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842 I Make This Look Easy

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  1. This was a fun read! As someone else mentioned, the rhyme scheme was enticing ^_^.
  2. BDANR

    Mystery Man

    Thanks for your comment! I'll hopefully provide those answers as the story progresses.
  3. BDANR


    “No shitting? Dang…” I told my dorm mates what happened as we hung out in our lobby on the first floor. It was one AM. A sextet of students were playing Jenga across from us, being quiet and contemplative. The more studious students were deep in their books, scattered around the room. The front desk, in the middle of the lobby by the elevators, was occupied by a student security officer who could be heard watching Youtube on his laptop. Loren, who lived on the same floor as me, was biting her fist like she had been the mistress in this affair I put myself in. She wore her curly brunette hair back, wearing a T-shirt and shorts crosslegged on the couch. PJ was choking from laughing at my expense, leaned far back on his reclining chair. His face turned red like the hair on his head. “See, I told you!” he said, pointing at me. “I’ve been telling you something was up since you got with that guy! Can’t talk to each other in public? Giving you fake names? Come on, man.” Loren said, “Wouldn’t you know, being the straight dude here.” PJ rolled his eyes. “You can’t blame the guy for trying to keep his private life ‘private.’” “Really Loren? Discreet just means ‘married,’ why else would be so shady?” “Gay people are discreet for a lot of reasons,” I said, “Not only because they’re married. Pressure from family, discrimination at work, homophobic psychos on the street, can I go on?” “Yeah, yeah, I get it. But look what happened? Still think a dude who doesn’t want you fucking in his master is only trying to be discreet? He was probably trying to keep you from seeing their wedding photos! Come on now…” A guy screamed, “NO,” while a girl cackled subsequently after. The Jenga tower across from us had fallen, making loud, clanking sounds on the table and scattering on the carpet floor. The student officer’s head flew up to look over at us. Didn’t take long before he went right back to watching his video. An entrance into the building slid open, making a gliding sound across the floor. A freshman couple, who likely got together during the first week of school, came in holding hands, drinking smoothies,and leaning their heads against each other. “Freshies,” said PJ, sneering at the couple. “I give them a month.” “Don’t try acting superior,” I said. “You know you were them only a year ago.” Loren nodded. “Sounds like you got played, buddy. Did you at least delete his number off your phone?” Admittedly, I still had Lex’s number. I tried to comprehend what reason he would have to invite me to his place again even after I found out his secret. Wasn’t he worried I would tell his wife? It seemed risky to keep in contact with me, yet he had no hesitation doing so. I was certain of one thing, I had no intention of continuing to sleep with a married man. I shrugged. “Haven’t heard from him either way: I don’t message him; he messages me.” Loren raised an eyebrow while PJ maintained a look of disbelief. “...It was one of our rules.” PJ gave me this “I told you so” look. “To keep the wife from knowing, I’m sure,” he said. It was witless of me. The more I discussed Lex and I’s arrangement, the more I understood the ways he put the wool over my eyes. This was no longer a matter of forgiving and forgetting, and I became fervently obsessed with trying to figure out “why?” _ _ _ _ _ As Lex suggested the last time we met, I broke our rule. Instead of waiting for him to contact me, I reached out to him through his online profile. Making a call or sending a text seemed risky; it was an odd feeling knowing that a wrongly timed phone call or text could possibly result in the wife of the house answering on the other end. I made a plan to meet with him that next week and set things straight. Then, make it clear to him that I had no plans to come around again. A fog overtook the neighborhood. Car headlights attempted to shine through the streets, while dim lights shined from porches to living rooms. The street had an eerie, but pleasant quiet to it as though I was the only one there. I took a walk, playing out what words I ought to say and what responses I would give Lex if he tried to convince me to stay. The walk wasn’t long enough. Lex led me in wordlessly with a smirk on his face, and I wasn’t sure why he seemed so giddy. I was pissed, and this man was smiling sheepishly like something was even remotely funny about this moment. He asked for my jacket. I kept it with me. I walked only a few feet from the door before he shut it behind me. Lex said. “I was hoping I would see you.” I was still turned away from him when I said, “You won’t be in a minute...” “What did you say?” I looked around for a moment, tried taking a closer look. Photographs of family sat on the coffee table or were hung up on the wall. The faces kept staring at me and I tried to determine which one would be the most incriminating. Could I see a son or daughter with his eyes, or his hair? Maybe a portrait of newlyweds in their wedding garb? “What’s up?” he asked. “...I came here because I felt like I owed you that much.” I hesitated, then slowly turned myself toward him. “Now, I’m realizing that may have been a mistake. I think it’s clear that I shouldn’t come here anymore.” He frowned and looked away. “...Oh, I see.” It was the first time I had seen him express something akin to mourning. I felt uncomfortable being responsible for his