He called me pretty boy when I first came here. Now he calls me trash, if he calls me anything at all.
"Hey trash, pick this up for me."
It didn't even start out as a joke, as if he'd been saying it all along. It didn't bustle merrily across stage, as if it had been sitting in the wings, waiting for its inevitable appearance. It was thrown, like a heckler's open disdain.
Pretty boy became someone else, belonged to someone else.
What was I supposed to think of that? Some bastard boy with more hair on his legs than his face was the same bastard boy I had once been to someone else, when I'd first appeared on the scene.
I had tried to ignore the signs; he had seen them, and acted swiftly.
Just like I'd been tender, and the first pain had been tender, here was an ache that carried still that tenderness - it was a killing ache, but one devoid of love as the ones before it had not been.
Now here in my place was another soft, sweet tender ache for him. The hardening that could only happen was not the one I wanted; my heart was not an organ I wanted firm, thickened, spilled, but handled - yes, oh please -
But now, having once let him in by the hairs on my chin(ny chin chin), I had grown a pelt that caressed me in his stead. No longer was I pork, but only potential predator. Possible competition. No longer prey, but another big bad wolf.
And here I look up at him, but I daren't speak; how can I when it is with a voice that neither of us care for? He has placed a suitcase down, and nudges it with his foot.
"Pick it up," he says. What can I say about his voice that isn't different from his face? He is ice, as far as I am concerned.
"It's got your stuff in it."
"It's been a long time," I attempt. My voice splits between syllables.
He catches my eyes: if he has a soul it is kept behind eyes that are made of frosted window-panes.
Ironically, he holds his arms open. I go toward him with brief hesitation, and he folds me into him.
"You're just my height now," he whispers.
"Just your height," I repeat. It is a stabbing thought as I realise that this is never what he wanted - no amount of hugging, kissing or sentiment can make me worth anything to him now. I am glad he had the best years of my life; it is right that at least one of us had them.
His grip suddenly becomes tight and constrictive. It isn't anything new, but it's not something I had expected now. He growls into the cup of my ear: "Remember, even now, if you ever tell anyone - not that anyone would believe you - you're dead."
Then he's soft again, and smiling, and I am released from him. He taps the waiting case with his foot again, and only when I've picked it up and turned to the door do I hear his - retreating isn't the right word; receding would be more apt - footsteps as he goes back upstairs. I don't think to what - to whom. All I can comprehend is that it is innocence he is interested in, and the age that encompasses it; what does flesh mean to someone who steals entire lives whole?
But it's what I have left. Flesh. Flesh and little else.
I hear a squeal as I close the door, but I know later there'll be screams.