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    The thing about being a thousand years old was that years didn’t feel very long anymore; they were an over-produced commodity. The years of studying at al-Azhar wouldn’t feel like much at all to him now, but back then, they’d lasted centuries, and perhaps it was because all the time he spent without Nicky felt interminable, even before he’d known who it was he was missing. He’d carried with him a vague and inexplicable sense that he was waiting for something to begin, though he knew not what.

    ***

    “I think I was in love with you before I knew you.”

    Nicky laughed into the corner of Joe’s jaw, breath tickling his neck. After all these years, he’d memorized the shape of Nicky’s nose, the sensation of his stubble at every stage of unshavenness, absolutely every imaginable corner and contour of his body, and the more he knew it the more he loved it, like an old favorite song that developed new layers of meaning every time you listened. “Always the poet.”

    “I really do think so, though,” Joe chuckled. “I die of love for you,” he said, switching to old Arabic, quoting Abū Nuwās. “And then I return to life so I can kiss you one more time,” he continued. His own words.

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    02 Aug 2020

  2. Public Bookmark *

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    Booker had imagined his penance very differently. He’d been planning seventy or so solid years getting drunk in Paris, wallowing in his own guilt – nothing new there, he’d been doing that for two hundred years already – and then taking the final thirty to get his shit together enough to be…something, when he met the others again. Less detestable, maybe.

    Quynh had put paid to that notion, and he’d been hungover, unshaven and miserable when he’d seen them again.

    Unfairly, Joe has shaved since Booker had last seen him. To throw people off their trail, to keep anyone from recognizing him, to keep Merrick’s people from recognizing him, and Booker swallows that down miserably with the rest of his shame. The torment of Joe looking like that, younger and sharper and more furious with Booker than ever, is nothing Booker doesn’t deserve.

    Nicky still hasn’t even spoken to him.

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    31 Jul 2020

  3. Public Bookmark 89

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    Grace survives, Daniel survives, but surviving isn't living. Together, they will try to recover again, to try again, to love again, and again, and again.

    But it's not so easy.

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    01 Jun 2020

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    The ghosts of his family watch them from the corner. They can both feel them. Like they’re piled on their shoulders, pressing them down, down, down…

    “We’re alive.” He can’t look at her. He stares through his mother’s forehead at the yellow and brown painting on the wall. Sunflowers.

    “Yeah.” She can’t look at him either, her eyes downcast at the unspoken implication of the statement. They aren’t.

    “How?”

    Her cheeks feel hot with tears that smell like blood.

    “I don’t know.”

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    01 Jun 2020

  5. Public Bookmark 18

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    “The thing, Martín, the thing is... I’m dying. So believe me when I say my time is far too precious a currency these days. I wouldn't be spending it if it wasn't worth it. And you, my friend, are worth all the time in the world. More than I have left.”

    _____________________________

    Or, the one where Martín learns his best friend's fate and Andrés finally pulls his head out of his ass

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    22 Apr 2020