In the micro studio on First Hill, on the concrete floor, on my knees, I was alone. I was drinking red wine, my hand caressed my own foot without me, and I wanted to kill myself. I had just screamed at A. outside the Egyptian Theater when he didn’t understand my particular type of privileged suffering and I was too immature to talk about that violence. I did hate myself. It was the second time the ghost came inside me without doing anything sexual.
On our second date at the Italian place on 1st and Bell, A. told me he was divorcing a woman and was in the process of coming out, then invited me to his family’s Thanksgiving. I said no, thank you, but yeah, I loved him. What am I but a man’s fantasy of youth, queerness. Use me, daddy. Spit on me and the concrete outside the bar. He was really drunk, but I wasn’t, which made me feel powerful and alive. No, I didn’t love him. I loved feeling that way. A ghost inside of my body.
A. couldn’t keep it up unless he was high and didn’t wear a condom; the floor was cold and damp but maybe I had sweated a puddle. I didn’t want the ghost to fuck me, so he didn’t. His hand in my hand on my foot, it became warm again and I didn’t drink any more wine.
We’re all just using ourselves. We ate gnocchi and held hands. I don’t remember if I went home with A. but I probably did, and it was the first time. He had a clock on his bedside table with Selena’s face on it, and maybe she watched. Maybe I came, but he didn’t. Honestly he was sweet. Yes, yes. I did and do love him. I would call him the next morning and apologize.
I hated myself. I lay on the floor again because the world spun too violently. When I looked at my eyes in the mirror, they were someone else’s eyes, and I talked to the ghost. He wanted and I wanted. I leaned in towards our reflection, we inside each other and kissed it, him, myself on the lips with our eyes open.
Joe Nasta (he/they) is a queer writer and mariner who splits their time between New York, Seattle, and the Ocean. Their work can be found in Entropy, The Rumpus, Yes Poetry, Papeachu Review, and others. They co-curate a zine of unconventional art and writing at stonepacificzine.com and serve as prose reader for The Adroit Journal. Find them on instagram and twitter @roflcoptermcgee.
Artwork by: Pawel Czerwinski