Ein schwerer Traum.
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Knapp 5 Seiten in Word. ... Aber es muss hier hin.
Ich liebe es.
There is a mark low on his stomach, a red mark, marring. Frank is sleeping, and the lamp on the desk is turned low, but Mikey can't look away from that dark scar. Maybe it is a burn. Maybe a cut. Maybe something that was always there and stretched and grew more awful and rough and ruddy as Frank got older. It's always been there but never before has it seemed so much like a cancer, malignant.
Mikey has no scars. There are freckles on his shoulders and a perfectly round black birthmark on the inside of his lower arm, but he has no scars. He is not tattooed and he is not pierced. His skin is whole and wholesome and unmarked. The sheets are white and they are just a little lighter than the skin of his belly. The sheets are not half as soft as that skin though. His arms are darker, taupe or tan or something like that, sizzled seasoned by the sun and the light and he doesn't love that but there's nothing he can do. The smell of suntan lotion makes him sick.
He should himself be asleep now; he should not be awake so late. But lately he's been drinking too much coffee. It makes his hands tremble and it keeps his mind awake even when his body is softly sunken into the warm soupy morass of bed and boyfriend. He moves his left leg just to make sure he still can, just to check that his mind and his body are still all integral and whole. The sheets slide against each other, rustling and speaking in the tongue of thread and Mikey wishes he knew what they are saying.
His fingers sneak, snakelike, over the duvet, the stiff floral hotel bedding that any other number of bodies have lain beneath. Frank is shirtless and sprawled on his back, expansive in sleep as he is compacted in waking. He says that sleeping beneath the sheets makes him feel claustrophobic so he doesn't usually. He says Mikey keeps him warm enough and when they're falling asleep together Frank will press his body against Mikey's and rest his head on Mikey's shoulder and make small sweet noises, falling asleep noises, the precursor to the breathy rush of his nighttime mumbling. Even talking in his sleep is endearing.
Frank's hipbones are long and hard; they jut from beneath his skin and stretch it tight and fair. His body is very nice this days, very smooth and slender and pretty, and Mikey appreciates that but it galls him to think that Frankie didn't do it for him. He doesn't like the tattoos. Mikey never has. He hates them and sometimes when they're sitting together watching television or on the bus he'll rub the inside of Frank's arm to see if maybe the tattoos will wear away. They never do and Frank just thinks it's sweet, gentle soothing affection.
The scar is low on Frank's belly. It's kind of invisible even if he's wearing a tiny shirt that rides up and exposes a velvet swath of skin. Maybe nobody else has ever seen it before. Mikey doesn't know because Frank doesn't talk about it but it could be. Might very well be. They've been together for such a long time that he can't remember what sort of boyfriends Frank had before. Maybe none. Maybe girls. It was a long time ago and Frank wasn't so beautiful then and he wasn't so famous and people ignored him rather a lot of the time.
Mikey thinks that might have left some scar, some kind of wound on Frank's poor heart, fragile and needy and tender. He's so happy now but he was so unhappy then that a change of heart so monumental can't possibly be normal. Mikey wasn't so happy then and he's not so happy now but consistency is better than extremity. He knows this and he's always known it and that's why everyone envies him so. Nothing bothers him but he doesn't care about any of it.
Maybe Frank, though. He might care about Frank, circumstances permitting.
The scar is uneven beneath the cushioned tips of his fingers, bumpy poorly healed flesh. It is strangely rubbery, for flesh. It feels fake or maybe like one of those scars that you can buy at costume shops that adhere to clean whole flesh with adhesive. If he did not think it would wake Frank Mikey would try to dig his thumbnail under that scar and pry it off because he knows there must be good skin underneath. But there would be blood maybe and pain and Frank does not deserve that.
His mind is racing and he is thinking about the other bed, the empty bed. If he moved to that other empty bed (the bed he's supposed to be sleeping it) he would be far away from that scar, feet and feet of carpeted floor between him and it. He's not sure his body would consent to such a move, such an awful abrupt uprooting to some cold hard place, far away from the pretty affectionate body next to him. And then, that bed is made so nicely, so perfect with the sheets crisp and the covers smooth and everything untouched by the filth of sweat and skin and stink.
Frank curls up on his side and slides his hand over Mikey's waist. His body is shadowy in the darkness, and smooth and taut and pretty. Mikey shuts his eyes and smooths his palm over Frank's back, between his shoulder blades, and he tries to count the little bumps of his spine. The skin there is white, perfectly, white and unmarred and it is fine for his hand to touch that flesh. It doesn't make him think about fake and plastic and Halloween costumes. Still, the scar on Frank's belly is there and Mikey cannot see it but he imagines that he can feel it against his thigh, and even as Frank exhales moist against his chest, little soft puffs of air, of sleeping breath, he pulls away, weak and supine, bodily ineffective against the surprising strength of Frank's arm draped over his side, and he pulls and frets and distances himself from that scar until he is exhausted and spent, slips into sleep.
