May 24, 2004

'We All Alone Now...'

Just because:

Crunch shook him gently. The room was half dark, not dark yet. Crunch sat on the edge of the bed, looking at him carefully, with that eyebrow raisded, half smiling, half frowning.

"You feel better?"

Arthur stared, saying nothing, then he smiled.

"You're back."

"Of course I'm back. You feel better?"

Arthur moved and put his head in Crunch's lap, holding on to him and staring up at him.

The room grew darker. They were alone. Crunch leaned down, and kissed him. Arthur held on to Crunch with all his strength, with all his tears, tears he had not yet begun to shed. Crunch leaned up.

"Let me lock the door," he whispered.

Arthur sat up, and watched Crunch lock the door.

He did it very elaborately, and then turned, grinning, with one finger to his lips.

"We all alone, now, little fellow. Ain't nobody on this floor but us. And it's Sunday night, anyway, everybody's out." He grinned, and then his face changed, he stood at the door, looking at Arthur.

"Where's Peanut and Red?"

Arthur was whispering, and Crunch whispered, "I left them in the pool hall. They found some friends."

"They coming back?"

"I told them I was taking you someplace."

He sat down on the bed again, and started taking off his shoes. He looked over at Arthur. "Did I do right?"


"Get under the covers."

Arthur watched as Crunch stripped—Crunch was whistling, low in his throat: and it came to Arthur, with great astonishment, that Crunch was whistling because he was happy—was happy to be here, with Arthur. Arthur watched as Crunch unbuttoned his shirt, watched the long dark fingers against the buttons and the cloth, watched the cloth fly across the room to land on the other bed, watched as he unbuckled his belt, dropped his trousers, raising one knee then the other, sitting on the bed again to pull the trousers past the big feet, then folding the trousers, and rising to place them on the other bed, pulling off his undershirt kicking off his shorts, his whole, long, black self padding to the small sing, where he looked, briefly, into the mirror, ran cold water, gargled, his dark body glowing in the darkening room, a miracle of spinal column, neck to buttocks, shoulders and shoulder blades, elbows, wrists, thighs, ankles, a miracle of bone and blood and muscle and flesh and music. Arthur was still wearing his undershirt and shorts. He hated being naked in front of anyone, even me—perhaps, especially me; I had sometimes given him his bath: but that had been under another condition, for which he had not been responsible, and which he was not compelled to remember. Nakedness had not, then, been a confession, or a vow. Arthur was frightened; then he wasn't frightened, but he found that he could not move. He could not take off his undershirt. He could not take off his shorts. Crunch turned, and Arthur, in a kind of peaceful terror, watched as the face, and the eyes in that face, and the neck and the chest, and the nipples on the chest, and the ribs and the long, flat belly and the belly button and the jungle of hair spinning upward from the long, dark, heavy, swinging sex approached, and Crunch got under the covers, and took Arthur in his arms.

Crunch sighed, a weary, trusting sigh, and put his hands under Arthur's undershirt and pulled it over Arthur's head, and suddenly, they both laughed, a whispering laugh. Crunch dropped the undershirt on the floor.

"That's called progress," Crunch whispered. "And now," he said, "let's see what we can do down yonder."

He put his hands at Arthur's waist, pulled the shorts down, got them past one foot. Arthur's prick rose.

Crunch stroked it, and grinned. "That's enough progress, for now," he said, but he put his rigid sex against Arthur's, and they they simply lay there, holding on to each other, unable to make another move...

from Just Above My Head by James Baldwin (pages 205-7)

Posted by ronn at May 24, 2004 07:20 PM

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