Ned doesn't want to get fucked anymore, ever since I told him about Sean. He's never said that exactly, just that he hasn't been in the mood, he doesn’t feel up to it. And honey, what could be better?
But I pretend I'm a little disappointed. Which means Ned is always trying to please me in other ways. By giving me more space. By not asking why I don’t want to go out with his friends.
Now we've drifted into some weird routine where I cook dinner because he says he's trying to get healthy, I mean I know that's a joke since I'm sure he’s eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, and a hamburger for lunch, but it's almost cute how he asks all these questions about my cooking even though he never pays attention to the answers. And then we sit down and talk like husband and wife or father and son or maybe just friends, that's the best part, when it feels like we're friends. Then we sit close to one another on the sofa and drink cocktails until it’s time for Ned to watch the news and I pretend I have to go out to do more studying.
Every now and then, Ned wants me to give him a massage, and then when I get hard he says oh, let me see that, and then he likes to jerk me off until I come on his chest. And then I hate him again.
Avery and I are trying to figure out whether we want to take Sean's place. What that would mean. Back in the day, Abby and I were K dealers for a little while, right, saving money to get out of Boston and look where we are now? And that was only a few thousand dollars, total, and most of that went up Abby’s nose. But we weren’t talking $15,000 a month.
And, coke is different. I'm worried I'll do too much. I already do too much. I'm worried I'll turn into one of those paranoid messes pacing around the room saying who's there? Looking inside the kitchen cabinets, the shower, the dryer, the shampoo, the contact lens solution: who's there who’s there who's there?
Avery's worried we’ll get caught, that we’ll end up raped in prison or chopped up in the Charles River. We're sitting in Sean's kitchen with that glorious poster of Divine in the red dress from Pink Flamingos. I wonder what it will be like when we visit Sean in Lancaster. At her parents’ converted farmhouse.
Oh, there's a message, Sean has a message, should we listen to it?
Why are we so nervous? Should we do another line? Just a little bit. Maybe a cocktail. There's still some Absolut in the freezer, even though I don't like Absolut.
Absolut and tonic. That's better. Finally Avery says: do you think we should just delete it?
But it might be her parents. They said they might call us here.
That's what we’re both worried about. Avery lights a cigarette, one of Sean cigarettes, even though she doesn't smoke. No, wait, I’m the one who doesn’t smoke.
It's Sean's mother. We don't need you to come out here, she says. Sean passed. In his sleep. It was peaceful.
What did she just say, I ask. What the fuck did she just say?
Avery doesn’t say anything.
She did not pass, I'm yelling. I'm yelling at the machine. She did not fucking pass. Avery is still quiet. Sometimes I don't know if it's possible to breathe, if I've ever figured it out. Sometimes I don't know what the point is.
Oh, I say – why can't they just say die? Her fucking homophobic parents are probably glad that she's fucking dead, that they don't have to worry about her anymore. That they don't have to worry about her fucking dying of AIDS because she's dead, she's fucking dead and oh, Avery, do you think it’s true, do you think it’s really true? How could it have happened this fast?
Avery is still quiet. He's staring straight ahead like someone's going to walk in the door. Avery, I say, and he looks over at me like he didn't realize I was in the room. He looks over at me, and his mouth moves like he's saying something.
Avery, I say, oh Avery. And he stands up. And I stand up too, so I can hug him. We stand that way for a while. I feel like we should be crying, but I don't know how. Eventually Avery starts to shake, so I hold him tighter, but still no tears. And then I start to shake, and Avery holds me tighter. I kiss him on the neck, and we stand there like that, my lips reaching for something.