last night, following a sensational dinner, carl and i laid on the hard wood of my kitchen floor smoking cigarettes and talking about music and pedagogy and watching the fan blades turn over head. when he left he kissed my mouth in a totally innocent fashion and for the first time in weeks, maybe longer, i felt genuinely happy with no need of qualification or definition. he thanked me for dinner again and again, but how does one thank someone for a simple gesture that lifted from your chest an unbearable weight?

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