“The hum of photocopiers turns into something marine, mournful as the deep sea. White mechanical whales.”
The young man believed he might draw a map of a city beyond the reach of normal perception and only faintly recalling the city where he had lived his early life. The suburbs and districts in the new city would be sized and spaced according to the intensity of the poetic feeling he had once felt in this or that part of another Melbourne. Thus, a huge glowing core of what he called vivid imagery—with its centre where Fitzroy might have been—would spread outwards and drive to the farthest margins the shrivelled remains of places where a young man had once tried and failed to feel what was expected of him.
The night deepened, became threaded through with a string of similar occurrences. My shadow’s edges became aware of a quiet touch; the presence of another soul. We would lose ourselves in wondering who the other was, without hands, feet, face, tongue, our shadows touching but never quite mingling. Sad flames licking up against a smooth wall of glass, only to wordlessly slide away, outdone by whatever barrier was there. Every time I felt a shadow slip from me, I looked up at the night sky. How I wanted to believe that cloud-wrapped half-moon was watching over me, an eye bright with intelligence. In reality nothing more than a huge, desolate lump of rock, utterly inert.
Another piece in my favourite online journal, Verity La. This one is part of their “Out of Limbo” series, which aims to capture coming out stories by queer writers. This story is about coming out as a never-ending pursuit: “coming out to people in various subtle ways, again and again, until it all just becomes too tiring”. It’s also a story about male friendship and how things can go unspoken until it’s too late.
‘Fudgepackers!’ said John, referring to our American corporate overseers. The spaceship-like Polycom phone had only just made a final crackle before falling silent, so my reaction to his remark was delayed by an anxious feeling that the Americans might have heard him. It was just the two of us in the tiny glass-walled fishbowl meeting room. I gathered my papers and made to leave.
Although I found the word funny, I shot him what I hoped was a hurt glance and said, ‘That’s such an offensive word. I’d prefer you didn’t use it.’
John gave a knowing look and nodded.
‘Sorry. No offence intended.’
Does that count as coming out? I walked out of the room and we never spoke of it again.
Head over to Verity La to read the rest of the story.