This is Part 5.
Other recent stories in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Nowhere Man -- Part 4.
Features Brian Kinney, Ron Rosenblum, Others.
Rated R for language and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian has a little chat with Ron. September 2000.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
Monday, September 4, 2000, continued:
Brian had walked about a block and half when he heard a car pull up next to him. He just kept walking and didn't look over at the Volvo.
He kept walking, not looking around.
"Brian! Please stop!"
"Why?" he said, not stopping.
"Stop and talk to me."
"You get out and walk if you want to talk to me, Ron. It's a couple of miles back to the house and I don't want to waste any time getting there."
"Get in the car and I'll drive us home."
"I don't think so. I don't want to be with you right now, Ron, so just leave me alone." Brian kept walking and the car inched along next to him.
He finally paused and looked towards the car. "WHAT?"
Ron put the car in park and got out. "We need to talk about this."
Brian just stared at his partner. "We ARE talking. See? I'm opening my mouth and words are coming out. You are opening your mouth -- and bullshit is coming out! What more do we need to say?"
"Brian, you don't understand!"
"Oh, I don't, huh? What part of this don't I understand, Ron?" Brian couldn't even look at Ron -- didn't want to look at him. He wished that the other man would just let him go home in peace. Let him think a little bit. "The part that says I shouldn't feel like the laughing stock of the entire university? The part where I work my tail off for no recognition and no respect, only to have everyone in your department and in my OWN department joking about what a idiot I am?"
"You're NOT! That's not true!"
"Oh, no? What about the part about how much you enjoy fucking Lowell? Well, you can fuck him all you want once I'm gone! But you'll have to look at him, too. And even talk to him. THAT should be a thrill for you, Ron, since he's not only homely as shit, but he's the most boring person who ever lived. So have fun." And Brian started walking down the sidewalk again.
"Brian," Ron yelled after him. "Where are you going?"
"Home. Or -- where I've been living up to now, if you'd call that home. Then tomorrow I'm driving to Pittsburgh." And he went on and didn't look back.
Brian walked and walked. It was a couple of miles from the Chairman's house in the exclusive section to Ron's house closer to the university, but the walk did Brian good. It give him some time to clear his head. And pure physical activity always made him feel better. Working out. Fucking. Walking. It gave him a lift. His body was still working, even if his mind was screwed up.
A car with two girls slowed down as he was walking through campus. They whistled and motioned him over. It must be the black wifebeater tee shirt. For a few seconds he thought about going with them. It might be something different. Something new. An adventure. He'd never fucked a woman in his life and it might be something to try. Who knows? It might give him a new outlook. But Brian really wasn't interested. It would probably depress him. He waved at the girls and walked on.
Now what would I have done, Brian wondered, if it had been a couple of guys in the car? Of course, this was the wrong part of town for that -- most of the queers hung out near the gay bar on the north side -- but what would he have done? Probably the same thing. Nothing. He might be angry at Ron, but he still wasn't interested in anyone else. And a quickie would just make him feel worse. Cheap. It would just be getting back at Ron. Payback. And Brian didn't work that way.
He got to the house and let himself in. He went to his little desk -- Ron had the big office upstairs, while Brian made do with a corner of the living room -- and checked his e-mail on his laptop. Nothing important. It was never anything important. Then he went upstairs to finish packing. Ron came in a few minutes later.
"Party over so soon?" Brian said, not glancing up.
"I didn't go back to the party! I've just been driving around." Ron stood in the doorway, trying to make Brian meet his eye.
"Oh? You should have picked up Lowell -- I'm sure he would have blown you in the car while you were anguishing."
Ron flinched. "Brian -- I... I'm so sorry...."
Brian paused over the suitcase and finally looked up at his partner, really looked at him. "Oh my God -- the 's' word! I thought you didn't do apologies, Ron? You know -- 'No apologies, no excuses, no regrets'? Isn't that your motto?"
