Lovers Is For Death



Passion of Lovers

Obusan stood in the center of a silent room. He stared at sleek silver rails wrapping in spirals and leading to the upstairs. Was that where Casey sacrificed his body for a few moments of lust?  That stairway; was it where a painful path to a shameful end had started? No. He never once caught the scent of infidelity in the bedroom. Maybe it happened in the kitchen too? After all, it’s not like they never had sex in the kitchen.

He wandered through the darkness that draped from the corners, slinking around packed boxes, running his palms across drawn curtains and tapping his fingertips on closed blinds that shielded him from the reality awaiting him outside of four walls. Four walls that didn’t belong to him anymore.

Hesitating for a moment and with curiosity yanking at his fidgeting limbs, he slid a single digit between two of the blinds and eased one to the side. A single sliver of buttery afternoon seeped in and he twisted his frame so that it did not touch him.

Aware that he’d have to face the world in just a few minutes, Obusan peeked from behind the calico colored panels. The intensity hurt his eye and he winced and waited for his vision to adjust. When it finally did he glanced at the lustrous lightning colored sports car in the driveway beneath a shadow cast from the garage. His attention wafted from the vehicle to the mailbox by the curb, to the ring of asphalt that looped within the realm of the neighborhood and bordered a circle of grass in the middle. He then found himself gazing at the realtor’s sign on the lawn with the word SOLD plastered on the front, in bold red letters. Sold, he thought.

His attention was pierced by a high pitched yelp and instantly his eyes took to the vast cerulean sky coated in frayed white cotton clouds. From the corner of his eye a small white dot straddled the line of his direct vision, swaying in one constant space. Obusan acknowledged it but did not look at it. He knew it was a seagull flying through the open sky. He knew that more were nearby, coasting on a breeze, gliding and squawking. But he hated them. He hated birds. So he retracted his finger and allowed the shadows cast from the four walls to consume him.

His frame turned away from the window and faced the tableless dining room. A room also lacking in chairs, place mats and a centerpiece.Maybe they did it here, was a thought that appeared as quickly as it vanished, cracking across his mind like a shard of sharp white through thick black, before sinking back into obscurity.

Obusan wandered from the dining area in hopes of detaching his body from his thoughts and leaving them in that very spot, but they lingered on as he drifted into the living room. He gazed at the stripped walls then his neck gave out and dropped his head to the ground so that he could stare at the marble tile that no longer hid beneath embroidered rugs and Art Nouveau inspired furniture. He wanted his head to imitate the living room, to imitate the dining room, to imitate the house. He ached to be empty.

A tremor trailed up Obusan’s side and he jerked before realizing it was his mobile vibrating. He slid his hand into the right pocket of his shorts and struggled to pull it from within the clinging fabric.

“Hello? This is Obusan.”

“Obie! Where the hell are you?”

“Mark?…I’m sorry, I’m headin’ out the door right now, I—“

“Spare me the bullshit. Get your ass down here now. You’re wasting company time. They’re supposed to start shooting in an hour!”

“I, I’m sorry, Mark… I told Madeline to tell you that I might be a little late today. I, I have—“

Dial tone. Obusan looked at the screen of his mobile, his vision wandering across the background picture. A picture of golden eyes, like dawn breaking and wild tresses of fire sweeping above them. He stared at the outline of this face, this brutish face, with its curled pink lips and raised brows and for a moment he was lost within himself and forgot where he was.

He glanced around what used to be a home and knew that he shouldn’t have felt the way he did.  But his eyes did not water when he saw the vacant walls and his chest was not tight as his footsteps echoed through the desolate rooms. The missing furniture didn’t resonate anything within him and that was when he realized he wasn’t standing in the middle of an empty home, but was taking up room in a house cluttered with boxes and dead dreams.

The sun burned through his pores, soaking into his blood and he could feel it boil but did everything he could to focus on the wind whipping across his face as he raced up the boulevard for the last time. He thought back to how excited he was when he bought his yellow dream eight months ago, but that feeling of fervent nostalgia dissipated as the promotional sign for the Classic Dealership drew closer.

He pulled into the lot, lurking by rows of aligned Alpine’s, Lotus Elan’s, and Camaro’s that seemed a lot more appealing than they were the first time he was there. Eyes were everywhere, pretending to be browsing the vehicles when they were really watching him, criticizing him, mocking his situation.

