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Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. – Leviticus 18:22

4:22 AM. Two hours and thirty-eight minutes until service. One hour, eight minutes until his alarm goes off and his mother comes in to wake him up when he doesn’t hit snooze.

His hands trail over the lines, the creases, the folds of skin in the dark. He can barely see the rising and falling of the other man’s side. If it weren’t for his trailing hands, he wouldn’t be able to tell at all. He looks so peaceful, lying there, but he can’t stay that way for long. He never can.

Austin wishes he didn’t have to wake him up. Not yet, not ever. He wants peace. He wants waking up in the morning, together, without alarms and worry and his parents. His parents are the problem. The pastor and the pastor’s wife. He, the pastor’s son.

His mother, if she saw them: Hysterical, crying. Standing frozen in the doorway.

To Austin: What are you doing?

To him: What have you done?

To Austin: Get away from him!

To him: Get out!

Hysterical, crying. She would ruin her makeup. Her face would become blotchy.

He, frozen in bed, the sheets pulled around him even though there is nothing to hide. They hadn’t done anything. They had talked, they had laughed. That’s it.

His father, if he saw: Quiet, stoic. Grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and pulling him out of bed.

To Austin: What have you done?

To him: A glare.

To Austin: We’ll discuss this later.

To him: A march downstairs and toss out the door.

Quiet, stoic. His anger would explode later. Perhaps never and he would collapse into sadness and disappointment.

He, frozen in bed, staring at the empty doorway and knowing this is the end. Even though he left his phone here, he will never see him again. Not at school or in the halls. Not even in church.

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