Copyright 2015 by Roman Theodore Brandt
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I always try to do at least one first in every story that I write: first time writing in past tense, first time writing sci-fi, first time writing a novella, etc. Illumination was my first cerebral storyline, taking place as much in the background as in the foreground, and I’ve tried to continue that with All the Stars in the Sky and now I Left My Heart at Terminal Tower. This story, however, is the most complex I’ve ever written. The layers are infinite, and I’ve tried to write it that way, so that each new read peels away a new layer. If you as my reader never get tired of this story, I’ve done my job.
I Left My Heart at Terminal Tower is my first story I’ve written based off of a poem I wrote, which I’ve included below. I thought the poem would make an interesting story, and from there I decided to see where it would lead me. Well, it’s been almost a year. It’s been really difficult to write this, because translating this poem to a story has been like wallpapering water. In the end, though, I think it’s been worth it. Here, in its entirety, is the original poem.
I waited for you in truck stops,
Carving my name into tile walls
Blood pounding in the veins of my hand.
Gravel lots stretching to the freeways where
Eighteen wheelers rumbled over dead dinosaurs.
I waited for you in forgotten drive-in theaters,
Mammoth white screens blocking out the sun,
Speaker boxes quiet as the stars.
Silent as car radios,
The screen ignites.
I learned secret languages for you,
Black holes folded into your hand,
Unraveling bundles of nerves.
I left my heart at Terminal Tower,
Waiting for subway cars that never came,
Pounding pulse, ribs cracked back and gaping.
I left my virginity in a motel room,
Scratched raw from beards and condoms.
I collected strangers in my backseat,
But I left my lungs in your bedroom,
So I could smell you when I bled on rented sheets.
I performed electric transfusions in the dark,
With your blood circulating sparks inside me
I left my heart on the tracks at Terminal Tower,
And here comes the train,
Thirty years late.
I remember your teeth leaving marks,
Stripping me of muscle tone,
A living autopsy.
My organs lit up
Like Christmas lights,
Glowing blue against the stars.
Transform, you said.
And so I did,
Shining under overpasses,
A satellite burning up in the ozone,
Kissing oxygen for the first time.
My bones are so old without him they might as well be dust. I don’t have a name anymore. I still go to truck stops to smell him, breathe him in, look for his phone number on the backs of the stall doors. I breathe dust. I go to all the places we used to be: motel rooms, burned out bonfire pits, woods that watched us breathing in the night. I’ve avoided the tower, though. I’ve not once gone down the dusty concrete steps to stand on the platform alone, waiting for a train that will never come. Cleveland was darker without him. They shut the subway down when he left.
I remember his voice in my ear, whispering. “Don’t let it consume you.” Well, I guess I did. I guess it happened, because here I am. He always said he’d come back.
Once, I found him in Iowa, another time in New Jersey. Once on the beach in California, my fingers tracing the digits zero to nine clutching the receiver. “Don’t let me down,” he said, so I dialed the number.
Our time still exists in reel-to-reel on the backs of my eyelids, a biological filmstrip in a permanent loop, blurring and fading into a living room, Wyatt and I on the couch watching TV with the phone ringing in the kitchen.
“God damn it, who is this?” Wyatt’s mom said into the receiver.
“She’s about to freak out,” he told me.
So I said, “I can’t blame her.”
Her heels clicked across the linoleum, and she appeared in the archway like a mountain of dirty laundry. “Wyatt, for love of Christ. There’s another breather on the phone.”
“And?” He asked. “Did he keep breathing? Is he still alive?”
She stared at her son for a minute and then put her hands on her wide hips. “Listen, no more of this. It’s not safe. I want you to stop.”
“Take some pills, Mom.”
“I’m not going to stand here while strangers find our phone number in a truck stop restroom. It’s not safe.”
“Then sit down, why don’t ya?”
She disappeared into kitchen. “Listen,” she said into the phone. “We don’t want any. Are you about done?” She slammed the phone down into the cradle. “For Pete sake.”
“He’s still alive,” Wyatt told me, and then he smiled.
