Dad's on his 20th diet soda today. He's trying to cut back. The more he glugs them down, the less mom wants his fat little prick poking at her fat folds. He's had 7 layers of carrot cake to wash down his stress, and on Sunday, like clockwork, he'll hang over the top of her so that his fat is nearly touching hers, and they'll fuck. It isn't like what it was when they were younger. They were young and in love and sex was beautiful. She snuck out like every other teenager of the 80s and they smoked and drank and fucked. Now it's like some kind of affair. Mom puts it on the calendar like she does with her appointments. "Wed. 1pm Lunch with Janet, Wed. 9pm, Sex with husband." It gets meshed in between the bills she’s got to pay and the schoolwork she's got to do to get her bachelor's. When it happens, it's silent. She blows him and budgets out the next month because they’ve both taken pay cuts.
Sometimes I wonder how their relationship got to that point. I wonder if there's a exact moment where all of the passion they once had evaporated. Maybe my dad burned eggs one morning and my mom decided that was a perfect reason to no longer want him. I don't ever want to be married if it means I'll end up like my parents. I can't bear the thought of loving someone only to grow bored of them after a bad morning and some burnt scrambled eggs.
When I was a child, I used to imagine what my Prince Charming would look like. I’d forgotten those memories when I tried to forget I was gay, but now I still remember watching Cinderella and wondering why she couldn’t be a boy. Your Prince Charming never really looks like how you’d imagine him. He changes with the times. When I was nine, he was the boy wonder on a television show. He was always older than I was back then. I’d be counting down to my tenth birthday and my Prince Charming would be an intimidating fifteen. High schoolers were off limits, but that didn’t stop me from liking them. In middle school, my Prince Charming hated me. He’d tease me in the halls. Once, at lunch time, he sent a one-liner my way that was so mean I never sat at the same lunch table again. Then I’d sit next to him in English and my heart would pound out of my chest. I’d go home from a hard day of being harassed and daydream on my couch. Images of curly hair and a toothy smile stared at me until I fell asleep. It was from daydreaming that my grades were so horrible I eventually had to leave the school. It’s hard to take notes when you’re planning your wedding.
I learned how to touch myself when I entered high school. I hated myself for being gay, but it didn’t stop me from imagining a fair skinned girly boy from my ROTC class. I only knew his last name for the longest time. During roll call he’d shoot up from his chair when the Colonel called, shouting “Sir, present, sir” like he was saying “Long live Cher!”
I imagined him fucking me. He pulled my head back by my hair and nailed into me. The next day I demanded I get my head shaved.
I sat there like a prisoner when they did it. It was for my own good, I convinced myself, and I tipped my head forward so they could get the hairs on my neck. In ROTC class we played a game of soccer with a few of the older students. A lanky sophomore with a chin pulled up just below his nose said that if there were any queers in ROTC he’d jump them.
I lasted another couple of weeks before I had a panic attack in the hallways. I collapsed in the dean’s office and told mom I would never go back to that school as long as I lived. It was Wednesday, and she said I should finish out the rest of the week. I said no.
In retrospect, maybe it was us, who ruined mom and dad’s relationship. Sometimes I sit on the edge of my bed and wonder what they would be like if none of us existed. She had four damn miscarriages, and four of us in between. If I believed in God, I’d say that’s a sign that she shouldn’t have kept on trying.
I never knew exactly what happened to that beautiful little faggot in ROTC. I tried contacting him. I wrote a long letter, longer than I’d ever written before. According to Facebook, he saw it one year ago, exactly, and he never responded.
Sometimes I still fantasize that I’ll see him somewhere. Maybe he’ll recognize me and we’ll go to talk about how stupid we were in freshman year of high school. Maybe I’ll take him home and he’ll finally fuck me. That’s the thing about Prince Charming, sometimes, no matter how much you hope he just doesn’t show up.
I sometimes try to understand what it is that makes us do what we do. I’ll look at prostitutes and wonder about what their life was like before they became what they are. I look at them, and through their eyes I can see their favorite toy, a little stuffed dog named Dusty. I can see them clutch Dusty with all of their might as they listen to their mother with another one of her clients. For some, it’s probably a family business. The type of family business that you promise yourself you won’t get involved with. Then, the next thing you know, you’re throwing your daughter a raggedy little stuffed dog with dust bunnies in its tail as you walk the next fat slob into your bedroom. Maybe it’s different for others. Maybe they grew up like us. They got a Barbie dream house for Christmas and rode up on their father’s shoulders at the carnival. I still can’t pinpoint what exactly went wrong that made us the way we are. Maybe, despite all of the home cooked meals and birthday parties, they failed us in some way. Maybe we failed them. I guess pointing fingers helped us end up where we are.
