DISCLAIMER: They don't belong to me. They
belong to Jaya.
SUMMARY: Bobby and Remy are Americans.
NOTES: Well, yeah, okay. Tangerine's story "One Nine-Hundred,"
in combination with Lise's poema bambini, led to this. God bless 'em.
And also White, who pointed out that ugly-ass purple t-shirt at Goodwill
the other day. And also Jaya and Poi, because, y'know. Also. I love
DATE: August, 2000.
Dumb American Games
And there's my bed.
Goddamn the thing. It's all fluffy and American and comfortable --
saying here I am, fall into me. Saying -- I'm empty, and why would
I not be, because you're not in me yet, and who else would be here
reading and breathing and waiting for me to recognize that he's waiting
for me? Nobody.
Hank tells me that the first week is the hardest. That every moment
is a first. This is my first Sunday morning without him. This is my
first Tuesday lunch without his eyes on my mouth as I eat. First Thursday
poker game, no one unfairly exploiting a gift for distraction. Saturday
morning breakfast, cartoons with no sleepy auburn head on my lap.
And so on. After that, when you can stop saying "first", it's supposed
to get easier. And, I mean, Hank should know.
But from where I stand now, "this is my fiftieth Monday without him"
sounds so much more horrifying.
It's nighttime and I hate nighttime, or I'm unhappy and I hate everything.
Except, I don't hate everything. But I'm still unhappy.
What I hate is this proving you're so much of my glue
What I hate is, I hate that I'm not here with you.
He's here alright. I hear his voice.
"Y'gotta get over dis, Bobby."
I hear my voice, too. Bouncing off the inside of my head since the
arguement in our (his) room four days ago.
"Get over what??"
"Dis cowering y'do."
"I don't cower! I'm just--"
"'S like you got somet'in to be ashamed of. Someone."
"Oh, for chrissake, Remy. Not everything is about you."
"I wasn' talkin' about ME."
"What, me? I'm not ashamed of me. I'm just. I."
"Dis's what I'm talkin' about, Bobby. Y'can' even finish a sentence
without doubtin' what y'sayin'."
"Okay, well, we can't all be super-confident, suav-vay Cajun sexyboys
"I'm jus' tellin' you what I know. I been dere, an' I know better
"Oh, I am SO tired of that. I haven't been sitting around for the
last twenty years twiddling my thumbs. I've been through just as much
as you have, and--"
"Dat ain't even gonna be true, cher."
"Hh. Of course not."
"Merde, Bobby, come back here -- y'can' just--"
"No, you know what, Remy, I CAN."
Like I need a man to tell me about my issues. I KNOW I have issues.
Nobody knows how much issue I have than me. I mean, if other people
bring them up, I can just bullshit and talk my way around it until
they laugh and forget it or decide it's not worth the trouble -- but
I can't do that with me. If I bring it up to myself, I don't buy my
tactics. And that happens alot.
That's what I don't like about the inside of my head. There's always
something to pay attention to.
The phone on the bedside table rings. I frown, because it's late,
and pick it up.
"Yeah. Hey, cher."
"Remy. What. Where are you?"
"In my room."
"You're calling me from your room?"
"Why don't you just -- come over? Or I can--"
"Bad idea, cher." There's a brief pause, a breath, a heartbeat. "Right?"
"Well, yeah. I mean--" Another heartbeat. I think, well, maybe. He
could come over. He wants to come over. He wants to. I want. I think
about what Hank said. Sometimes what we want isn't enough. "Yeah.
"Just, laying here, reading."
"Oh. What're y'reading?"
"I'm not really sure."
"When I say 'reading' I mostly mean that I'm staring at this book
with a fish on the cover."
"Yeah. 'Cept for sharks."
"Y'don' like sharks."
"No. Creepy. Remember when we went to see Deep Blue Sea?"
"Cher, I went t'see it -- you went t'hide y'eyes."
"Well, yeah. It was creepy."
"Yeah ... So why ain'tcha actually reading?"
"Me neither. Y'try gettin' some sleep?"
"What kinda fish are dey?"
"Um. Blue. With the yellow, y'know, around their things."
"So, whatchy'up to?"
"We already covered that, Remy."
"Well, thought you might be doin' somethin' different now."
"Well, I am. I'm talking to you now."
"Well, see? S'a good thing I asked."
"Hah. Yeah, I guess so. So what're you up to?"
"Layin' here, talking t'you."
The sound of it strikes me suddenly, and I snicker. "Yeah? What're
I'm suprised when he answers. "De t-shirt you got me, wit' de volcano.
Says 'Here today, gone to Maui.'"
I laugh into the phone. "Hah! Yeah, I remem." I swallow my laughter
as I remember that there are days and days that cannot be bridged.
"Ber." The silence on the line stretches with the memory of broken
things before Remy's voice breaks softly through.
"What're you wearin', Bobby?"