grief. “Damn, that’s... that’s too bad.” “Were you expecting another answer?” He scratched his head. “Well, kind of. I thought if I left you alone, you wouldn’t have to make any split decisions. I hoped that maybe if you thought it over…” My eyes widened. “Do you hear yourself? You actually thought I would consider still sleeping with you?” “You don’t have to make it sound as bad as it seems-” “I’d say this is pretty fucked up, Lex.” “What do you know? You’ve never been in a marriage!” My temples began pulsating. I was ready to retort when the ground shook beneath our feet, and a sonic boom could be heard throughout the house. A plane was taking flight at the airport nearby. I watched his body language, how he crossed his arms looking to the roof as the plane rose to the sky. He returned his gaze to me as the sound faded and the ground became still. “Why do I have to be in a marriage to know that cheating is wrong? If this wasn’t a big deal, then why did you hide it from me? Having me drop in to your place week after week, not even once mentioning that you shared this home with someone you chose to be with for the rest of your life-” “It’s more complicated than that.” “It’s always more complicated, that’s an excuse! Lex, you can’t-” “I’m bi.” My next response had caught in my throat. I swallowed hard, and my mouth went dry. Lex appeared smaller before me. His posture was less hostile as he moved away from the door, looking to the floor. He sat in one of the chairs near the coffee table decorated with floral cushions, then laid back as if resting after releasing his load. “D-did you say-” “You heard me right.” His eyes were closed as his hands slowly and gently kneaded the arms of the chair. The phone rang, but he ignored it. I sat myself on the couch across from him, rendered speechless, motionless as though moving may cause the Earth to split. I was overwhelmed with growing anxiety. It was another detail I hadn’t known, and I wasn’t sure if my thoughts of him had changed for the positive or negative. “H-how long have you known?” I asked, still shaken up. “I’ve always known, just didn’t act on it, until recently…” “Are you sure? Could it be that your just-” “I’m not gay!” he said, damn near shouting. He saw my reaction, then let out a long exhale. “I’m attracted to women. I wouldn’t have married my wife if I wasn’t. I thought I could bury and control it if I wanted to, stop having these urges. But you can’t control who you like, or who you’re drawn to.” He looked me in the eyes then. I wondered if I had been the first man he had a sexual relationship with, or one of the first. “You don’t have to agree that what I’m doing is okay or justified because of... my sexuality. But you can understand, right?” I got the impression he was looking for sympathy, a cowardly attempt to seem more innocent than he actually was. And despite my reasoning, even when it appeared to be the logical explanation for the turn of this conversation, I couldn’t help being empathetic. I did understand. No matter how angry I was or how wrong his actions were, I knew how it felt to hide when it seems like the only option available. Gay people aren’t the only ones in the closet. “Lex, I think you’re playing with fire. I get that isn’t easy being in your shoes, but how long do you plan on committing to this ruse?” “What she doesn’t know can’t hurt her, right? As long as we’re both using protection, she’ll be okay. She’ll never know as long as we both keep doing what we’re doing and keeping this under wraps. Have we even once been close to getting caught? I promise, I won’t let what happen last week be repeated.” I didn’t understand something. Why was Lex so desperate to make me stay? I was a fuck buddy, a random man who he has no ties to. I believed that was all we were to each other, or did he think this was something more? Lex had got up from the couch then and sat beside me. He wore a shirt that looked too tight on him, accentuating his chest. His hand moved to my thigh and began to stroke it. “I know I’m throwing a lot on you,” he said. I became distracted enough to forget that we had been having a discussion. “I want to keep seeing you, if that’s okay.” Lex had been more committed than any guy I ever been with. Here I was, a sophomore in school, never having been in a relationship and constantly meeting guys who were only looking for one thing. Then, comes this married man telling me he wants to continue seeing me. That I was, somehow, someone worth keeping around. Maybe I was being thoughtless, but a part of me wanted the same thing he did. I said, “We can’t keep doing this forever.” He made a smirk. His hand went from my thigh to my shoulders as he started to massage them. His eyes looked me over. “I’m not asking for forever. Let’s see where this goes.” _ _ _ _ _ Lex and I went to his guest room after that, doing what we did best. This time around, something felt different. The roughness of his fucking and his touching were mixed with moments of tenderness, like how he would wrap his arms around me when we were in missionary, or his biting would always lead to a kiss in the same spot. He didn’t quiver to my touch like he once did, and I understood where that hesitation came from. Even when he first pinned me to the bed, my wrists held down under his weight, his hands would travel up my palms, then his fingers would interlace with mine. It seemed when he revealed himself to me, something deep within him had unlocked. It was like he could finally feel like himself. Taking all of Lex allowed me to partially forgive the married part of him, though I had my reservations. Forgiving him was the easy part, but I hadn’t put much thought into how I would forgive myself.
  4. BDANR