So I rolled my eyes and said, “You’re so dumb.”
“I don’t know about this.”
You looked up at me, sweaty and tired. “What’s not to know? Just try it.”
In the bathroom mirror, we were naked, palms together.
“It tingles, I guess,” I said, and you laughed.
“You’re not trying hard enough.”
So I tried harder, and I closed my eyes. I figured that constituted effort.
“Focus, imagine it. It’s there.” I felt you watching me. “Do you feel anything?”
“Maybe.” I opened my eyes and look around. The bathroom buzzed in the florescent light around us.
“Okay, now, pull your hand away.”
But I couldn’t; when I tried, it felt like I was like trying to peel my skin off. “I can’t pull away. I’m stuck.”
“What’s the matter with you?”
“It hurts, Wyatt. I can’t do it.”
So you yanked your hand away from mine, and something detached, tendrils dripping red, flinging back into the palms of our hands, skin rotating, then we stood there with blood dripping down our arms.
“What was that, Wyatt?”
You laughed like crazy and flung the medicine cabinet door open, leaving red prints on the glass. “We did it.”
“What are you looking for?”
I wish he would have called me sooner. I wish he would have sent me a letter or driven up over the curb and into my living room. That’s it, isn’t it? I just had rooms after he left. I had a whole set of rooms branching off of a hallway, an apartment without anyone else in it.
If I looked out at the highway from any window, I could see the eighteen wheelers rumbling in the distance, dead dinosaurs becoming oil beneath their tires. I’d have given anything to be oil.
For a long time, my life just vanished into a black hole, opening wide to swallow a million years of sediment and closing again.
I knew where he was. I just didn’t know how to get there.
Once, I waited for him at the old drive-in, with its silent speaker graves blasting static into space. The screen in the distance ignited, spanning decades of films. Black and white tributes, flickering images of Deanna Durban singing, and there we were again, the other cars illuminated white against the gravel.
“What do you suppose they’re doing?” I asked, looking over at the next car.
“Don’t worry about them, Dusty.”
“Oh come on, how about we make something up?”
Wyatt’s eyes were like the stars in the sky, shining and already dead. “Yeah, okay. Let me think a minute.”
“Suppose they’re running from the law?”
He laughed. “Well they wouldn’t be at a drive-in, would they?”
“I guess not,” I said. “Unless they’re pretty dumb.”
“That’s it.” He looked over at me with his eyes shining in the light from the screen. “They’re dumb. They won’t make it to see twenty.”
We sat in silence for a while, and Wyatt put his arm around me really slick, like I wouldn’t notice.
“That’ll never be me,” he said in my ear.
“I plan to live forever.”
I sighed and leaned back in the seat. “You’re looney.”
I felt his lips on my ear, and I was starting to get hard in my pants. “Cut it out, Wyatt.”
He laughed and started to undo my belt. “It’s all part of the human experience,” he said.
We stayed in a motel some nights, away from our parents and our lives. I remember one night Wyatt pressed the palm of his hand against mine when he was half asleep on the bed, and it was the weirdest feeling, like fibers unwinding in the dark.
“What’s this?” I asked, and he laughed.
“Just you wait.”
So I waited, but it started to hurt; I felt my pulse pounding in the palm of my hand, stinging like needles, ripping away into the night. I tried to pull away, but he tightened his grip.
“Hey, what’s this? What are you doing? Let go.”
“Just calm down.”
I tried to think of anything else.
“Say we’ll grow old together,” I said, because I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
He laughed and said, “No promises.”
“Say, what is this? You’re really starting to hurt me.” I yanked my hand away, but it was sealed to his. “Hey, let go.”
Suddenly, the tissue ripped, letting go, and blood seeped from our palms, dripping down onto the bedspread, painting it like a red Rorschach blot.
“What was that?” I asked.
“I’m in you, now.”
“Don’t be creepy.” I watched the skin of my hand rotate and close around the black hole, filling the silence with white noise.
“Just you try to get rid of me, now,” He said.
