They were married in a seaside town that Morrissey forgot to bomb. The groom, spot lit white, held his bride by the waist. Dee, the groom’s younger brother, grasped an empty wine glass warily by the stem, like a dangerous flower.
The band began to play ‘Blue Velvet.’
“Oh.” Dee said, with sudden fairies in his eyes. “I like this song.”
“You do?” I asked.
“Mmm, yes.” He replied, and the fairies were gone. The bride and groom swayed on the dancefloor. “Get me another drink, will you?” He asked, holding out his glass. “And be quick about it before I change my mind.”
I was in Room 12.
The key-card blurred in my hand. Dee was falling over, laughing.
It was the first time I’d ever seen him drunk. As a rule, drinking was just another enemy – and in the same way that he pretended to drag from a cigarette, he would pretend to swig from a vodka bottle. He’d leave parties untouched, passing the alphabet test with colours. His lips would be wet, but he would never get pissed.
I always wanted to get him drunk. For selfish reasons, mostly. He didn’t know how to lose control. His discipline made a mockery of me.
When I was young I thought that willingly ‘misplacing’ yourself was the pinnacle of artistic freedom – that you could not be found until you had been lost. It’s a funny thing – I envied him his self-control and yet I undermined it constantly, because sometimes when the moon was right and the computer monitor shone like a nightlight, he would open his mouth and let me push my tongue in without a fight. I wanted this from him, always. It was such a feeling of conquest; like my germs had won. I didn’t want to be another cigarette, another bottle, I wanted him to put his lips on me and give in, get a lungful, get a mouthful, get a hit. I wanted to scupper all his plans.
He flopped onto the bed of Room 12. He was too drunk to get undressed. I began shrugging off my clothes, rooting through my travel bag for toothpaste.
“What are you doing?”
“Toothpaste. I can’t find my toothpaste.”
I looked over at him. He was smiling, very pissed and as blonde as hell.
“Aren’t you going to come over here and take advantage of me?” He asked, still smiling. He’d unpinned the flowers from his lapel and tucked them behind his ear. I let go of my bag and abandoned the toothpaste hunt.
‘Do you…want me to take advantage of you?”
He laughed without laughing, something that he was talented at.
“I don’t know. Do you want to take advantage of me?”
Of course I did, that was a stupid question and he knew it. When I first met him, I wrote in my journal that I had met a very serious angel. Angels can only fly because they take themselves lightly, and so very serious angels are stuck to the earth. That’s how I saw him, stuck to the earth and meant to be flying. I romanticized him of course, like I romanticize everything. And now on the bed, with his hands in his lap like doves sleeping off a magic trick, how could I say no?
“I don’t want to do anything you don’t want to do. You’re incredibly pissed.”
And I remember the way he smiled and closed his eyes and opened his arms, drunkenly embracing the air where I was meant to be, with the sheets creasing beneath him and his suit creasing too. The flowers behind his ear stayed put like they’d been painted in. I ambled over, half drunk, and I lowered myself onto his body. I kissed him. His mouth opened wide, he pulled me closer. My hands dislodged the flowers. My germs won just like the wine had won. I pinned an angel to the earth, and he was never meant to fly anyway, because for someone so light – he was far too heavy.