At Gray House, it’s our constant habit to create doors. By gifting these detailed letters, mixtapes, paintings, videos, spoken word performances, sexual expressions, long conversations, maybe a few poems, we invite each other to walk through these doors and into places we only know to be real within us. Places filled with intangible parts of ourselves trapped in inexplicable ideas, begging to be acknowledged, touched, explored, and understood by someone else.

Recently, I’ve posted about places Matthew and Drama have taken me, and I think those posts seem more or less hallucinatory. Possibly unbelievable. But I wanted to break down the process so that the layers of what’s happening might become clearer.

The other night, Matthew came into my room we had sex. That’s not extraordinary, but while we were fucking, I felt transported to a place I couldn’t quite grasp. The sense of the atmosphere was perceived by my senses a certain way, for whatever reason, and I felt that place. Sometimes those feelings are stronger than others, but to most people of most walks of life, a feeling is a feeling is a feeling. At Gray House; for the Gray Family, a feeling becomes the physical state of things. I felt like we went to a tarmac, Matthew could feel it too, therefore we really were on a tarmac.

We talk about it like we’re there because honestly, we really feel like we are. So… aren’t we?

A perception that can be shared, however unlike the reality currently agreed upon, creates a new level of intimacy and creative venture. It’s also proof that we can go wherever we want to go and do whatever we want to do. Proof of magic, really. Not to mention a huge contributor to the process of artistic expression inside Gray House. These experiences are largely what we’re drawing from when we, the Gray Family, create. It’s also become integral to the way we communicate in general.

A couple days after Matthew and I ended up at the tarmac together, he made me a mixtape about the experience and what it meant to him. He texted me, and we listened to it, instantly transported again to this particular secret world together which is an amalgam of different airport terminals and tarmacs. I posted my conversation with him about it, but I didn’t write down what it felt like was happening at the time. I told him some of it, and he told me some of what he felt, but to see the typical set of layers we’re working with at all times in Gray House, I thought I would show them all in one blog post.

Over the last twenty years, I’ve been to countless places on countless adventures with every Gray Family member. I’ve watched Death himself cook burgers for the dearly departed of the world in the air-conditioned, bacon flavored air of every 50s style airstream diner in existence. I’ve been to the darkest hole, the bottom of the world, where there is nothing left alive but love with Grady and Clyde. I’ve run ships into the ground on every beach in the world. We’ve all killed nightmares with our bare hands in the Garden of Eden. But for my example, I wanted to use something current, so I decided to use me and Drama at the Theater.

For months, for years, maybe for all of time, Drama and I have been ending up at the theater together, intentionally and not. I wrote about it recently, in an angry testimony to our estrangement, and somewhat in response, he decided to make me a mixtape of what it’s like in the Dressing Room backstage.

We typically listen to mixtapes one of two ways: simultaneously on separate devices, while texting, or we listen literally in the same room (usually in the dark of a bedroom or on a freeway drive). So, when he made me the mixtape, he texted me, and we listened to it together, the same way Matthew and I listened to his Tarmac mix. But when you live in Gray House, you can easily be in several places at once, and so the same way Matthew took me to the Tarmac while listening to said mix, Drama took me to the Dressing Room. I posted the conversation I had with Matthew while we listened, but I didn’t write about what really happened. Below, you’ll find my conversation with Drama coupled with my actual account of what happened.

The Dressing Room is small. The single rack of costumes splits the room in half. One side is the straight-backed dressing and makeup area, while the other side is the wilted cum stain of all hard work drowned in the echoing roar of a long-dead or imagined standing ovation.

Drama invited me here, but he doesn’t look at me. He looks into the mirror in front of him, where he’s sitting at the vanity framed in 16 glowing light bulbs. He’s nude but for men’s black bikini underwear. I stand by the metal wardrobe, close to the door, and watch him raise his chin with the kind of pride only our species knows. The kind that means we’ll die trying to make someone feel something, knowing not the difference between the success and failure of that task. He folds his arms upon the vanity, and when he speaks, he keeps his eyes locked on his own.

