"This…this needs to—"

I couldn't remember what I was about to say. The room was spinning in disjointed cycles: stop, go, stop, go. Just like a traffic light, but without the cautionary yellow in between. Shit like that happens when you have a few beers after smoking a bowl. Thing is, the spinning had stopped for a brief moment, and that was when I lost my words—the world didn't exist in the motionless infinity of "stop". And if nothing existed, how could my words?

I could feel something on the side of my neck; something soft and moist. I worried it might've been a slug at first, but then I thought, how the fuck would a slug get on my neck? See, even when I'm faded, I'm not stupid. I knew that didn't make sense. But that did leave the question as to what really was on my neck.

And suddenly, I remember.

"This needs to stop," I tell him. He doesn't, though: of course, Mark is still kissing my neck while lying slightly on top of me, here, in my bed. Of course, of course.

Needless to say, this wasn't the first time.

"What?" he manages to say after a few more moments. He's stoned too, but I still know he's just playing dumb. But honestly, it's not like I'm any better. I can still feel every inch of my skin heat up from him being so close, from the trail of kisses he's imprinting on my neck; kisses I'm doing nothing physically to stop (it needs to stop).

Mark lifts his head, looks me dead in the eyes. It is suddenly difficult to think.

"Come again?" he says, that crooked smile of his unfolding into his temples. I don't say anything and try to catch my breath; try to remember what is going on. But I can't: my mind is lost in a haze of nothingness.

The room is spin-spin-spinning.

"It's like we're on a carousel ride," I say out-loud. "Everything's a blur."

I feel a hand crawling up my stomach, lightly touching, but not quite daring to caress. It feels good, but weird, too. The uncertainty of it all was giving me a headache—or maybe that was just me feeling exceedingly light-headed.

"'We're'? I'm not a blur?" he asks.


Mark leans forward, closer to my face, and I notice that his probing hand has left my stomach and is now being used to comb through my hair. The parts of his eyes that are supposed to be white are a pale pink, but his gaze is firmly in place. I pretend not to know what he's gazing at. I also pretend not to know what's going to happen next, because I know I wouldn't stop it from happening, anyway.

It feels too good.

His lips slowly brush against mine—hesitant, as always, but still bold enough to try. And I, I can feel a mystic kind of tranquility taking over me. Some kind of warmth and comfort ripples throughout my limbs, and I can't tell if it's from the beer, the boy, or the high (as if I'd ever be able to distinguish one from the other).

A small sigh escapes from my throat. And although I swear I'm paralyzed, when Mark begins to deepen the kiss, I know I'm kissing him back. His lips are rough, chapped from dryness; they feel good against mine, though. They remind me of sandpaper, which reminds me of quick sand.

I'm sinking.

I'm so fucking high.

Mark stops all of a sudden. Or maybe he had stopped for awhile; I couldn't tell. Time eluded me. I was slipping through the cracks, surrendering to the universe. I was starting to forget—forgetting everything I'd ever known.

"But you are, Christian. You are," Mark says abruptly.

"What are you talking about?" I ask him, wondering what I had blocked out now.

He kisses me again before saying, "You said you weren't real, but you are. You are."

"…I said that?…God, I'm just so gone right now."

Something clicked, right then, in his mind. I could see it in his face; the way the softness of it sort of corroded away. The carousel was breaking down: colors whirling out of control, static suddenly being the only noise I could hear.

He got up from the bed and walked toward the door.

This needs to stop, this needs to stop.

(Please, don't stop.)

Mark stopped at the door, his hand resting on the knob a few moments before turning back around to look at me. I notice his eyes aren't so red anymore, if at all. And the world, it's still spinning; dancing around his still and crystal clear frame.

"You know, I keep hoping that one day—one stupid, insignificant day—that you'll realize what's always been inside of you. That you'll stop being an ignorant idiot and…and, I don't know," he tells me, a certain strain in his husky vocals.

"What?" I manage to say.

"Nothing, forget it."

He didn't know that he didn't have to say that: everything that had just happened had already been forgotten; dissipated into dark matter.

Invisible to the human eye, but still lurking somewhere, somehow.

The thought of it was fucking with my head—I was losing myself again. So I quickly got up from the bed and headed to the bathroom to smoke another bowl, as if the only way to find myself were if I lost myself completely.

I wanted one or the other. Nothing in between.

Mark ran over and grabbed my arm, stopping me dead in my tracks.

"Mom and Dad will be home soon. The smell won't air-out by then," he tells me.

Next thing I know, I'm hugging him tightly, my face buried in his chest, murmuring something about life, and death, and love that I can't remember because once the words leave my lips they are no longer mine and they are free, living entities of their own. I tell him I'm sorry about something, and he says he understands.

He lifts my head up to meet his, another kiss awaiting me on his lips. And I'll never admit I love it, but fuck, maybe I just did.

"If I have to lose myself, I'd rather that I lose myself to you," I say out of nowhere.

"I know, Christian," he tells me, as if this were something I had told him a thousand times before. And for all I know, I probably have. For all I know, every goddamn time we've gotten high or drunk together and we've ended up kissing, I've told my older brother that.

Who knows?

"I know," he says again, and I close my eyes because the world has finally stopped and everything finally made sense, here, in his arms.

"I know."