"Long after he's kicked you in the head, your heart goes on loving him."
Linc is a young gay man in his late teens/early twenties, who is in the process of navigating his way through his first breakup. His boyfriend had acquired a taste for unsafe sex, including barebacking with other guys. Even though Linc was the one to break it off, that doesn't make dealing with his first broken heart any easier.
Linc was enormously popular in high school, and seems to be adapting equally well in college, but feels his friends and family don't understand what he's going through.
He has taken refuge in talking to Spencer, who is working in the local mall, walking around in a dog outfit based on Skippy the Wonder Dog, a cartoon character that Linc remembers fondly from his childhood. While in the costume, Spencer isn't allowed to speak, so Linc has happened upon someone who will listen patiently and not interrupt him. Spencer, meanwhile, is quite taken with Linc, but can't do anything about it but listen. The answer to Linc's problems may be sitting next to him, but he doesn't know it.
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copyright 2001 by Matthew A. Everett
LINCLong after he's kicked you in the head, your heart goes on loving him. Romantic inertia. The heart's always the first to come and the last to leave. Equal parts hope, denial and self-inflicted emotional cannibalism -- feeding off good memories like so much fatty tissue -- long after any real nourishment has stopped coming.
What exactly is the fascination with danger? It's death. Why the hell wouldn't you take every possible precaution? I mean, if you know what you can do to avoid it, if all you've got to do is strap on a piece of latex -- Is it just about pretending it doesn't exist or it can't touch you? Pretend all you want - it does and it can. I want to live. And I don't want to have to take handfuls of pills - that I can't even afford - with a list of side effects as long as my arm - every couple of hours in order to do it. I'll happily plan to spend my life with someone else. But I'm not going to just hand it over for nothing. No matter how great the build up feels, a guy doesn't get the rest of my life in exchange for a few quick spurts. If that makes me boring in bed, less desirable somehow -- if handing over complete control of my body and dirty mind for a few hours isn't enough -- if I have to throw in complete disregard for my health, my shot at dying of old age after a long full life, then I'm sorry. I guess I'm dull. I guess I'm a wimp. I guess I'm not somebody he wants to go to bed with anymore.
I mean, even taking every precaution, isn't sex scary enough? You need more? What's more dangerous than handing over your heart to somebody? Being completely open, not hiding anything anymore, totally vulnerable. Lost. Lost in him, drowning in him. And if you're not careful, you fall too far and suddenly you're not a separate person anymore. Whether you sleep with them every night or not, they're always on your mind when you lay down in the dark, and they're what you look forward to when you open your eyes in the morning. You get so used to having that other person around, get so used to not being alone. You forget how to do it. How to stand on your own two feet without having the urge to lean against someone else who's always there. And it ends. You end it, they end it, it doesn't matter, suddenly it's not there anymore and you're dragging yourself through your days alone again. It's no longer a team effort. And it's so much more difficult than you remember it being. Having to be strong enough all by yourself. And you wonder how you ever did it so long. And how you'll be able to continue. And breathing's hard. Not something you think about, normally. Breathing. Never harder to do than when you've got the memory of someone else weighing on your chest. And you just don't feel like you want to take the trouble to even fill your lungs anymore.
Breathing alone again.
I miss the phone calls most.
Right after we started, he'd call me all the time. For no reason. Just to say hi. Just to hear my voice. Sometimes I'd be thinking about him and the phone would ring.
We're still friends, I guess. But he doesn't call anymore.
He's conserving that energy for someone else. And I guess I should, too.
I miss being the focus of someone's affection.
copyright 2001 by Matthew A. Everett