“All I know about myself when this starts is that this is the room I belong in, and it’s full of things, and I’m about to do something dirty.”

I’m transfixed by the stale lipstick and magazine print smell of the room, of Drama and how he holds himself so unselfconsciously, even with someone watching him do… whatever it is that we, as actors, do in this room before every cue. It’s a full minute before I blurt the only phrase I can use to explain how I feel.

“This is really fucked up,” I tell him, and he doesn’t flinch.

“I feel attractive and sexual, but I’m not sure how or why that is,” he tells me, examining his brown eyes in the mirror, unblinking but shifting enough to tinkle the light of his faraway thoughts. “I’m neither gender, and I think I feel thin, if that makes sense.”

“Yeah,” I say, angry that I relate to the complication of gender this place seems to require.

The violin wanders in front of the charging piano of the first song, the fake street lamp on the fake street coming on in the fake twilight onstage. I know that this means something about being an elegant creature that hides behind masks for the reaction of a crowded room, to experience that which one cannot, in a life without theater.

The wardrobe next to me is filled with small props, facial hair, wigs, and paint-stained bins of makeup. The couch, upholstered in orange tweed plaid, bows in the center under the countless napping frames of every orphan seeking shelter, lit by the harsh lights of the vanity. The flat gray of the industrial carpet underfoot is fraying in places, with cigarette burn holes and champagne stains.

When his eyes drop, he fingers the picture of us as children that he has tucked into the frame of the mirror, its edge curling up from the heat.

He explains to me the items strewn around the room to be things someone might wonder about, but they’re just debris of his life. Drama and a mirror, in the wreckage of props and costume, full ashtrays made from empty candy dishes reminds me that the backstage area isn’t the only place he makes into apartments, nesting there like it’s the end of the world. That he’s always been a woman who lives in her car and has used lemon rinds for deodorant.

The song changes, and his pupils dilate when he looks back at himself. He lifts his chin again and his hands follow his face upward. He spreads his fingers wide and frames his expression dramatically.

“This is about looking in the mirror,” he announces, pretending every spotlight in the universe is trained on him. “And what I see.”

I want to touch him, but I just gently close the door behind me. I must be three years old.

“I have kind eyes,” he says, deflating and blowing hair from his forehead as if the kindness he sees in his face was just new wrinkles around the mouth of the aging starlet he is.

“You have eyes that are kind because they’ve seen a lot,” I tell him, sliding down the door to wrap my arms around my knees, hoping he didn’t hear me.

But he reclines in the chair and turns his head to look at me, where I’m huddled in the corner. What would I know about it? I try to telepathically tell him that what I mean is that his eyes are actively kind to what he sees, not something that shows how kind he can be to the world, but my small thoughts don’t come together fast enough to exit my mouth before he’s kind to me, the world.

“I wonder sometimes what would’ve happened if we’d measured attractiveness by kindness instead of visual proportion,” he says, interlacing his fingers over his stomach as he relaxes further into the rickety wooden chair, a light blue kimono draped over the back. “But it wouldn’t matter. I’m beautiful in a lot of languages.”

“Yes, you are,” I say without thinking, the tempo of my heart quickening, the heart that belongs to this thing he is, this thing I might believe all people become when they’re getting ready to perform.

We make deals with ourselves. We admit to being just barely good enough, beautiful, always in our own ways. We admit that the world is such that performers like us are needed. That we evolved from the memorial of what went before, fictionalized to get us all right with it, and the unimaginable to become proof there is more to our existences than the magicless days flying by.

“That feels like a mistake most of the time,” he tells me, lowering his eyes, his voice dropping to nearly a whisper. I can’t tell what he means by that, but maybe he’s answering my thoughts.