"I... what can I say? What can I do, Brian?" Ron really did look guilty, Brian thought. Good. He fucking SHOULD feel guilty. Especially after laying the guilt on Brian for all those years. And for what? Brian daring to go to the gym. Having dinner with a friend at a conference. Meeting some students after class at the Student Union. Whatever reason that Ron could come up with to be jealous. And to make Brian feel like he was doing something wrong.
"What you always do, Ron. Nothing. Obviously." Brian put his hand up to his forehead. Behind his eyes, his head was aching like a bitch.
"Brian -- just so you know. I always used protection. I mean... with anyone else."
Brian froze. Just fucking great! "Gee, thanks a bunch, Ron!" Brian knew he should stop and count to ten, but he couldn't. Instead, he picked up the nearest object -- which was the channel changer for the bedroom television -- and threw it against the wall.
"Brian!" Ron jumped back, afraid he was the next target. "Be careful!"
"How could you DO this to me? I ought to punch your fucking FACE in! Do you KNOW that?" Brian stood right up to confront Ron, who cowered back. In his black tee shirt, his face red, his arms tense and fists clenching, Ron realized just how strong and dangerous Brian could be. "I ought to fucking put you in the HOSPITAL!"
And Ron knew immediately that Brian was physically capable of doing just that. But Ron also knew he wouldn't. Brian wasn't emotionally capable of doing it.
Instead, Brian simply turned away and stripped off his black tee shirt. He folded it to put into the suitcase.
"Why are you taking that with you?"
Brian's voice was empty of emotion now. "I like it. I might want to go out and get laid while I'm in Pittsburgh -- and this tee shirt might help do the job. I think I look hot in it, don't you?"
"But...." Ron was staring at Brian. Like he was beginning to realize exactly what he had done. And how it couldn't be undone. Ever. No matter what happened otherwise, the entire dynamic of the relationship had just changed. He'd cheated on Brian. He'd done it and he had no rational explanation for doing it, even to himself. And not only had he cheated on Brian, but he'd humiliated him in public. In front of Ron's colleagues and the head of his department. And he had done it without even thinking. Without considering the consequences. And the consequences were now harshly confronting him.
"Yeah," said Brian, turning the black tee shirt over in his hands. The black material made a stark contrast with the pale skin of his bare chest. "Maybe I'll buy a whole drawer full of these things, in every color." Brian set the shirt in the suitcase. "Red would be good. I like red. I know YOU think it looks trashy, but who cares what you think, right, Ron? Who gives a fuck?"
"I know how upset you are, Brian. But please sit down for a moment and...."
"I know I'm a little out of practice, but I'm sure that it will all come back to me. I mean, once I get into the right mood and get the right clothes. Maybe some leather pants. Really tight ones. And a black leather jacket, too. I've wanted one of those for a long time, but you would never let me have one! I think I'll get one the first thing. It'll be just like old times. I mean, once a whore, always a whore. That's what you've always thought, isn't it, Ron? That you can clean me up to your satisfaction, and dress me like a fucking wimp, and take me out in public without being too embarrassed by me. Because I know the right things to say and the right way to act now. I've learned the drill so well it's second nature. But at home, I'm still your personal whore, right? Isn't that the way you've always seen it? The way you've always treated me?"
"Brian, that's not fair! That's not true in any way -- and you know it! I don't treat you like a whore -- I've NEVER treated you like a whore, even when...." Ron stopped short.
"Even when I WAS one? Is that what you were going to say, Ron? Huh?" Brian shook his head and stared down at his suitcase, trying to think of a way to get out of the room, out of the house, right now instead of tomorrow.
"That wasn't what I was going to say. I... I don't even know what I'm saying."
"He finally admits that he doesn't know something! My God! Hell just froze over!" Brian turned around. Ron was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking stunned. "You know, if you want to get lucky with a better class of guy than Lowell, you should really try the gym. I always get at least one good prospect in there every time I go. Straight boys, of course, but they are certainly curious and seem willing to experiment. I'm sorry now that I never took advantage of any of my opportunities there. What a fucking waste!"