Later that night, I woke to an empty motel room with the phone off the hook, buzzing in the dark. I sat up in bed and looked around at the wallpaper, the chair where our clothes had been thrown. I picked up the receiver and put it back in the cradle. Almost immediately, it started to ring. I let it ring for a minute, jangling in the dark, and then I picked up the receiver and put it to my ear. “Hello?”
There was silence on the other end, and then a click. After that, the dial tone sang to me until I hung up.
I found Wyatt outside, sitting on the sidewalk, watching the traffic on the road outside. “Everything’s okay,” he told me as I sat down beside him. “I know that now.”
We went out on the freeway, thumbing for rides and writing his phone number on the backs of toilet stall doors. On the freeway, exits opened and closed, sheet metal veins pumping cars, forcing on-ramps into creation. We showed up on foot in a little town and went to local fair, laughing on the Merry-go-round and eating stolen cotton candy. I don’t even remember how we got away with it.
“Everything’s going away here,” Wyatt said once we got to the top of the Ferris wheel. “We’ve got to run away.”
“No, I like it here.”
He looked over at me with the lights of some small, sad country shit town far below in the dark.
“We’re leaving as soon as we get off this thing,” He told me. “I mean it; this place is awful.”
We spent that night in a truck stop curled up in the last toilet stall in the men’s’ room, our hair greasy from the road. We stayed on the road for a while. Every rest stop changed me a little, cells peeling away into the universe. Every moment standing on the subway platform waiting for the train, we were together. We were unstoppable. We showered in truck stops with truck drivers and sat under freeway overpasses, listening to the roar of tires overhead. The surface of the earth was pocked with the scars from our midnight bonfires, Wyatt and I in the woods with marshmallows on sticks.
“What do you want to do with your life?” He asked.
“That’s a pretty rude question, isn’t it?”
“We never talk about it,” he said. “I want to know.”
I shrugged and looked around at the shadows between the trees, the ashes rising like angels from the fire, flickering, burning out like meteors. “I don’t know. You’re living forever and I’ll be dead one day, so it won’t matter what I do.”
“Sure it will.”
But then he stopped talking, and the woods were quiet except for the sound of insects far away.
“It’s not like I’m never coming back,” Wyatt said finally.
“What if you don’t?”
“Stop asking me that. I’ll be back.” He put his arm around me, and the skin of his hand on my neck was electricity, sparks igniting, supernovae unfolding in radio silence.
“I don’t know how I’ll go,” he said finally. “When I leave, I mean.”
“I don’t want to know,” I said.
“You wanna fool around?”
I laughed a little. “No, not right now.”
So he pulled me closer and I put my head on his shoulder. “Give me your hand,” he said after a second.
“Alright, but if I do you, you have to do me.”
He laughed. “Just give me your hand.”
He took my hand and drew a circle on the skin. “This might feel funny,” he told me, drawing the same circle over and over. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the feeling of our skin cells scraping past one another. “You feel anything yet?” he asked.
“Open your eyes, you have to watch,” he said.
When I opened my eyes, there was nothing at first, but then the skin inside the circle began to swirl and darken.
“Shhh. Just watch.”
The swirling darkness turned into a spinning blackness inside the palm of my hand, spinning faster. “I don’t want to do this anymore.” I tried to pull my hand away, but he grabbed my wrist, and I watched my hand open into a void. “What are you doing?”
“Do you feel anything yet?”
“Stop it; that hurts.” I yanked my hand away, and he let go, but there was still a rotating black void in the palm of my hand. I shook my hand and looked again, watching it spin. “Jesus,” I mumbled.
“It’s a black hole, Dusty.”
I stared at it. “It hurts.”
“Don’t let it consume you.”
I stared at it, and then I looked up at him. “How did you do that?”
“That’s where I’m going.” He nodded toward my hand, and when I looked, the void was still rotating, but it was getting smaller.
“Don’t let it consume you, Dusty,” Wyatt said. He reached for my hand. “Give me your hand.”
“Fix it, Wyatt.”