Very often when they are in New York or another large city and they are walking down the street Mikey will see someone and he will be unable to look away, and his gaze will follow them for as long as it can, until they disappear around a corner or are swallowed up by the crowds. Today they are sitting in a diner, a small cramped deliciously New York establishment, sipping coffee and trying to outlast the pains and tremors of last night's alcoholic binge.
Gerard is with them although he did not drink last night. He says he is sober and he mostly is but not always. But last night he was, and it's good for him and he looks better lately, not so sick, so Mikey leaves him alone in his little fit of moral fortitude. One day he'll fuck up and not be able to pretend any longer and then the facade of sobriety will fall and that will be okay too. They went to some comic book store earlier and Gerard is thumbing excitedly through some kind of pretty book of pictures or another.
Mikey drinks his coffee black. Black and cold, if they have it, but never with ice. That dulls the acidic burn that he likes so much. Gerard takes his with a little milk and a little sugar, average and bland. Frank doesn't drink coffee. They ordered food, but only Frank is really eating. Gerard ... well, Gerard doesn't always eat much these days and Mikey doesn't know what to make of that but he doesn't question it. It's not his place to question it. Mikey ordered some toast out of obligation but it's burnt and he imagines it would be as dry as sawdust in his throat. Frank is eating cereal and it is sugary and the milk has turned pink from all the food coloring, but he likes things like that.
They are all very quiet this morning. Ray and Bob declined the breakfast invitation and are back at the hotel, sleeping, and Mikey envies them. He wishes he could sleep. Lately, his nights have been filled with restless turning and shadowy light.
There are so many old women, and Mikey looks at them all. Why he would expect anything else on a Sunday morning in a diner in New York City he isn't sure, but he is glad because he likes to study old faces, faces whose skin is stretched and rumpled and mottled. The topography of wrinkles and creases is fascinating in a way that smooth youth will never be, and the old women always wear makeup that makes it better yet. Big crimson lips, painted on, too wide and messy, drawn with shaking rheumatic hands and eyebrows that disappear into wispy receding hairlines and virulent blue and green eyeshadow that gets caught in the recesses on those wrinkles lids.
Sometimes he wishes he were an artist, like his brother, so he could draw old women like this and save their beauty on a piece of paper because nobody ever likes anything so hideous. Nobody else understands why it's so beautiful.
Frank sighs and taps his spoon against the lip of the bowl, empty now but for the dregs. He is antsy and weary, and after so long Mikey is not surprised that he can feel it. They know each other well, know each other surface and innards and all other parts. Maybe when they slink back to the hotel, Frank will dress in some soft bedclothes and, docile as an infant, fall asleep with his head in Mikey's lap while they watch old movies on television. Last night, nobody slept.
The waitress comes and gives them the bill. Gerard looks up from his comic book and appropriates it, feeling, Mikey supposes, that as the oldest it his is due. As he rifles through his wallet Mikey can't help but noticing that his wrists and hands look thin and pale and like they would be easily bruised. He sometimes wishes that he had the gall to ask questions that need asking because he is curious and unsure but he suspects. Mikey always suspects something or another.
As they are standing up and leaving and putting on coats and scarves and hats (it is March but in New York it is snowing and the streets and sidewalks are laminated in ice) the door opens and a woman, a nun, dressed in her habit, shuffles in. At first he cannot see her. Her face is shadowed by the fall of cloth that covers her hair. But then she turns towards him the galvanizing florescent light falls across her face and he stares and he stares and he cannot look away.
There is something awful there, not a human maybe but something like one dressed up as a woman devoted to good service in the name of the christian god. One eye is good and whole and shines out from the wreckage of a awful visage. The other is gone, just a hallow covered in reddened skin and bumpy, chemical burns and cancers and leprosy and scarring. The nose is huge and bulbous and viens thread blue and shiny across its surface. All her skin shines like with sweat but he thinks that's just the natural state of whatever made her look like this. Glasses, dark rimmed and thick, perch on that slab of a nose and totter as she hobbles towards a booth in the back of the restaurant. He is staring at her and she knows it and he cannot look away.
The mouth, the gaping mouth, is just a slit in an unshapen mass of skin and bone, no lips, no shape, just a hole. Her whole body is swathed in black but he thinks that the rest of it must be as bad, must be as ruptured and warped. And how is it that she has lasted so long? And how is it that she has not withered under the stares of people who like Mikey are mesmerized by the awful ruined body she hides under that black heavy habit? And why is it that his eye finds such imperfections so easily? Why is it that he cannot let them pass without wondering how such things came into being? He trembles to think that all his life he will be looking for deformity.
Gerard elbows him in the ribs then and he winces in pain. Frank takes his arm and drags him away, forcibly. They've been waiting.
"Don't be rude!" Frank admonishes, and Mikey thinks if he could, he would make a donation to that old woman and sit and listen to her talk. Frank would not mind her awfulness. He tries and he tries to resist but he cannot and just as they are walking out into the cold white snowstorm he turns and he looks for her again, but her back is to him now and all he sees is the black cloth of her garb.