"Brian, please just listen to me for one minute. Let me try to explain...."
Brian cocked his head and continued on as if Ron hadn't spoken. "Of course, it might not work for you, Ron. I mean, you ARE kind of old -- almost forty, after all. And not really that well-endowed. I'm sure Lowell doesn't mind, but he's so desperate that for him ANY action is better than none at all. And you are quite a catch for a lowly Research Assistant. After all, Lowell isn't even good enough to be a Teaching Assistant. And certainly not smart enough to be on a Fellowship. Oh, right -- I was on a Fellowship. I'm sure you forgot that. And it was one I got without any 'help' from you. Because you were out of the country. Which is probably why you've never really acknowledged it. Or any of the other shit I've done that you didn't 'arrange.' Well, I'm sick of being 'arranged' by you, Ron. Work your magic on Lowell."
"Brian -- Lowell is meaningless! You KNOW that!"
"Meaningless. So meaningless. It's nice that you would jeopardize everything for something so 'meaningless.' That makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER!" Brian looked around for something else to slam against the wall -- besides Ron's head.
"I mean... that Lowell... he doesn't mean a thing... he...."
"You're just making it worse, you know," Brian said quietly. "But Ron, if Lowell is so meaningless, then you really ought to concentrate on those better guys, like I said. I'm just trying to help you here. To attract the really hot guys it helps to have an eight inch dick. Or so I'm told. It's quite a commodity. Even straight boys are fascinated by it. Imagine the results I'll get when I wave it around in front of a bunch of actual queers. I think I may be very, very popular! That might be nice for a change."
"Brian -- stop saying that! You know you don't mean that kind of shit... about... about...."
"About all those guys you think I might want to fuck? Why? You think it isn't true? Do you really think that I don't get hit on constantly? I thought that was your big fear, Ron? The reason why you were always checking up on me? Betraying yourself there, Ron? Playing out your own guilt?"
"I NEVER did that! I've always trusted you. Always."
"Sure you did! Like you are ALWAYS watching me! But you never caught me doing anything because there wasn't anything to catch! Unlike YOU, I thought I was supposed to be faithful! THAT was a fucking joke from the start, wasn't it? Wasn't it, Ron?"
"You're wrong! It wasn't a joke... I was... In the beginning... I mean...." Ron was stumbling, really stumbling now. Trying to think of a way to get himself out of the mess he'd made without ruining everything.
"You're so pathetic. Really pathetic, Ron." Brian pulled a sweater out of his drawer. He was thinking that there might be a chill coming down while he was in Pittsburgh. It WAS September, after all. "I wish I had made a list of all the guys you know who wanted to fuck me. Your pals at NYU, your Queer Theory Study Group in Boston, even your cousin Milt who came to visit from Chicago -- ALL of them put the moves on me! I wished I'd fucked every one of them! God! I'm SO stupid!"
"Brian -- you don't mean that!"
"Don't I?" Brian walked into the bathroom to get his kit, then came out and stood next to the bed. "Oh, and while I'm gone, you'll have to call and cancel your own appointments and pick up your own dry cleaning. Oops -- I forgot. Lowell can do that for you. Maybe he'd like to move in here? You better call Lilith and tell her to send some of your favorite recipes. I know how fucking fussy you are about what you eat! I hope Lowell can cook. But he's young enough. I'm sure you can train HIM to do everything exactly the way you like it -- just like you trained ME!" Brian slammed his kit into the open suitcase and walked out of the bedroom.
Tuesday, September 5, 2000:
Brian woke up feeling like shit. Sleeping on the sofa was a first for him in all the years he'd been with Ron. Both had been angry, tired, upset, and even ill before -- but neither of them had ever resorted to the sofa. Brian's back was paying the price of his pride.
