Short Story: A Man's Memories of his Mother's Criticism and His Male Lover

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11:58. The stark red numbers of the alarm clock glared at him in the darkness. The air conditioner whirred softly, a muscle twitched in his leg. The pillow was thin and limp beneath his head. A bar of moonlight slanted through the blinds, glinting on the empty vodka bottle at the foot of the bed. He ran his tongue along his teeth and felt the fuzz of hard liquor. He exhaled sharply, fingers kneading his temple. He was drunk, but the memories still clung to him like a sour aftertaste that kept him awake. Intoxication had become routine, and alcohol his bitter beloved. He wanted the blackout, not only to awaken with a splitting hangover, but to feel the slate of his mind wiped blank, with no recollection of his mind’s wanderings. To feel …show more content…
The salty taste of him lingered at the back of his throat, blending with bittersweet blueberry vodka. He swallowed hard, swallowed a tingling need to vomit, a corrosive lust. The urge to masturbate struck him with a hot jolt, but he resisted, restrained by some quick fear. He cursed, sighing into the cotton. He had hoped that liquor would soothe him, that the darkness would anesthetize him. That he would be alone, free to be no one but himself--a role he rarely played. But randomly, cruelly, his mother’s voice cut through his mind, slicing into him as she always did, when he was most exposed. How come you don’t wanna play ball with the other boys? It’s fun, hangin’ out with the guys, innit? Just look at your brother, the whole football team loves him, and he’s got such a nice girlfriend… Why can’t you be more like-- His teeth dug trenches into his bottom lip. The pain silenced the memory. The present could always blot out the chaos of the past, but only temporarily: Oh my God, get these filthy magazines outta here. Awful! Christ, what would your father think, his little boy gawkin’ at naked men? Throw ‘em out… It’ll be our little secret. Your father won’t know nothin’ about this…unnaturalness. Unnaturalness. Her voice was like a buzz saw, cleaving his forehead in two. In his mind her features were soft, vaguely defined as in a half-imagined memory--a photograph fading into deep whiteness. But through the years her voice remained the same, serrated as a

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