34 comments

Romance Drama Gay

Maybe in another life.

I shot up in bed, my back slick with sweat, and gulped for air, feeling as if I had been drowning. I clutched at my throat, my fingertips running along my adam's apple as I clawed for a breath. My heart rate slowly calmed and I relaxed... though not completely. I could feel him in the room with me, despite the space being empty. As I sat up in bed, rust colored light poured in through my window, crosshatching my beige carpeting with illumination from a streetlamp. Across the room on my desk sat all of my school papers, scattered, my laptop halfway open but asleep with my glasses resting on the keyboard. My eyes scanned, trying to find him.

My gaze settled naturally on the chair in the corner of my room, completely draped in shadows. I could tell by the way I felt my chest tighten that I had found him, and then suddenly a wave of heat washed completely over my body. I melted against the bed once more, wincing at the feeling of my body becoming completely helpless under his touch. And then that phrase again, as I swore I felt lips on mine: maybe in another life.

Just as quickly as I had regained my breath it was stolen again, and I clutched the sheets beneath me, completely at the mercy of him. I felt him there... against my neck... tugging on my t-shirt. Outside the sound of a car passing hummed lowly, and a gust of wind shook the trees until they trembled. I gasped, warmth pooling in my stomach, and then just as quickly as the moment had arrived, it left me. I was alone again, in body and spirit. Still, it took me another fifteen minutes, and a cool 4 A.M. shower to come down from the fierce desire.

What did it mean--"maybe in another life?" I sighed as I wrapped a towel around my waist, staring at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, beads of water gliding over my face. I reached up and felt my lips, willing my memory to return him to me. Just as quickly as I thought of this though, a wave of enormous embarrassment turned my cheeks peachy and I shook away my wonder.

I'd felt him for as long as I could remember. When I was younger my parents had called him my imaginary friend. Back then, we called him Griffin. Griffin and Max... Max and Griffin. Once I'd gotten older, just the way the other kids described, I figured Griffin would fall away. I'd forget he ever existed, and move on with my maturing life.

By the time I'd gotten to high school though, completely aware Griffin was still with me, things got even more confusing for me. I'd decided after a couple of failed attempts at explaining to my parents Griffin was still with me in middle school, that I would simply live with it. I figured if I just ignored him, he would go away just how the other kids' imaginary friends did. All I wanted was to feel normal, I longed for it. But as other kids made friends with their real, live classmates, I struggled to shake Griffin. I'd managed to make a few friends, but Griffin grew tired of my silent treatment. It wasn't long before he made himself hard to ignore.

I remember having a crush on another boy named Blake. We were both 16 at the time, and became friends via our chemistry class, where we'd been assigned as partners. Try as Griffin might, by ruining our experiments and causing me to dump various things all over Blake, the boy still liked me. In fact, I think he found my false clumsiness even more charming. Near the end of the year... he'd asked me out. Neither of us had cars at the time, and lived just a few blocks away from one another, so we'd met up for a walk at dusk. The sky was pink and blue, with wispy, cotton candy looking clouds hanging overhead. I remember how Blake smelled, like oak and sugar, his hair combed back out of his eyes. I'd never been so nervous in my life. I could feel it all night, electricity in the air. I knew he wanted to kiss me, and I wanted to kiss him too. I'd shoved Griffin so far back into my brain I could barley feel him, that was, until that moment finally came.

We sat on a patch of dewy grass, warm air swirling around us as the sun was finally setting. Blake took my hand, and I blushed harder than I ever had. I knew what came next, and angled my body toward the boy. He did the same, and both of us smiled shyly at the other. My first kiss... I felt as though my entire body was vibrating, anticipating Blake's next move. But then, as he leaned in, I felt my head jerk toward him the wrong way, and a sharp, hot pain ran through my face. When I pulled back, Blake's nose was gushing blood. I'd head butted him, and, judging just by the quickly forming bruise, I'd broken it. Most frustrating of all, I could feel Griffin's fingers laced around my jaw, having forced my body forward. I tried to wriggle against him, but I couldn't fight out of his grasp. As Blake took off running, yelling something about me being a psycho, I felt the fury welling up in my eyes.

