This story is totally fictional. Like in life, there is unhappiness as well as love here, there is treachery, there is death, and there is sex. Eventually.
However, love is the key word in this story.
The author apologizes for possible lapses in idioms and grammar, but English is not his native tongue. His origin will become apparent in the story.
No living creature was harmed and no tree was cut down to produce this story.
Constructive feedback will be gratefully received at . Flamers will be ignored.
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MY BLOOD SINGS IN BENDIK
We came into the world like brother and brother;
And now let's go hand in hand, not one before the other.
(Where chapter 4 left off:)
But I only have a fraction of all the pieces I need. I get tired from the unproductivity of my frantic search for meaning. I look into my mind to try and find what it is I want from all this; I let my thoughts float as they will: I want to empty my head. I want to sink into oblivion. I want to go away. I want to run myself tired. I want to take off my clothes. I want to swim in warm water. I want to feel someone's skin. I want to feel Bendik's skin. I want to feel the heat of his body. I want to make love to him.
The thought jerks me back into full consciousness. Oh! Is that why everything went wrong? Is that why things are still so fucked up? Honestly, is that really what I want?
No, it can't be. It's the whole screwed up situation. I'm fusing my love for him into the weirdness of the wank movie; I'm blending my destructive memories of failing to look after him with my need for forgiveness, my need to repair the damage. It's just that, for a minute, I lost the direction to the corner of my heart where my brother belongs. Ought to belong. Must belong. Oh fuck. Oh hell. I want to cry.
God, how I wished I could live there, in the prop master's gorgeous studio apartment. I had never had a more satisfying night. Never felt more appreciated, never felt sexier, never felt more fulfilled. I had come three times, the last time from entering him while he leaned in on the big window. I suspect the risk of being overlooked, being spied upon, added some zest to it for both of us. I don't know why, but I never told him he was the first man I had fucked.
Afterwards, on his bed: He was lying on his stomach while I was stroking his narrow buttocks, tickling the tiny tuft of almost black hair that grew on the small of his back; his skin looked white as snow in contrast. He rose halfway up on one elbow, his finger drew a line up my groin.
- This, he said, - this line here is the most beautiful and the most heartbreaking part of a boy's body.
I asked him if he thought I would make it as an actor.
- You do have a future, he answered, having thought about it for a while. - Most certainly.
He rolled over, sat up and laid my head in his lap. Twirling my hair with his fingers, watching me with his soft eyes.
- Let me give you a piece of advice, he suddenly said. - Your reputation has already preceded you. It is enough that one cottaging queen remotely connected to theater has seen your assets. I mean, the rumor that you have one yummy cock will pull a lot of undesirable people to you. The hangers-on, the almost-theres, the star-fuckers, they will queue up. My advice is, don't sell yourself cheap. Let them guess. It's actually quite possible to fuck oneself out of circulation.
I turned my head and buried my nose in his black pubic hair, trimmed short above his shaved balls. He smelled of soap and semen. I wanted him again. I stroked his tired dick. But his speech wasn't over yet:
- And this is important: Learn to read people. Try, if you can, to clarify their motives. There aren't many of the ones that really count that will try and push you to put out. The ones that count will scrutinize your face, look at your posture, see how you register on camera, and hope you can act.
I asked him to fuck me. He laughed and pointed out his age. And mine. As if my age was a blemish. A punishment.
- You lovely, lovely little shit, he said. We'll never do this again if I can help it. The danger of getting hooked on you is just too big. Too fierce.
* * *
They've brought Bendik back. And Jesus, is he in a state!
He looks devastated where he sits, rocking back and forth, twisting and wringing his hands, panting and wheezing like he's about to suffocate. I feel the urge to do something, but I don't have a clue what I can do.
Now he cries. He bawls, he wails, he bends over and sobs, his body twitches and jerks. I tiptoe over and very carefully put a hand on his shoulder. He jumps up.
- No! he howls. I'm not worth it! I don't deserve to be taken care of! I don't even deserve a glass eye!
And he falls back down on the chair, his upper body slung across the table, still jerking. I sit down beside him, I say soothing words that mean nothing, I ache with helplessness. So I lay myself on top of him, I hold him like a vise, I fight off his struggle to get away, and I mumble in his ear: - You're mine, Bendik, you're mine no matter what.
I keep holding him until his spasms subside. Finally he relaxes, and I loosen my grip. Then I get a surprise.
- Don't let go, he says. That's the way dad used to hold me when I was panicking. Now it's you.
I let my body weigh him down again.
- You have a pint of my blood in you, I tell his neck. Did you know? Can you hear it sing?
I'm slipping into poetry. I'm slipping into maudlin bullshit, but I can't stop myself. I whisper as softly as I can, afraid he'll hear me, afraid he won't hear me:
- It sings of your small hand in mine ... It sings of your fat little body in my lap ... It sings tears ... It sings broken promises ... It sings brothers ... It sings of love, and please, please, please listen.
