Thomas was the impossible boy. Dark, lithe, handsome. He was my rebound straight guy after firing Erik, the athlete who would later go on to become my life’s big villain, from the set of my craven and debauched dreams.
Sixteen years old, with hair as black as mine but short. And cute. And the way his hair parted in his forehead created a tuft that jutted right out from his skull. I could sit and sigh over that tuft, and the bend of his neck, for hours. He had slightly crooked teeth too, and that was so cute. And he smiled a lot, because he had a cheerful disposition. Well, cheerfully mocking.
At night in my dreams, I’d show him that there is no such thing as a sweet and innocent sixteen year old boy. It’s all a façade they put up to pass as civilised among other people. At the advanced age of eighteen and a half, I can look back at those tender years with the wisdom and knowledge the gulf of ages has given, and decide that.
Before Mark, I think Thomas was my biggest and messiest crush. I could never have him, of course. He was so obviously straight, and I suspect slightly homophobic. He certainly did not like the open homosexual at that school, the Queen of Jerks that wore his gayness on his sleeve and made everything into a homophobic attack on his integrity. I’m not sure I can hold that too much against Thomas, because I certainly didn’t like him much either.
Sports with Thomas was… difficult. I made sure I was always the last one to shower. I always made sure he had gone before I went in. Wouldn’t want him to walk in naked if I hurried and tried to be first, would I? Since I’ve never been a big fan of team sports, and the coach insisted on football all the time when there was the weather for it, it wasn’t too difficult to manage any risk of disasters.
The one and only time I saw Thomas naked fuelled weeks of fevered fantasies and slightly nauseating images. I’m glad it only happened one time, because as all crushes on straight guys must do, I eventually gained control of my emotions and shut it down. It was impossible. He was the impossible boy, no matter how much I wanted there to be one sliver of hope, one hint of a chance.
Mark had a more “normal” childhood than I did, in that respect. He came out early, and could do the fourteen year old hand-holding and asking out thing with his ex. I, in the deepest forests of rural Sweden, could not hope for that. Or I thought I couldn’t, because once Erik outed me to the people I knew, their reaction was quite lukewarm. They shrugged and moved on. Before that, and with the memories of being bullied, I was too cowardly to tell anyone out of fear of once again being the outsider.
There is a point to this trip down memory lane because last evening, before Mark and I crashed to bed, Stephen was over and told us that he once again is single. He lamented that Mark and I were so lucky, and that he didn’t know how we do it. After he had gone, Mark and I talked about it, the conversation reminded me of my own attempts at love before Mark.
And in those memories, there loomed Tomas as the biggest crush; the impossible crush; the heart-breaking crush that kept me awake at night through a mixture of deep longing and hopeless despair and terror of being found out. Well, I agree with my dad. There’s nothing more pathetic than a fifteen-sixteen year old boy in love.
Contrast that lonely boy to the now. Isn’t it funny what only three years can do? Or only one, because as soon as I came to England, I wasn’t him any more. Do things really change that much in three years? It must have. Back then Thomas was the impossible boy, the unreachable boy. But, when I think about it, so was I.
In four days we will have been married for a month. Christ. It still fills me with a boundless sense of awe that Mark said ‘I do’ to me. Even more, maybe, that I said it to him. I can’t say any of that about Thomas to Stephen, of course, because talking and writing is different. I can’t say that maybe Stephen has to want it as much as Mark and I did.
We don’t demand perfection from each other, and the laundry list of ‘perfect’ in a partner is different from what we are to each other. Thomas and Erik was more “my type”. Athletic, with muscles, and taller than me. Mark is shorter than me, even if he’s getting there with the muscles.
Mark’s ex was horrible, and I was alone, and I guess we cling to each other now because we know what we had before, and don’t want to not have it. Does that sound unambitious? As if we’re “settling for” each other? No. I’ve never loved as hard or as deep as I do now. I would never have married him if I wasn’t absolutely certain of that.
Maybe Stephen has to ask for less. Maybe anyone does. And maybe, if you ask for less, then there won’t be anyone that exist as ‘the impossible’ anything.