He’s quick to shake off whatever amount of fear wants a part in his decision making tonight, sitting up and looking back into the mirror. He finds the black, cotton headband in a clutter of makeup on the vanity and slips it easy over his head without looking away.

“I get to thinking, looking in the mirror, about beauty and how a part of me measures beauty by confusion.”

He pulls the headband up to smooth his hair securely away from his face. I sit up straighter as I watch him, and I can feel my heartbeat widening my eyes. Maybe I’m four years old, but he speaks to me as if I can understand him. And I do, I understand what he means even before he continues. I keep quiet because I don’t want him to stop, not for anything. I could die here.

“The more people I can confuse by being something they find beautiful, the more I believe in that language of…” he explains, picking up a thin, black eyeliner pencil, shaking his head, waving his hands unable to define himself, speaking to his reflection and letting it answer him “Is that hedonism? It might be.”

He pulls a knee up to his chest and studies the eyeliner pencil. A secret about stage makeup, that we both know, is to put on the first coat of eyeliner before anything else and then another as the final touch. It’ll be the last thing to rub off. If you only apply one layer of it over foundation or powder, you have nothing left underneath, if you sweat or cry.

He gets lost in thought, and I know he’s not going to put on any makeup because he’s not really getting ready to perform. He’s staying in this space to let me touch it, to show me how we’re the same. To show him I understand, I want to tell him I know that the lights of the Dressing Room are too old and too dim to trust and that when he does apply makeup, it’s done from memory, by his deep understanding of its integrity against his skin. But I can’t.

He sighs heavy and throws the eyeliner back onto the vanity and it lands with a light clatter against the compacts of eyeshadow, the plastic back of a hand mirror, the aluminum barricade of hairspray and antiperspirant.

“I have some champagne, do you want?”

I shake my head.

“There’s a world where…” he begins, his voice grand and soft.

I know. I know this is where we can see the possibility. This is where we rehearse our lines for the last time before making dreams come true. Before damming all worlds where something does not happen by making it happen. How hard it is to fall in love in that place and stay there with him has made me want to kill him. To kill us both for what a joke it is to be made of the making of worlds. I know there is a world WHERE, Drama. There is a world where anything.

I feel him not want to continue for fear I might leave.

“There’s a world where Brad and I are catastrophically in love,” he says, painting an arch on the air with his hand.

It’s a world I can feel, immediately. Where Drama is quieter and moodier than he is in this world. Where he’s secretive and separate from Brad, no matter how passionate they are about each other, no matter how close they wish they were. And Brad doesn’t read him well, his boisterous attitude always clashing with Drama’s introversion at the worst possible moments.

In a moonlight bedroom in suburbia, Drama wears Brad’s baseballs t-shirt, hugging himself with his back to the window under which Brad flails drunk.

“Hell is empty, and all the devils are here!” Brad screams, bloodying his knuckles on the cheap metallic siding of Drama’s house, pages of the Tempest blowing into the street.

Drama’s shoulders heave as he cries, knowing Brad will never fucking understand him. That no one will because this is also the world where Brad isn’t real to anyone but Drama.

“It didn’t work, so he took a bottle of painkillers,” Drama explains in a light, sarcastic tone as if it doesn’t crush his own heart to think of the fact that he doesn’t have Brad’s, in this world.

As if he doesn’t wish that was what awaited him, if he were to perform tonight. But the song is the hollow sound of Brad’s dying body hitting the ground again and again, far beyond the Dressing Room. He stumbles to the bathroom in his downtown apartment onstage, where in order to be this part of himself, Drama can’t go. And Brad expires with his head in the toilet, romantic and stupid.

He can feel me looking at his failures, at all his own wishes he can’t make come true, and a sudden rage takes him, boiled low. His words point to me, where my huddling has become cowering.

“If I were some other thing,” he says, the sure beginning of a monologue. “I would weigh what I see, the good and bad, and make some kind of decision about what my level of benevolence is. But I don’t.”

