Continuing therapy with Brian and Lydia. As Brian and Justin decide to move in together in NYC, Lydia meets with them together to discuss their decision.
Doctor's Notes: I believe it is premature to meet with both BK and JT as a couple. We are still early in BK's analysis and have just begun to scratch the surface of his emotional issues. However, circumstances have intervened. After a separation of over a year, in which JT was living with another man, they have decided to move in together in BK's home here. BK obviously has some insecurities about going back into a relationship and it seemed an effective use of his pre-scheduled time to discuss their fears about this arrangement.
They arrived on time. BK was dressed in a business suit, JT in jeans and a sweater, thus increasing the age gap between them, based on appearances. BK seemed tense, JT, relaxed. They sat facing me in separate chairs rather than side by side on the couch. BK exhibited indicia of his unease by tightly folding up, legs crossed, arms crossed, shoulders slightly hunched forward. JT was at ease, one leg thrown over the arm of his chair, his palms open and resting on his thighs.
Excerpt from transcript:
Doctor: Brian, why did you want to include Justin in this session?
BK: I thought you had some concerns about our moving in together.
Doctor: My concerns? No, Brian. That's a personal decision for you two to make.
BK: Obviously, but...Justin said...
JT: (Interrupted) You mentioned meeting with us together.
Doctor: Eventually, yes. But you're both here, so let's not waste the opportunity. How many days have you been living together?
Doctor's note: The two men exchanged a glance. BK started to talk, then JT, and finally BK answered my inquiry.
BK: We're not technically living together yet.
Doctor: What is the technicality?
JT: He stashed me in a fancy hotel.
Doctor's note: BK cast a glare in the direction of JT, then returned his attention to me.
BK: I just thought since I was meeting with you soon anyway, I'd put Justin up in a hotel and give you a chance to tell us what you think about this living together idea.
Doctor: What I think is unimportant. It's what you think that matters, Brian. And Justin, of course. What are your concerns?
BK: (Shrugged) None, I guess.
BK: (Glanced at JT) What do you know, Sunshine?
JT: I know you. I know you're worried. I know you have second thoughts.
BK: Maybe you're the one with second thoughts.
JT: Maybe now I am. Now that you're so fucking worried about it.
BK: Maybe you wish you hadn't left your hubby back in Pittsburgh.
JT: Maybe I do! At least he believed living together meant occupying the same space.
BK: So get your pink ass back to the Pitt! No one's stopping you!
JT: Maybe I will!
Doctor: Stop. I'm stopping you, Justin. And you, Brian. Just stop. (Both men grew silent and glared at me) Brian, do you regret that you asked Justin to move in with you? Was it a mistake?
BK: (Glanced at the other man, then at me. His body language softened slightly, he leaned forward, towards me, his forearms resting against his knees, which he uncrossed.) I don't want to fuck it up.
JT: Too late.
Doctor: (Held up a hand to silence JT. ) Go on, Brian.
BK: I...I remember how it was before. I don't want to repeat that pattern. I want it to work. If we're going to do this thing, we should do it right.
JT: If I stay in a hotel down the street from you, we'll never get the chance. BK: You don't understand, Justin.
JT: So make me understand.
BK: When you left me before, I found out what it means to be truly alone. I thought I liked being alone. I don't. I can't imagine myself sharing space with anyone else. I have this desperate sensation that it's you or no one for the rest of my life and if you go this time, you won't ever be back.
JT: (Reached across the gap between them and offered BK his hand. BK glanced at me, then took it and squeezed it gently and didn't let go.) I didn't agree to make this big change in my life with the idea that I would turn around and leave you. I love you, Brian. That's why I'm here. I want to make my life with you.
BK: I know, and that scares me. Because you have so much power over me, and I don't like that one fucking bit.
JT: Tough shit. Being in love is partly about giving over the power to wound to someone else. You have to take that chance. You have to trust me a little.
BK: Do you understand how hard it is to trust you after you broke... after you left?
JT: Do you understand why I left?
BK: (Shrugged, nodded.) Sure, I guess. The other men. The fucking around.
JT: No, Brian. That was just a small part of it. I left because I feared I would never receive reciprocal feelings from you, nothing like the feelings I felt for you. I would bang my head against a wall for years hoping to get deep enough inside your shell to hear you say you love me, or allow yourself a little romantic gesture.
BK: Little romantic gesture? Fuck you! How can you say that to me? Fuck your little romantic gesture! Like what? Buy you some roses? Cook you a candlelight dinner? I gave you the most romantic gesture I'll ever be able to give anyone and you don't even fucking remember it!
Doctor's note: (Stunned silence. BK released his hand and stood, walking over to the window, his back to us. JT started to follow, but I placed a hand on his arm and shook my head. BK needed this moment of solitude to gather his composure. This is how he works.)
Doctor: Sit down, Brian. It's alright. You're safe here. Sit down.
BK: (Shook head, did not turn around) I don't want to finish this session.
Doctor: I know you don't. But we will. Sit down. Do you want Justin to step out?
BK: No. (returned to chair. Stared straight ahead, and avoided JT's attempt to take his hand with a flinch.) He can stay. I'm okay.