“That’s what I’m doing, if you’d give me your damn hand.” So I gave him my hand, and he put his palm over the hole, covering it. I swear I could hear galaxies rotating, vortexes opening, the same stars turning behind his eyes.
“Don’t leave me,” I said suddenly.
Wyatt looked up at me, and I saw Andromeda. “I’ll still be here somewhere, I guess.”
I think of all the nights in my bed, his car, his mom’s basement bathroom. “It’s all ending then.”
“I hate being a teenager, Dusty.” So he pulled me to his chest and we sat there like saps with our marshmallows burning and melting into the fire. “Don’t let it consume you, Dusty. It’s not even real.”
“What if I can’t go on?” I asked. So dramatic.
We sat there for a while, with the insects singing in the distance, the fire starting to die, and then he said, “Then you transform. Become something new.” After a few minutes, he said, “I will come back, though.”
We went home a week later, and Wyatt’s mom came out of her house the second she saw us. “You!” She yelled at him, and she shoved him toward the front door. “You wait until your father gets home. If you run away again, I’ll split your ass myself.”
“Come on, Mom, I’m still alive,” he said on his way inside.
She glared at me for a minute. “He’s got his first treatment soon. Did he tell you that?”
“His first treatment?” I asked. He’d never said anything about treatment or illness. “Is he sick?”
She shook her head and went inside, slamming the door behind her.
The first treatment is always the worst, that’s what they say. It was hard to see him hooked up to machines.
“You look scared,” Wyatt said, laughing, and all I could do was smile.
“I guess I am.”
“I’m the one who ought to be scared,” he said.
“Look at you, going off to war,” I said, and we laughed.
“You’re going to feel warm,” the nurse said, and the machine started to buzz behind her.
I watched his eyes follow the poison in, through plastic tunnels into his arm. He looked so vulnerable, with tubes under his skin. This was the last moment you would ever really feel okay again.
“It feels like I have to pee,” he said, and I laughed a little.
“Now you might feel a pinch,” the nurse said, and the machines got louder.
I went out into the hallway with his mom, but I could still see him in the hospital gown, sitting on the examining table.
“I think twice a week would help,” the doctor said, and his mom, she just nodded.
I thought of all the stars outside. It must be nice to be so far away.
“I have to work a double this Thursday, but Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually clear,” she told him, and I closed my eyes and thought of a truck stop far away where Wyatt and I had spent our first night on the road together. I wished for a box to put myself in.
I remember Wyatt with his cheesecake, sitting there like everything was okay; such a kidder. That cafeteria was a morgue; he just didn’t know it yet.
“I’ll have all the cheesecake I want when I come back,” he said to me.
I played with my plastic fork, unable to eat anything. “So nothing’s going to change,” I mumbled.
He laughed, and I looked out the windows at the courtyard.
“Wait till you see it.” He took a big drink of juice and sat back in his chair. “It’s the coolest.”
“But you’re coming back.”
“I’m coming back for you, and then we’re going away. Who needs this town?”
I smiled at him, and he took my hand across the table with his free hand, the hospital bracelet still clinging to the hairs on his arm.
“I won’t know, though, will I? You could walk right by me at that point,” I said.
“Don’t say that. You’ll know. We’ll have a code or something.” His face was all shadow.
“You gonna knock on the table or what?” I asked.
“You’ll know. It’s like you know I’m here now.”
“You are here, Dumbass.”
He smiled and said, “Prove it.”
We didn’t talk about the hospital visits after the first one. We hardly talked about it then. I remember Wyatt and I standing in the back parking lot of the grocery store, connected by nerves dripping red across the asphalt, suspended like a tightrope between us.
“I don’t know how to make it go back in,” he said to me.
“It’s a fine time to tell me that now,” I said.
After a minute, he said to me, “Just trust me, this is how it works.”
Wyatt went away slowly, one treatment at a time, with dark circles under his eyes and red gums bleeding into the sink. I watched him go.
“I always thought I’d get hit by a train or something exciting like that,” he said on the last day.
“I wish you’d shut up, just once,” I said with my eyes wet.
