I am not sure what caused me to do what I did at this moment. It was not driven by the implosive thrust of hormones, but by the need to take care of another hurting and vulnerable individual. I placed both arms around Him and held Him.
He could have pushed me away. He could have laughed at having manipulated me into acting one way or another, but He did not. Instead, I felt His large arms reciprocate.
There we stood, enfolded. The moment elegantly skittered, like lightly placed fireworks, skipping a balletic glissade across a fragile frozen lake.
Had it been any other occasion I would aplomb-plummet beneath His steely-strong and rugged frame.
Had it been any other occasion, I would have paled indecent at the savour of His freshly showered all-masculine smell.
But not today, not on this occasion. On this occasion, empathy sheared His enticing aroma and compassion blunted the erotic swell of His breaths.
Without a word, I pulled away and passed Him His T-shirt.
“Thank you.” He said. He was not talking about His T-shirt.
I changed in the bathroom, into my least revealing pyjamas, buttoned up at the neckline. Perhaps this was because I wouldn’t let this scenario slide into ardour, perhaps something else draped over my clear sights? I don’t blame the media; I blame the high school bullies who carved their own scars in hushed undertones and rivulets of teenage giggles. The high school changing rooms sweated with the heady trauma of repression as they laughed about all the big bits and bony bits and knobbly knees of others. I have no right to bodily insecurity when He has chosen to reveal His whole stung canvas. Despite this, I still changed in the bathroom, and I still wore my least revealing pyjamas. Perhaps words can leave deeper scars than weapons?
I slipped between the sheets. My head was full of dizzy pirouettes. A fleet of images grazed my mind’s eye, each reigning in a battalion of questions I was denied the answers to. Why is Andrew’s canvas paved with imperfections? Why do His scars interlace as grotesque woven art, each stroke devoured by the ones around it as though they were splashed onto Him all in one hellish instant? Why tattoo His face and conceal it carefully every day? Perhaps most curiously, why does He display such sweet vulnerability one moment and turn steel wall bulletproof the next? There are occasions when He is pure and sweet as white wedding doves, and others when He lives up to Ruby Red’s forewarning ‘He is dangerous, He is fire.’ Perhaps she had simply not taken the time to get to know Him—or perhaps I hadn’t?
I think of Ruby Red—the card, her proposal, the curious bribe in paper worth many times my monthly pay packet. What does she need? Is she playing me too? If I decline, I will have to hope I will never need the help that Ruby Red offers.
Am I a pawn upon a chessboard of power plays? I am welded between two futures. I need to find the third option; the door that hides beneath the sheets of reason. If there is a third door at all: it is the Holy Grail of exits.
And of course, there is the gun.
The loaded gun.
This is probably a country-bound consideration, (and I have no doubt many of my good American friends will explain my misunderstandings—not implying, of course, that I have any bad American friends!) I wondered whether it is possible for a truly good civilian to carry a gun. Why would you have one unless you have come to terms with the terrible implications of having to use it, and if you use it, you have to consider the possibility that you might claim another’s life. Perhaps it is my cultural perspective that is paved unevenly, perhaps it is not. I feel I am starting to lose touch with the vital pulse that keeps me curious, yet sane, where every doubt discolours me. I think of Him having a gun. I think of Him using it to end another’s life, but all I see are the gentle tides of His breath and the purity of His closed eyelids.
Despite this, I cannot close my own lids and stray into the gentle surge of trusting slumber with a gun in the room.
For many things I do, I have excellent reasons. For many others, I really don’t. Recently, it seems, there are more things I do out of impulse, and quite arguably dim-wittedness. When it came to the genepool roulette of life, I always hoped I had gained at least half the honey pot in common sense—perhaps I was wrong.
All I knew, was I could not sleep until the gun was no longer there.
Dyspraxically silent, I made my move.
I slipped out from between the covers, elegantly as a tusked heifer. I have never been a stealthy individual; I have a sore blueness of bruises that would quarrel any grace I may be gifted. I cringed as my toes touched ground.
Thankfully, he slept like a stone.
He packed lightly. I picked the edge of a shirt without waking its folds, and retrieved the gun from a back pocket of the case beneath. I tucked it into the elastic trousers of my pyjama bottoms and tiptoed towards the bathroom. He would never think to look in the cistern—would He?
“Are you okay?”
Oh, blizzards! He is awake.
Expression techniques, where are you?
I visualised the essence of a calm sea—the beach of La Manga. Palm trees sweeping their leaves in cognisance with the lapping white crowns of waves, the intimate fingertip flickers teasing white sand. Watching a white wedding that was not mine. A perfect moment.
I retrieved the nucleus of my thinking; the quintessence of de-stressed, and a pacific toneless plateau yawned before my conscience.
“I am just visiting the bathroom, no need for concern. Sorry to wake you.”
My centre staggered in poise as He turned over, soporifically appeased.
I waited, flushed the toilet as distraction, and placed the killer weapon inside the cistern.