Flash Fiction

M4M: to the twink who absolved me of my sins

I saw you walking towards me while I was walking home. Although I had no immediate reason to feel rushed, I was in a bit of a hurry to get home. I stuck to my side of the sidewalk, walking with my head down, allowing my focus on the beat of the music that was pulsating through my ears to effectively drown out every other noise of the world and to carry each of my heavy steps. 

Although my ears were blocked and my vision obscured, it became very obvious as you passed me that you wanted my attention. First, I noticed your feet as you stopped walking and they turned to face me. I looked up, likely timidly, and only noticed your lips moving before I took out one earbud and allowed a mumbled "pardon?" to fall out of me. 

At that point a strange silence took its hold on the air between us and I felt transfixed by your presence, reticent as it now was. An eternity passed before you said, as though it were a script and you were reluctant to say it directly to me. 

Still, I heard you say: "Oh…I'm a priest for the Catholic Church and God just told me you were in a lot of pain" 

My heart tightened and my eyes narrowed. 

Another eternity passed. 

"He just wanted me to tell you that the pain is going to end soon. I hope that's ok." 

Another eternity and then some passed before I realized you were waiting for me to say something; to acknowledge this act of yours. 

All I could muster was: "Uh, wow. Okay. Thank you…" 

Immediately, you replied: "I absolve you of your sins. Amen." 

You bowed your head and then swiftly twirled around and continued your northbound journey up the street. 

I stood there, stunned, thinking only of the urgency that immediately filled me. 

I need to get home before I start crying, was the only thought quickly filling every crevice of my mind. 

I started walking, as briskly as I could and sweating now, as countless thoughts raced through me, wondering what you meant. 

How did you know?

I suppose you could have seen my limp. I often forget I walk with one as I've always had it and don't notice it myself. 

I thought perhaps you were sinister. Perhaps you had noticed my painted nails.That couldn’t be it though as I'd been walking with my fists clenched, trying to conceal them. Moreso, you yourself appeared to be gay. I hope that isn't rude to say. It's just that it's the truth. I couldn't imagine someone like you would judge someone like me and my attempts to queer my identity. 

I thought maybe you were just fucking with me; wanting attention and creating a show for yourself. Maybe you'd noticed I had earbuds in and thought I wouldn't notice your monologue as we passed each other. Maybe you were taken aback when I did notice but felt compelled to continue on with your show anyway. To me, the nervous man you couldn't care less about affecting. 

Then I thought, maybe you could talk to god. Maybe there is a God? Why had our paths crossed at that exact moment? Why did you say that to me? How could you have known that I was in fact experiencing a tremendous amount of pain? I've considered this pain to be invisible. How did you see it? Did you see it or did you just assume? Would it have mattered who you said that to? Maybe we're all experiencing tremendous pain right now and moving about as though we aren't? Could that be true? 

Please, if you see this, please message me. I need you to know how much you moved me. Even if you were just fucking with me. For better or for worse? I’m still not sure. But please, if you see this, please contact me. I need to hear what else you might know. Please, I'm begging.

Josh Dixon

Josh Dixon

Josh Dixon is a gay man who writes about gay men. His series "M4M" uses a template of Craigslist 'Missed Connections' ads to explore the ways in which men who are attracted to men search for sex, love, intimacy and community online while battling internalized admissions of the self. Previous entries in the series have appeared in Feels, RFD, and Chosen Family magazines. He currently lives and writes in Toronto. \\ Instagram: @dosh_jixon