“Can we not be mad at one another?” Calvin requested after Avi left, taking Mitch’s hand into his own and linking their fingers together. Being put into the position where he was on the offense was so unfair, since he had no agency in the matter. Then again, playing the victim was Calvin’s specialty, and Mitch wouldn’t win in this arena.
“I’m not mad,” Mitch lied. “Hurt, yes, But-” He swallowed, knowing that he’d be spun as the villain when this tale was told, but needing to minimize as much impact as possible. It didn’t even matter, once this was dead and buried he wouldn’t ever interact with the audience that Calvin would be relaying all of this to, that wasn’t his scene anymore. But Calvin did not deserve the satisfaction. “I think you’re right. We stagnated, and if this is what you feel is the best course of action…” he trailed off, his throat tightening. Logically, all of this tracked. He had prepared himself for this moment.
Emotionally, however, he wanted to kick Hot Yoga Guy out of his apartment, throw Calvin onto their bed, and just give in. Take the path of least resistance. Not find out what happened when he went out that door for the very last time, leaving this life behind forever. Figure out how to tell Jodie that he messed up yet again, but assure that this time it would be fine. And then 6 months later try to figure out how to approach her when it inevitably blew up because that was how the cycle went.
They’d been happy, once, him and Calvin. Never a sure thing, but happy. They must have been.
No, this had to be it. Definitive. It couldn’t presumably be forever, it had to be permanent. And that was terrifying. That was the equivalent of staring into the void, to cross the Strait of Messina without earplugs and daring to listen to the siren’s song. It was all so unknown, but there he stood, a shell of what he used to be: angry and constantly on the verge of drowning. Shackles bound his hands, but they were damaged, cracked and brittle, and with enough force they’d come apart and he’d be free. So there could be no turning back, only the ordeal of moving forward.
Also, his dick was out of order. There was no bedroom fantasy to fulfill where he could tough it out and fuck through the pain. Blurry memories from months -years- prior rose out of the murky depths, vague in their shape but terribly dangerous if he looked at them for too long, and he shuddered while they lingered in his peripheral vision. They were going to kill him if he didn’t take the chance to escape now.
“Then so be it,” Mitch finished the thought, the compulsion to stay and fight vanished when the words left his mouth. He had his earthly possessions. He knew full well that this was unsustainable, known it right around when they first hooked up.
And eventually, the agony would settle down. He’d look at a picture of the two of them that he had saved but meant to delete, and wonder why he was so desperate to stay together. Selfishly, stupidly, he never sorted out a plan B, figuring they would be doing this dance forever; relationships were meant to be all work, were they not? It was what TV and movies and books proclaimed, that you had to have some kind of antagonistic chemistry with the person that you loved.
Perhaps it would be better to never love at all, were that the case.
“I’m gonna go,” he announced with no triumph whatsoever. No fanfare. No big ‘fuck you’. And though he didn’t want it, he allowed a kiss on the cheek from Calvin.
His stomach churned. This was a mistake. He should fight back. Love was about fighting. They could do this. They could work it out-
“Take care of yourself,” Calvin smiled, and Mitch swore that it was forlorn. He quelled the shivers that threatened to burst from out of his core. There was another man in his bedroom, and he wanted to stay and make a scene. Except it was no longer his domain, and he was now an unwelcome guest.
He wanted to leave. He wanted out. He didn’t want to cry anymore, for fuck’s sake. He didn’t want the isolation and loneliness that had become a daily occurrence in his own home. It sucked. Everything about this was a constant and waking nightmare.
He wasn’t living. He was just killing time.
“You too,” Mitch responded, his voice watery, and he sniffed quietly. Turning heel, one last look was taken around, at the lack of personality contained within the stark white walls. Three hours away, there was a home. There were people that loved him and never made him feel less than human. That was where he was needed, and where he needed to be.
And down in the garage waited Avi, someone that committed one of the greatest acts of kindness for him. An entire car that wasn’t his was packed full of all of his stuff, and Mitch hadn’t even been the one to pack it. A friend, which he desperately needed.
That, he concluded, sounded far better than hanging around somewhere where he never felt that he belonged.