QUEERY: The Next One

Artwork by Amelia Stevens
Artwork by Amelia Stevens

AND THEN THERE was the time I had my shoulder dislocated while being taken roughly from behind. We drew moisture from the sticky air until our skin glistened, slick and salty. Some nights I recall the sudden snap, crackle and pop of bone, muscle and ligament, but that isn’t where it started.

It started with the dry scrape of his decaying lips, causing me to flinch as they brushed my stubbled cheek. I looked away, not ready to engage. Autumnal rain pelted the cabin window.

‘I’m going to destroy you,’ he said, his breath a sour tang that caught in my throat.

He was heavy, warm, covering me like a blanket. I struggled to breathe, losing myself in a strange sense of joy, content to prioritise his existence over my own.

Later, once my shoulder had popped back into place and the pain had subsided, I sat on the floor nursing a fishbowl-glass of peppery red wine. A tenement of tannins numbed my tongue, imprisoned behind aching teeth. Chest cavity hollow, stomach empty without hunger. Legs numb all the way down to my cold naked feet. The carpet stinging my tender arse cheeks. I wondered if I missed him. I recalled his scabby lips, presented one last time for a goodbye kiss.

I took a sip of wine and looked at my phone, wondering when the next one would arrive.