    Mystery Man

    @Parker Owens Thank you for your comment! I'll hopefully delve into this very question more as the story progresses.
  5. BDANR

    Walking in the Rain

    Calming and though provoking. We do often forget the beauty that comes with the rain. Fall is coming soon 😁
  6. Aww :). I'm already imagining the scene like it's a children's book. Fun read ^_^.
  7. @AC Benus, the highlights from you Spring of 90 collection were inspiring. Made me remember what I enjoy about poetry and the rush I get from seeing what others (and you ) create. Thank you for the post!
  8. BDANR

    Mystery Man

    A light rain went pitter patter against the windows as the driver turned the bus into a cruise ship. “All aboard,” he would call out at every stop, making himself known in a sea of quiet and distraction as passengers blasted their headphones or focused their attention on phone screens. I sat next to a man wearing a three piece suit with his legs crossed, reading a newspaper and giggling softly at the driver’s antics. He would occasionally turn to me, maybe for a moment of shared laughter. But I was admittedly preoccupied for a different reason: I was horny. Not two hours ago, I would get a text sent to me by Lex, a fling I’ve been seeing for sometime. Funny thing is, that wasn’t his real name. I would find out by a picture he sent me through his online profile, a bathroom picture of him with no shirt wearing black jeans, and his photo ID sitting there on the countertop. A little zooming, some photoshop, and there it was. Clumsy, but he was a man invested in discretion. When we first met a few weeks back, Lex requested that I only enter from the side door leading to the garage, preventing any snooping neighbors from being privy to his activities. We only messaged through email as he didn’t want others noticing him on the online profile he was using. Who, I don’t know. And he made one thing clear: we never acknowledge each other in public. It seemed reasonable, don’t we all use some kind of mask when it comes to our sexuality? Anyway, Lex was the real deal. He was a shorter man, in contrast to myself, but he made up for it with his stockiness. He’d message me first, talking about looking for a regular thing with a twink type guy. He liked taller guys with long legs and soft voices. Once he heard me on the phone, he said he wanted me over. Right away. Lex was some kind of managerial type from how he carried himself. He was demanding, liked to give orders, tell people what to do, and wanted it to be done right. Want to get on his bad side? Once, I’d witness him at his doorway chastising an employee for delivering a package to him at the wrong time, stating he specifically wanted it delivered around the evening (and keep us from getting caught). It was the highest I had ever heard his voice raised. When I told him I’d never work for him, he merely smirked as though I was joking. He liked to do the same with me, requiring certain things whenever we meet: sometimes, he’d request that I wear some particular underwear, or my work uniform. Once, he wanted a session where I could only speak when spoken to. Not my cup of tea, but Lex always had some way to convince me. “You do this for me, I’ll let you top me next time.” And he always was true to his word. He was an architect, having scenarios constructed in his head on how we would fool around. “Next stop, John Street,” the intercom system spoke. But I digress. I pushed the stop button on the bus, struggled getting over three piece suit’s legs, and was on my way. It was around 10am. Dark clouds enveloped the sky, making it seem later in the day than it was. I heard raindrops pelting my hoodie and bounce off my leather coat. I appreciated he was close to the bus stop; he knew the bus directions to his place though he never used public transportation. He greeted me at the door. “Did you come with condoms? I ran out.” Lex and I have a system: I come in, no pleasantries are exchanged. He takes off my jacket, I remove my shoes, and we beeline to his guest