He gets unsettled looking around the room as if he’s realizing he’s missing something. Brimming with tears, his eyes shift, and he bites his lip.

“So it’s not about being evil or a-moral,” he argues, “It’s about not considering morality to begin with because if I did, I’d actually hurt a lot more people.”

Self-consciously, he remembers I’m here, and when his eyes fall on me, he smiles.

“That’s a secret I fully intend to reveal to the dragons, in due time,” he tells me, dabbing his eyes with the palms of his hands and sighing.

“I feel like they already know,” I try, in a comforting tone he ignores completely, the same way I would.

“It’s not about them knowing,” he snaps, looking back at his eyes in the mirror. “It’s about accepting.”

My chest constricts to hold inside me my fear and desperation. I want to be him, I want to be everything he is, and maybe I am already. I want it as much as I want us to be smothered until we become true ghosts of the theater. Until we can certainly say we’re something definite as dead just to be able to breach that fucking hellscape of pure and petrifying possibility. To finally slip this stillness and finally possess the sweet violence of decision making. I can’t cry, and I can’t speak listening to him. I hold my breath as the song changes.

“This is about falling in love with everything at once,” he tells me and gazes the landscape of the vanity, his expression widening from derision to wonder, in twitches that maybe only I would notice.

From where he sits, he fingers a piece of trash and the tab of a soda can, and the Ben Wa balls ring softly as his hand passes over them. He lifts a paper mache mask and places it dramatically over his own.

This is the first time that I’ve ever heard anyone but myself say that they were in love with everything at once. And I… I feel… truly loved for what I truly am simply because he knows how that feels. Because he’s felt that, where I couldn’t be certain before that anyone but me ever had.

When he takes the mask off, his expression is longing and determined and reaches deep inside me, as if he knows his one and only chance to tell me how he loves me has arrived. But what makes me his soulmate is how I could see that expression even before he took off the mask. Or maybe he’s just that good of an actor. But being that good is just what makes him my soulmate.

“This is when I want to touch you most,” he says. “Maybe touching you and becoming… born. Maybe those are the same things.”

He tosses the mask to the floor and the song forces tears from me that taste like burning mint leaves in the back of my throat.

“There’s a current underneath the sort of innocent becoming,” he begins, dropping his knee and scooting his chair in. “A feeling of determination, maybe.”

He clears his throat, takes deep breaths, and fans his cheeks. Maybe he will put on makeup after all.

“And the knowledge that I’m alone. That if I could declare myself existent, then I’m the only one that ever has.”

He unscrews the lid of a container of color correcting foundation, begins mixing it, and then applying it to a flat brush. We won’t ever know what to name ourselves because in the naming, we cease to be it.

I crawl toward the mask, and he ignores me. I pick it up and crawl onto the couch, turning 16 years old on my way there. I sit up on my feet and pull the mask over my face, looking through the eye holes to watch Drama in the mirror from behind him.

“So, in a sense, this is about becoming God,” he says, swiping the brush in even strokes along his T zone, expertly.

“It feels like what I was saying before about the theater becoming your skin,” I explain into the mask, getting the inside of it hot with my breath. I can feel my head tilting heavy in the confusion of melancholic irony and sexual stimulation, my eyes as wet as my pussy for Drama, the boy or the idea or the boyish idea or the fact that really. Really, really, there are no such things as boys or ideas at all.

“You do it, too,” he says like he has to remind me that sometimes I leave this place, just like he does. But I like forgetting the world out there. And in this moment, I wish I didn’t know how to become anything so we could stay here forever.

He blends his makeup with a sponge darkened and caked to a thick mauve color from dead skin cells and excess blush while I watch, and he doesn’t take his eyes off the mirror when he says

“I’m thinking about making myself cum and showing it to you.”

