This is Chapter 26 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Goddess of the Hunt", the previous chapter.
The narrator is Brian Kinney.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian has a recurring dream. The Spencer Pavilion, Los Angeles, April 2002.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
I keep having these dreams that I'm back in Pittsburgh.
In the loft. Under those blue neon lights that everyone told me I crazy to install. Well, I am crazy -- that's been certified -- but not because of those lights. Those were never a mistake.
And it's always the same scenario in this strange dream.
I roll over, waking up suddenly, and I find him there.
I'm surprised. I'm happy. And I'm not afraid to show him just how happy. I reach out and feel him come into my arms. Why am I not afraid? I'm not certain, but it's true. There are not that many instances in my life when I am not full of fear, full of doubt, but this is one of them.
I run my hands over his body in the blue light. Everything is perfect -- that's how I know it's a dream. Real life is never perfect, never without those doubts. But there are none here. There are no doubts or apprehensions in his eyes. They are perfect in their trust. They make me feel that I can be trusted, that I can be loved, that I am allowed to be human.
And he touches me. It isn't just possession. This isn't something I can take and own. This is something shared. That's what makes it unlike any other. I don't count the acts or rate the expertise or rank these sighs on an invisible reckoning sheet. I am not keeping track of who does what or when or in what position. I don't think about who is in control. That's also how I know it's a dream.
I lean down to taste him at the same place he has tasted me. We mirror each other. I've taught him everything he knows, but he has taught me everything I needed to learn. He gasps. Every time is a surprise, as if it never happened before. There is nothing to get jaded about. No hint of boredom or going through the motions. He never says -- go away -- I'm tired of you -- I'm busy -- I no longer desire you.... That's another way I know it's a dream.
And he's not faceless. Of all the countless others, over years and years, I can't recall the faces, if I ever really saw them to begin with. I can remember fleeting movements, glances, completed acts that left me panting. Places. Postures. Situations. But never faces. That would be too personal, too close to actual human contact. That would be recognizing someone else's humanity, when I can't even recognize my own.
But not here. I look for the face. The expression. I wait for that squint, that flutter of the lids, the mouth that opens so slightly as I thrust. The way he presses his lips together when I am deep inside him, like he is tasting something wonderful and that makes me want to taste something, too -- that face.
And the way he is always delighted when he cums, when I cum. Not glad to get it over with, or in a hurry to sleep or leave to just get away somewhere. Away from me -- somewhere. "Does he hold you -- all wet and sticky?" Is that the true test? I never wanted to hold anyone, touch anyone, afterwards. If they could have just disappeared into thin air, that would have been my perfect wish. But even from the first, I rolled over in my half-sleep and took him up in my arms -- not realizing at first what I was doing. And held him -- until I got scared. Caught myself. What WAS he doing there? Why was he still here? And I continued to ask that question, month after month after month -- Why was he STILL here? With me? There must be a mistake. He must be wrong. He must be crazy.
No. I am the crazy one, remember? Certifiable.
And so he stays. And I stay. And I move against him and he moves against me, not in animosity, not like armies trying to gain ground or prove points, but like dancers, shifting directions without a cue, without a rehearsal. Moving together in pure emotion and not just pure sensation until....
I wake up.
My eyes blinking. My heart pounding like a pile-driver. The anxiety grips me in its iron hand. I can't breath again....
My analyst keeps telling me that this is a nightmare. That we have to work on this 'problem' and get to the bottom of it, so it will go away.
And I think that, No, Dr. Hall, you're wrong. Waking up and being HERE is the nightmare. THIS is the problem I need to 'get to the bottom of' -- L.A. and my fucking life here and all it represents. That's the actual night terror. And I'd undergo a thousand electric shocks to get this nightmare I'm existing in to go away and never return.
He says that I can't spend my life living in a dream. I have to come out of the blue lights and face 'reality.'
But why? Why do I have to return to the world? Many people spend their whole lives insane. Maybe they are happy. Happier than I am. Why can't they leave me alone?
We'll give you another injection, say the voices that make lies sound so much like truth. This will make things better. One day, you'll understand how it is all for the best. This is what you need. We'll drain those blue lights right out of you. We'll exorcise 'him' right out of your head, right out of your heart. And you won't feel a thing. Not a single thing.
Nothing will ever hurt again. Won't that be convenient? You'll be so easy to handle. So easy to transport. You won't have to collect your emotions and move them from place to place because they'll be gone. All you'll need is the drug. It will smooth out all the rough edges. You'll be smoother than glass washed over year after year by the ocean. You can't cut anyone. You'll be as soft and safe as a ball of cotton.
Get away from me. Leave me the fuck alone.
Let me just sleep.
This is the way I feel safest. I turn everything off. It is possible to block out the whole world. Live in your dreams. Especially with the drug. But I can do it, drug or no drug. You don't feel pain that way.
What was the name of that kid on the Bowery? The one with the burns all over him? Romeo. Yes. Ironic name. The great lover. The great romantic. I wonder whatever happened to that kid? A junkie by the time he was eleven, he's probably long dead. Or in prison. And a kid like that in prison might as well be dead.
