dear moth's powder,
there are two reasons to feel bad for someone who snores: in the first, they are the targets of all sorts of malice and hate, all manner of plots that thickens each and every loud, cacophonous breath they take, you - tired listener - wondering and laying in awe at your very seeming irrationality, astonished that their lungs have not yet collapsed under the weight and pressure of the air just barely inhaled and being violently forced out, your breathing and awe and anger and fatigue making real the song that says that every round goes higher and higher because you realize that this song of praise could easily recount the sheer melancholy and hopelessness of having been the one who either did not fall comatose soon enough or then, still, deep enough so that your breathing becomes the testament to unfocused, and quite rational irritation. and secondly, they cannot control it. it is funny, when you ponder it in the morning once the noises have subsided, but is it not the most baffling thing in the world to be reminded just how human we are at the most subtle moments, when all you hear is breath?
that, of course, happened today. i was reminded that something ever-so-simple made me confront yet again just how vulnerable i am. of course, i did not like it. i realized today that we sometimes want partners in order to mediate between...well, ok. i'll speak about myself. and two years ago - it was two, wasn't it? or maybe three years ago or maybe even actually four - i imagined you meeting my family - immediate and extended, of course, at the same time - and since i loved you and they are not rude, they'd have to talk to you and end up loving you too and you'd be the one that was sacrificial and i'd not have to explain myself because we'd be hung on the cross together and they'd see and feel and know and finally give a fuck about this "gay shit" or, not even really give a fuck, but because they would not know what sorts of questions to ask and how to engage me, they'd just be nice to you and hug you and try to act cordial to you, but that cordiality would be the edge and break: into your smile and they'd hear your laughter and the squeakiness in your voice and be impressed impressed impressed (mind you, that's what my mother said, exactly how she said it after meeting you) and they wouldn't care that we fucked because they'd be settled and happy for me and see that you're such a fine fine boy you make sure you bring him back again and let him know that he's a part of us now (and one of my uncles completely and totally and fully baffled me when he said that to me). where was i?
i had imagined you when we met, how you could be one of the two fathers of our kids and i'd always imagine you with our younger toddler daughter, after church, holding her as she slept, her head on your shoulder, your hand rubbing her back, she with ballerina shoes and a puffy throw-up pink dress, and those puffy, poofy socks with all the lace and frills and her hair in plaits and you'd be talking to one of the saints and i'd be holding the hand of our oldest child - maybe three or four years old - as he continually tried to scurry away, or tell me daddy i gotta pee with his cute blue t-shirt on with food stains on them and shorts because we let our kids choose what they'd want to wear to church and he wanted to wear shorts and we didn't care and he looked cute. i imagined this would be us in a few years after your first visit with my family and then my first visit with your family and my cousins and uncles and nephews and nieces may not have known what to say about us but tried and in their trying they'd done more in the way of love and respect and honor than they could in not asking a thing.
and maybe it is not fair that i wanted you to be that in order to give me some sense of normalcy and i know i'm always about some queer shit and trying to push limits and fight against oppressions and institutions and systems and hegemony but fighting is difficult and sometimes boring and very nerve-wrecking and tiring and sometimes i just want to be able to smile without fear and laugh and hug my family and not wonder and anticipate hearing some something or watching some something that will break my heart and with you around they were more intentional about including you and since you were, of necessity, the most marginal and since they wanted to include you in order for them to feel saved, sanctified and secure with their Jesus, they'd have to include me too. and with you around, they really, genuinely smiled to me and about me and said things that i knew they would not have said if you were not there. things like: how are you and other such questions. see, i think i had discovered how unsafe the quotidian questions were because they could lead to all sorts of problems.
of course, this is the first thanksgiving that you and i spent separated from each other and i'm sure i remember things a bit more nostalgically than things likely were but i'm pretty sure that, with you, my sense of anticipation was much different than it is without you now. for the first time in a long time and without you, my breathing became as intentional and steadied and worried and tired and fatigued as when my brother would snore and i'd get out of bed and stand over him and want to shake the life into and out of him just so he would stop just so i could get back in the bed and feel at rest again. i did not, of course, feel at ease without you yesterday. and for selfish reasons, i suppose.
my family would neither ask me what happened with you - i'm sure the rumors went out through the grapevine long before my late arrival - nor would they ask how was i because either question would lead to the same path. rather and only: it's good to see you. you were not there to protect me and for that, i am angry. angry at myself for desiring a normal that included you as part of the matrix when that was, i suppose, unfair to you. it's not so much that i used you, even. i did. but i think everyone tends to use everyone all of the time and that it is not a moral judgment to declare that i used you because we were together and if i could not use you for love and joy and peace and longsuffering and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness all which had lead to a certain self-controlled behavior, then what we had and what anyone has if it is a "relationship" is nothing other than a ruse. you used me, i know, for the same reasons. the problem with yesterday was that there was no future my family could imagine for us together and so my immediate, personal future was unhinged for all my family to see. so that cordiality turned engagement they gave you that allowed them access to me and my desires, thoughts, longings was also compromised. and no, it ain't fair. when their relationships end or whatever, no one wonders if they are still normal. but with me and the end of us, a different type of hope glimmered in their eye where, since my foundation had been destroyed, maybe the "gay shit" will be destroyed too. they begin to hope anew and afresh with old theology about sin and shame and i'm just not cool with that.
so yes. of course, i want to fight oppressions and institutions and systems. but i want to do it with someone who could shield me when i feel targeted by some such wrong or at least someone who could hold me if i was so targeted, hit and effected. i want to smile with reckless abandon. i want to listen and incline my ear without the anticipation of some something that would hit a nerve, strike a chord, cause dissent. you know that type of listening i mean. it's the type where you do not merely hear what people say but also the vast and expansive silence of what they do not say. not just the words they use but the inflection on their verb tense and choice. did they say been or beeeeeeen because those two words, of course when spoken, have two different meanings. "she been married" meaning she got married but is likely divorced and nobody really liked him anyway because he was an asshole and alcoholic but "she beeeeeeen married" means something akin to the fact or idea that she was married a very long time ago, still is and ain't looking to change her reality. well.
the only way my family could even possibly inflect "been" now that we is me and you're no longer here but there is with a very short, staccato, crisp enunciation - lips of course pursed a bit, eyebrows furrowed, nose turned up almost like they smelled something bad, said with a sigh, of course - how you been? with the word "how" taking on some falsetto range squeakiness, all the way in some upper register to register general concern but not really. i do hope your thanksgiving was a bit better than mine, that your family'd asked less questions but more questions, inflected differently, breathed more or less naturally as they had the other times i was with you and we were with them. i guess, when one really thinks about it, it's funny what a little breath can do to the voice. i am sitting writing in silence, only my breath can i hear. and this slow breathing tells me that i should never write you again.