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There was only ever one reason I agreed to go out with Lillian, which was so that I could go out with Christopher. On double dates, you see. A cruel thing to do to her, yes, but Chris stopped “us”– him and I being together, I mean. I couldn’t bear it. I can’t bear it. He’s my life. I have to have him near.
After his mother and father saw us asleep on his bed the morning they came home early from vacation, things have never been the same. Neither of us heard his parents coming in. When they opened his door, we were wearing nothing but an air of perfect contentment, no bed sheets covering us or anything because it had been very warm that August night. Wrapped in each other’s arms, our four hairy legs intertwined like some kind of slip-knot, we were found out. Chris unravelled. It undid him.
His father told him he’d never have a career, and his mother cried for two days. Christopher said we’d drunk too much and it wasn’t what it looked like. They believed him, because they needed to.
He won’t be alone with me ever since then. It all just stopped. His passion and affection toward me — the intimacy we’ve had and hidden by necessity for 17 months — have been smothered by convention. Now he and Betty Ash are an item, and I’m his past.
I’d do anything just to be in his presence, still, ergo the charade of dating Lillian. If I believed in God, I’d ask him to forgive me for this. For now, I am playing along. I swallow the sight of Chris holding Betty when they dance; a little piece of me dies, accompanied by an orchestra. But at least this way, being on a silly double date with a sweet girl who’s like a sister to me, I can still touch his skin, even if it means reaching across the table for my glass and brushing his hand as if by accident.
Just that little bit of electricity is what keeps me going, really.
Christopher is too afraid to be with me, I am too afraid to be without him, and so here we are.
Text: Kenneth Hill
Music: K.C. Blues, Charlie Parker