Mobile Pale Videos
We are defined by our choices.
he'd let me find out, for some reason no longer bothering to hide it?
"Fuck you, Scott. I don't owe you an explanation. Not any more. You're the one who moved out."
"You didn't give me much of a choice."
He ground his teeth. We'd covered this ground, over and over again, in the weeks before I'd left. Until a minute ago, I didn't really think I wanted to go over it again, but apparently I did.
"I wasn't on vacation. I was on an on-site visit in Haiti for work. See?" He raised his T-shirt and his midriff was pale. "There's nobody moving in. Nobody I-"
"You said you don't owe me an explanation," I interrupted hastily. In any case, it wasn't really explanations I wanted from him. I wanted him to tell me that he loved me. And I wanted to be able to believe him when he told me. And neither of those two things were likely anymore. He'd never said to me, not once, and until he'd cheated on me, I'd never thought the words were important but maybe if I'd heard them, maybe if I'd had them to hang onto...
"I don't," he said quietly. "I don't owe you anything."
"I know," I agreed, because he didn't. Anything I'd given him, I'd given him voluntarily, not as part of a quid pro quo. And really, for a lot of years he'd given me a lot back. Maybe everything he was capable of and more than I could have ever imagined.
We both sighed simultaneously, and I couldn't help rolling my eyes. I saw that small smirk I loved, and I wasn't so angry anymore.
"Okay, let's share. Unless it's something obvious, like those stupid Jerry Lewis movies of yours, we can flip a coin." I'd given him those movies, years ago, figuring that if the French like Jerry Lewis, then so must a French major. We hadn't had a working VCR for several years, yet Thomas hadn't thrown the tapes away; he hadn't even stuck them in the attic, along with the rest of the stuff we no longer used but couldn't quite bring ourselves to get rid of.
He agreed to flipping a coin and we left the rest to luck. And luck seemed to be mostly on my side, in that I won all the original Star Trek box set, not to mention all of the Arrested Development DVDs (which Thomas insisted needed to be treated separately, since they'd been purchased separately).
By the time I left maybe we were friends, or at least friendlier than we'd been. And there was no doubt in my mind that having my favorite DVDs and my pride intact couldn't compensate for not having Thomas.
It was inevitable that, since Thomas knew what he wanted and I only had some half-baked and untested ideas about what I thought I didn't, he would prevail. It didn't happen immediately or all at once and it was more me pulling than Thomas pushing, or so it felt at the time. The only thing that Thomas ever required was that I expressly ask for it and that I not be a dick afterward. In essence it meant that I initiated sexual encounters between us and he ended them. And afterward, everything was more or less back to normal until the next time.
Neither of us commented on the fact that the intervals between encounters were getting shorter and that we were doing a little bit more each time. I didn't want to acknowledge it, and I was happy that he didn't either. Whenever I wasn't with him, when I was in class or at swim practice or working in the dining hall, I would concentrate fiercely on the moment. There was always something new to memorize, another lap to swim, more shredded cheese to sweep off the carpet around the salad bar; life went on. And then I'd get back to my room, and Thomas would be there, and my world would shift on its axis.
This term he was more preppy rocker than punk and he'd even replaced his sleeping bag with normal sheets and a quilt. He claimed that the transformation was because he was volunteering at an adult literacy program and needed to dress up for it, although I couldn't see what that had to do with the quilt and told him so.
"The bag was starting to stink," Thomas finally confessed sulkily.
"Well, yeah," I agreed. "Maybe now you'll stay on your side of the room more."