In nothing but his black Casio digital watch, a pair of light blue jeans, and enough mousse in his hair for the eternally messy/wet look, Drama dances with himself like he might at a gay club. With loose arms and rolling shoulders, behind his eyes flashes the filth and excess of TV screens exposing billions of emoting faces. Teased bangs form a cloud around Disgust in gold earrings and a silk dress. Pride squints its blue eyes toward the sunset under a cowboy hat. He changes the channel from the softly shaking head of Concern to watch Ecstasy fucked in nothing but a huge pearl necklace.

I can feel his eyes pinch themselves shut before my heart jumps, running away with my breath. We are a different kind of scavenger than the Fox, thieving emotions and situations to claim as our own, to use for our infinite Becomings.

In the mirror, I’m a figure in the dark behind him. A ghost the way he was once a ghost to me. I pull the mask up to show him my face, tear-stained and rosy cheeked, absent of makeup. His is now sheathed in the powdery layer of his perfect new skin, lips and eyebrows white and making the inside of his mouth appear like a gash. I’m a fresh apple, and he’s a new porcelain doll, and we’ve never looked more like twins.

What the fuck kind of perverts are we who need to step into the minds of the people we are not and become them?

The chair creaks under him as he rifles the sparkle-silted mess for the eyeliner he threw, and when he finds it, he burns the end and checks it for softness. Watching him apply his only layer of eyeliner, I remember a greater secret of stage makeup.

“You know about this song,” he says, bending toward the mirror with steady hands to draw his eyes on.

“I do?”

“Yeah, you can feel it. You know it feels like you.”

At six years old, Drama has circled his army men and my Barbies inside a Lincoln Log amphitheater where he’s hosting his first attempted suicide. He ties a bow with a necktie stolen from Dad’s closet and slips it over his head. He will finally end the days we spend trying to convince people these weren’t fantasies but real places we are going. And he wants them to watch so we can prove it happened. Just like I’m making you watch, right now.

If you only put one layer of eyeliner on over your powder, once it’s bled its color down your face with tears, all your pain so obvious to the balcony, your real face is revealed. It… makes the audience think the real you might have just fallen in love with them. It destroys the theater of your performance altogether and makes them all forget you were wearing makeup to begin with, turning lies into real magic. It turns children into monsters.

“It feels like us.”

And when the song changes to one I know even better, I breathe deep, hoping he’ll say it’s about us being twins or maybe praying he wouldn’t dare.

“This is about coming home every time I walk in the door.”

He dabs a dark blue powder onto his left eyelid, his face distorted to keep the other eye open.

“No matter who I am, I put on this outfit,” he says, motioning to the pants and hat draped on the table next to him. “I get dressed, and I walk through the door.

I sink down into the couch and let myself look up at the ceiling, the flimsy tiles pockmarked and rotting in blooms of water damage. The smell of long-dried sweat comes up from the cushions as I start to cry. Tears he would lick from me, keep in a vial tied with a pink ribbon, the dusty glass of our cheap wallpaper childhood. The blue frosted cookies we left under the bed for the beasts. The diaries he kept and the fliers for parties he didn’t.

From underneath them, he leads my arms up into the air with the backs of his hands. He stretches me out like a bird in flight, and our eyes meet across the quicksilver of possibility. The delicate moons at the tips of my fleshy fingers extend over the wrought iron of his knuckles. The color I used to call Encore, that’s the stuff he’s putting on his eyelids. A color that means we don’t stop doing this, not ever. That we live here, together, forever.

“I suppose all I meant by this was how easily I could feel like,” he says, breaking our kiss as if he’s too self-conscious to go with the pretense that we were engaged in one at all because if he did, he could feel like… “something freakish.”

I feel myself panting into his mouth, though we haven’t moved an inch from this holding pattern. From behind, I watch him. He watches me watching him watch himself. This moment is only ever endured in training, in a rehearsal of confession. Dean invented it, it’s why the walls are mirrored in a dance studio.