room on the 1st floor, but not before he asks, “Need some water?” “I’m fine,” I replied. Lex lived in a two-story, cookie cutter home in the suburbs. The outside, a tan-ish hue, contrasted with the vibrant peach and dragon fruit colored walls within. I memorized the path leading to the guest room: the picture of Van Gogh’s Starry Night that we would pass by, the mustard colored study on the left with the glossy black furniture that looked as though they had been cleaned using pine sol only a minute before. A dog lived here though I had never seen it, it’s white and black fur scattered across the wooden floor. Compared to the hallway and connecting rooms, the guest room was much warmer. Lex didn’t care for cool sensations like the touch of cold lips on his or the icy touch of chilled fingertips. The room had warmer colors as well, containing soft pinks and oranges. I had asked why we kept using the guest room instead of his master, which he responded, “I don’t like getting lube on my sheets.” It’s too bad, who wouldn’t want to have sex on a king size bed? Once inside, he turned me around and pulled me close, his thick arms wrapped around my waist and holding me firmly in place with no escape. “I was thinking about this all day,” he said in a low tone, exhaling heavily through his nose. He removed my shirt and gnawed on my exposed skin, low moans creeping from his throat. His warm lips and curious tongue drove me crazy as I caressed his head and pulled him towards me, encouraging him to bite harder. Red marks were left behind on each spot he tended to. “You like that,” he’d ask, though he already knew the answer. Our foreplay would eventually lead to the bed. His strong hands gripped legs and arms, pinned me down. You’d almost think he never gets any. Even our lovemaking manages to be rough. “I could fuck you all day,” he’d say, and I’d be partially relieved that he wouldn’t be. Our time was always limited, Lex was a busy man. We could be in the middle of it, his phone would start to ring, and instead of letting it go to voicemail like most would do- “No, no, no! You need a signature from every carrier that delivers materials to us. Haven’t you been trained on this?!” ... And he would keep thrusting away without a second thought. He’d finish the call, throw his phone to the side, and his attention would return right back to us as though nothing happened. _ _ _ The window of the guest room had developed a coating of fog. The pillows were thrown on the wayside and the bedspread was falling to the floor. He had a towel for me to clean myself with, to remove the stickiness of our shared sweat. The desk lamp was knocked over while we were playing, which Lex was only now managing to fix. He was more preoccupied than he was during his phone call. “How was it?” he asked. I snickered, started rubbing my thighs. “I have no complaints. You?” The ceiling fan was on low. He was silent, his full attention being on the lamp. His forearms flexed as his fingers gripped, twisted, then assembled the unattached hood. He looked at me for a second with his hazel eyes, like he was observing me. But he didn’t end up saying anything at all. Droplets of sweat glistened on his forehead, sticking themselves to his brunette, curly hair. A few continued dripping, running down the edge of his pointy nose and five o’clock shadow. “I’m glad you liked it,” he said, as he put down the lamp. His head shot up then, head craning towards the door. “You hear that?” My eyes wandered before asking, “Hear what?” He was already headed towards the hallway, then walked out the guest room. I pressed the towel on my face, and crossed one of my legs on the bed. I was thinking he might’ve heard some rat scurrying in the wall. Next thing I would hear is a low, excited voice not coming from very far. It was like a whisper, but I could’ve sworn I heard Lex say, “shit!” I could hear him grabbing shoes and shuffling around. I found my underwear and socks on the floor and started to reach for those. “Is everything cool?” He didn’t respond. I heard