The night is moonless, the street empty. The air carries the faintest hint of spring. I’m walking home numbed with five beers, half-disappointed, half-relieved you won’t be there.
Can’t get that thing with A out of my head. What are we? Three consenting adults just having some fun? Two middle-aged queers scarring a nineteen-year-old for life? If A is nothing more than our fuck buddy, then why are you texting each other I love yous?
Tonight I’ll dream about my father. He’ll be dead, as he has been for a month in real life, but able to walk and speak and whine. Wearing ornamental armour made of drain tubes and fluid-filled bags, he’ll find the stash of beers in my room and pour them all away. Before he comes back downstairs to fall into a breathless sleep, he’ll tell me to finally leave you.
I [will] [won’t] listen to him. When you join me in bed at six in the morning, with your alcohol-soaked breath and heavy, fuzzy arm, I’ll [pull away] [snuggle closer to your heart and liver and guts]. Tomorrow we’ll have a fight. In the evening I’ll tell you [to move out] [I’m sorry].
I’ll [get sober] [keep on drinking]. Won’t remember the names or faces of the guys I sleep with. In my memory, they’ll become a hairy amalgam of legs, arms, mouths and buttocks, its many lungs breathing in the spicy scent of the cologne you gave me.
A will finally get bored with [you] [us]. [Your esophagus will become a pipeline for beer and wine and vodka.] [You and I will really see each other for the first time in years.]
We’ll go to A’s funeral [separately] [together]. His mother will be roughly your age. She’ll be standing still, her face almost emotionless, but I’ll picture her on her knees, uttering guttural noises, sinking her dry, reddened hands into the dirt and throwing it into the grave. That day we’ll have a [friendly chat] [deadly fight] and [go our separate ways] [you’ll tell me you’ve been seeing someone else].
I’ll hear about your [death] [wedding] months after the fact. The news will leave me numb. I will become a ghost-like figure haunting the city, feeling nothing as I get up, go to work, go shopping, until I break down in the middle of a supermarket for all the bloodless bank workers and heartbroken teachers to witness. I’ll [get back to drinking] [drink even more].
I will meet [B] [you] by accident. You’ll have been [dead] [divorced] for many years. Our dogs will sniff at each other under a weeping willow. The meadow will be sun-filled, peppered with poppies and bristling with cornflowers. There’ll be tangles and knots of earthworms under its surface. After my mother dies, we’ll move into her house. Two happy, impotent drunks sitting on the porch, looking at the blue serpentine cutting the valley, holding hands, throwing sticks for the dogs to fetch.
[B] [You] will die, the dogs will die, I’ll buy myself a cat. She’ll lick my temple to wake me whenever I’m lying dead drunk on the floor in [his] [your] pyjamas. I’ll learn all [his] [your] things by heart, exterminate all moths that dare to feed on [his] [your] clothes, keep a museum of bottles that have known [his] [your] lips. On my dying day I’ll remember your name.
Łukasz Drobnik’s writing has been published or is forthcoming in Atticus Review, Quarterly West, Lighthouse, Bare Fiction, Foglifter, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, SHARKPACK Annual, Mojave Heart Review, Cartridge Lit and elsewhere. He has written two novellas in his native Polish, “Nocturine” and “Cunninghamella” (Forma, 2011). An English version of “Nocturine” is forthcoming in 2019 from Fathom Books. Twitter handle: @drobnik.