Coming to a stop in front of the main office he kept the car running and remained inside, his hands fidgeting on his lap, linking fingers around one another and pinching wet palms.  His right hand leapt out at the radio and pressed random buttons before twisting the volume knob to mid level.

The passion of lovers is for death, said she

The passion of lovers is for death,”

White teeth and amber eyes a laugh sailing through birdsong and green grass because this is love.

She breaks her heart

Just a little too much,”

Bronze cheeks soaked in an unrecognizable torture looming over a sense of inadequacy is inescapable because this is love.

And her jokes attract the lucky bad type

As she dips and wails,”

His eyes were lit his peach flesh stroking against the tanned skin of a stranger bellows of pleasure shake the world beads of sweat trailing down his broad shoulders flexing back bulging thighs stains on their sheets.

And slips her banshee smile

She gets the better of the bigger to the letter,”

X-rays stethoscopes syringes alone in a waiting room filled with familiar pale faces blood stains whispers resentment solitude blame.

The passion of lovers is for death, said she

The passion of lovers is for death,”

The ache of reality chipping away at his sanity solitary in this world betrayed tears tears tears so little time dying.

The passion of lovers –“

There was a knock on the car door and Obusan felt his shock tear from him as he jumped in the seat.

“Oh my God!”

“I’m sorry!” The man hovering outside of the car laughed “I didn’t mean to startle you, Mr. Nagai.”

“Jaquan!”

Obusan turned the volume down and then placed his hands on his chest which rattled with traces of terror. He allowed himself to believe the tears forming in his eyes and the numbness in his lips were from surprise of Jaquan’s presence and he temporarily discarded the memories he clung to.

“Are you okay?”

Obusan exhaled.

“Y, yeah…Yeah, I’m fine.”

He looked up at Jaquan, a young man around his age with cocoa skin and a lanky physique who seemed to tower over him.

“Are you sure about this?”

“…What?” Obusan turned the radio completely off and then did the same with the car.

“It’s a 1987 Fiero GT…Do you know how hard it would be to find another one of these? And in yellow…”

“I thought you were a car salesman, Jaquan.”

He turned from Jaquan and looked down at his lap, squeezing his hands. Jaquan smiled and shook his head.

“I am, Mr. Nagai…but you were mad excited when we called you with it, man. I just wan’chu to be sure…because I would never—“

“I’m sure!” he cut him off and hesitated as he pinched his palm “I…I’m sure.”

Jaquan’s smile weakened and his teeth withdrew behind his lips as he slid his hands into the pockets of his navy slacks.

“Aight, man. If you’re sure…Park it in front of the garage and come on in. We’ll finalize the paperwork and get the plates off.”

“Okay…Thank you.”

The heat hung from Obusan as he stood near the curb of ongoing traffic cluttering the streets in an array of metallic shades. He glanced over his shoulder at the dealership behind him, his lemon colored car no longer in sight, no longer his.

His wristwatch dial read 1:36pm and he knew his shoot would be starting in less than thirty minutes but he had to get this done today before he started filming or else he wouldn’t be able to focus.  Shoots always took hours and it may be too late by then. No, perhaps he was just paranoid. Perhaps just dramatic, but time evoked a fear out of him that he never believed to exist. Time was something he could no longer ignore.

The cry of seagulls dropped from the heavens and slammed into his ears and he flared, looking up to the sky, spotting their silhouettes against the gleam of the sun.

“…Fuckin’ birds.”

He shifted his attention back to the oncoming traffic and whipped his arm out, giving a tepid wave and holding his breath in hopes of catching a passing breeze.

“Come on…” He mumbled, leaning outward.

He pulled his arm back and looked around, stepping a few feet back. Using his fingertips, he brushed the fine, raven hair away from his slanted ebony eyes. The cawing seemed to be drawing nearer and he thrust his head to the sky.

“Go away,” he whispered “Go away…”

“Hey!”

Obusan pulled his chin down just as a canary colored blur was speeding towards him. He thought of his newly old car as the taxi came to an abrupt halt just inches away from the curb, a man leaning out of the back window, a goofy smirk taking up most of his face.

“Waiting for a cab?”

