Bridal Suite


Shane Ryan Bailey


Close your eyes.

Her mouth is not her mouth, but his mouth. That tongue is not her tongue. It’s his tongue. Those lips are not her lips, but his lips. Kissing, blowing, sucking. Softly, so softly. Those hands, those fingers, are not her hands and fingers, but his hands, his fingers. Caressing, tickling, pulling. Gently, so gently. Lie down. Lie down on the body. Not her body, but his body. His body. His flesh. Feel the warmth against the palm of your hand. At all costs avoid the breasts. If she places your hand upon one (as you’ve heard women will do in moments like this), then remember: it is not a breast, but his chest. Not round, but flat. Not smooth, but hairy. Slightly hairy like his chest. Like that day you saw him playing basketball without his shirt on. Think of him. Him. Wherever he is. Driven away by your father. Driven away for this. All for this. This relationship, this union, this façade. To protect the family name. To carry on the family name. To produce an heir.

Take no notice of the perfume. Whatever it is. It’s so thick. You want to gag. But don’t. Ignore it. Try to ignore the other aroma coming from down there. Why does she smell like that? Down there? Concentrate on him. Him! The way he smelled. Musk oil. Cedar. Perspiration. Masculine aromas. Block out the sounds of her moaning and whimpering and calling your name. Not her voice, but his voice. He’s calling for you. Don’t think of her. Think of him! Sweet, gentle him. Wherever he is.

Maybe he is still back in the Midwest, thinking of you.  It has been a few years.  Would he still be thinking of you?  Perhaps he is wondering why, why, why?  Why did your father intercept those private messages that had been written for you?  Why did your father threaten to sue him if he ever contacted you again, suing him on the grounds of harassment and defamation of character?  Imagine him: broken, hurting, weeping.  Go to him.  Comfort him.  Explain everything.  Tell him you’re sorry, so sorry, so very sorry.  Hold him.  Caress him.  Kiss him.  Not her mouth, but his mouth.  Tell him how evil your father can be at times.  Explain how you were threatened by your own father.  Threatened to have all financial support ripped away.  Explain how you realized you couldn’t make it on your own apart from your father’s help.  His financial backing.  You knew the cruelty of your own father.  Knew what he was capable of.  Had seen the way he screamed at your mother.  Punched her.  Threw her out of the house.  Rejected.  Abandoned.  Divorced.  All for what?  It had never been fully explained to you.  You had been so young at the time.  You had been so frightened while hearing your parents argue like that.  Seeing your mother get struck with fists and then kicked.  The whole time she was crying, begging, pleading.  Just as you behaved when the old man confronted you in your room one night, a number of years ago.  Holding a printout of an e-mail in his hand.  An e-mail from your friend at college.  That is when you realized he somehow had access to your computer.  He couldn’t have known your passwords.  Could he?  Some sort of parental spyware?  Which e-mail had he seen?  All of them?  Which specific one had been in his hand?  Surely it must have been a deeply intimate one.  He yelled.  He cursed.  He used horrible words to describe you and your friend.  Fags.  Fairies.  Cock-suckers.  This is coming to an end now, he said.  I am ending this now!  You will not use that e-mail account again.  You will not contact him ever again.  You will get married.  You will not shame this family!  How frightening all this had been.  Seeing your own father with a reddened face, yelling, slamming his fist down upon your desk, striking you across the face with the back of his hand.  Promising that he would throw you out of the house if you ever acted in such a manner again.  You knew he wouldn’t shed a tear if you were on the street.  Where would you have gone then?  Where would you have lived?  Who would have taken you in?  Friends?  Mom?  You and Mom living under one roof as two outcasts.  How would you have been able to finish school?  He had threatened to pull all financial support away.  You would have had to find a job and attend a lesser college, perhaps a community college.  He did, in fact, pull you out of the university, out of the Midwest, and planted you at a private school on the other side of the nation: Carter Howell College, located in Virginia.  That had been painful.  But you adjusted.  You learned to enjoy it.  It was a prestigious college.  You were given even more opportunities on the new campus.  You managed to thrive.  You were able to graduate with honors.  If you had rebelled against your father, you would not be where you are at today.  You would have had no chance at a promising future.  Now you have a future with a great law firm, the possibility of making partner someday.  What kind of a life could you possibly have had with your friend?  People would’ve talked.  Potential clients would have shied away, fearing their own reputations becoming tarnished somehow by having an openly gay attorney.  You would have been seen as a joke.  There would have been a fear within the firm that you would attract transvestites and “riff-raff” as clients, turning the place into a circus.  Assuming, of course, if you were still involved with him and in your present career.  There is something else to consider.  You have to consider the possibility that he probably would have left you for another male.  Perhaps twenty years down the road.  Leave you for somebody younger.  For somebody who looks like how you used to look at that age.  (Like you look now.) 

