pressed against it, so softly and swiftly that by the time they lock eyes it’s over and he isn’t sure if it even happened. Ricardo places his hand on Samir’s neck and slaps him lightly, to let him know that he understands. *
At the end of the match they shower on opposite sides of the room and leave the stadium in separate cars. Ricardo imagines that this is it, that this is where it ends. That what they have, they leave out on the pitch, forgotten in their normal lives. He contemplates life without Samir – no legs tangled with his in bed, no lengthy warm embrace, no pressing up against the kitchen bench with heated breath. Empty beds and empty arms and empty hearts. But that means safety, too. That emptiness means safety, but it makes Ricardo’s blood run cold. What if he had to live like that? What if they will have to in the future? What if he should choose it now, before he is too much in love? Maybe he should call Samir and tell him they need to talk. Maybe he should call him and tell him he chooses peace over passion. Maybe. He thinks of this briefly while driving down the dark roads to his house, and he thinks maybe it’s the right decision. But when Ricardo arrives back at his house, his is not the only car pulling into the driveway. Once inside the safety of his home, the spell of the outside world is broken. The thoughts that picked at Ricardo’s brain like vultures in the car vanish from his mind. Too used to keeping his hands to himself, he revels in Samir’s confidence and ability to put aside his work chasteness as he is pulled over to his lover and kissed lightly on the mouth. They don’t do anything particularly special. They are content with the fact that throughout the night they can touch each other as often as they like, free from fear. They cook dinner together and watch mundane Spanish sitcoms in front of the television, Ricardo letting his hand run lazily amok through Samir’s hair. In bed, Samir pulls Ricardo closer to him, so Ricardo’s back is pressed against his chest. And as Ricardo feels Samir’s breath against the back of his neck deepen, he laces their fingers together, pulling his lover’s hand up to his face to return the gesture from the game by placing a soft kiss on the back of it. But unlike Samir had, Ricardo doesn’t move away, instead keeping his lips pressed against Samir’s skin as he drifts off to sleep, unafraid and no longer alone. Peace over passion was never an option, and he is deliriously glad of that.
Hearsay: On Dit's creative writing edition.