Pausing, Obusan tilted his head to look at the driver in the front. The middle aged man had arms that reminded Obusan of a grizzly bear and a solid, sun burnt face that clearly had no interest in why he had pulled over.

“Well?”

Obusan looked back to the man in the backseat. The strawberry blond hair and hue of his eyes made Obusan think of Casey.

“Yeah…”

“Ride me.”

“What?”

“I said ride with me…C’mon. I’ll pay. Anywhere you need to go. I hate riding in these things by myself. The drivers never talk to you.”

“You’re probably not goin’ my way.”

“Trust me,” His grin spread “I am goin’ your way.”

Obusan sighed as he looked up and down the street in hopes of spotting another taxi but they all sped by, mixed among city buses and candy apple convertibles with their tops down. He looked at his watch.1:47pm.

“Okay.”

Obusan’s lips remained sealed as he gripped onto his seatbelt and looked directly ahead, staring at the numbers on the license plates of the cars ahead of them. They had been driving for ten or fifteen minutes without a word between them, the only noise filling the air being that of the Tejano music the cab driver had playing on the radio. But Obusan could feel the man’s eyes searing his surface, singeing his thighs, his chest, and his face.

“So… making a stop at the bank, huh?”

Obusan looked at him from the corner of his eye. The man’s sight ran across Obusan’s slim, long frame before settling on his exposed feet and fixating on the roundness of his delicate toes lying flat upon mahogany colored flip flops. He tried to withdraw his feet but with nowhere to go he twisted them to the side in a useless attempt to hide them.

Immediately his eyes lifted to his smooth, sleek legs, over the khaki shorts to the tight fitting, burgundy t-shirt and the thin arms with no definition that sprouted from his broad shoulders. When he finally got a good look at Obusan’s face his excitement catapulted. His features were a lot less fragile than they appeared on screen but his toffee skin was just as flawless and the shaggy coal colored hair that draped over his eyes gave off the faintest mint aroma.

“I’m Matt.”

Still, Obusan said nothing.

“Why so quiet?” Matt paused, “Obie.”

Before he fully processed the moment, Obusan’s head jerked towards Matt, his eyes squinting and his lips pursed.

“I knew it!” Matt’s mouth bent into the leer of a deviant “Obie the Pinoy Boy!”

“Driver, pull over.”

“Wait, wait! Hold on! I can’t believe I’m in the same taxi as the Pinoy Boy! Can I touch you?”

“What?” Obusan’s expression was riddled with disgust.

He felt his armpits grow moist as his heart flustered within his rib cage and he brushed his hair from his face.

“You’re so much taller in person. You’re just, you’re just so fucking hot, man. My friends and I love you! They are not going to believe this! We’re such huge fans!”

Obusan forced his stone face, etched with repulsion, to soften, and his shoulders to release their tension. He hated this. Running into them was one of the reasons he dreaded going out into the world. He didn’t hate them, at least, not the semi-normal ones. He knew they were the source of his budding fame, his growing fortune. It was the pretending that he hated. He had to act at work, make-believe when friends asked about Casey, the last thing he wanted to do was pretend in what little free time he had to himself. But he did.

“Thanks. Th, thank you,” His lips took on a familiar forced shape and his face beamed with an artificial light “I’m sorry, you just…you caught me off guard.”

“I knew it was you! I knew it! I told the driver to pull over and once we got close enough—MAN! I knew it!”

Matt let out a sound that aimed to be an exuberant laugh but fell short and ended as an excited moan.

“I, I have a pen – oh, my camera phone. Can we, I mean, if you don’t mind,” He lifted his pelvis; his back pressed against the seat, and pulled a mobile from his pocket “take a picture?”

There was a childlike eagerness to Matt but it was nothing new to Obusan. Most of them reacted with the same giddy outward appearance which did little to mask their dirty inner thoughts.

Obusan finally arrived at the hospital after a bank detour and Matt’s random pit stop for cat food. He thanked the aloof cab driver and paid the fare despite Matt’s objections. Matt suggested the two hang out sometime but he politely declined with a generic excuse accompanied by an apology.

He scurried away from the taxi and rushed into the establishment, waving to the woman at the front desk. She smiled at him and waved back but he darted by her in haste and headed directly to the elevators.

