(damaged boys) 18

(damaged boys) 18: in the space of two houses
There were five of them in the row of townhouses, and underneath the sheen of public normalcy and personal success lived the gaping damage within.
two houses
No one would take note of the orderly row of townhouses which had sprung out of fallow fields of urban blight, disrespect and hopelessness. Where once there were working-class homes and yards and porches, there came the demolition machines, and years, if not decades, of emptiness. Lots plowed under by the city, barely leveled so that one could still make out the outline of the house, and the sinking earth where once stood foundation and cellar. In these times, grasses and wildflowers grew in season, inviting butterflies and birds to alight there. There were grasses and buttercups and dandelions.

In the months before construction, the field where two houses once stood was filled with rural life, condensed and reconstituted in the city. Here, this land was perfect and regenerated. Serving a purpose. Then came the clearing of the land, the leveling and the digging for a new foundation. In the space where two houses stood, there would soon be five units, five very narrow townhouses, sharing one structure. Shoe-horned onto the block.
Daniel stopped almost daily to watch the progress of the construction, noting the changes and the obstacles. He’d watched with pride as his new home was built brick by brick. Springing forth from the brown field of the old, came the glittering new, perfect and exactly as planned. It fit his personality, it fit his dream and his schedule to own his home, and to be master of his tiny universe.
Daniel watched as if in slow motion, the arrival of his neighbors…casing each of them. He and Jeanine thought they were progressive enough to live in the predominantly gay neighborhood, never fully realizing that they would be the only practicing heterosexuals actually in the building. Braden, Ben, Marcus and Corey were all gay.
In the weeks since his indiscretion with Kyle, Daniel had grown more silent, more inward and detached. He thought back more frequently about the days before their arrival, and everything that had changed since.
He had no idea how to approach Jeanine, what to say or even what to think. His actions were beyond his own explanation. It seemed that not saying anything made it a little less true each day that passed.
In the intervening weeks, Braden sold his unit and Corey was conspicuously absent. Or so he thought.
Jeanine had been staying up at night, unable to process he husband’s growing disconnection. She was at once unsettled and perfectly secure…secure in the idea that there was someone else. Within the thousand different ideas racing the circuit through her brain, she would never guess Kyle. But she had noticed Corey.
She wouldn’t have if she’d been asleep next to her husband or making love to him. Since she shared her nights with silence and the kitchen table, she’d noticed Corey’s comings and goings…late. Very late. There were never men coming home with him, but she quickly exacted his extracurricular activities with a twinge of horror and fascination. She would talk to him. With at least one decision made, she could sleep again, and joined Daniel beneath the covers.
She smoothed the quilt over her, clearing the creases and folds until there was nothing but the perfect flat fabric covering her body. At least she could control that. At least she could keep something clean and smooth and under control. With no kiss or murmur, she fell into the gray haze called sleep, and escaped for one more night in a line of a hundred just like it.
And the distance between them grew as large as the space of two houses.

Aug 15, 2006 By Todd 8 Comments