When I finally did speak, I nearly choked on my tongue, the sky now a dark auburn color, a cool breeze swaying. A precursor to rain.

"Fuck you!" I'd spat, yelling out at the rolling hills, the tall grass dancing with the wind as the first few raindrops began to fall from the darkening sky. His hands still on my face, I felt my tears as they were wiped away.

Still fighting against his grip, and failing, I sat with my chin pointed toward the sky. Had I been able to see him, he would have hovered above me where I sat, standing as he held onto my chin.

"I'm so tired of you ruining my life..." I sobbed, giving up my struggle, tears flowing like rivers down my chin and over my neck. That night, had been the first time I heard Griffin's voice. It was deep and mellow, and sounded... breathy. Almost like he too, was crying.

I'm sorry. I'd heard it as clear as day, like he'd whispered it right into my ear. Suddenly I relaxed against his touch, his hands moving over my body until he embraced me completely. His forehead against my neck, his chest against my chest, his hands clutching my back and shoulder. I felt it all, though if you'd seen me it would have seemed I was sitting there alone, being washed by the rain.

The droplets grew larger and came faster, and I put my arms out to reciprocate the hug, though I couldn't touch him the way he could touch me. When I tried to reach out all I found was air, though the sensation of his body against mine was unwavering.

"How real are you?" I whispered, feeling ridiculous as I sat in the rain, already completely soaked. My t-shirt clung to my torso, and my jeans weighed against my legs. I laid back on the grass, my eyes closing gently as I felt Griffin's fingers once again reach for my face, running through my dampening hair. I felt insane, experiencing these unmistakeable sensations. But I couldn't get away from him, or the heat that blossomed within me when I felt him near.

I hadn't expected much of an answer to my question, though he managed to respond in a way that conveyed his meaning. He was begging for me to believe his validity, to relinquish myself to the reality in which he truly existed. I felt lips against mine, warm and plump and moving far too quickly for me to keep up, and I knew then this was more real than I could even fathom myself. I felt his hand on my chest, his breath on my face. I felt his tongue, and blushed deeply as I picked my head up to meet him halfway. He cradled me in his arms, partly shielding me from the downpour as a clap of thunder erupted overhead. Our kiss felt like it lasted a lifetime, and I almost wished it had. Every moment after that, I yearned for that same feeling, that same lip blistering electricity to come to me once more. Every now and again, Griffin would surprise me, and give me what I wanted. Other times, he would simply hold my hand, or ruffle my hair, or lie with me in bed. I liked that too.

I'd gone over the explanation that I was insane over and over again in my mind, researching the concept of a person trapped behind a veil, the veil just thin enough for others to feel them. The idea of ghosts had come up time and time again, but I could feel that Griffin was alive. I could taste his soul when he kissed me. The sensations were completely beyond words, and though I had tried to talk to people about it generally, I'd never broached one part of the subject.

What if a person falls in love with someone on the other side of the veil? What then?

I dropped my damp towel on the floor of my bedroom, slipping into a fresh pair of boxers and an old, baggy tee, my short brown hair still dripping onto the shoulders of my shirt. It was still completely dark outside, the city mostly quiet. I walked across my room and grabbed my glasses, slipping them on over my nose and then taking a seat at my desk. I pushed open my laptop and cool, blue light flooded into my bedroom, washing everything in a ghostly hue.

