“Savannah” By: Tyler Quick


I couldn’t wake him up. I only sat there staring at the ceiling, a single gray stripe denoting its only partition, where in the mornings after I had been erased the room would be split between black and blue. I was barely conscious, like a dead thing; or rather, whatever death’s equivalent is for the pre-nascent.

I told myself, “this too is a dead thing,” insofar as it was already in the process of dying. Perhaps it had been since when we started.

My head throbbed from a combination of shallow sleep and too much alcohol. Although the night before was hot, my skin felt clammy. I didn’t ask him for the blanket though. I lay there completely exposed save for a green beaded bracelet, my nakedness illuminated by the skylight in his apartment. I could never withstand the heat of his body beneath the covers.

I was disappointed to be awake and caught in the trap of linear time. If I could have it any way I wanted, I would have just remained in a coma there on the far side of the mattress lying on his floor, his life still packed up in the boxes around us.

He tickled me on my stomach and I rolled over instinctively. He didn’t need to speak; I knew that the only honest way to forget our impending demise would be to fuck. I still shuddered as we collided. The congress of our pallid bodies became the only meager flash of color left in the white sheet, white walled, empty limbo we occupied.

There was only us, sweating out our feelings, which stank of last night’s vodka. From a mirror across the room, I glimpsed two frail bodies caught in slow, deliberate sex. I tried my best to hang on to the image, to etch it slowly in my mind so that I would have something to touch myself to when I woke up alone in the days and weeks to come. I soon, however, caught his gaze in the mirror, trying to do the same thing, and succumbed to moment.

In a final attempt to prolong it, I held in my orgasm for as long as I could. I tried to make it trickle, but couldn’t stop the flow. I apologized for coming all over the bed, but he told me not to worry about it. He would have to do his laundry soon anyways.

He turned on the shower and I went in first, sitting down for a while to just absorb the steam. We soaped each other up and tried to scrub off one another’s residue. Even now, I often still find his, in fissures I had not anticipated in my form.

In the afternoon, we ate sesame chicken and I sipped on cheap beer. I offered him my glass, but he just shook his head. He had to drive us to the airport. I held his hand under the table and when he opened his mouth to ask me to pass the soy sauce, I only had to say, “I know.”

I tried to get drunk, but I only had twenty dollars left. I had spent too much the night before. There is no drunk for the lonely anyway, just more lonely.

I cried a lot on the drive. Savannah was his and mine was the rest of the world. It still didn’t seem fair.

He dropped me off and kissed me goodbye. I collapsed onto a bench and called my mother to talk about it. “First breakups are hard, honey.”

Suddenly, I saw his Jeep pull up again and his head stuck out the rolled down window. He pulled out a simple bracelet made of green beads; probably not the kind of thing that any self-respecting gay man might wear. “You forgot this,” he said.

“Oh,” I replied. “I didn’t actually. I figured I should leave something here.”

He blinked his red eyes and beckoned me to come closer. We kissed one more time, but then he said, “Okay. Just go.”

We don’t speak much anymore. Before I left his apartment in Savannah, I thought about carving my name on the bannister. I did leave him a picture of me, but I heard he took it down.

He avoided me when he was next in town. When I finally talked him into getting coffee with me, we sat awkwardly, staring at the gulls and trying to not reveal anything too personal.

The infinity was over. But, as I hugged him when I got up to leave the coffee shop, I felt something scrape my back that felt sharp. I swear I could see a few ugly green beads poking out of the sleeve of his designer collared shirt.

I got in the car, started the engine, and smiled. It was the first time in months that I was happy to be driving somewhere alone.

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