Caleb closes his eyes….he is falling deeper into the darkness, wrapped in it…
…I smell you…he thinks…and I taste you…I hear your voice when I speak…I wake in the middle of the night to you kissing me only you aren’t there. Not anymore. And you will never be here again…
Caleb agreed to meet the man at his shop in Friedrichshain to suck his dick. The plan, as laid out to him on Grindr, went like this,
“Meet at my shop on Wülisch Strasse and Gabriel Max Strasse. If there are customers you will have to wait a minute. Then you will follow me to the storage room to swallow my load and then leave.”
It was a simple and elegant plan, erasing anything about Caleb beyond the status of cock sucker. This was the attraction for Caleb. The wiping away of who he who was, of his past, of his future, grounding him in the present moment where the only thing he was was the receptacle for this stranger’s pleasure.
He has always found a beauty in sucking a stranger’s dick…in being fucked and used. A meaning to life that wasn’t always available under other circumstances. He is aware of how this sounds, which is why he would never speak it out loud, never tell his friends, never admit that some days the only way he can breathe, the only way he can survive, is to be fucked into oblivion.
You can get lost out there if you aren’t careful, Michael had said to him. They were sitting on the edge of a canal in Amsterdam. It was late at night. A chilly Autumn rain falling. They were drinking Vodka, drunk and stupid and happy. The world is full of empty spaces…I have spent years lost, wandering through life with no idea of who I was, no idea of what anything meant.
“And now?”Caleb asked him. “What about now?”
“Now it is like drowning in light, drowning in love. Drowning in you.”
Michael had killed himself exactly seven months ago. To the day. If ODing on heroin and fentanyl counted as killing oneself.
They had been living in London at the time, two expats from LA on a grand adventure together.
Caleb pulled up google maps on his phone. He knew the general idea of where the man’s shop was, but he wasn’t good at remembering the names of streets. He had been living in Berlin for 2 weeks. If living is hiding…Michael’s voice sings in his head…If living is hiding than I am most certainly living my best life! They had both laughed at that, standing on a beach in Portugal, watching a group of teenage boys surf against blue skies and golden sun.
“Outrageous!” Caleb had screamed. “You are fucking outrageous!” They were high on hash and tobacco and Michael leaned over and licked Caleb’s forehead, tasting salty sweat, and kissed it back to Caleb.
“I love you,” Michael said and Caleb went quiet, watching for a moment as one of the surfers seemed rise breathlessly into the air, hovering on invisible wings, only to crash back down under the relentless pounding of the waves, soaring back to land, laughing…ecstatic…
“It’s like a demon,” Michael said, talking about heroin. “It’s like a demon takes over and I am no longer me. I’m this other thing. Possessed.
Caleb has a fear of possession. Of demons. He has a fear of losing control.
“Say you love me,” Michael said. “Say the words.”
Sunlight blinding him, he caught hold of Michael, caught sight of him and he said, “I loved you the moment I thought of you.”
September in Berlin was sumptuous, tempestuous, it was dark and moody and warm and sunny, lonely and hopeful: you could feel the world ending in September, the darkness that was coming.
Caleb had moved here for the darkness. Like a blanket. A way of forgetting. Not Michael…I will never forget you…a way of forgetting everything that wasn’t Michael.
Caleb didn’t know how to talk about Michael. About Michael dying. He didn’t know what people wanted him to say. Or maybe he did. They just didn’t want to hear the truth: that the pain doesn’t go away. It sits there…the loss…the sense of being empty in the core of who he was…the place where Michael had lived…gone.
Strangers never asked him if he was okay. They never brought Michael up because they didn’t know there was a Michael. Strangers never said, “I’m so sorry. How has it been…without…how has it been since…Michael?”
He wanted to scream, to hit them, to tell them there was never a moment that was without Michael. That maybe Michael existed more now that he was dead than he ever could have alive.
Some things you only truly understand in their absence…
Caleb still sung songs for Michael. He still danced for Michael. He still told Michael long stories as he fell asleep.
“I love you baby,” he would whisper, waking up. “I miss you so much today, baby head.”
