“It was you,” Shay says slowly, but forcefully, her face lighting up as if she were a cartoon with a bulb above her head, but she’s not. She’s a real, human person sitting in front of me and name dropping a lot. One of the names she’s dropped is Jesse’s and she’s saying it’s hard to work with him and I say I know, in a way that implies I really, really know. Shay catches my drift, so to speak, more than I intend her to.
I was first fucked for money at the age of 19. Someone tied me up and shoved a silicone cock in my ass. A digital camera captured the entire process. I was paid $300. It was fun, I guess. “He just liked the money and the thought of doing something ‘wrong.’ Passive anal sex is not his thing.” – the assistant narrator. I allowed flesh cocks to replace silicone cocks.
June 26. The US Supreme Court rules that state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Worldwide celebrations ensue. July 8. I am about to leave my apartment to attend a party. My well-meaning flatmate asks, “Is that your outfit? Expect girls to hit on you if you wear that jacket.” July 28.
The man of whom she was speaking was short and dark and immensely strong. She mouthed the words slowly, with a care, gazing at her image of him all the while through a prism of love. But then, gradually, she began to speak of other things as well, almost as if she were trying to turn herself from him and those hideous passages of thought.
Do you care? Do you care about caring? Do you care about being perceived to care? Do you go through spates of caring, then get distracted and forget what you cared about last year, last month, last week, ten seconds ago? And by care, I mean more than empathise, I mean the ache that makes you want to act – just maybe not IRL.
Last summer, I saw a digital ghost. I was walking around the Ring of Brodgar – a neolithic stone circle in Orkney – in the early hours, at the first light of dawn. I raised my phone to take a photograph of the standing stones silhouetted against the sunrise and saw, on the camera screen, a dark figure moving across the heather at the centre of the circle.
I have been thinking about shame, or perhaps, guilt. I understand the difference between the two as being that which is public and perhaps, humiliating, and that which is suffered in private. But you might feel differently about this and I can’t see that being a problem. My grandmother, a practising – if somewhat flexible – Catholic had no patience for either emotion.
Ella & Tim have been a couple for 2 years. Ella is thin and Tim knows the stylist. Both work in content and enjoy taking photos of each other’s feet. Every Friday, Ella and Tim invite friends over for dinner. This Friday, Tim has bought the ingredients to make pasta vongole, as instructed by Ella, based on a recipe she found on a friend’s food blog.
I frequently think of my life as a never-ending race, in which I am up against the man I should be for the prize of the life I desire. I hold the sharper mind, but carry a permanent injury, so I mostly remain two steps behind. Occasionally I may draw level, thanks to a combination of sheer bloody mindedness and support from others, without which I would undoubtedly fall even further behind.
He had to get out. That thought came through louder than what he had done last night, louder than the anxiety over another day in the office with a hangover, louder than the uncertainty over whether he had been smart enough to use a condom with the girl that lay next to him. Chop.