Twenty-four hours later, he was in cold storage, then in a dark wood box in the back of a car. If a black hole were a person, it would have been me at that moment, watching Wyatt go into the ground.
He never made it to college, but I still saw him there, as a face in every crowd. The dorm rooms and lecture halls closed over me like water.
I found a boy who looked like Wyatt and went out to the woods with him once in a while. He didn’t smell like him or taste like him, but it didn’t matter until I went back up to my room after to cry. He took me to alcoholic bonfires and gatherings in small houses stuffed with too many people, and if we found a quiet corner, it was almost okay. He wasn’t Wyatt, though. He was a stranger with Wyatt’s face. After a while, being around him made me sick, so I started to avoid him, the poor kid. He left school after freshman year and never came back.
I started seeing Wyatt in different places after college, after I had stopped pretending to be an adult. I saw him once in a while at a bus stop, sad eyes gazing out at the stars. I wanted to ask him when he was coming back, but as soon as the thought came into my head, he were gone, vanished behind a passing bus.
Another time, I passed a ringing pay phone. I wondered if it was Wyatt on the other end waiting for me to pick up, but I just kept walking.
I was twenty-four and living in a small town the next time I saw him. On my way home one night, there he was, a teenager on the side of the road. The first couple times I saw him I went right past. I floored it all the way home and started avoiding that road. But then he started showing up on every road, watching me pass. So one day, I stopped the car. We stared at each other for a minute, and then you opened the door.
“I thought you were just going to keep driving again,” Wyatt said.
“I wasn’t sure, that’s all.”
He got in and shut the door. “Drive.”
He sighed and leaned back in the seat. “You know where.”
So I put the pedal all the way down, because what’s life otherwise?
“I knew you’d come back,” I said.
“I’m only visiting,” he told me, and when I looked over at him, he wouldn’t look at me.
“What do you mean, visiting?”
“Things are more complicated than I realized,” he said. “I’m working on it.”
We got some burgers at a diner in the middle of nowhere and he watched the cars passing on the freeway outside. “I’m like those cars, you know,” he told me.
“I am,” Wyatt said, looking right into my eyes.
“Then why are you still wearing that fucking hospital bracelet?”
We both looked down at the printed white plastic bracelet sticking to the hairs on your arm. He twisted it around and around, chuckling. “This is nothing,” he told me me. He looked up; his eyes are deep, rotating star fields far away, pools of water so deep I knew I’d never fully know them. “You recognize the song on the juke box?”
“Deana Durbin,” I said.
“Right. I’m driving away in a black car,” he told me, and I remembered the flowers and his mom’s face at the funeral. “Come on,” he said, getting up from the booth. “Let’s make a phone call.”
Out at the pay phone, you punched a number I didn’t recognize into the keypad. I watched you stand there, looking out toward the horizon as it rang on the other end.
“Who are you calling?”
“Shh,” he said, and he turned away from me.
“Someone from the back of a stall door?”
But he said nothing. After a minute, he hung up and said, “No answer.” There was no further explanation.
Wyatt stayed for a while. I didn’t question it. We got an apartment and a cat and bought some food to eat, but he never ate after the truck stop. He told me your stomach was a void; there was no point in filling it. Somehow, he got a job, and we had a normal life for a few months.
“What do you love about me?” he asked me one night before we went to sleep.
“Oh, come on. Not this,” I said.
I thought for a minute, staring at the wall over the radio. The radio people told us the news and sang songs from their buzzing, tin-can world.
“I love your eyes, I guess.”
“What nonsense,” he said.
“You asked me, and I answered,” I told him. Then I added, “Your belly button, too.”
He laughed a little, taking my hand. “My belly button is a scar,” he said quietly.
“I know,” I said. I looked over at the window, at the moon outside, the tree branches. “Your turn. What do you love about me?”
“You have to work in the morning.”
“No, I’m serious.”
He propped his head up on the pillow, smiling in the dark and said, “I’ll show you.”