He's quiet. I lift myself off him. He hasn't really heard me.
- I want my dad, he whines.
* * *
I was so sick of it: Sick og the fog, sick of the rain, sick of the noise, sick of the throng. Sick of the waiting, sick of the turn-downs, sick of the hopes, sick of the disappointments. Sick of the come-ons, sick of the drooling. Sick of my dingy bedsit and sick of my dirty street. Sick of people calling me by my stage name.
Above all, I was sick of only landing a few very minor parts in insignificant plays and D-list films. So when I was offered a rather more important part in a Swedish gay-themed movie, I jumped at the chance. I had met with the small independent film-team the year before, and to be remembered by them was quite an ego boost for me. Never mind the freely expressed intimations from the casting director that it would be beneficial for me to drop my pants. If my cock could get me this part, and get me out of London, so be it.
The part really seemed to be made for me: Norwegian student on a downward spiraling odyssey in Stockholm. No language coaching needed. No loosing or gaining weight. Not very taxing on my acting skills either, there was a lot of walking, a lot of looking desperate, and a lot of taking my shirt off. Well, yeah, pants too. There was one grand confrontational and violent scene with a lot of hatred and screaming, and I did good in it, because I got a lot of attention after the film was shown at numerous festivals, even though my character was rather secondary to the two main protagonists.
While in Sweden, I realized that I was homesick, and had been for quite some time. The leftovers from my London depression faded once I had perceived this. I sent my résumé to an Oslo-based agency, I went over for quite a few auditions, and smack on my 23rd birthday I was offered a part in a Norwegian TV drama.
Oh, yes. I was going home.
* * *
The radio is on. Pink is on. Turn it off! he shouts.
I humor him, not even asking why. I can tell there's a story here, but I'll wait until he's ready to part with it. He moves restlessly in and out of his room. Into the bathroom and out again. Up and down the small livingroom floor. It jars on me; I ask him to chill, trying not to sound harsh, but I hear how my impatience shades the words. He vanishes into his room and stays there. I curse myself, the hollow feeling of having ruined something sinks from my chest to my stomach.
I call our father. I only get his answering service, but I leave a message telling him to get his butt over here at the earliest possible moment, as his younger son has expressed a wish to see him.
I sneak into his room. He is standing by the window, looking out at the back yard. I tell him I'm lonely. I ask him if I can stay in here with him. And if he doesn't mind too much, please tell me why he's so upset.
He sighs, goes to his bed and flops down on it. Pats the space beside him. I lie down next to him, careful to keep a certain distance.
- It got so involved and tangled in my head, he said, and then the song on top of everything.
I can't stop myself from asking why. He keeps his mouth shut for a long time. I'm weighing to and fro if I should push him or leave him, when he suddenly turns away from me, opens his jeans and pulls his shirt out and up. He pushes the waistband down to just above his crack. Read it, he says.
There's what looks like a small decorative border tattooed across the lowest part of his back, I close in and see words. Even closer I read: Not broken just bent.
He tucks his shirt back in, but leaves his jeans open.
- That was SO my song, he muses, slightly shaking his head. I listened to it all the time in my room, and when the chorus came, I used to shout the words over her voice, like it was a spell or something, like the words would bring my life back. Bring you back.
He strokes the scar on his cheek with two fingers, like he needs reassurance, like it's a security blanket.
- Did Dad tell you why I ran away from home? he asks.
- You know Dad and his mantra. "I'll talk to you later".
- I had a bad dream. I went to his room, I didn't know he had a woman with him. And her cunt was the first thing I saw. Right there. In my face. And I totally freaked. Everything from that time when I was nine, when they ... you know, molested me ... well, it exploded in my head and I really thought I was over it, you know? With the therapy and everything? Seems I wasn't, right?
He reaches for my hand, braids his fingers in with mine.
- I couldn't handle being with him after that. It was like bad smell, or wrong shoes ... or when the head fell off my teddy ... bad, you know. And then one day when he was at work I wrote him a note and left. And like, that's where I found your phone number, on his desk when I left the note there. I quit school, I quit him, I quit everything.
- No, he never told me this. I only heard you had fallen out, and that in his eyes you were perfectly justified to scram.
- Well, I am 18. He couldn't have stopped me.
I pull our still bonding hands up to rest over my heart. He seems so much calmer now, his voice is unbroken and fluid. Go on? I say.
He contemplates this. I think he struggles to find the chronology in everything, I can see in his face it's all a jumble. Go on with what? he seems to think, go on where?
- There was this guy in my class. In the second year. I never really knew him. I never knew anybody, come to think of it, but he used to ogle my dick in the showers. Awkward.
He shakes his head vigorously, as if to clear it of something sticky.
- God. He was like ... Mister Sleaze himself ... He sort of pushed me into a corner once and told me my dick could make me a lot of money. All I had to do was to go to this place he knew, where men picked you up. I didn't want to know ... I broke free, but he'd already told me, see?
