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Fires

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House Fires, the Official Trailer

Something dips in his stomach when he sees the tweet. He turns his attention inwards, trying to get the measure of it. Insecurity, he thinks. People will make comparisons, it's inevitable, and what if his contribution is found wanting? What if it pales in comparison?

He doesn't want to click on the link, even though he knows he should. That's the trick, he's learned. When he feels his mind start to spiral into worst case scenarios, he needs to force himself back to reality, to ground himself in what is, not in what might be.

He clicks. He watches it through, then replays and watches it again. It's atmospheric, almost hypnotic, the way the words drum rhythmically in his ears.

This book will be different; in style, in content, in mood. There's relief there.

And yet. There's something still gnawing at him, something burrowing into his brain that he can feel taking hold.

"I've fucked a bunch of men/And I don't even know their names/I take another shot and I keep dancing"

The words are on a loop. He turns them over and over, trying to find what's digging at him.

So many therapy sessions lamenting what he missed out on, that hedonistic freedom to fuck whoever he damn well liked, and to hell with what anyone might think. He's not jealous (anymore), he's let that go. He doesn't feel like a fraud (anymore), not gay enough. He's let go of that too. And still the words circle.

The answer seeps into his awareness, slowly. It's a kind of jealousy, yes. Of that rawness, of letting the world see all of who you are, no holds barred.

He's closer to that than he'd ever dreamed possible. But some things remain unsaid. The boundaries they set these days are healthy, they're a sign of maturity. And still, there are times when the careful choosing of words, the skilled evasion feel like vestiges of old shame, old fears.

Holding things back can feel like growth. Holding things back can feel like stagnation.

There are times he truly knows the call of the void; the irrational urge to throw one's self from the top of a tall building, just to see what would happen.

He could scream it out loud for anyone to hear. "Yeah we fuck, and I love it, and so what?"

He could say those words in joyful abandon. He could say them in rage and defiance, spew out the anger that still burns somewhere beneath the surface.

He could. He wouldn't. He won't.

And yet.