JT: Why are you so mad at me? Is this about that dance again?
BK: What dance?
JT: Stop it, Brian. You know what dance.
BK: It wasn't just a fucking dance, Justin! It was so much more than just a dance!
JT: I want to remember, Brian! I just can't!
Doctor: Brian, tell us what the dance meant to you.
BK: (Sighed, shook head) What's the point? Futile.
Doctor: Nothing this important to you is futile, Brian. Explain.
BK: (Keeping his gaze lowered, his voice subdued.) I turned thirty years old that day. I felt like my life was over. In the gay world, thirty is ancient. I knew it was just a matter of time until I was some pathetic gray ghost trying to find someone to suck his cock in the backroom of a club full of chickens. They'd laugh at me and someone would say I used to be quite the stud, and god forbid they'd end up like me. I fucked and fucked and fucked for days leading up to that birthday, cramming in all the tricks I could attract.
JT: (Laughed) That's true. No one heard from him for days.
BK: Anyway, I bought this scarf on the day of my birthday and decided to do a little magic trick with it. It was also the night of Mikey's going away party.
JT: The white scarf?
Doctor: Where was Mikey going?
BK: He moved out of state for awhile with his then-boyfriend. It didn't work out. He came back.
Doctor: How did you feel about his leaving?
BK: I felt if that's what he wanted, he should do it. Frankly, I never liked the guy, but it was Mikey's life.
Doctor: So, to set the stage, your best friend was leaving town, you celebrated a monumental birthday, your lover was making a demand you couldn't satisfy. Interesting time. What was the trick with the scarf?
BK: It's called scarfing, Lydia.
JT: (Wrinkled his nose, confused) What is that?
Doctor: Is it auto-asphyxiation while masturbating?
JT: (Makes gesture of `over my head' by swiping palm above his head) What, again?
BK: (Patiently) You use a belt or a rope or a scarf or something and loop it over a beam or some strong structure and put it around your neck. As you jerk off, you tighten the noose until you slowly cut off the oxygen supply to your brain. The combination of oxygen deprivation and masturbation produces an intense orgasm.
Doctor: Often rapidly followed by death.
Doctor's note: (JT looks shocked while BK just grimaces and shrugs.)
BK: That's the kind of thing straight people say to scare you.
Doctor: Brian, straight people do it too. Often with a partner. The man will cut off air flow to the woman by tightening his hands on her throat. Unless you are an extremely skilled medical professional the chance that you know when to stop short of severe brain damage or death is slim. And if you passed out while standing on a stool or chair and fell, you could easily hang yourself.
BK: The point of using a silk scarf is that if you pass out, the weight of your body would pull the scarf down or tear it, so you would be alright. It's more dangerous with a rope or leather.
JT: Are you fucking NUTS?
BK: You're too young to understand.
JT: I understand stupidity!
Doctor: What happened Brian?
BK: Just before I got off, that stupid ass Mikey came in and pulled me down.
JT: Remind me to thank Mikey!
BK: You can't say a word to Mikey, Justin. Not a word. Doctor: What was Mikey's reaction?
BK: He was mad. And then he told me I was beautiful, would always be beautiful. Mikey has a gift for knowing what to say to me.
JT: Yeah, since he's been in love with you since you were kids.
Doctor: Is that true, Brian?
BK: (Shrugged, uncomfortable silence.) He loves me and I love him. It's complicated.
JT: No, it isn't. You love him like a brother. He loves you like I love you.
BK: Shut up, Justin. You don't know. Just shut up about Mikey.
Doctor: We'll explore that relationship later, Brian. What happened after Mikey found you and talked to you?
BK: I remembered Justin wanted me to go to the prom with him. He went with his friend Daphne, but he wanted me there, to make a statement to the others and to share the night with him.
JT: True, and he said he would rather be dead than be stuck in a room full of eighteen year olds.
BK: Yes, but after Mikey left, I began to think about all the reasons why being thirty and continuing to live may not be so miserable. One of the main reasons was you, Justin.
JT: (Stared at BK.) You never told me that before.
BK: I'm telling you now. So I dressed up, put on the scarf, went to the prom.
Doctor: How did you feel walking into that room?
JT: He looked like a deer in the headlights, Doc. But a beautiful deer.
BK: (Smirked at him) Anyway, I walked over to Justin and Daphne, aware that every little geek in the room was staring at me.
JT: This is where it gets hazy for me. I kind of remember that conversation, but not really. I do remember the impact of seeing you walk in. What a thrill that was! But the rest of it....
BK: I know, it's lost.
JT: Not on purpose.
BK: I know, Justin, I know.
Doctor: You remember it, Brian. Can you tell us why that dance is so important to you?
BK: It wasn't the dance itself.
Doctor: What was it?
BK: It was a proclamation. It was taking this beautiful guy into my arms in the heart of a straight function and leading him into a sexy, intimate pairing that was all about affection and caring and...not just about sex. It was the perfect rhythm of two bodies becoming one, sex standing up. Complete intimacy. And then we kissed, not planned, not to show off, but because we HAD to kiss, you understand? We had to have that connection. I've never felt so completely connected to anyone, not before or since. It was ridiculously romantic. And it is completely forgotten.