a door swing open near the front door and assumed it to be the closet where he kept shoes and jackets. I had just put on my underwear when the closet slammed. Footsteps came running towards the door. When Lex arrived, he wasn’t holding his own jacket, his shoes, or bag, but mine, my jacket still damp from the rain. “You gotta leave,” he said. I didn’t believe I heard him correctly. “Huh?” He threw my stuff to the side and I saw him scan the floor. He started grabbing for condom wrappers, the lube, and threw them in a plastic bag that I didn’t know the origins of. He opened the window to the room and had the ceiling fan spin faster. I managed to put on my shorts, caught up in the moment. He grabbed my stuff from the side before saying, “Come to the back door.” Shirtless, I tried to keep up with him as we went through the house. It didn’t occurred to him that I didn’t know where his “back door” was, and had gotten lost along the way in his labyrinth of a house. We reached his kitchen, finding a door with the blinds covering the window. The floor tile was cold underneath my feet. He unlocked the door and gestured outside. “Can you dress out here?” I snapped out of my confusion, dumbfounded by this urgency he had to get me out of the house. Was he being for real? “When I give you the signal, you can go out the side gate.” A gray mist clouded the outside of the patio as a treacherous wind blew into the house. Goosebumps crept up my arms and covered my chest. “Why am I doing this? What’s going on-” “Please don’t ask questions. Just do this, please.” He was getting pushy, desperate. No longer did he get to rely on being the one “in control” of the situation at any given time. This obviously caught him off guard, forced him in a pretty vulnerable position. Seeing him without that confidence I was used to, I thought I had been looking at a completely different person. I entered into the cold without my socks, shoes, or jacket on my person. What the hell was this? Was this punishment for me trusting a closeted man who hardly revealed anything about his personal life? Was it his family that was visiting? An old girlfriend? Children?? Making sense of the whole thing only made me angrier, humiliated. I rushed to put on the last of my clothes in order to battle the cold. Beyond the porch was a small yard and wooden fence, good enough cover along with the mist to keep neighbors from asking later why a shirtless man was getting dressed on Lex’s back porch. I finished and walked towards the side gate like Lex had asked, the light rain landing softly on my face and cooling off the rage that welled up in me. And just as I turned the corner- “Hey.” I turned to find Lex peeking his head out the door. He waved his hand, gesturing me to come inside. I nearly protested in frustration, but, not having to tip-toe out the side gate restored some of my dignity. Now, I could tell confront him face to face. Once I shut the back door, I opened my mouth, but he spoke first. “That was close,” he said. It was strange; during the time I had been outside, Lex had changed clothes. He was visibly more relaxed, his chest not as quick to rise and fall from his heavy breathing. He stretched out the edges of his shirt and jeans as though he was still getting out the wrinkles. “Why would you do that?” I asked. He blinked at me. “That was a crazy position you put me in, you realize that right?” “I’m sorry, I-” “A sorry isn’t going to cut it, Lex.” “What do you expect me to do? You know our agreement: No one can know about us-” “I know our arrangement, I don’t need to be reminded. You are the one whose responsible for making sure this type of shit doesn’t happen-” “I can’t predict these type of things!” “Hey, I told you not to scream at me like that, okay? I’m not your staff.” He opened, then shut his mouth, letting out a long exhale. He put a hand on his hip, and another to his forehead. “My bad, alright?” he said sheepishly. His raised hand slapped against his hip. “I didn’t expect anyone at this time, just a mail courier. When I heard