He jerks his hand back and bounces off the bed, steps about in small circles while scratching at his ears.
- I don't want this! he complains. I never wanted this!
He's about to get lost again, lost in his own darkness, like he was before. He wrinkles his nose and tears start running from his good eye. I hold out my hand to him, my face begs him to come back to me.
- I want you to understand, he moans, but you'll hate me! You will!
My cell phone pierces the loaded air. Dad's number lights up the screen.
* * *
I got a temporary contract of six episodes. The pay was good; it secured, with a little help from my father, the down payment and mortgage on a two room flat in an older part of the city now turned hip. Overpriced and a bit cramped, but such a difference from my squalid lodgings in London.
The part was actually a bit harder than I had imagined. My character was that of a rich boy turned junkie, and I knew next to nothing of either rich or junkie, but you learn as you go along. The tone on the set was easy and pleasant, there weren't many stuck-up divas or condescending egomaniacs around. The salty and sometimes caustic banter wasn't really evil; best of all, it was all in my own language. I didn't have to be constantly alert to nuances to catch underlying hostility or innuendo.
There was a lot less snorting and drinking than in London. Oh, there were possibilities, sure, and parties where any substance flowed freely, but I'd had enough of that, and enjoyed that I had other options.
And it was spring. Now, springtime in Scandinavia is the most brilliant and vibrant thing: The colors, the light, the freshness; there's nothing like it anywhere else. It energizes, it rouses, it exhilarates. Springtime is hope, it is desire, it is promise, it is rebirth. It seeps into your pores, it probes the very core of you.
And I was steeped to the gills with springtime intoxication when I came walking up my street, lined with radiant green, white-stemmed birch trees. The fact that my contract had not been renewed weighed little on me, I was confident that I would find another job. Everything seemed to exude beauty, happiness, love, and I know that sounds incredibly trite and inane, but that's what it felt like. Until I came up to my building to find my father fretting on the sidewalk.
- Why is your phone off? he barked before I had time to say hi.
It's always off when I'm on the set, I had just forgotten to turn it back on. My father continued as I unlocked the street door:
- I'm looking for Bendik. Have you seen him?
I had neither seen nor heard from Bendik in ages. Not since my short visit a year and a half ago. As we trotted up the stairs, he told me Bendik had run away from home. He had expected it to be just one of his whims, but now almost three weeks had passed, and he hadn't come back.
In the apartment, I sat him on the coach and made him a cup of instant coffee, of course asking why Bendik had bolted. In his typical and irritating way he just brushed it off as something stupid, a misunderstanding or something, and there wasn't much more to get out of him. I had to promise him that I'd let him know immediately if I should run across him.
Before he left, he gave me the once-over in the small hallway.
- You're looking good, he said, as if it surprised him. Then added: - Thoughtless, stupid ... to quit school now, just before his end exam.
He slapped my back goodbye. And then his parting shot:
- What galls me, is that I see why. I understand his logic.
* * *
They're coming out of the bedroom, our father's hand rests behind Bendik's neck, as if he's softly pushing him forward. They have been in there for quite some time. They both look concerned.
Dad beckons me to come to them. When I'm there, he embraces both of us, holds us tight together in his arms. Small waves of pleasure surge through me. This is something major. This has never happened before, both of us in his arms like that. To top it all, he kisses our foreheads, Bendik's first, then mine. Then he lets go.
- We'll eat out, he says, - I don't think it'll be too risky. I think they're just about to burst this ... I don't know what to call it, gang or circle or whatever. If they haven't already done so. Get your coats.
Bendik has covered his scar with a big, flesh colored band-aid, but he still walks with his head sort of bent to the side into his hood, not wanting to attract attention. We both wear sunglasses, we're both dressed in black. Our father looks amused. - The Blues Brothers? he sniggers. It's only a short walk to the nearest burger place, and as we cross the street in front of my building, a patrolling police car passes us. The officer on the shotgun side stares and nods, as if we're acquainted. The absurdity of it jolts me.
We eat in silence. Not an awkward silence though, just the peaceful knowledge that we don't have to say much, we belong together anyway.
- Off you go, boys!
Our father has risen, patting his wallet. He's through with us for now, needs to be on his way back to his obligations. Just as we leave, he hooks his finger inside my collar and pulls me back to whisper in my ear:
- If you let him down, I'll kill you.
Back at the apartment, Bendik seems serene and self-composed. But I guess this is just a temporary phase, I know now how little it takes to trigger hell for him. I say little, when actually I suspect nothing of what goes on in his head can be termed little.
- He said I should trust you, he ventures, and there's an apologetic tone in his sing-song voice. He said you both love me. It's still just so hard for me to believe. I'm frightened.
He comes close to my face, his belt buckle almost hooks into mine.
- I took their boy, he says. I stole their boy away from them. So they got me for it.
He puts his head to my shoulder and I feel him start to cry. His sobs pulsate against me. I close my arms around him, I rock him slowly.
- And he's gone, he whimpers.