An essay I'd been writing for my psychology class loaded onto the screen and I stared at it meaninglessly, my eyes registering the words aimlessly. Mind. Real. Delusions. Support. Clarity. I blinked a few times, rubbing a bit of exhaustion out of my eyes from underneath my glasses. I heard the familiar sound of my apartment settling in the night, the sink in my bathroom releasing a droplet of water with a gentle drip sound. And then, startling me enough to push me up out of my chair, I heard the sound of my doorbell. It was soft and eerie in the night, like hearing laughter in the dark. Hesitantly, I got up and headed down the hallway of my apartment, walking toward my front door. Only a few steps away, I noticed a wave of heat washed over me like a fever. Suddenly my knees threatened to bend, and I put my hand out against the wall to hold myself up. I thought then about turning around and going back to bed. There was no way whoever it was had heard me up, and maybe I was better off leaving it alone. Who could be at my door at this hour anyway?

But, as if answering my question, then came a knock, quick and uniform. I swallowed a lump that had formed in my throat and took it as a sign, carrying on. Three more steps. When I reached the door I put my hand out on the knob and paused, that same heat came over me, and I closed my eyes in response. Sucking in a deep breath, I thought once more if opening the door was really what I should be doing...

But then I heard it.

"Max?"

My eyes widened, and a million thoughts ran through my head. I could hear him, muffled behind the door. The heat I was feeling through the doorknob, his hand must be on the other side. Suddenly I felt my heart lurch forward, and butterflies flutter around in my stomach, climbing up into my lungs and out of my throat with a huge sigh. I threw open the door as quickly as I could, my eyes watering as I imagined finally being able to hold him the way he'd held me all my life. Griff...

"You left this down in the lobby."

Andrew, I thought that was his name, a boy from my psychology class maybe, holding out my textbook toward me. I didn't know him much at all... come to think of it, I hadn't even seen him around the building. Had he just moved in? Whatever.

The weight of the crushing disappointment settled on my mind. I felt my heart skip in my chest, threatening to stop, though it only took another short moment for it to right itself once more. I stared at his face, his blue eyes intermixed with his dirty blonde bangs. I felt like crying, but swallowed that impulse and took the book out of his hand.

"Oh. Thanks," I mumbled, smiling halfheartedly before turning back into my apartment and closing the door behind me. I walked back to my bedroom, textbook in hand, tossing it down onto my bed as I crumpled defeatedly beside it, wiping at my tears as they glided down my cheeks silently. It wasn't until I finished crying and cleaned off my glasses that I really inspected the textbook Andrew had brought to me, that same wave of heat crawling up my spine just as it had before. I stared at the cover, mystified that I hadn't noticed it earlier. It wasn't a textbook at all, it was a novel. A novel titled: Maybe In Another Life by Griffin Clark.

May 01, 2023 00:21

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34 comments

Dylan Patrick
04:14 May 09, 2023

Good morning, Brynn! I really liked your use of description throughout the story, not only the picture it painted but the bittersweet melancholy of young love's fragility. From beginning to end it painted a romantic picture that is appropriate for a young person whose mind loves to explore. Also, while this likely wasn't your intent, this story reminded me of a song: "Everything Goes On" by Porter Robinson, which paints a similar picture of a melancholic memory of better days gone by, though moreso through visuals than the spoken word. If...

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Brynn Helena
12:00 May 09, 2023

hi! thanks for reading and for such a lengthy comment. the headbutting scene was sort of a play at some metaphorical feelings for me. this entire story is queer, but it mirrors the queer experience in more ways than just having two male leads as love interests for one another. growing up queer it was hard for me to imagine ever really having a partner, so often i would push people away, usually in quite an aggressive/shocking way because that's just how high schoolers act. they're rash, they don't think. i couldn't think of a better knee jer...

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Dylan Patrick
21:15 May 09, 2023

Thank you for providing insight into your thought process. It's always fascinating to hear the additional layers that I might have missed as a reader, especially considering me not being a queer person myself meant the two characters being queer went right over my head.

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Alli Reyes
16:43 Dec 05, 2023

I love enhypen!!

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Jaylyn Newton
19:07 Jun 13, 2023

I really love this story it is amazing this is one of my new favs you just earned yourself a new follower :)

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Brynn Helena
22:46 Jun 13, 2023

thank you so much!!! :)

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Graham Kinross
12:53 May 22, 2023

This is great, I like how there are different ways to interpret this and I don’t know if I was right about the delusions idea. Very cool.