Making his way to the seventh floor he trotted off of the elevator and nimbly maneuvered through the maze of empty hospital beds, mechanical ventilators, trash bins marked hazardous, flocks of frivolous nurses, intravenous drips, and the occasional empty wheelchair.

His movement slowed as he neared the main entrance of his destination, Intensive Treatment Unit looming above the doorway. He could hear the morose ranting of familiar voices nearby and they became more audible with each step.

“Ma…Ma, he ain’t gonna die!” A husky whisper trailed to him.

“You don’t know that!”

“C’mon, Charlotte. He gon’ get the surgery. H, he gon’ be alright, now. Don’t talk like that!”

Obusan came to a stop in the corner of the doorway and pressed himself against the wall, staring straight ahead. The cramped excuse for a waiting area was to his right and he made sure to stay out of direct view, well aware of who made up the huddled group of people sitting in the waiting chairs.

“I warned him, Johnny. I warned your nephew ‘bout that boy.” Charlotte fumed.

“Ant Charlotte, not this again.”

“You don’t start with me, Maggie Louise. My son is, is layed up in here dyin’ ‘cause of, ‘cause of that queer!”

“That queer is the one Casey’s livin’ with. He’s the one taking care of Casey an’ his bills. Because’a him we can stay up here and be near Casey.” Maggie intervened.

“Girlll,” Charlotte said through a clenched jaw “You startin’ to really piss me off. It’s on account’a him Casey’s here!”

“Maggie, don’t bother defendin’ him,” Johnny said to his neice “It’s all that faggoty behavior that got Casey like he is. Your cousin’s up in here with tubes an’ shit all on account’a some fairy.”

“He’s a grown man! Ain’t nobody turned Casey gay, he—“

“My brother ain’t no faggot, Maggie.”

“Jim, you can’t turn no one—“

“He ain’t no faggot, I say.”

Obusan could hear the dialogue pause and the sound of petite feet rushing towards the entryway. Taking several steps backwards, he contemplated running back towards the elevators but it was too late. A distraught Maggie came into view and her roaring eyes met his gentle stare.

“Obusan,” She stopped, her expression becoming one of a guilt ridden adolescent “I…hi.”

“…Hi.”

“H,how are you?”

Obusan shrugged.

She brushed a few strands of dirty blonde hair from her plump cheeks. A shade of red was rising beneath her freckles and her lips grew tense.

“They’re in there.” She said.

“I know.”

“…I know you ain’t got it,” Maggie blurted “How can you give him somethin’ you ain’t even got? Look at’chu. You’re perfectly fine.”

The two shared a brief space in time and remained silent, just looking at one another, before Maggie stepped outside of the moment, extending an “I’m sorry,” and walked towards the elevators. Obusan turned to watch her wait for the elevator doors to open. Once they did, she vanished inside and suddenly he felt more alone than he had before they spoke.

“And you know how them gays are, Johnny! You know it! They snatch up good boys, good boys like my Casey.” Charlotte’s voice cracked “And it ain’t like we don’t know what that, that bastard does for work. They all spread that gay disease!”

“Mhm. Ain’t no respectable career, ‘specially for no chink. They always doing accountin’ work an’ shit like that.”

Obusan quietly entered the room, fluorescent lights and the scent of wet cotton and old hospital food greeting him.

“He gave it to him. I just know he did!”

Johnny and Jim spotted Obusan as he neared, but Charlotte, whose back was to him, began to sob.

“Hello, Charlotte,” Her body jerked at the sound of his airy tone but she didn’t face him “Johnny…Jimmy.”

“…Hey.” Jim said, the beginnings of a sneer spread onto his face.

Johnny nodded in Obusan’s direction. He slid his hands into the front pockets of his tattered and fading blue jeans as he looked down at his sister who remained seated.

Obusan dug into his pocket and slowly revealed a neat bundle of twenty dollar bills. He extended it to the back of Charlotte.

“Here…It’s for the hotel.”

Charlotte’s neck snapped up and turned in her seat, her vision instantly grabbing Obusan’s money heavy hand. She sloppily wiped her face, thick streaks of black mascara trails smeared onto her withering cheekbones. Her lips parted and revealed a pattern of missing teeth, her hand clasping the cash before she muttered “Thanks,” and turned away.