"Um. Boxers. The blue ones, with the rainclouds."
"And dat's it?"
"Dat's all y'wearin'? Y'raincloud boxers?"
"'M jus' kidding, Bobby."
"Oh. Heh. Um. Heh."
"I mean. Yeah. Yeah, that's all."
"My boxers. That's all I'm wearing."
"What. Is that all you're wearing?"
"Oh." The image fills my mind, of him. Laying on his (our) bed, with
the hem of that stupid, threadbare purple t-shirt pooled around his
stomach, pushed up ... by one strong, long-fingered hand, swirling
across the curve of a clenched stomach, the middle finger falling
occassionally into the dip of the navel. The other hand ... I draw
in a long breath. "Remy..."
"I can't..." I don't know what I can't do. But whatever it is, I
absolutely can NOT.
"What can' y'do, cher?"
The touch on the waistband of my boxers startles me. I look down
at my hand, some separate creature skimming along the blue, dipping
beneath. Maybe I can.
"I can't ... bowl. Worth a crap."
I hear a soft breath of laughter across the line. "Bobby. Y'know
very well dis is just gon' turn into an involved bowling metaphor,
an' I just don't know enough about de sport." I'm amazed (not really)
at how easily I fall into the same slow slide of voice with him, because
I'm about to say, "You're awfully sure of yourself, aren't you, babe?"
-- so it's probably fortunate (not really) that the teasing leaves
his voice, and it's four days ago all over again. He says, "Why don'
we just skip all'at, and you be honest."
Oddly enough ... my hand stays where it is. In small, tight circles.
"You know, that's really funny. For a second there, I thought Remy
LeBeau was telling somebody else to be honest."
"What's dat supposed t'mean?" Then I catch another noise from him,
a small hiccupy sound, and I know that sound, I know better than ANYONE
what it means. I may very well be making that same sound myself.
I dip my head back into the pillow in a groan of (...) frustration.
"It doesn't mean anything, Remy."
"Merde, Bobby, I jus' wan'--!"
He's silent then, and I am, for a moment before I say, "Looks like
neither of us is doing too good finishing sentences."
"Non. Apparently not."
"What do you 'just want'?"
My hips rise up minutely as I misunderstand him for a second. Then
I say, "What do you mean?"
"What can't you do?"
What can't I do. Well, Remy, ask a stupid question ... I could fill
a book with what I can't do.
What I can't is forget or remember or see
What I can't is, I can't be just pieces of me.
"I can't ... talk about what I can't do. That's what I can't do.
I don't know why. It's just the way I am right now. So -- what do
There's a hum that's him grinning into a groan, I know it, and it
answers the question quite alot. We abandon the talking then, and
fall into sounds and small familiar words. Move right on into the
moving, with this phone pressed to my ear and the guy whose room I
walked out of echoing around me-- right on into that place where words
that aren't breathless are the least important thing in the world.
It sounds strange, but one of the sharpest pangs of terror in me
as I walked out of our room with my clothes and toothbrush was that
he wouldn't ever say my name again. I'd get, in clipped authoritative
tones -- "Iceman, go there, do this" or worse, "Drake, move, go, away."
But I shouldn't have worried, because here (there) he is, and he can't
come away from me, and he's saying,
"Mon dieu, Bobby, c'est, c'est--"
And I hear him, and I'm sure he hears me, and my mind can't keep
the images out, and I wouldn't forgive it if it tried. Even if it
did, it wouldn't matter -- because I don't need to imagine,
I only have to remember. I KNOW where his hands flitter impatiently,
I KNOW the words his mouth convulses silently around. I KNOW what
his face looks like when he's breathing quick the way I can hear him
"Remy, Remy." I'm saying it now, over and over, my thumb skimming
across the phone in my hand in a caress. This, this is the great equalizer,
this is nothing else matters. I need him, I want him, I love him,
I have him. Now, now, now.
What this is is becoming and coming, and you
What this is is, it's everything that isn't untrue.
The breath on the other line quiets after time, and so does mine,
and there is peace and I pry my fingers off of the phone, switching
Then he says, "What I want."
"Didn't answer y'question. Y'asked what I want."
I grin sleepily, I'm sure it comes out in my voice. "Didn't we just
take care of that?"
He returns the tone. "Well, yeah, we did..." And then his voice turns
serious. "But it's not all I want. I also."
"You forgot to finish that, beau."
He gives an abrupt laugh, which hangs in the air for a few moments.
And then, "Bobby, I'm an ass. I know dat. I wan' you to know that
I know dat."
I sigh. Wry smile. "I know. Same here."
"Well, good. At least we're on de same page."
"At the very least."
He yawns, then, and I look over at the clock. Then out the window.
"Yeah, cher. Same here."
Here I am, fall into me.
"I hate this bed. It's too American."
"Y'need a Swedish bed, like mine."
What I have is no more and no less than right now
What I have is the sun. And I'm not asking how.
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