A Season of Firsts: Tangled Limbs

A Season of Firsts: Tangled Limbs

When he was twelve, he sat in that spot, that exact one, the weeds and rushes cupping his ass. The horizon is endless when you’re twelve. Mostly because you don’t know about that, about what it means to not see an end to things, to not have four walls and ugly chipped tile and corridors that paraded on forever, and it’s an effort to move through the crush and when you do, sometimes it gets wrong.

Wrong. Wrong enough to recognize it. Wrong enough you want more. More, like in endless.

But endless, like a horizon, doesn’t count unless it really is. Mostly it’s just there, but sometimes you cotton onto the meaning of it. Like when you’re twelve and the long dry stem you twirl and shape into a cylinder is thick enough to roll on your tongue, back and forth, back and forth. Thin enough you got to talk around it.

Talking round stuff you learned early. Especially at twelve.

Hey. Nah, nothing much, you? Wanna go… Where, shrugs, don’ matter, nothing much doing.

The best thing about nothing much was how much there was in nothing. You got to look past the big shit and probe at what you couldn’t see right off, making shit up if you had to because nothing much doing was a challenge and a promise so you looked hard or you skipped stones across the pond… Fffp, fffp, fffp and it filled up nothing with something.

It was in those particulars you found the truth of things.

That wasn’t exactly his thought, it was a halleluiah, come to Jesus thing his grams said when the notion took her. He ignored it most times, except there in the soft bottom of grass and weeds and reeds and the sound of bullfrogs reminding him of nothing.

At twelve you weren’t original, but the odd sound, a remembrance of canon and scripture and all the words you shut out because at twelve they were too big, too weighty to own, sometimes you got a surprise, found it sticking in places inside you didn’t expect.

But mostly you just let it happen.

Even the wrong, especially the wrong.


Zack was fourteen, coming fifteen. We was always coming something, adding months, taking the measure of ourselves. That horizon had shrunk some, narrowed down to a quick glimpse if you were lucky, but mostly we ignored it now. Things got set in stone.

Not us. But things. All the other things.

Zach still saw it though, the horizon. Saw possibilities I didn’t.

He lit up, sucked it in, held it, exhaled a long grey steamy haze. Passed it over. I settled my ass in that spot, my spot, then leaned back and drew it in, feeling hollow and mellow.

We were still wet, skinny dipped wet, the droplets clinging like dew on fuzz. Or so I imagined since in the night of night imagination made do. Sometimes I got fanciful. But mostly I just hurt.

Being wrong was like that. Wanting wrong was canon and scripture come to haunt and taunt and shadow every move, every thought, every damn stray thought needed shielding. Just in case.

Me, mellow, Mellow Man, less a boy, not quite the man…

I asked, “You ’member that first time?”

He huffed a chuckle, sucked air, sucked air from my lungs, so close we shared the burn and the hollowed out, empty of night.

“You mean…”

The glow at the tip was all the light in the night of night, not dark enough to mask, not nearly dark enough.

I reached. The contact was like always, and different, same, different, same but more. The dark lingered, but inside, it was dark inside and he knew, he remembered. He sighed a laugh, not a laugh, you don’t laugh when you recall that, that intimacy you don’t understand, that particular truth that canon and scripture preached at wrong and it wasn’t a bird shot, shotgun spray in all directions. It was aimed particular. Aimed at me. Like it knew, saw the inside, the dark inside where I held wrong tight and close, brooding it, saving it for some day.

I wondered if this was that day.

The truth was in the particulars.

The touch…

Zach rolled on his side, keeping my hand still, holding it, his fingers entwined with mine, guiding it to my mouth and I shut my eyes and inhaled.

There was a flash of white in the night of night. “The look on your face, man. It was epic. An epic jack, Jack.”

I exhaled.

The touch was gone. He pinched the end, set it aside. I floated.

Floated away, away from the touch, that touch, that particular touch. Truth was in the particulars.

Zach rolled me, rolled me on my side, rolled me close, close ’til all that separated me and him was the wrong, the wrong touch on my chin, the wrong sigh of breath against my skin.




He brushed my lips. He brushed it with a smile, then a pucker, and that pucker pressed until it wasn’t a brush or a pucker, it was a demand and that was wrong, so wrong I opened to it, to the lips and tongue and the hand on the back of my head pulling me close, closer. Our bodies strained, desperate to not touch, to not find that intimacy I dreamed of every night of night, every day of day. Every breath I took it was this wrong, this terrible horrible wrong that filled me with such dread, I prayed for it. On my knees, in the night of night, like that twelve year old, I asked forgiveness for being so wrong.

He rolled me, rocked me, pinned my hands to the wet weeds and reeds, grinding me into the spot, my spot, my special spot and my ass lifted, lifted against a weight I would claim for my own, rocking, rocking hard, rock and roll, and then it was sliding, slip-sliding, hard on hard, wrong on wrong and it fired inside, deep inside, it fired the burn, the explosion and Zach gasped, surprised.


He freed me, freed my hands, my wrists, and the endless horizon collapsed, and what was wet was wetter, drizzling my cheeks, icing them with the agony of a secret wrong and I exhaled, “Sorry.”

“What the fuck are you sorry for?”

“I-I didn’t mean to…” I turned my head so he couldn’t see the hurt and the naked truth, the truth in the particulars, that particular particular coating his belly, my belly, with the evidence of the wrong.

“You stupid fuck.”

He twisted rough farm boy fingers in my scalp, yanked and twisted and dug blunt, dirty nails deep enough to hurt, to hurt so bad it hurt good. Yanking and pulling, he lifted, lifted my shoulders, straddled, then moved, moved away, crawling away, then behind me, me with my ass cupped in my spot, my special spot.

Wrapping his arms around my chest, nestling hard greed to hard muscle, Zach whispered in my ear, “You meant it.” He pointed at the horizon. “So did I.”

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