When I came out, mom went overboard. Within a week every person that we could possibly be tied to by blood had been informed. She joined every support group in the state. Even now, she still has the audacity to say she doesn’t want to be an advocate. Maybe I’m a dickhead, but I just wanted to fuck guys without repercussion. I don’t really care about social justice. Gay people shout from the rooftops about heterosexual white male privilege. I don’t get the idea of stating that someone else has privilege. Of course they do. But the way to stop privilege isn't to completely turn the tides so the gays are the ones with the advantage. If we truly want to be equal, we should stop bitching and moaning about other people’s privilege and just treat everyone like a human being.
Sometimes I said this to some of the guys I had sex with.
I’d clean the cum off my back with a motel hand towel and preach about my egalitarian views like I was a professor or some political correspondent on CNN. Sometimes, your Prince Charming doesn’t listen. But, he fucks you and he makes you feel something.
Mom and dad treated us well. We never got beat and we never felt like they’d kick us out. But, for some strange reason, we all behaved like affection starved puppies while we were in their care.
I loved some people better than I’d ever loved before. Now, I think my Prince Charming is stuck. It doesn’t matter who I meet anymore, Prince Charming never looks like them. When I close my eyes, all I can see is blue eyes. I’ve written so many poems about them, that I’ve run out of interesting ways to describe them. Sometimes, you come across someone, and it’s like you never want to meet another Prince Charming ever again. Those eyes burn into my skull so brightly that I have to force myself to stop naming shades of blue.
Sapphire. Azure. Ultramarine. Cobalt. I sound like a fucking paint catalogue.
You know you’re in love with someone when you think about more than just having sex with them.
He smells like lavender or lilac or some other type of fragrance used in dryer sheets to make sure clothes don’t just smell like clothes. At one point I was half tempted to go through bottle after bottle of different brands of laundry detergent just so I could find out what the smell was.
That’s fucking crazy.
You know you’re in love when you sound like a psychopath sometimes.
I wonder if that’s how mom and dad felt when they first met. I remember them telling me the story of their meeting. I’d beg them to tell it, and mom would recount the tale of how dad stalked her in the hallways. He took pictures of her for photography. Nothing else but her. I’d imagine the photography teacher spreading them out like a timeline. Little cuts to different gymnastics poses. The way her tits bounced when she went in for a strike in volleyball. Her kissing her then-boyfriend that would still live in a trailer park when he turned forty. Mom would tell the story with a smile plastered on her face, and when she finished she’d turn and kiss dad on the cheek. Then while we slept they’d have passionless sex to the memory.
Maybe mom’s Prince Charming is stuck too. Maybe her and dad only worked out because she fell so in love with him that she drowned in it. Maybe she can’t look at Prince Charming any different now.
I can understand that.
Mom lost her shit at some point with me. I had some spiritual experience with Benadryl and she tried to send me to Vermont. I think at some point I woke up and realized she didn’t really want us. We were never perfect for her. She couldn’t use me for her story if I was dead. What’s the use of telling people about your gay son if he doesn’t swoon at boy bands and Vogue magazines? If he’s a ward of the state, at least she wouldn’t have to lay claim.
We find Prince Charming irresistible because he helps us understand. We all have the same fake smile about something. For mom, its reserved for the stories we sometimes make her tell. That and having sex with dad. Dad’s fake smile is so good we don’t even know he has one. Even grandma’s funeral was just another sitcom episode in dad’s life. We saw her as a vegetable, wasting away on grandpa’s recliner, and dad still cracked jokes about her hair rollers. Yours only really activates when you snort cocaine. Mine comes with gay jokes and attractive men. Prince Charming’s was a reaction to everything and absolutely nothing at the same time.
We got older and we realized true smiles are so few and far between that they surprise you when they do come.
Blue was my favorite color my whole life. Now I name shades on the couch and sit in the silence. Blue is just another synonym for disappointment.
We all forge connotations for things based on our experiences with them. Sometimes when I’m driving home alone, I’ll listen to old songs and talk to people long gone. That Prince Charming only exists in the passenger seat when no one else is there. It turns into a confessional booth where I apologize for everything I’d ever done wrong. I apologize to the color blue. I apologize to scrawny little queers in ROTC. I beg to be forgiven on behalf of all of us, whether or not we’re sorry. Everything that happens to us shapes where we are today. The problem is trying to figure out where exactly everything went wrong.