He’s shorter than me. His shoulders are narrower, collar bones shadowed purple and green in the murky light. I can see where his neck begins and the slender curve only serves to highlight the delicate line of his jaw. Some might say his features are pinched. I prefer defined. He is not sculpted, in the traditional sense. He is fine-boned. Porcelain.
My arms could circle him easily. One squeeze and I can feel his ribs give. I could break him. Sometimes I think I have.
His ear sits by my lips and I breathe across it. A shiver races across his skin. In the mirror, I observe the tightening of his flesh, the way his small, flat nipple beads. Beneath, the line of his pectoral curves up to a fold beneath his arm. It is a delusion, that fold. A hint there is some of him to spare. There is not.
His arms are slender, but rest easily at his sides, hooked beneath shoulders that are always square. Usually square. Right now, they tilt forward. He is folding in on himself, though he does not want to. I touch his hip and breathe across his ear again.
He doesn’t meet my gaze in the mirror, and I do not need to look down to see what has captured his attention. It’s the scar. It slices beneath his collarbone, livid and purple, and then leaps from the top of his shoulder onto mine. We share it, this scar, though his is longer, more slender, and mine ironically short. But the two ends dovetail in a way we always tried to, but never quite managed, until we became similarly marked.
He’s smaller than me, but he bears the brunt of my scar.
I whisper against his ear. “I love you.”
He doesn’t reply; he doesn’t have to. Shorter, smaller, porcelain, and still he stood before me, shielded me, offered his life for mine. Because he loves me, too, and always has.
(Backstage Louis Vuitton SS13, Photography: Brett Lloyd)