But he taught me what it was like not to feel anything. You could cut that kid with a knife or burn him with a cigarette and he wouldn't flinch. But when Stan took away a little stuffed toy he'd picked out of the trash, man, did the tears fall. Like his heart would break. That shook me. Really shook me.
I can't let it happened to me.
Get the fuck away. Don't you know I want to be left alone? Isn't it obvious?
What do I have to do to myself before you'll believe it?
"Brian? Can you tell me what the date is? Can you? What's MY name? Brian?"
Names. Dates. What does it matter? It's just words. Meaningless sounds. You can attach them to people, but that doesn't make the people real. That doesn't mean those people are HERE.
"Make a note to consult with Dr. Krishnan about lowering the dosage."
Lower it? Lower? Don't you know that I need MORE? How stupid can you be! Don't you know that I can STILL hear you?
"Are you dreaming again?'
Well, who could help it? Daydreams. At school, then at work, sometimes the stresses of being brilliant, of being the perfect student, the perfect ad man... Sometimes I wouldn't know where my mind had gone.
And when I discovered the bars, the clubs, the baths -- the perfect places to lose yourself. Every night was like a dream. No one was real -- least of all, me. You could say anything, be anything, recreate yourself every night.
But then, I noticed that I was stuck. Suddenly, ideas that I'd just taken up, tried out, set into motion, had taken me over. No bullshit. No repeats. No relationships. No love. How did it happen? When did it happen?
If I could go back and start again, it could all be different.
Mikey. When did I make that rule that I couldn't fuck you? I think it was my earliest one. What's the matter, Kinney? Afraid? Afraid that then one person will know ALL your secrets? Your secret identity? If one person knew everything, then you'd have to kill them, wouldn't you?
Ron. I CAN go back with you, can't I? You don't see me from the start as the heartless, soulless asshole -- the stud who is forever cold and cruel and a fucking machine. No emotions permitted. No cracks allowed to show. Even when I try to care, who would believe it? Who would do anything but laugh in my face?
I can escape with you. Get out of fucking Dodge. In a new place, you can make a new beginning. No expectations. No facades. People will see you for what you ARE. They won't look and see the 'reputation' and not the man. Not the boy. Not the child.
Is that where it all went wrong? Because YOU were the one who couldn't see beyond your own memories? Your own fantasies?
But I'm not sixteen years old anymore. I can't be, no matter how hard I try to revert back. Tap into the brat, the punk, the terrified kid, the addict, the whore, the innocent. I can't do it. I'm too old now. It's too late. Everything is... too late.
Before I started on your little ill-fated project -- another fantasy to make me into a movie star? That's YOUR fantasy, never mine, Ron -- I watched your films. The 'Queer Romance' videos. I'd actually seen them before. When Justin was first living at the loft and was enamored of the DVD player, he ordered piles of shit from the Faggots Online mail-order. Including those fucking 'romantic' videos. That should have given me an early clue to what he was looking for, what he needed. All your fault, Ron! Feeding him those fantasies. He must have somehow know. Like you were sending him a message. An image. An ideal. Who could fucking live up to that? I made fun of them, while he punched my arm and stared, enraptured.
It wasn't until I watched them all again that I realized -- to my horror -- that they were all your fantasies, Ron. Your fantasies of ME. Or possible mes. Another nightmare. People I couldn't recognize and wouldn't want to be in the same room with -- your idea of ME? That fluffy house-fag in 'Honey, I'm Home' -- the one who wears a fucking APRON and raises fucking poodles and watches 'Oprah' while waiting for the macho man-fag to return to their suburban love-nest on fucking Long Island? Shit!
Once I realized what you'd been doing I had to watch all the films to 'find' myself. The incredibly dim-witted hustler in 'Dog Walk.' The goofy rube from the Midwest in 'Gershwin.' I had a harder time with that idiotic camping film, 'Wild Bears.' All those ultra macho assholes bumbling around the forest like the Queer Stooges, screaming like little girls when they confront snakes, raccoons, and the world's most toothless bear. Maybe I was the raccoon? Until it came to me that I was the underage boy-toy, the horny twink who does it with everyone in sight -- but also the only one who knows how to light a fucking fire (courtesy of a filthy Scout Master fantasy sequence) or put a fucking worm on a fucking hook. That one I could actually relate to -- a little. At least I wasn't portrayed as a complete fool.
Now, what's the character? What's the part to play?
How can you make me into a complete fool this time?
Let me get back to my little dream. Something muted, blue, unswerving in its faith.
Don't make me act any more. Just let me be.
Leave me alone. Everyone.
Go away, shrink.
"You have to talk to me."
I do? Want to bet?
"I've reduced your dosage. You shouldn't be having those dreams anymore."
Go ahead. Take THAT away. Why not?
You've taken everything else away.
Continue on to "Mother's Day", the next chapter.
©Gaedhal, June 2002
Pictures of Gale Harold from Showtime and "Flaunt."
Updated June 13, 2002