Brian went upstairs and into the bedroom. Ron was awake, sitting up in bed. His eyes were red and it looked like he'd been up all night. Brian pulled off his briefs and tossed them into the laundry bin, then went into the shower. He was as quick as he could be, afraid that Ron might corner him there -- the shower was one of their favorite places to make up and Brian didn't want to deal with things that way. Not anymore. It didn't really work. Obviously.
Brian came out, dried himself, and brushed his teeth. He gathered a few more items to put in his suitcase -- his favorite green tea shampoo, an extra toothbrush, his deodorant, his lotion, his baby powder. Then, as an afterthought, he opened the box of condoms and took a small handful. Brian walked out of the bathroom and shoved the items in his case.
Ron was watching Brian from the bed as he got dressed, slipping on a denim shirt from the back of the closet. "Are you still going?"
Brian gritted his teeth. "Of course I'm going! Just because we are having a 'slight' relationship implosion, and just because I'M having a personal MELTDOWN of fucking EPIC dimensions, and just because YOU have fucked yourself over royally in a way you can't talk yourself out of -- that doesn't mean that my father's treatments are going to be postponed. His cancer doesn't stop because YOU want to keep control over something that is OUT of your control. Like ME! Like me not taking your shit anymore. Or anyone else's shit anymore." Brian pulled on the pair of jeans he'd worn the day before and tucked in his shirt.
"I haven't tried to do that. I've never tried to control you. Everything I've done for you was because I love you."
"Yeah, Sure. Like fucking Lowell. Or that guy in Boston. And whoever else. Those were such caring acts of love!"
"Brian -- try to think of what you're saying -- what you're doing!"
"Why, Ron? YOU obviously never thought before you did any of the things YOU did. Never thought about how I might feel. How I might...." Brian had to stop, afraid he'd break down. And that's the last thing he wanted to do at this time.
"Don't leave now... Not right now! It's important."
"But my leaving isn't about you. Not everything has to do with you, Ron. Not everything has to do with US. It has to do with my old man. And my obligation to him. I have to go and do this for him."
"But you don't have any obligation to your father, Brian! He wasn't the one who was there for you! I was the one! ME!" Ron got out of bed and started following Brian around the bedroom. "I was the one who was always there! So, how can you just take off right now? What about me?"
"WHAT about you, Ron?" Brian looked around the room one last time, wondering what else he should cram into his case.
"When are you coming back? Brian?"
"Next weekend. And then I'll decide what I'm going to do from there." Brian finally shut the suitcase and zipped it up.
"What do you mean, 'decide what to do'? What does that mean?" said Ron. Without his glasses he looked lost and much older.
"Just what it sounds like. I'll decide what I'm going to do -- and where I'm going -- when I get back."
"Go? Go where?" Ron's voice was rising. He was wearing a ridiculous pair of pajamas his mother had gotten him. Ron seemed to be the only fag in the world who still wore pajamas! "Where would you go? Where would you go without ME?"
"I don't know where. Ron. Maybe somewhere. Maybe nowhere. I don't have any idea. But I'm going away to Pittsburgh now."
And Brain dragged his suitcase downstairs and out to the older Volvo, tossing it into the trunk. Then he got his briefcase, in case he had a chance to work on his article. Then, as an afterthought, he picked up his laptop from his little desk in the corner of the living room.
"Are you taking your computer? Why are you taking that?" Ron was standing in the doorway of the living room. He had put on Brian's old blue bathrobe over his pajamas. He looked like a mental patient, shuffling around a locked ward.
"I may need it. What if I find a job in Pittsburgh? What if I find a place to live? What if I fucking find the love of my life? This will save you having to send all my shit to me!" Brian pushed by Ron on his way to the door.
"Brian! Be serious."
"I am. I am being serious. I've always been serious! Maybe that's been my fucking problem!"
And he left.
Continue on to "Nowhere Man -- Part 6.
©Gaedhal, October 2002
Posted October 21, 2002