Content Warning for: really explicit sex holy fuck
If I was bisexual, then I had to talk to someone about it. And for a while that night I was up with Trent on his night off from the warehouse job. I knew that his knowledge was limited with a woman by his side. But then again, weren’t those kind of assumptions an integral part of the bi experience? I know Ragnhild talked about it a lot.
“Trent, are you bi?” I asked him. He was busy with the console that his girl brought over, but there was always a point to pause at.
“Nope, next question.” He didn’t even look up from the screen. But I had to assume that he was confident in his answer. Statistically, most people were going to be. I was the strange one for asking those questions about myself.
I wondered if having that word for myself would even matter. I still wanted Thu, in the best case scenario and after this mess was in the past. Nothing with her would change if I said I’m bisexual or not. At best, it would be like a weird, oversharing tidbit thrown on her. Like saying that I stole her panties and came on them.
But that was also a demeaning way of looking at bisexuality. I knew bi people that I admired, at least while in Gymnasium and university, and never considered them to oversharing. It wasn’t a gross detail, it was a fact of life.
Yet I was still having so much trouble coming to terms with it for myself. There had to be someone who knew themselves better. They could even be inside the house…
“Hey big boy, no sleeping at the table,” I said to Istvan one afternoon. I actually did not see him much since discharge. His warehouse job was at night, and only one of our days off lined up.
I noticed that he was talking to someone through video chat too. He didn’t talk about anyone else but his partner and their son, so my options were limited.
“Hi…uh…does he do this all the time?” I asked the man. Their son was staring wide-eyed into the webcam and clutching the neck of a guitar. He was a cute one, though, with big green eyes like both of his dads. And Istvan’s partner was also cute in that way…but I wouldn’t fuck him either. He looked like an elf, or worse, another half-Asian like me. My type was not going to be him.
“Are you Axel?” he asked. “The name’s Gideon and yeah, it’s that antipsychotic snooze. It gives me time to get some work done, feed the kid, and watch my man sleep of course.” He giggled a little and said it like it was no big deal for Istvan to face plant into his keyboard.
“My mind’s so clear that there’s nothing in it!” said Istvan, waking up more. “Axel is the second-greatest psych patient I met, and definitely the craziest.”
“Glad to hear it.” He was so calm and unphased. Maybe that was the kind of relationship dynamic I needed, because Istvan was right about me being a psychotic motherfucker. Was bisexuality being more envious of them than of Trent’s conquests?
No, that sounded like a sentence that would get me laughed out of any LGBT support group.
As did most of my thoughts.
“Look, I only woke him up because I have a burning question,” I said, trying to face the webcam. “How did you find out you were attracted to men?”
“A guy asked me to prom and it made me happier than I thought it would,” said Gideon.
“I didn’t know it was wrong until I was told it was,” Istvan said.
“That’s the problem! Everyone who likes them has it figured out already.”
“Should we tell him about closeted businessmen that we feel sorry for?” I heard Gideon say in a not-so-hushed tone.
“No, we have a housemate on the top floor who can help. I just thought of that, thank you sweetheart, I’ll talk to you when our timezones line up again.” Istvan closed his chat program. “Axel, why didn’t you think of it before?”
“What’s it? Does Archer have a secret roommate?” I asked.
“I was talking about Archer…I guess we talked about it when I was behaving and bored after group therapy. And he had a lot to say about having two dads himself…it was mostly good, I don’t think he was trying to judge me or anything.”
“Well, better late than never.” I groaned. I did like Archer. As a person. I knew him for longer than I knew everyone else in this house, even if I thought he was only a temporary resident. But we also didn’t know each other well, and I knew him so poorly that he never, ever told me he was bi.
I could have been wrong. Weren’t we bisexuals supposed to have a sense about who was one of us and who wasn’t? I never suspected Archer, and he must have never suspected me. That had to mean something.
I didn’t know Archer’s schedule because he didn’t have a schedule. He was a nurse at the beck and call of the hospital, and the commute wasn’t short either, at 60 kilometers long. I knew because my therapy appointments were still there. But sometimes he was home, and I could hear him upstairs. He must not have been light on his feet.
It sounded like a wild night one night after that. Istvan and Trent both had warehouse shifts, and Ragnhild was still awake. No dinner service for her that night, so she had a newspaper that she still studied. I respected her commitment to her dream. And the thumping upstairs didn’t stop.
I tried to cover my ears but it didn’t work, and pit wasn’t the noise that was the real problem. I had to talk to Archer while I could. Otherwise, where could I even find another bi person besides Ragnhild?
It was like he lived on the top of a precarious watchtower. The stairs up to his apartment were extremely narrow and the stairs ended exactly where his front door stood.
“Did I ask for a psych hospital reunion? I didn’t.” Archer and his lady-friend were hastily wrapped in bathrobes, and I still recognized the face of Tina the nurse. No wonder her voice went so low and sultry when I brought him up. He plowed her like a wheat field.