Obusan hesitated before lowering his head and walking out of the waiting area towards room number 1318.  The corridor was silent and as he stood outside the room he was welcomed by a string of beeping noises of the equipment penetrating Casey’s flesh.

“Casey,” he whispered, stepping into the doorway, but Casey remained still, his eyes closed, his breathing slow.

At one time Casey had skin so ivory it glowed beneath the sun and the moon, but it was now sagging in a sallow shade. His head of once curly, ginger hair was listless and fell flat onto his forehead, a brownish yellow color. Arms that once bench pressed 200lbs every afternoon lay limp by his protruding stomach that at one time, was pure muscle. The strength Casey had epitomized, looked frail, and feeble, and only the remnants of a decaying man were left.

“You need a shave, Case.” Obusan looked down at him, running his thumb over Casey’s dried bottom lip. “…Your surgery is in a few days, but I don’t want you to be nervous. I have most of the money together and I know you’ll be fine…Superman can’t be defeated, remember?”

He felt around in his pocket and took out a tube of lip balm. Taking the cap off, he slowly twisted the bottom, pushing the contents of the tube out. With every bit of care he possessed he slid the lip balm over Casey’s top then bottom lip and ran his fingertip over them. Obusan’s eyes welled with water and he stroked Casey’s hair before turning away and walking to the foot of his bed.

Obusan lifted the clipboard and browsed over the information for the thousandths time: Casey McMillan, 12/9/84, Case; Hepadnaviridae, acute liver cirrhosis brought on by HBV, Admittance: 6/23/09.

Obusan felt his mobile vibrate and placed the clipboard back on the small metallic hook it hung from.

“I’ve gotta go, Case.” He said, tears streaking his face as he walked back to the left side of Casey “I’ll see you tonight…I love you.”

Obusan held Casey’s cold hand and leaned over, kissing his chapped lips as gently as he could. Casey murmured. Obusan left.

“Alright, alright! Now that the diva is here and all made up, lets get this show on the road, people!”

“Come on, Ronny.” Obusan sighed.

“I’m kidding, Obie, I’m kidding. Alright, places everybody!…Okay. One, two, three—Action!”

Obie walked into the office, fidgeting with his pink tie and stumbling over his own feet, a mug of coffee in his right hand.

“I, I have your coffee, Mister Johnso—WOAH!” He tripped and on his way towards the floor the mug full of coffee detached from his hand and flung into the lap of his boss.

“Ah! Obie!” Mr. Johnson sprung to his feet, pushing his chair back.

“I, I, I’m s,sorry, Mr. Johnson!” Obusan pulled himself to his knees, his limbs trembling.

Mr. Johnson grabbed some napkins from his desk and started wiping his shirt with them. The brown liquid seeped through both his pants and his white button up, exposing a defined torso and a prominent chest.

“God damnit, Obie! Get over here and clean this mess up!”

Obie obediently crawled over to Mr. Johnson, slipping behind his desk to find the mug. He could see a boom lowering from the corner of his eye so he did his best to raise his voice and still sound timid.

“Where did your mug go?”

“Forget the mug, Obie, look at my pants!” He exclaimed.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” Obie wailed, grabbing a few napkins from the desk and patting the crotch of his boss’s trousers “Mr. Johnson, I didn’t mean to do that, honest! I’m sorry, I–…Mr. Johnson. What is that?” He looked up at a pair of silver eyes gazing down at him.

Mr. Johnson smirked before saying “I believe I mentioned I needed to be debriefed earlier. I’ve had a hectic week.”

“Mr. Johnson! What are you doing?” His boss gripped his wrist with his right hand and slipped the left into his pocket, pulling out a condom and tearing it open with his teeth, savagely spitting the wrapper out.

“Well, Obie,” He began, moving his hands up and down on his pelvis “I figure you’re in the perfect position to debrief me right now.”

Obusan pushed the steel door open and walked into the studio lot, leaning against the metal wall behind him, a crimson number thirteen painted on it.

The sky was streaked in tangerine and ruby and he pulled his mobile from his pocket, looking at the background of Casey, his blazing red hair, intoxicating whiskey eyes, and the t-shirt he donned, a bold Superman symbol on the front. He shook his head. Above him he could hear the seagulls calling out to one another and he looked up at the dimming sky cluttered with ethereal white wings.

“…Take me with you.”

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