Surely, if you were to speak to him now, he would understand these things.  Yes?  Surely, he would look up at you with those brown eyes and nod in agreement.  Those eyes!  Him!  Sweet, gentle him.  Beautiful him.  Think of him.  Is he not the one you want to be with now?  The one you were meant to be with?  Him.  Wherever he is. 

You had assumed you would lose your virginity to him.  It never happened.  The relationship abruptly ended before things could progress that far.  On the East Coast, at your new school, you could have easily hooked up with another male.  There were a few who had given you the eye, expressed in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that they were interested in you and were aware of your true, secret identity.  But you acted straight.  Played the role your father had insisted you play.  You eschewed such men.  You took a girlfriend.  A pretty girl, and sweet, too.  Somebody you wanted to be around (although you never once harbored a sexual impulse for her).  The temptation to slip into a gay bar and hook up with somebody still resided within you.  Yet you resisted.  You still put up a fight, for you feared your father.  Even though he was miles away, there was the possibility that he would somehow find out and violently upbraid you as he had done that one night at home.  Did he not have friends at your school, distinguished faculty members?  Did he not know one or more of the deans?  Perhaps he had asked them to serve as spies, to provide regular reports on you and your academic progress and what they observed of your social life, including the people you cavorted with.  Even if you had acted in stealth, having a quiet relationship off campus, somebody, another student, even a trusted friend, perhaps, could have found out about it and made mention of it to another, and then the rumors would’ve flown across campus, eventually coming to the attention of the staff.  Such was the life at Carter Howell College: everybody had their nose in one’s business.  The threat of your father cutting you off from your inheritance weighed heavily on your mind.  You would be humiliated.  You would become common.  You would not be a young man of affluence.  Your hopes and dreams would be shot.  So why take a chance and throw it away?  Besides, there had only been one you truly wanted to be with.  Him.  You still had feelings for him.  And even after graduation, and then all through law school, there was still something there, even though the feelings waned over the years, you continued to think of him from time to time, longing for him.

Slide your hand down his belly, not her belly.  Feel his hair, his coarse pubic hair, not her hair.  Part the legs and enter within.  Deep within.  Him.  Not her.  Be brave.  Be a man.  Do it.  Think of him.  Him!  Such a strange sensation.  Your first time.  With him, not her!  Make it work.  Be a man and make this work.  That’s what the old man said to you earlier today, in a back room, just before the ceremony.  Placing his hand on your shoulder, gripping it hard, inflicting pain.  Make this work.  Don’t you dare embarrass me, boy.  Be a man, and make this work out.  Make this marriage last until the day you die.  How you hated him!  (And how you still hate him.)  How painful and embarrassing to listen to such words coming from your own father, spewing out of him like vomit.  At the time, you looked away, trying to focus your attention somewhere else.  He then clutched your chin, his fingers digging into your cheek, and jerked your head so that you were suddenly staring into his cruel eyes.  You hear me, boy?  You listening to what I’m saying?  You will be a man.  You will go into her tonight.  You will not be some goddamn pansy!  You replied by saying that you understood.  You felt yourself on the verge of crying.  The tear ducts were starting to fill up, soon to overflow.  You prayed in your heart that you wouldn’t cry.  Not then.  Not at that moment with your father staring into your eyes.  To shed a single tear at that moment would have been to reveal a sign of weakness.  And who knows what he would have said or done then!  He continued to clutch your chin and stare at you before releasing his grip and walking away.  During the ceremony, you glanced over at him, seeing him in the front pew with his young girlfriend—young enough to be your little sister.  Sitting there with his eyes on you.  To see if you would follow through.  To see if you would say I do to your lovely bride.  To see you through to the end, so that you would not veer off onto some other course, some alternative lifestyle.  Then later, at the reception, he pulled you aside, pressing something into the palm of your hand, saying, once again, Make it work.  Be a man, and make it work.  After he walked away, you looked at what he had placed in your hand: a few sealed condoms. 

Don’t think of your father now.  Think of him, your old friend.  Him!  Think of those brown eyes.  Show him your love.  Slowly.  So slowly.  Hear the moans, the cries of ecstasy.  His sounds, not her sounds.  Faster now.  Faster.  Hold the rhythm.  Feel the heat.  His heat, not her heat.  Hear him call your name.  If you also have to cry out, call out her name, not his.  Yes!  This is it!  This is love.  This is what it is like to be with him.  (Or would’ve been like.)  This is all for him.  Your body, your gift.  All for him.  Not her.  Just for him.  Only him.  Feel it rushing forward now, your love, your gift, that which is most intimate about you, your very soul, rising from deep within.  This is what you have longed for, right now, this moment, pouring out of you and into him.  Him!  For him.  Only for him.  Sweet, lovely him.  The two of you.  Now locked together.  Sealed forever.  Your very being poured into him. 

All for him.  Him.

Wherever he is.

Don’t open your eyes, or the image will fade.