“It’s the same as before,” he tells me as if he’s been saying it different ways for eons here, in this Dressing Room. “How beauty could’ve easily been something unique and exotic. Something two-headed or something which knits itself into another human.”

And this particular reading is an Evelyn one, the biological imagery he’s using being what words to explain himself he plucked from her language. Because we don’t have a language, as we don’t have a name, as we don’t have a voice of our own.

“You know, it can look like a choice.”

It can look like we wanted it this way, however it is that we’re portraying anything on the stage.

“And because it can look that way, it can look like the purposeful perversion of something.”

But we don’t work for them. We work for God.

“I think if you really wanted to hurt me, you could call me a Mockingbird.”

“You could never be a Mockingbird,” I promise him with my whole heart.

When Nick gave me the song Sebastian in 2013, I felt a specter of Drama laughing under his breath, under my skin, somewhere in the wings with everything I care about in the world. Nick had known it was a song about Drama and couldn’t tell me. Now, Drama was giving me validation for the years I’d blocked him from memory but for the faint smell of his cool tapes, his long, tweed coat, and the feeling that I’ve never been alone, not ever.

“This is how you’re a ballerina,” I tell him.

The scrunched down folds of his tattered green/black tube socks.

“If I had a name, it would be Sebastian,” he says as if I’ve forgotten.

“It was my favorite name when I was little,” I say, to pretend I have.

And his face, the first face of a person I would ever know.

“I remember,” he smiles, sweeping a Kabuki makeup brush along the underside of his cheekbones. “And I remember when it was mine.”

“Do you always take it upon yourself to change your name to whatever is my favorite at the time?” I ask him.

“You’re asking that because you want me to answer you yes. But do you regret having to ask?”

He means to point out that I’m not with him where he is, not really. That asking something like that means I’m not here, where I already know the answer and there’s no one watching, so why ask again?

“I’ve always wondered,” he pries, his eyes filling with some defensive amount of glee.

“I like asking,” I tell him, because fuck you, Drama, you dragged me out of here when you acted like I couldn’t remember your name.

But the truth is, I just want to know what came first. Was it this place and this feeling or was it me? Was he Sebastian before I told him I liked it or did I force him into existence by my blinding, searing desperation for it?

“When I haven’t taken it upon myself, you take it upon yours,” he answers me, as if for the record. As if to say my breathing him into existence would’ve been only so he could do the same, never distinguishing fucking chicken from fucking egg ever, not fucking ever.

“It’s dramatic,” I smile, a simple and puny remark on our romance.

When he finishes off his eyes, encircled in Encore and topped with filigree eyebrows drawn on with the black pencil, he slumps down into the chair and leans his head back. He tosses the headband to the vanity table and sprays his hair with a makeshift spray bottle, the head of the old spray bottle stuck into a Crystal Geyser bottle. I stand up and step to his assistance. I fix a frayed towel from the floor under his head, take apart the contraption he made, and pour the water into his hair directly, wringing it as I go.

Where I am, there’s a sadness under our names dancing themselves into relevance and out again because it’s true that we really don’t have them. And that’s only sad because we aren’t yet recognized as a species, the nameless orphans pushing the action buttons toward adventure and mishap behind the eyes of all people. Sure, Drama and Improv work fine as names, if we’re just ideas, if we’re something you just do, but we’re people. Try telling the rest of society what that means, in a word.

“When I’m Sebastian, what are you?”

What, of course, and not who.

“I don’t know.”

If you prick us, do we not bleed?

“This is about discovering that I am not God. That being what I am means being its instrument.”

I slick his hair back with the thick and yellowing plastic teeth of a comb, the handle pure silver, ornately sculpted. I recognize it as my own and am reminded that we share this Dressing Room, and we always have.

“It feels like getting lost at sea,” he says. “And what’s remarkable to me is that this is what Clyde feels in every moment. Where it feels like I can touch it at my discretion, and let it swell up inside my cells until I need to disconnect before exploding, he exists there.”