His hand reached out across the distance between us, landing over my heart, warming and glowing in the dark. Color flowed over me, red and orange and blue and white, down between my skin cells, saturating my veins, beating and beating. My blood ran rainbow in the dark, illuminating your face. The room faded black, then, and the stars were all that was left. There I was, floating away. I opened my eyes and saw Andromeda, spinning and turning ahead. I heard Wyatt’s voice in my head, echoing in a soundless world.
“I love you. I love your memories, your blood; I love everything.” Radio waves echoing out into space, undoing the ends of my fingers and toes, peeling tissue back to expose the red light highways, a fine human mist coming undone in the dark.
“I love you, too.”
A few weeks later, Wyatt tried to throw himself onto the tracks in front of a train at Terminal Tower. It was the only sane moment he ever had. His knuckles were just beginning to turn black. I caught him before he went over the edge and I held him to me with the train going by, clacking past and blowing our coats open. “God damn it,” he sobbed into my ear. “God damn it, I just want to leave.”
That was the last time we went anywhere cool. From then on, we stayed home. Wyatt kept looking up subways and trains in the encyclopedias that we had bought when we moved in so we could feel like real adults. That set of encyclopedias was the only nice thing we owned. “One second and it’s over,” he said to me. “That’s all it takes.”
One night, I came home from work to an empty apartment with Billie Holiday serenading the living room wall. I knew where he was, and I thought of that damned tower with its rails, sending his bones into the gravel.
I didn’t see him again for a long time.
I still remember his hand in my underwear, his voice in my ear in the dark, telling me goodnight. I remember his smile under the buzzing kitchen light. His fingers on the banister on the way upstairs every night. I don’t remember what happened after he finally went away.
I went back to the old motel and sat in the room where we used to sleep and I thought about all the times I should have let him go. I wrapped myself in the dirty bedspread and cried myself to sleep.
The first time I woke up, it was because the phone rang. It rang and rang, and I looked over at it in the dark, and then I snatched the receiver off the cradle, sending it crashing to the floor. I scrambled to pick up the receiver again, pulling it up to my ear and saying, “Hello? Who is this?”
I knew who it was, though. “Everything’s going to be okay,” he said in my ear, and then he hung up. I hit star-69 and tried to call back a few times, each time getting a busy signal until once it rang through. “Hello?” I didn’t recognize the voice at first. I sat there listening for more, but that was all. The wallpaper was a little cleaner, the carpet not as stained, and I remembered. I put the cradle back on the table and hung up, dizzy and a little uneasy.
I woke up sometime later to the sound of a TV buzzing at low volume, and I didn’t open my eyes, because I didn’t want it to go away.
“You know, I always thought I’d live forever,” I heard Wyatt say over the TV, just loud enough for the two of us to hear. My stomach was lead, a lump stuck in my throat and pulsing, salt and saline washing over me on the bed. My god, I just wanted to die right then.
“You mean you’re not immortal, eh?” I asked, and he laughed a little.
The tears came then, silent and hot, soaking my pillow, and I pulled my knees up to my chest under the covers, not looking.
“There’s never anything on,” he said over the sound of the TV clicker.
After a few minutes, I asked. “Are you back?”
He sighed and turned the TV off. “You know the answer to that.”
On the backs of my eyelids, silent dramas unfolded, sound coming in on a wave of static. Sunlit beaches, fingers tangled in the dark. Wyatt, smiling at the ocean. Wyatt, laughing in the moonlit motel room. Wyatt, above me in the dark, shuddering inside me with my name on his lips. The sound of his voice, talking about toast and coffee, and always freeways; I always loved our conversations. I remembered all our favorite movies, skin touching in the dark car, smiling at the stars, Deana Durbin’s voice fading into silence.
“What does any of it mean anymore, Wyatt?”
I felt the bed springs release, and he was gone.
About a week after that, a phone call came. It was late, probably about midnight, and when I answered, Wyatt said, “Did you keep breathing? Are you still alive?” In the background, I could hear the sound of subway trains clattering down the tracks, and then he hung up.
I knew where he was. The place I’ve avoided all along, that’s where.