“I know…but it’s a serious topic that I need to talk to you and only you about,” I said, while balancing on the top step.
“You’ve attempted assault and pissed yourself once in front of Tina, she can understand anything.”
“Fine! I want to know if I’m bi or not.”
Archer raised an eyebrow. “Hey babe, you should go home and feed your kids.”
“Him?” Tina asked. “You can do better than Axel.”
“Not when he’s at the door.”
Archer had the apartment set up for romance already. I never guessed that he or Tina had fancy tastes for what sounded like a casual fuck, but he lit candles and had a half-eaten plate of sushi out. Even a remaining bottle of Kabinett was full and still upright.
“Better not waste the scenery,” he muttered, while carrying a hairy birman cat.
“I have a lot of thoughts about being bi…if I am,” I said. “And some of them are outrageous and offensive, but I’d like to be wrong.”
“Please, you’re acting like I haven’t heard it all before,” he said. “I know that everyone sees me as an indecisive cheater whore just because they know I’m bi. The cool thing is that it’s not shocking anymore.”
“I feel like I’ve thought that too about you…”
“And now you have trouble because it’s finally about you as well.”
“You’ve heard this before,” I said.
“All the time. It’s a rite of passage at this point.” He started to pour us both glasses of wine.
“Look, the only thing being bi means is liking men and women and maybe those in between. The rest of it is up to us. Judge people on their actions and leave the sexuality out of it and do that to yourself too. It’s really not that hard.”
“I’m so late to this,” I said. “It is hard. And I don’t even drink.”
“Tell it to people who find out in the middle of a happy marriage,” Archer said.
“What does that mean?”
“Nothing, they’re still bi. That’s the whole fucking point. Nothing you do or don’t do changes it.”
“So…I can still have a future?” That might have been what was bothering me the most. I wanted whatever remained of a future that was still held close to my heart. As long as Thu understood that being bi meant nothing beyond being bi, then what had to change but a new word? And further knowledge about myself that wasn’t as disturbing as knowing I was a menace to society waiting to strike.
“Don’t be that deep about it,” he said. Somehow he appeared right next to me.
I smiled a little. “You’re being suggestive.”
“I wish I could say I always had a crush on you, but you were an ugly teenager,” Archer said. But he hadn’t changed at all since then. My feelings on his looks were neutral. Like Jörg the ultrasound technician and myself, he was always a skinny man.
But me? I wore fishnets and Mẹ’s jewelry.
“Fine…I was ugly. You’re not my usual type…but you’re not ugly. You’re cute in the candlelight.”
His hand lightly grazed mine. He must have known that I was still scared, and that I only kissed a guy once when drunk.
I actually missed his lips, but it was nice to land on his cheek like he was a longtime friend or cousin. But I also wanted a little more, especially near all those warm candles.
Finally, with complete confidence, I could say that my first sober kiss with a man was fucking excellent. Though that could have just been Archer’s magic. He walked a thin line between tough and gentle, in both work and in private.
“You’re bottoming by the way,” Archer whispered to me.
“Instead of flopping around on top of me, you’ll come out with a little more dignity.”
“Like what? I’ve…I’ve had something up my ass before, but I didn’t tell anyone about it,” I said. “Yes…it was Ragnhild.”
“Sounds about right. Escape if you want, you know what I said about being bi, he said. “But you’re here because you wanted something.”
And Axel, how long had it been since you had sex? Well, Ragnhild always would have that answer tied to her. It wasn’t that long ago, but I always felt horrible going too long without sex. Thu knew that, but it almost made me feel guilty. She was such a unique person, sometimes like an empty shell. It was how I always treated her in my mind, no matter how our real life relationship went.
But Archer was a normal adult, even one above the average curve with his nursing degree and top floor apartment. The decisions were going to be different, and we were both in control. Him a little more, paying the rent and being on top.
If I knew anything, though, it would be better than sex with Tina.
“But do you have a future in mind?” I asked him, while we cuddled under the covers. It was actually a pretty incredible night with him. We both came and stopped in the middle to finish off the sushi plate. He and Tina paid a lot for it, after all. “Or are you going to be living on dating apps forever?” I didn’t know if that necessarily made him a bi stereotype. I didn’t like dating and hookup apps, but they had users of all kinds. Including straight-as-an-arrow Trent, because I refused to believe he got outside that much.
“Until I get a better paying job, that will change everything,” said Archer. “And you? You didn’t even hesitate, you nasty little cockslut.” He gave me a light punch on the arm.
I figured I could stay there for the night. Ragnhild would have a bed all to herself. We shared because of space constraints, sad as it was, but obviously I wasn’t against sharing. I even could take snoring if that was one of his problems. It was one of Thu’s too.
“What made you think you were bi anyways?” Archer asked.
“The rest of my life meets some guy at the uni…god Timo is fucking hot. I can say it. He is.”
Archer laughed a little.
“What about him?” I asked.
“Nothing…uh…nothing at all,” said Archer.