Standing before the mirror in the bathroom backstage at some crumby venue, Mikey regards his reflection and scowls. His hair looks lank and oily, but he's just showered. His skin looks mottled and his pores large. His eyes are dull, his clothing wrinkled. They're going on stage in forty five minutes and he'd like to shower again before then but he knows he won't have time. Maybe enough time in hot scalding water and he'd emerge all vigorous and wet and new, unsullied. Probably not, he thinks, but he can't think of anything else.
Warily he eyes his reflection, challenging it to make him look worse yet in his own eyes. He might fix his hair now, comb it and fix it into place with hairspray, but his asthma has been acting up and he knows that so much aerosole spray would set him off and he'd end up coughing and coughing until his throat was raw bloody and his voice gone.
It galls him even more because Frank looks great tonight, perfect, even wearing silly makeup. His skin shines and his hair is glossy and dark, freshly dyed, and he looks fit and well and wonderful. Some nights he thinks he's too good for Frank, thinks he could do better, and he knows he could, maybe, but then there are days like this and he can't imagine why Frank wastes his time, can't imagine why he still hangs around, except he knows that apathy makes it hard to do anything else, of course.
He sulks and flops onto the couch, toying with the hem of his tee shirt. Frank is next to him on the phone, laughing as he talks to someone, and, duplitious, Mikey listens and tries to figure out who it is he's speaking to. The conversation is vague and Frank expansive and Mikey cannot figure it out and he crosses his arms over his chest and glowers at himself in the mirror until he feels a soft hand on his shoulder and he looks up and finds Frank staring at him.
"Stop looking at yourself," he says, his voice low and seductive, and when Frank's lips press against Mikey's jaw, he looks away.
Mikey has the flu and he is swaddled in blankets and sweltering and feels like he might die. Or perhaps it is that he has already died and because he is an awful person he has been sent here, to hell, to sweat beneath leaden blankets forever. His head aches and his body and joints creak with the weariness of inertia. There are soap operas on the television and the radio in the other room is set to some station that, during the day, plays smarmy lite rock interpersed with the meandering pratter of a brassy voiced, pretty faced jockey.
He is not tired, and he is very miserable, but perhaps his misery and his apathy are more tiring that he realizes. He must doze, because when his eyes flutter shut and when he opens them again Frank is standing at his bedside bearing a tray ladden with good and wholesome things to eat, things that smell wonderful and pique Mikey's appetite despite the fact that his stomach has been churning.
Frank helps him sit up and settles the tray on his lap and the food is all so good that Mikey is astonished to find that his hunger has returned with a vengence. It's all good and Frank made it all himself, handmade, time spent sweating in a tiny cramped kitchen and it couldn't have been fun, couldn't have been any fun at all but he did it. And Mikey is ashamed that he's savouring such food made expressly for him in his illness and weakness when he's such an ungrateful awful person.
He ducks his head when Frank kisses his cheek and mumbles, "Thank you."
Frank clucks and replies," It was nothing. I love you."
And maybe to him that is the only reason, the only reason that he needs for anything.
Together so long and it is rare that passion burns but when it does it is consuming and then they are like tinder that ignites quickly and is eaten up by the flame. Mikey pushes Frank through the door to the hotel room as soon as he's gotten it unlocked. They did not have a show tonight so they went out, and in the anonymous darkness of a club they watched a band play and through subtle signals - their own language and specific vocabulary - they rediscovered a lust that left them both horny like teenagers and anxious for the privacy afforded by a room in a fancy hotel.
Mikey feels rather limp and lovely, and there is some kind of erotic charge that runs underneath his skin when he brushes Frankie's arms, hands, thighs. This is a kind of a slow thing, slow that he undoes the button on Frank's frayed jeans, and slow that he unzips the zipper. Inch by inch he pulls off his boxers, intent now on giving pleasure and ignorant of his own erection now that his desire has been transmuted into the deep urge to make someone else tremble.
His lips brush Frank's groin, hot and fragrant with the scent of his body, and the dark gleaming hair there. His knees are dangling off the edge of the bed and he has fallen backwards so that when Mikey looks up the view is strange and terribly foreshortened; stomach and ribs and the curving throat and jaw. Frank hums with the lazy contentedness of someone who is being granted pleasure at no expense.
Above the elastic waist of Frank's boxers a dark mark appears, a little smudge on all that creamy skin, and Mikey pauses and thinks to himself for a moment. It slipped his mind, that little scar, after watching for a few days to make sure that it couldn't be seen, was some little imperfection that nobody else was ever going to see, hidden as it is beneath the waist of Frank's cute little jeans.
But it looms large now, and he rubs it with his thumb and still it will not come off and it irks him so that he lays his head on Frank's belly and stares at it until his vision is blurred and it looks larger and darker, that scar, then it has yet.
"What's this?" he asks, all casual and no hint of duress in his voice, even though it is imperitive suddenly that he know how and why and when it was formed.
Frank sits up and glances at the mark, which Mikey has covered a little with his hand. He frowns, a cute confused expression, and considers. "That?" he says. "I don't know. It's just a little thing. I don't think I ever noticed it."
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