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Brynn Helena
13:06 May 22, 2023

thank you!! i love reading pieces that aren't so cut and dry about what actually did or didn't happen. makes it a little bit more fun when everyone has a different perspective. glad you enjoyed it! :)

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Graham Kinross
13:32 May 22, 2023

You’re welcome.

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Cynthia Porter
01:51 May 22, 2023

Poignant, loved this!

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Brynn Helena
01:54 May 22, 2023

thank you!!! <3

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Lee S
16:23 May 12, 2023

I love the twist! This story really pulled me in

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Brynn Helena
17:36 May 12, 2023

thanks for reading!! :)

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09:00 May 12, 2023

This is brilliant writing Brynn, and a very mysterious story. Little bit of a horror element to it as well which I liked! :)

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Brynn Helena
12:24 May 12, 2023

thanks so much!! :)

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Latoya Edwards
22:08 May 11, 2023

I absolutely loved this read. I could imagine and feel every emotion from start to finish. Well done!

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Brynn Helena
01:19 May 12, 2023

thanks so much!! :)

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Marty B
05:39 May 11, 2023

Great, intense descriptions. What is reality, if it is what we connect with through our senses, then this connection with Griff is real. Great romance!

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Brynn Helena
12:37 May 11, 2023

thank you so much!! :)

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Rama Shaar
16:07 May 10, 2023

Your descriptions are so real and beautiful! P.s. did we just have a Griffin-Max moment? As soon as I put a like on your story I saw one from you on mine. We must've been reading exactly at the same time!!

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Brynn Helena
18:14 May 10, 2023

omg wow!!! thanks for reading :)

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19:57 May 07, 2023

Really interesting—from the point of view of someone with delusions the possibility of ghosts or reincarnation must be really enticing and here the reader doesn’t end up really knowing which is going on. Great writing!

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Brynn Helena
21:40 May 07, 2023

thank you so much!! :)

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Martin Ross
14:08 May 02, 2023

Adult romance and relationship dynamics, told with rich emotional depth and sensory memory and resonance. If relationship films and series were written and treated like this, I wouldn’t swallow an eyeroll at my wife’s movie choices. Sensuality and pain are portrayed with brilliant phraseology and intelligent detail, and the climactic revelation is well-done. This would be a terrific inclusion in a pro literary anthology — wonderful, human story! Thanks!

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Brynn Helena
14:46 May 02, 2023

thanks so much!! what lovely compliments you've given me. i, too, find most (at least mainstream) romance media to be grating at best. glad this was able to come across more sincere. :)

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Martin Ross
15:14 May 02, 2023

This is writing at the level of a Joyce Carol Oates.👍👍👍

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Howard Seeley
23:40 May 01, 2023

Your story is intriguing. Well done. Also, I noticed you've read a few of my stories. Being a horror reader, you might enjoy reading a couple of my other stories, SHADOWS OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN and CLARKSDALE STATION.

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Brynn Helena
00:00 May 02, 2023

okay thanks!!! :)

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Richard E. Gower
14:44 May 01, 2023

Well done. -:) RG

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Brynn Helena
14:46 May 01, 2023

thank you!!!

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Helen A Smith
09:35 May 01, 2023

Very interesting concept Brynn. The imaginary friend is so powerful. It’s impossible to say where he comes from, but he feels so real. Maybe he’s a guiding force in the MC’s life, a kind of ideal many search for. A manifestation of some kind. Or, literally a figure emerging from the veil, from another life. I love the character.

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Brynn Helena
10:39 May 01, 2023

thank you so much!!! i appreciate you reading and commenting helen :)

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Mary Bendickson
01:08 May 01, 2023

Well, now, that was baffling! Leaves much to the imagination. Well done. Thanks for liking my 'shameless' story:)

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Brynn Helena
01:11 May 01, 2023

thank you!! and you are very welcome <3

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