He came back late from a friend with hash and wanted me to go a walk for tobacco when I anticipated I’d need the £5 he’d left me with for Sunday papers. I demurred. He also wanted to make a gift of some hash to Yvann. I was against that too although the idea he give to Yvann himself if he wanted to was mine. He did anyway and I’d loosened to the walk once it wasn’t just to suit him by a visit to a late night tobacconist’s. We went by the river, fields and wood before threading through alleys back.

I was in the kitchen before going to bed and saw in the window there a reflection of him naked in the room. I’d never seen reflected another naked man in my flat, so far as I knew, and spontaneously if ironically observed ‘monstrous! shocking!’ of the reflection. When I got back to the room, his face was set and he walked off to the bathroom to sulk. “What’s wrong? What did I say?” He’d taken what I said literally, that his naked body was monstrous and shocking. There would be no sex that night though I said I’d hardly have him in my bed and be putting him up if I thought his naked body that of a monster.

In the morning I was thinking of the unlikelihood of my eschewing irony or spontaneity and his taking irony literally, that we might be incompatible. When he got up he ironically said he was taking his disgusting body off. “What!” He thought, presuming he was right, I’d dug a pit for myself no amount of explication could get me out of when I didn’t think I had. I hadn’t said anything wrong. I wasn’t saying he was wrong either. I couldn’t remember my exact wording of the night before or I’d’ve given it but it was something like ‘It’s (a reflection of the body of) a naked man! It’s monstrous, shocking!’ so my man had left it open to differing interpretation especially since John in another room didn’t know how his naked body could be seen reflected.

He’s oversensitive but nobody had ever criticised his body before. We made up and I said not to use this contretemps as an excuse to drug and shoplift but was anxious all day while he was out and relieved when he came back. He felt sick from too much brandy on top of a last spliff but not so sick I didn’t have sex.


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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