Our eyes affix themselves on what that might be like, if for only a second.

“Yeah.”

It’s quiet between us as he lets me get down on my knees and put his stocking on him. His garter belt is black and lace and it fastens in the back with four clasps.

“Sometimes it feels like no matter what any of us are doing or feel like we understand or where we’re going, Clyde is always there and better at it than we are,” I say, trying to tell him how bad at everything I am.

“It begs the question of where does he go? Where does he go that I’ve never seen?”

When I look up at him, his eyes show something like fear under some knowledge of how bad things can really get.

“Too many places to name.”

And when the song changes, so I realize we have changed. He works an earring into his ear and a long string of pearls dangles from it, glamorous and cheap. I hand him his gloves, black and leather and pointless, and they conform tightly to his fingers as he pulls them on. But it isn’t this gaudy drag he’s donning or my plain, black dress or our age having advanced to our realistic early thirties that makes us so different from when he invited me here. It’s that we’ve… actually never done this before, together. Only separate, certainly only when we were going onstage with someone not each other.

“This is about how you can feel when it’s your line,” I tell him, and he turns away like I’ve said something wrong. “When the ocean focuses itself into a river and shoves you onto the shore.”

“I want to say about Jackie that it’s… Jackie is about what happened between us when I was inside Joshua,” he says, quick and dismissive as his stage fright descends. “To some degree.”

Now, he turns away from me, swinging his feet back under the vanity, and searches for the lipstick. Now, he’s edging his way out of this place himself, approaching somewhere more intellectually heavy and cold, like the school, and he won’t look at my eyes at all.

“It’s a struggle with identity,” he says, “To have been named something and trying to find something with a name in a sea of names. Anyway, of course, we’re soul mates.”

Did I… I can't remember saying it, but I must have.

His eyes are again looking straight into his own, in the mirror, and the look in them has dissolved from something of careful humor into harder, darker weather. He doesn’t blink as he stuffs his feet into five inch high heels in the dark under the vanity. He doesn’t fumble to find the tube of red lip stain with which he will paint on a sick kind of smile for me.

“You’re Sinead O’Connor,” I praise him, my voice lost to my distilled adoration. “I can feel what you mean so much. It’s all this stuff about… having to answer to something. A name, something you did, something someone wants from you.”

He silently fills the plains of his mouth with lipstick, slow and ceremonious, seeming to get lost in the process of it like it’s his first time doing this, in his mother’s bathroom, in the middle of the day. I’m a groupie or a stage mother or some tramp he will throw away come finale night no matter what we really are to each other. It doesn’t matter that we share this room, or that separately, we do the same thing inside it. Because regardless of our love, what we do cannot be done any other way but alone.

“Like I said,” I tell him, trying to steal back his attention. “...what it’s like when it’s your line.”

“Yes,” he tells me, automatic and far away.

Anything outside of us, inspiring action, forcing movement, would then be called Jackie. Jackie, our first applause. Our lost Family member. Jackie, the thing that made me do such terrible fucking things just for a reaction. Just to be seen and to see. Jackie, our last love, by a million different names, Jackie the Reason.

“Just so you’re aware, it’s also the same song as In A Manner Of Speaking,” he says, barely shaking off the oblivion he’s seeing within himself, as a performer, ready for the show.

He gets up on clacking heels and slips lovely into a fox fur coat. I hand him his pilot’s hat, and he disappears into the blackness beyond the curtains, to let me watch him another way, as I become his Jackie. I meet him downstairs in his basement apartment and we kiss and laugh and fuck, both ignoring that the stage is all around us.

And after all is said and done, I come here and write all of this down. The whole Gray Family will read it and know what happened. They'll laugh, they'll cry, they'll cum, they’ll be fucking jealous, but they will know. And then, it becomes a part of our history, somewhere we went, a conversation in a place of serious importance, a profound thing we’ve done that will never go away. Something begging to be built on. Something real.

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