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“I love you…”

I wish I hadn’t said that… immediately ricocheted through my mental synapses as I felt his lips pull slightly away from my neck, and he drew his hand away from the drawstring on my sweatpants, which he had been furiously tugging on just moments before.

He groaned. Out of need…or disappointment?

I almost mimicked him, but how confusing would that be? It would be one noise conveying so many conflicting and confusing emotions, and, interpreted incorrectly, could end the night (and the friendship) completely.

Whether it was the anticipation or fear of what would happen next, it seemed like time stopped, but I could still smell, feel, and hear everything.

80s horror was the default when we decided it was a sweatpants and wine night on the couch. The Lost Boys played quietly in the background.

Cry, little sister (Thou shall not fall)

Come, come to your brother (Thou shall not die)

Unchain me, sister (Thou shall not fear)

Love is with your brother (Thou shall not kill)

The lyrics seemed suddenly erotic and frightening all at the same time.

It was a promise of good things to come or a warning that I had clearly fallen across a line that had been established in whispers, glances, and wayward touches, but never ever spoken.

The wine on my tongue was sweet and red but in my throat, it was a bitter burgundy.

I could get up and leave, my face as crimson as the third bottle we had just opened and he graciously poured into our never-empty glasses. But, where and how would I go? I was intoxicated, not only by the merlot but the possibility of things never said, ignored confessions, and the uncertainty of what would come next.

The couch felt soft and familiar, but firm enough to hold our pressed bodies together as we rocked in unison or pulled apart to gasp for air, never betraying our secrets with wayward, creaking, rusty springs.

And as much as I felt everything around me, I couldn’t feel him.

Was that his breath in the curve my neck or just my rapidly increasing pulse? If a stair creaked, a door opened, or an observer sighed, I knew I would hear it. But I couldn’t hear HIM. He wasn’t saying anything.

Thou shall not fall…

Do I say it again? Do I deny it?

Oh I meant to say I love doing this with you.

Do I pull away to chug the fresh wine in my glass and blame it on his heavy pour?

But he once said to me that I always say how I truly feel when I’ve been drinking. I don’t hold back. I have confidence. “I like that about you,” he said.

He said it right before first time I felt his hand graze my upper thigh under the blanket… and then it stayed there.

And as our vision got hazier, the boundaries blurrier, the movie in the background more inconsequential, we invited each other to shatter the walls we had been holding up with futility as we felt a long-simmering… SOMETHING… explode to the surface.

Come, come to your brother…

And now here we were. The tension released time and time again, passions exchanged, words greedily whispered through red lips to a soundtrack of movies we knew but didn’t really care enough to watch.

For me, it felt like hours, for him it was mere moments.

I had said the unspeakable. We were most guarded with our words, but never with our hands or our touch. I had broken the one rule we both silently respected, even if every boundary had been pummeled and crossed, time and time again.

I no longer felt his presence near me, entwined in me. Although he hadn’t physically pulled away, I could sense a gap widening. His lips had moved a fraction away, but it felt like a chasm. His hands no longer affirmed desire, but signaled retreat.

Thou shall not kill…

He pulled away.

His hand reached for his glass, hesitated, stumbled, faltered… and then he brought it to his lips.

They were so red now. They were a beacon in the flicker of the strobe effects from the TV. His eyes glimmered.

Was it tears? A trick of the light? Desire?

I decided I needed to take the edge off and took a sip… a gulp… from my glass.

I refused to break eye contact. There was no turning back now. Too much had passed between us: time, things said, things unsaid, private moments, intimate touches.

He held my gaze in return. Unreadable. Unsure. Quiet. Stoic. Solid.

Thou shall not die.

“You shouldn’t have said that.”

Eric Mochnacz

A wizard of pop culture. A prince of snark. A delightful addition to any dinner party.

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