I went to Terminal Tower a sad husk, trailing my half-dead shell behind me. I went down to the platform, and there was one other person there, an old man. I thought for a minute I might know the guy.
At first, there was nothing. It was a set of dead tracks and an abandoned station. The newspapers whispered headlines to the magazines. The toilets in the restrooms waited, sparkling and clean. The old man paced the platform, and I wanted to run away, go home, bury myself in the dark of my bed and let the life drain out in red ribbons across the mattress.
“The train’s coming,” the old man called from across the platform.
At first, I didn’t hear anything, but slowly, I started to hear the sounds of the rails groaning and distant wheels thundering over uneven parts, squealing around a curve. The tunnel lit up at the end the way near death survivors always talk about.
“That’s the train, alright,” the old man said, and he laughed.
I know everything. I know the flavor of the coffee I never drank, the smell of his old bedroom, the names he gave every electronic device in the house. I left my heart at Terminal tower, and here comes the train.
“One second,” said the old man, his voice further away. “One second, that’s all it takes.”
I watched the train fly past, clacking and clacking, a world of color and neon and metal posters. I put a hand out to feel the air rushing past. I thought of all the times I breathed the air he exhaled and all the times I sat with him on the balcony outside one awful apartment or another.
All it takes is a second, after all.
He told me to transform, and so I did. I became a satellite burning up in the atmosphere. Even when we were apart, I left my lungs in his room so I could smell him. Never mind all that.
I listened to the sounds of the train, passing and passing, my skin cells dividing, peeling back in the dark, balls of white hot gas and debris, veins unwinding and untangling into a single line, leading from me to Wyatt, red light fibers connecting his aorta to my superior vena cava.
We rotated, umbilical tether twisting in the vacuum of space, tumbling toward each other in the dark with the stars around us already dead.
I was born in the wastelands of the American Midwest, and I still live there, much to everyone’s regret. I started writing as a teenager as a side effect of what psychologists refer to as the “personal fable.” I believed that I was unique, that my personal life story impacted the world, and that the world revolves around me. In my mid-twenties, I picked up writing again because I was sick of reading slosh and tired of having to go back fifty years to find books I actually want to read. I was especially over the only gay literature available in 2008 being soft core porn romance bullshit with jacked, oiled-up porn stars on the covers. I decided that if I wanted to read something that wasn’t 500 pages of comma abuse and boners, I’d have to write it myself.
And so I did. It may not be the best, but it’s what I want to read. Thank you for the support, and I hope my writing means something to you as well.
If you liked this book, make sure you rate it and review it on . It helps me, even if it’s a bad review. I learn from bad reviews.
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Thanks for the continued support and thanks for reading.
This story is dedicated to my partners in writing, a very select group of people who are also writers. They are all extremely talented and they write things that I look forward to reading (a rare thing these days because, in my opinion, there’s a lot of literary slosh in the world right now) and they have all at one point or another helped me shape one of my typo-riddled landmines into a finished book. Without the guidance of these awesome folks, I wouldn’t have the courage to publish anything I’ve written. I’d like to say that I do everything myself, but without the help of these people and being constantly inspired by their ability to keep writing and creating new works, I’d have given up long ago. I am inspired almost every day by you guys, even by things so mundane and inconsequential as status updates on social media, so thank you.
If I forgot anyone, I’m sorry. I blame my advanced age.
I want to extend a very special thank you to all of my readers for your support and encouragement during the 2013-2014 and now the 2015 season, as there are only two months left. I’d like to extend it like the neck of a giraffe, but alas. I have no god-like abilities. You’ll have to accept some kind of mechanized extension.
He told me to transform, and so I did. I became a satellite burning up in the atmosphere. Even when we were apart, I left my lungs in his room so I could smell him. Never mind all that. I listened to the sounds of the train, passing and passing, my skin cells dividing, peeling back in the dark, balls of white hot gas and debris, veins unwinding and untangling into a single line, leading from me to Wyatt, red light fibers connecting his aorta to my superior vena cava. We rotated, umbilical tether twisting in the vacuum of space, tumbling toward each other in the dark with the stars around us already dead.