Michael would understand this walking through Friedrichshain toward a stranger’s store where he would suck dick in a storage room…to feel alive…Michael…to remember what it means…Michael never made him feel wrong. No matter what he did, no matter what happened, Caleb could tell Michael.
“Filthy monsters,” Michael would say. “We are such dirty, filthy monsters.”
Caleb pauses outside the store. It is a small exotic plant shop, filled with beautiful works of art, incense and a soft, atmospheric ballad playing over hidden speakers…sad…the song is sad…and yet there is an undercurrent of piano hidden beneath aurally vacant electronic sounds…like looking into the blackness of the night sky before seeing the splendor of the moon…all that beautiful light hidden in the deep…
And Caleb steps inside. The man behind the counter looks like his pictures on Grindr. Fit, bearded, darkly handsome: an Italian from Rome now living in Berlin. Maybe a little older than Caleb had thought…closer to 36 than 30, but still sexy. Still dick sucking worthy.
The man nods and Caleb follows him to the back of the store. There is a tiled fountain, the sound of water running over stone and a buddha spray painted dark purple and blue and a shining gold…
Berlin is not what he thought it would be. It is more. More beautiful and more ugly, wilder than he had imagined, and yet there are pockets of quiet, of tree lined streets, where children played, mothers’ spoke in Arabic, men laughed, tattooed hipsters sitting on benches drinking beer.
It is a City of dark purple buddhas shimmering gold.
The storage room was filled with empty pots and dying plants, painted statues and neon-light structures that flickered off and on, as if sending messages from some far-off land…brief signs of brightly lit colors telling us that it was all ok. Everything would eventually be ok.
The man put his hands on Caleb’s shoulders, pushing him to the ground.
Caleb thought about saying, I came here because Michael died and I miss him.
Don’t say that! Michael’s laughing voice in his head. Nothing kills a dude’s boner like a dead boyfriend.
Of course Michael was right. It almost made Caleb laugh. He pictured Michael in whatever strange heaven might exist for people like them, looking down on this moment, and he knew how happy it would make Michael. I love you best when you are being truly you…I love you most when you don’t deny who you are…
Caleb pushed the foreskin back, smelling the dick: sweaty, slightly musky, it made his heart beat a little quicker. He licked the head, feeling it grow hard in his mouth, his hand cupping the balls and tickling them gently…he had learned to never pull or twist a guy’s balls unless they asked him to. It was always better to go gentle at first.
The man exhaled, his hands on the back of Caleb’s head, guiding him. Caleb ran his hands up the man’s calves…muscular and thick…over his ass, and along the small of his back, taking his cock all the way in, breathing around it, his tongue licking: focusing on providing as much pleasure as he could. Focusing everything he was into this moment: grounded.
It didn’t take long for the man to cum, shooting into Caleb’s mouth: Caleb pulled back, letting some shoot into his beard, onto his shirt. The man, looking down at Caleb, laughed. It was friendly, nice: it made Caleb smile.
Caleb stood up. The man moved in, and kissed him, licking at his beard, and then he hugged Caleb. It was startling in its intimacy. Caleb wanted to crawl into that hug, he wanted to disappear into those arms.
After a moment the man pulled back.
“I have to work. I hear people –”
“Of course –”
“But you should come back. If you want. I will be full again in an hour. You can have as much as you want.” He smiled. It was handsome: bright, full of sunlight, and Caleb couldn’t help but think, based on that smile, that this was a lucky man. “Or maybe we can meet. If you –”
“Caleb. That’s my name. I’m Caleb.”
The man smiled, his eyes shining, “Mateo,” he ran his hand through black curly hair. Caleb noticed dark hairs on his knuckles, his forehead protruding slightly, lips red: decadent…that is how Michael would have described them. Decadent red lips. Pale white skin.
“I’m gonna go,” Caleb said, and for a moment they both laughed. “But let’s do this again. Soon.”
Outside, the sun shone faded through the clouds. Yellow leaves swirled in the breeze. He passed a line of people waiting to buy ice cream.
And I am still alive,he thinks.
He walks slowly home, through this City, and it begins to rain.
Please check out my novel, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon.
Thank you to Marc Martin for an amazing Photo!