I’m a white upper-middle class cis queer male, who used to live in communities that fostered homophobia both here in Canada and overseas. It took a long time to realize that I am who I am, and though I’m open about my queerness now, I used to hide it out of fear for my life, both literally and socially. I acknowledge the impact my positionality has on my understanding and the interpretation of my short story.

Everyone has their skeleton in the closet. I’m one of them.

I peer out into the bedroom and see them lying in bed. It’s noon on a Sunday, the alarm goes off, they wake up. They look more tired than yesterday, and even more than the day before. I can smell the faint scent of bacon, leftover on the counter just for them to scavenge. Like a nocturnal animal, they feed and immediately return to the darkness, back in the room.

Blogs, videos, rants, tweets, threads. Hours of information, burnt into their eyes but nothing retained. The entire time, an anxious look on their face. Checking the door, the knob. Pausing music, listening for steps. Keeping this information hidden. Their eyes only, only they have no eyes for they are a husk, a skin suit. 

The drab grey of the walls, the gloomy glare of the screen, the faint light filing through the gap in the curtains. Sunlight, moonlight, unknown. As time is lost, so am I. I look around me. Ruby red heels at my feet, purple sparkling nail polish to the side. Long hair, flowing, dark, lovely. I see photos. A kiss in one, the stare of a model in another; his chiseled jaw accenting his sharp cheekbones. The gleam in his eyes show he’s both a gentleman and a bad bitch, as if he knows that despite his usual target audience, I’m drooling over him. The All-American Rejects play as he leaps out of the poster and holds me in his large, soft arms.

Before the tight embrace, the dream ends. Snapped out of it. I peer out again. The husk is still there. But I see into its soul: emotion. Tears. A realization. Wipe it all away. Close the tabs. Delete browser history. Hide the evidence. Computer off, they stand.

A fews paces, facing me on the other side of the door. Open, the wall torn down. I am face to face with them, the husk, the skin suit that looks back at me with a vacant gazr. The tears still show. My bones ache, I feel broken. I feel just as trapped as they do. I reach up, stroke their cheek. The tears flow harder than ever. I can only muster the word “soon” before the door closes and I’m back to reality.

I crawl back in bed. I leave the zipper on the skin suit open and the closet open a crack. It’s time I felt whole and let the world know about my skeleton in the closet.

HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: We Knew So Little Then/I Know Even Less Now… by Christina Quarles (Acrylic on Canvas, 2019)

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