personal blog: simon
call it fashionably late but might as well. my stomach is in a pit. turned and twisted to a knot. I catch some air and hold it for a second. ‘ease your fucking nerves.’ if only I would listen to my inner voice. I manage to collect my thoughts and enter the building with unsteady anticipation.
the room’s filled with a sophisticated group, a coat check at the door, and champagne glasses filled with white wine or sparkling water. the hostess leaves it to my devices to choose. afraid to touch the glass, I move pass the station, vaguely dismissing the young woman. my white t-shirt and brass-black bomber jacket now looks like a poor choice. but, then again, it’s not like I have ever owned a formal jacket. it isn’t even to spite my father. I simply never needed one. I’m glad my father never saw me with the shaved hair and nail polish. “manners!” an echo of my father’s discipline. one of many.
the pitter-patter of my heart the moment I see Jacob among the crowd and then the harmonious hush. he looks so different, irrefutably so. the somber and distant stare that I remember has become a wicked smile. he looks happier and healthier than I have ever seen. although, one thing hasn’t certainly changed. his raggedly and thoughtlessly put together outfit. one of his autonomy from social norms.
the moment we lock eyes, all my feelings flood back and I feel a sudden urge to run. the only man who can make the nerves play upon me immediately and who can make my knees buckle. taking in a long wary inhale, I fall into Jacob’s embrace as he tears his fingers into my jacket, holding a little longer, a little tighter, but I try to quickly pull away. my awkward stumble only makes him smile more and I freeze on his face. after allowing my self to breathe again, wincing at the realization that time has changed us both and that it has been roughly three years since one last meeting.
“you found the place okay?” he leans to whisper to my ear.
“yes.” I pull away quickly, unable to brace the hint of Jacob’s natural but sweet scent. nothing musky or woody. simply gentle fragrance.
“where’s Alice?” I raise my voice.
but Jacob only grips my jacket and pulls me out to the patio. I follow without resistance. as much as I was the idea-man at the ‘house’, it was only when Jacob put the plan in motion and executed the scheme that I trailed with action. I was too scared to do anything on my own. Jacob was my blanket.
it has become warm enough for few patrons to find privacy and serenity on the patio, but it is quiet enough to talk.
“too much noise.” Jacob finally answers without answering my question and searches my face.
I faintly grin and repeat, “where’s Alice?”
“making rounds.” Jacob’s simple answer and he walks to the concrete barrier surrounding the patio. I follow.
the two of us, like we used to be, and I admire how little Jacob changed physically, yet so vastly happier, that I forget the world around us.
“how’s Kevin?” he asks.
my infatuation interrupted and the reality of this morning sets in. “we broke up.” well. I broke his heart.
“when?” Jacob asks alarmed.
“in the morning.”
“I’m sorry.” he adds heartfeltly.
“well. you know.” a sour conclusion to my predicament. most of my relationships were short-lived, the handful that I had the opportunity to nourish and destroy.
“yeah.” a sentiment of understanding and Jacob’s grunt’s a little shrunken.
fifteen years is long time to know someone. fifteen years since the first time I laid my eyes on Jacob’s glum face and the four years we spent in the group home. plenty of time to get each other’s particulars and habits. but recent years have not been as fortunate in the expenditure of our time together. the last three have been only bearable.
after few second of silence, Jacob adds, “you didn’t have to come, if you had to deal with…”
“no. I needed this.” I break his sentence. ‘I needed to see you.’ what I truly wanted to say but didn’t have the courage to say.
“breakups can be hard… remember Shane?”
how can I forget that obscure creature? attached to me one moment, detached the next. at least Shane had a good reason for being so. Jacob was in his way. but Shane was the first boy I kissed, first to hold my hand, to understand me. I was fifteen… and he wasn’t cunning. he seemed to like Jacob, respected Jacob to some degree, but vigilant of Jacob’s presence. like Jacob’s uninterest in relationships would have been a hoax. as if Jacob had this cornucopia of flair and vocation to fool everyone.
“he was sweet.” I conclude.
“he definitely had the ability to make you laugh in face of danger or pain.” Jacob reminisces.
“and not in a clownish way.” I add.
“yeah. clever sensibility.”
Shane knew hot to pull me closer and steal a kiss. he knew how to tease me without being too obvious or hurtful… and he was the first to make me realize how uncomfortable and strange I felt in my own skin. that there was something wrong with me.
“my skin feels odd.” Jacob uttered one afternoon during his episode of disassociation and that was the moment I knew that Jacob would always understand my awkwardness. something that would always unite us.
it wasn’t just Jacob who made falling in love with others difficult, who made me stain anything good, who made me withdraw and feel nothing… and I retreated my feelings with Shane.
“you loved him.” Jacob teases.
‘I loved you more.’ more truths I cannot utter. “I was a fool.”
“you seemed happy.”
“as happy as I could have been.” I finally concur.
“he got married.”
“I know… to Hendrik… they have a girl… he emailed.” I sum up Shane last message. our parting however felt unfinished, a mediocre, uncomplicated, and primitive farewell, for many years. but before his daughter got born, he sent a quite long letter, reminiscing about everyone, the troubles we all got into and how we laughed all about it. then almost as a footnote, he mentioned the fondness he had for me and how it was a privilege to know me, or something ridiculous like that. but what struck the most were the last five words, like a wishing well card, ‘I hope you find happiness.’ a dagger through my mind.
“he was honest.” Jacob adds with complete truth as Shane ran into arguments with Jacob on occasions. and Shane had plenty to say.
I, however, was cruel.
“he preserved my innocence.” my attempt to change the subject with a foolish joke.
“your chastity.” Jacob teases and we both laugh.
how easy it is to laugh with Jacob and I haven’t laughed in a while.
“I’m glad you came.”
the touch I never could have bestow. the affair that never happened. but I cannot resist and lean my cheek on Jacob’s shoulder, for that old time sakes. a tiny reservoir of past, of feeling comforted. a lingering dependency. Jacob has always made me feel understood and safe. nothing possible bad could have happened when he was around. Jacob’s touch like a miracle to sooth my anxieties. to be near him. to look at him.
it’s simple. because Jacob allows me to wallow. be a mess. be scared. be imperfect. be misunderstood. be me.
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© simon whittle — second act