Note: Sorry for the delay, and thanks for the feedback! My internet zonked out.
There had been a time when the smell of his cologne would have made him dizzy, when he couldn’t stand the sensation of fingers on his skin. Days where he couldn’t taste anything but soap and saltwater, nights spent awake and frightened, turning the day over in his head and looking for a sign he’d missed. The mistake he’d made, tensely fearing its repercussions. He hated being touched, hated being kissed, and used to bite anyone who tried. There were days when anything could drown him, anything could hurt. But he wanted it, he craved the friction, wanted to be held close to his father’s heart and know it beat for him.
“That time mom came in, I was almost ten.” He said flatly, “Did you ever forgive yourself?”
“I live with it.”
“What did it feel like?”
“I’m not going to talk about this— I’m your father.”
“It didn’t stop you before.” Gentry spat, then softened his tone, “The first time you stopped it was when she came in. But that time I wanted you to continue; slow and hard like before, because I was close and I knew you wanted it— because that was the closest we ever were.”
“I watched you sometimes. Legs open, jacking off so hard my heart jumped to my throat. I was up that night, waiting; and when I heard your footsteps, I was so hard it hurt—”
“I said I’m not going to talk about this!”
“You never did.”
Gentry pulled close to him, so close he cool feel the man’s breath cloud against his face. His hands clawed into Johnson’s shoulders, holding him in place,
“And, you wouldn’t have admitted it if she hadn’t walked in. You would have accused me of dreaming it.”
Johnson took a deep and steady breath, “Let me go… put the past behind you.”
“Don’t tell me you stopped thinking about it; that you ‘put the past’ behind you.” He kept himself from yelling, because a part of him was still frightened that someone would find out. The accusation stayed simmering, low.
“The past is looking at me, and it’s you.”
“Gentry.” Johnson said, sternly, “Listen to me. For your own sake, the past is done with. I’m not that person anymore; I have religion.”
Gentry watched his father’s lips move, until the words regressed to meaningless sounds. It always depressed him how his father continually pretended things were under control, when they never were or had been. He was vulnerable, too. Everyone was. At any moment, any time, the drowning would happen. Any moment.
“Sophia has forgiven me. We can make a fresh start—”
Gentry shoved his tongue between the old man’s lips. He inhaled his fear, tasted his resentment from the way he tensed, then loosened. He wasn’t sure about what he hoped to gain from this, wasn’t sure why he did it, wasn’t sure what he was doing here at all.
He felt his father’s hand slide down his shoulder, and he quickly pinned it down as he pulled away from him.
“Tell this to your Church.” He spat as he shoved him away. “Tell them you like it--- how the only thing you regret is losing control!"
“Enough! That’s enough.” His father’s voice ended in a hushed declaration. “Stop this.”
Johnson scrambled back to his feet, and wiped the kiss from his lips with the back of his hand. “People can hear. You’re my son, and I’m your father. It’s not your place.”
“I won’t let you tell me what I am or what my place is. You never put me my place, and you’ve kicked me out of yours. So don’t tell me about my place, and don’t you compare what I have with Zach to what you did with me.”
Gentry glanced him straight in the eye and sat back down. He didn’t speak another word.