someone near the garage, I thought it might’ve have been my wife, but I overreacted. My fault.” The words flowed seamlessly from his mouth without thought, hesitation, or even shame. I caught my breath and stared at him. “What did you say?” An eyebrow of his lifted. He looked around as if the question came from someone else. “...My wife.” Fuck, I said under my breath, though I’m sure he heard it. My hand grabbed at my head, which began to throb like it was ready to implode. “Your wife?! Lex, you never said you had a wife!” “You never asked. It wasn’t something I wanted you to know.” “Wait, what?! That’s not the point! Fuck!” This time, I screamed it. I started pacing along the kitchen. Lex stared at me, his face reactionless to my meltdown like he had nothing to do with it, and I couldn’t figure out why the hell he was so damn calm? “Lex, you have a wife. So why are you sleeping with me?” “...She doesn’t have to know any of this.” “But you’re still cheating-” “What do you care?!” His voice rose for a second, until he checked himself. “What are you trying to tell me, that you suddenly care for this woman you’ve never met? You wouldn’t have known about her had I not said anything.” “It still doesn’t make it right.” He shook his head, like I was somehow naive for my beliefs. He seemed unmoved by this sin he had me take part in committing without my consent, and didn’t bother to reflect on the recklessness of his behavior. He started walking towards me, and I stepped backwards without thinking. He came so close, I could feel his breath. “I’m sorry for not being upfront with you. It isn’t something I’m open about sharing...for obvious reasons. If you’re upset about it and don’t want to talk to me anymore, block my number. I’ll understand.” He moved up closer, his lips nearly touching my shoulders like he would kiss them. He whispered, “But if you want to keep this going, you have my number. It’ll be our secret.” _ _ _ _ Lex lent me money for a cab as an apology for earlier. It was nice to keep quiet, with the driver focused on what was playing on the radio. The background noise helped me try to process all that occurred. I was angry at Lex for his secrecy, and I was angrier at myself for being fooled and not being more careful. And yet, his words still played like a tape recorder in my head. What do you care? You suddenly care for this woman you’ve never met? Was my outrage unjustified? Unsound? Even as the cab pulled up to the curb, I couldn’t distinguish his thoughts from my own. The drizzling never stopped falling, blown around by the wind and moving every which way. I zipped my jacket tighter as I exited the cab.
  9. Wow! I'm thankful you are able to translate this poem. It's written so well, I never would've had the chance to enjoy it had it not been English (maybe I should try to understand French a bit more haha). This was nice to read, thank you :).
  10. Thank you, AC! It's good to see you all again and check out your works :D! I'm already on the drawing board...err, Google Docs, cooking up some new ideas, so hopefully I'll have something to share soon .
  11. I REALLY liked the last two stanzas of this piece. A halibun seems difficult in and of itself, but you did this piece in a way where you could create poetry of everyday life, like work, and speak of the disruption that construction (or reconstruction) tends to create. Nicely wrote ;).
  12. BDANR


    The array of emotions I felt with each stanza, you do a great job of evoking the right emotions so that we readers can feel what you have felt. Thanks for sharing this intimate moment...
  13. BDANR

    Lyrics for K.

    The lines that moved me most: When the flesh no longer can play the host, But still mourns with broken tears that anoint? and No more quiet, self-fired immolation – I’m done with dying through fragmentation. Well done :)!
  14. @Mikiesboy The Oscar WIlde piece you posted was quite long. What an undertaking for him...but I guess that's why he was one of the greats!
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