personal blog: simon

new morning brings in a new perspective. not a dream. not a hallucination. the whole ordeal with Bryan seemed unreal, yet real, as if nothing has changed, yet changed vastly. the night shatters, as I mend my feelings and reality. spending the night wasn’t in my plans, but I am not in a rush to return home. staring at a photo of what I can only assume is Bryan’s boyfriend, my loneliness sinks a little. the black arch of the man’s brows, the summer tan, a place ocean behind them, swooped in Bryan’s arms. he looks like a man of mid-thirties. a man with charisma and respect. I am nothing compared to the mature man in the photo.

the morning sky turns grey. a whisper of ‘good morning’ carries from the hallway as Bryan emerges, yawning.

“what happened last night?” my question full of concern and eagerness.

“nothing. you fell asleep.”

“I don’t fall asleep,” I whisper to myself.

“you fell asleep. seemed really out of it. I let you be. brought you a pillow and covered you with a blanket. you must have been really tired. you didn’t wake.”

“I don’t fall asleep.” a feeble fight to regain my control also known as denial.

Bryan only smiles. “okay,” agreeing with me for the sake of agreeing.

“I should go.”

“at least have breakfast,” another jolting grin and after a moment, “how was the couch?” Bryan asks moving to the kitchen, pushing the buttons on the coffee machine. “want a cup?”

“no. I’m fine,” I answer resting at the table bridging the kitchen and the living area. the open space enlarges the room; although, the suite is bigger than mine. three bedroom and spacious. must have cost close to a mil. “it’s a beautiful place,” and I turn to Bryan with query eyes, “you live alone?”

“yeah… I’m thinking of cleaning it. getting rid of some stuff.”

“what about the man in the pictures?” my question a mix of a light joke and curiosity.

“what man?” Bryan answers in complete puzzlement.

“the photo.” I point to the framed photo as soon as Bryan looks up.

“Evan.” Bryan’s eyes falter. his mouth twitches slightly and he returns to the cabinet, reaching for the plates. “yeah. I got to still go through that. that’s my ex.” he adds somewhat in passing as if that is the last thing on Bryan’s mind at the moment. then turns around with raised eyebrows and a miniscule smile. “toast or English muffin? sorry, white bread only.”

‘toast or English muffin?’ when did I comply to stay for breakfast? “toast.” I give in to Bryan’s pardoning and begging face, forgetting for a moment the direction of the conversation.

he drops two slices into the toaster and swivels back to me, stretching his body to the wall. his arms crossed reserved yet thoughtfully exasperates, “listen… there are few things I need to clean up; but… he’s gone,” and as such Bryan drops his arms to his sides.

“he looks expensive.” I jab. he looks expensive unlike me.

“how long have you been at…?” Bryan asked.

“at the group home?” I concluded. “four years,” and I felt like nothing, nothing compared to Bryan.

“he owns his own production company and does small indie films. it’s silly… I met him through my father… he was part of the crew at my father’s company… that’s all… and… I’m still a Social Worker.” Bryan smile eases, tending to the ding of the toaster, digging into his fridge for butter, cheese, and other parfaits. “I apologize for the continental breakfast. need to do shopping. I’m usually better at this.” he adds embarrassed. a quiver in his voice and I find it attractive. yet, Bryan’s voice also calm and collected fashioning a welcoming and airy atmosphere, without expectations and pressures. unlike Kevin who would bounce from one corner of the room to another like a bunny. by this time, Kevin would have whipped up an omelet or French toast, brewed coffee, baked homemade wedges, and jabber about some viral video or two, that I rarely had interest in.

Bryan’s nervousness at times seems hard to decipher as his composed and quiet demeanor nurtures calmness. maybe it’s the years of practice being a counsellor, an ability to build trust and partnership with his patients.

“so, am I the charity case?” I am horrible at making light of things as my attempt at a joke comes off contrived.

“never.” Bryan smiles, a full fledge lighthearted smile, the one that tells me that we are good, that everything is fine and cool. he scrambles all the pieces for our meal and one by one places them on the table. the jar of toppings, the plates with toast, his coffee, and a glass of water for me. “this is embarrassing. this is an unimpressive breakfast.”

“it’s fine.” although, Bryan’s breakfast is indeed unimpressive. I have been spoiled by Kevin. I spread the somewhat melted butter over my medium baked bread. “last night…” and I stop. what was last night?

“yeah. I’ve been out of the loop for a while. it’s an adjustment for me… I hate dating.” Bryan sips his coffee clouded by qualm, without looking up, he adds, “I don’t even know what to do anymore. eight months ago, my seven-year relationship fell apart… ‘he found his soulmate,’ he said, and how do I argue that?” the injury evident in Bryan’s tone.

“seven years. that’s impressive,” and I scatter through the list of my short-lived relationships.

“how about you?”

“two years… I thought Jacob would have told you all of that.”

“I didn’t ask; plus I don’t think Jacob would have divulged it.”

very true. Jacob is good at keeping secrets and confidences, almost as much as I.

“I would like to see you more.” Bryan adds.

I cease in the middle of a bite, chewing the feeding and my words slower. “to study me as a specimen?” I smile then add sarcastically, “sure.” after a moment composing my playful expression, I stumble through my words, discoursing and discarding the idea, “it’s that I’m at the other end of the region. a bit of a drive.”

“I can come up for the weekends.”

such a simple suggestion. an indent of what may lay ahead for the two of us, but I just broke up with Kevin. “and play domestic?” I scoff half seriously, half teasingly, unsure whether to take Bryan’s offer or dismiss it as a fruitless endeavour.

“you think it’s silly.” the glum defeat in Bryan’s curled brows.

I just broke up with Kevin and he still has framed photos of his ex.

“impractical,” rebutting in defense.

“you’re scared.” an honest and true observation.

“I’m realistic… realistic,” as if repeating myself would harder the blow and my mouth binds to a tight lip, jaw squared. “I should go.” my go-to rationalization. run. run as fast as I can.

“don’t go.” the pleading and Bryan grabs my wrist.

I return a waged for war stare. “you asked me to come over. I came over. you wanted to chill. we chilled… I have nothing to say.”

“you left home, just like that?” Bryan asked eating my sob story all up and I kept on seasoning his appetite.

“yeah.” I answer proud. proud of myself of leaving home. the only moment in my life I had full control.

“that must have been hard?” his eyes vying of concern and understanding.

but how could Bryan ever understand. “yeah.” I vaguely exhale.

“but that’s not what you wanted?”

do I even know what I want? but, my stare and stern voice doesn’t falter. “you want to be friends? is that what this is?”

“if we could.”

it’s not much to ask. it truly isn’t. it sounds reasonable but I prefer to argue and fight. that’s one loss of control I have given myself permission to uphold. it’s my protocol. “may I go?”

here we square off the hurtful and pleading measure in Bryan’s scorn pout, in his wrinkled forehead, in his stone caved cheeks. “of course,” and Bryan loosens his grip.

this is I running from harm plus I cannot bare to see how much I can hurt another being. the infliction of pain, the torment. I must be getting good at it. I gather my things and abort.

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© simon whittle — second act