touched.

"Yeah, just fine."

Our conversation was mostly one sided, because I didn't feel like talking. I ate a little, but it just made me feel sick. It was over too quickly, and yet it dragged on too long. When we left the restaurant, Cody wrapped me in a hug, and for a moment I remembered how he felt, and smelled, and the comfort he gave me.

"Bye Cody."

My feet fell through the shallow puddles in the parking lot, as I made my way to my car. I felt even sicker than before, just watching him drive away. Familiar sadness crept over me, as I ducked into my car, and just sat their staring at the gray rain that trickled over the windshield, giving my view to a lifeless looking sky. Sighing, I looked at the tiny package in my hand. The clear plastic rustled as I tore it open, and I cracked the little cookie inside. I pulled the pieces apart and fished out that tiny scrap of paper.

"In the New Year, you will find happiness."

I closed my eyes, crumpling the lie in my hand, as hot tears mimicked the rain on my windshield, and rolled steadily down my cheeks. It seems clear to me, that happiness isn't meant for me to have. I'm just going to be alone, hating myself for things I can't let go of, and for things I can't let myself embrace. Not in the New Fucking Year. Not ever.

I feel as if I'm a black cloaked shadow at the graveside of my heart, forever mourning.