Achilles was looking at me, the same way he always did lately. It was the same as years ago, loving and warm, but now a flame that I didn’t know how to put out lingered behind his gaze. It drove me completely off the rail, making me question everything including his existence. Too good, too perfect.
Too good for me to lay with, and it seemed this was what he was getting at. He would touch me more now, if he was touchy before now it was just unbearable. He would move me by my hips when he was trying to get through, sometimes even squeezing. He enjoyed the noises of surprise I made when he did, or when he would start playing with my hair out of the blue or when he licked blueberry jam off my face while we ate ice cream. It wasn’t something he wouldn’t do normally, but he would do so off my cheek, not in the limited space between my nose and top lip. I figured it wouldn’t be long until he realized but it still took him years longer than I expected. Yet I still wasn't ready. I don't think I ever would be. He was dangly in the pool, hanging out on my back or floating, eyes closed and a hand gripped around my wrist so he wouldn’t drift too far from me. I wanted him all over me and not there all at once. This was my best friend, my other half. How could I not want to become whole again with him?
I know this may seem petty but since he enjoyed to watch me squirm, I teased him too. I wasn't gonna let him get the lead just because I was madly in love with him. I am proud to say that I am a man who dresses for himself but I may have worn my glasses around him, or my big sweaters that may or may have not accidentally slipped off my right shoulder. He loved sloppy “I just woke up” hair too, so I hit him with the trifecta when we hung out, one time in specific where I had to study thus wearing my reading glasses. I swear he thinks he is just so damn smooth. But I saw the way he spilled his water bottle on the floor when he came downstairs and found me studying.
“Oh” he said, surprise in his voice. I smiled at him, gave him a 2 finger salute and continued doing my Composition II essay. He sat, playing some video game with dancing and a battle royale theme, so I accepted defeat. He was facing me, but his attention was on the television. That is until, his buddy called. He put it on speaker so he could play and hear him.
“You're playing really shitty Pelides”
“Fuck off, Odysseus. You play worse when Bri is over, you just walk into trees”
“Ooh, so who’s over at you place?” He asks teasingly.
“Patroclus is here” he says, eyebrows furrowed. That's when the hooting on the other line starts and when he hangs up. He must have thought I wasn’t listening because he doesn't even look at me afterwards.
Even when I was trying to play him, he was unaware of how hot he was. He could be sitting on the couch, eating jalapeño kettle cooked chips and coughing his brains out and I would still be internally drooling. He had cut his hair, it was now a little shorter than his ears, I always thought I liked it better longer. But his cheeks and brows where more defined, his jaw was as sharp as a knife and I wanted nothing but to cut my lips on it. We had grown, and he looked the part of a 19 year old while I still looked like myself. Good ol’ Patroclus. Even if I didn’t change a lot at least I could watch him, and he was all I could ever think of.
He was just something that was constantly crossing my mind. Even when I was with him I couldn't help but wonder what he would do next. I can’t stop paying attention. Being with him are the only moments where I can be completely myself. He didn't care if my jokes were shitty and I didnt care that his where, but they were ours and we found them funny. My stomach would hurt from laughter and tears would leave my eyes in a good way, only with him. It felt like our own private little bubble in which everything was valid. No judgement, no nothing, just acceptance. I wanted to hear him talk and talk and he would then listen to me and we would talk about all of it. We would laugh, sometimes cry, sometimes just exist around the other and it was enough. Then, after all of that, he would leave. Like he could just give me all of that and say bye, or goodnight and would be out the door, continuing on with his life after coming into mine and jumbling everything up. This happened almost every day for the, oh I don't know, almost 10 years I have known him. He always leaves me feeling good but wanting more, wanting him to stay. Right now, its 30 minutes until one in the morning and all I see when I close my eyes is gold. Him, like a king of old dipped in gold. I eventually give up on sleep, sighing deeply and rubbing soothing circles into my eyelids. It was going to be a cold and long ass night. My heater was being a bitch when I needed it the most. It was freezing out. I get out of bed and grab a yellow knitted turtleneck sweater out of my desk chair beside my bed and some grey socks too. In the kitchen I end up in the fridge chugging down an unfinished stout. I sit on the couch, elbows digging into my knees. The city below is visible through the ceiling to floor window, and there's always cars down there moving and people heading places and belonging but I don't feel like I'm part of all of that. That glass tank that I see them in is not the same as our bubble and not where I want to be. It's scary to admit that, even if its just to myself. My phone starts to ring in my room, oddly enough at this hour and when I see it’s him I almost drop it. My hands are shaking as I answer.
“Please tell me that you're alright”
“If freezing my balls off outside your building is alright then I am totally alright” he mumbles.
“Jesus fuck, hold on I’m buzzing you in” A few eternal minutes later he comes in, shaking and with purple lips.
“Hey, what happened?”
“I broke up with her, and she kicked me out”
“At this time, when all the trains are gone and it's this cold? Is she insane?
“Probably, but that's not my problem anymore” he stays quiet and leans against my closed door, sighing and his expression changes from defeated to amused in a matter of seconds when he sees the puffs of air coming out. “Why is it so cold in here?”
“Heating is down”
We stay quiet, finding our way to the couch but not before rummaging through to find his bottle of whiskey that he kept in one of my cabinets. He speaks up after a few sips.
“Do you think that all the types of greek love where real? Like have you ever felt them?”
“Eros, Agape, Storge and Philia?” He nods, giving me a smile that calls me a nerd and I shoot one at him that says well you know them too you egg and we laugh, not needing words to know what we meant.
“Yes, they make sense to me. Eros is just lust or sexual attraction. Agape is unconditional love, Storge is familiar love, like the affection children and their parents feel towards each other. And then there is Philia. The love of someone without passion. Friendship”
“Okay, yes so you think they are real. But have you felt each one?”
“Do you think a person can feel all of those things at the same time towards a person?”
“ I think that’s just modern love”
We kept talking until two hours passed, and we got so sleepy we could barely keep our eyes open. I walked to my bed and he followed, taking a hoodie from my closet and a fuzzy blanket, taking it to the couch in the middle of the loft. We hadn't bothered to turn on the lights, so there was only the dim lighting of the vibrant city illuminating the room. I climb into my bed, about 4 layers of sheets and blankets and a thick comforter on top and curl into a ball, feeling the cold even with all the fabric. He must be freezing.
“Achilles, come here”
“Yeah, that just proves to me you aren't. You look purple" I say, going over to him and pointing my phone flashlight at his skin while I poked it.
“I’m just cold” he sniffles and whines.
“Come to bed, I’ve got like 5 blankets”
“Okay” When I help him up I grab his hand and he stumbles a little and I wonder just how much time he spent in the cold. He must be getting sick from it
“You're burning Patroclus” he mumbles, letting me lead him into the dark.
“I'm not, you're just really cold. How long were you out there?”
"Well, I walked to the train station and then realized it was too late, that took about a half hour and then I walked back here, so like 50 minutes? Maybe 60?” he asnwers me and I sigh.
“Idiot” I say once we get under the covers and he leans into me a bit, trying to get some warmth. I tug him closer, giving him a side hug and he turns around, completely melting into me and tightening my grip around his torso hastily by tugging on my arm, bringing us closer before grumpily saying
“Oh shut up and spoon me”