JT: (Left his chair to stand in front of BK, resting BK's forehead against his chest and stroking his hair softly.) I'm so sorry, Brian. I'm so sorry I can't remember it. (Brian's arms went around Justin, and he held him there for a silent moment)
BK: (Whispered voice) It's not your fault.
Doctor: Justin, do you want to remember?
JT: Of course I do!
Doctor: Think about that very carefully. Sometimes the mind protects us by forgetting. You not only forgot the beauty of that moment with Brian, but you also forgot the horror of the assault. You can't have one without the other.
BK: (Gently urged JT back to his own chair.) Then forget it. I don't want him to relive that horror. Not for anything.
JT: It's my decision, not yours, Brian.
BK: Don't do it. Please.
JT: I find out that in one day, you contemplated killing yourself and you also realized how much I meant to you? You tell me that dance was your way of saying "I love you" in front of all those people, because that's what it means, don't deny it. And then you tell me don't try to recapture that memory? Bullshit. What do I have to do, Doc?
Doctor: We can discuss that another time, Justin. Let's stick with this current discussion. Brian, was that your way of saying you love Justin?
BK: (winced, shrugged) I don't know.
Doctor: Don't know, or can't say?
BK: I don't know. Maybe.
Doctor: There's another way, you know. One he can remember from now on. You can tell him how you feel. You don't always have to act out. You can say it.
BK: I told you before, love is an overused word.
Doctor: You make your living with words, Brian. Find some to tell Justin why you want him to move in with you.
BK: (Long pause. Finally, he took Justin's hand and held it firmly in his as he met his eyes) I know I'm no prize, Justin. I'm obsessive, I'm completely self-involved, I'm selfish. I put my own ego and pleasure first. I'm addicted to sex. I can be very superficial.
JT: (smiled) You're turning my head.
BK: (Smiled back) I want you in my life because you make me a better person than I am. You make me want to be better. I like myself better when you're around. You make me happy. You make me feel like I'm worth something. Without you, I'm incomplete.
Doctor's note: JT left his chair and BK stood to embrace him. They held each other for a long silent moment. The affection between them is apparent. Finally, they kissed, then sat down again.
Doctor: Justin, why are you willing to take a chance on Brian?
JT: Did you hear what he just said? He is infuriating. He can be an impossible egomaniac, cold as ice, and then he does something like that. The something like that makes it worth waiting out the bad times.
Doctor: What do each of you hope to get out of this arrangement?
BK: He's looking for free rent.
JT: (Laughed) See what I mean?
BK: And free food. Believe me, he may look small but he eats like a horse.
JT: (Punched his arm) I do not! And I plan to be a very successful artist who can pay my own damn way!
BK: Yeah, and I plan to be fifty someday. The two should coincide.
JT: I want to watch Brian grow up. I want to see what kind of adult he becomes.
BK: (Laughed) Good luck.
Doctor: Okay, so have you discussed the parameters of this relationship?
BK: We decided not to impose rules. That was pathetic. We're not going into it with the idea of fooling around a lot, but we're gay. The one riot one butt ranger heterosexual rule is equally pointless. We're just going to see how it goes.
Doctor: You agree with that, Justin?
JT: If Brian said we were never going to sleep with other men, I'd be okay with that. I found out I can be faithful, and that I even prefer it.
BK: You cheated on him with me!
JT: That's different.
BK: How is that different?
JT: Because it's you, not some trick.
BK: Everyone was a trick once. Including you. And if you think you can fuck your ex whenever you get the yen, you're wrong. If you still want to fuck him, don't move in with me.
JT: Who said I want to fuck my ex?
BK: I was your ex. You fucked me.
JT: Again, that's different!
Doctor: Brian, do you think you should have veto power over any extracurricular lovers Justin takes?
BK: Is he taking any?
Doctor: You tell me.
JT: That's not my goal. I was a virgin when I met Brian. It would have been weird to go my whole life and never know what it's like with another man. Since then, I've been around. I've had the hunt, the conquest. I know I can get other lovers without much effort on my part. But I keep coming back to where I began. Brian Kinney. He's not only the best lover I've ever had, he's the one who creeps into my mind when I'm with someone else.
BK: I do that too. I think about you when I'm with a trick. I turn them into you in my head. But of course, the feeling is never the same.
Doctor: Sounds like you both got what you want.
BK: Does anyone really know what they want, Lydia?
Doctor: How are you sleeping, Brian?
JT: I can answer that. He stays over at the hotel with me and people in the next room complain about the noise. Not from our fucking, but >from his snoring!
BK: (Chuckled) He's lying. But I have been sleeping well. I sleep very well when he's around.
Doctor: Why do you think that is?
BK(shrugged) Dunno. He keeps the bed warm?
Doctor: Try again.
BK: I feel at ease when he's there.
JT: (Raised BK's hand up to his lips and kissed it gently. BK blushed, smiled at him.) Me too.
Doctor: Don't expect perfection, guys. Expect bumps and craters and rough roads. But remind yourselves about the way you feel right now, and you'll get through it. Brian, you'll have highs and lows while going through therapy. Expect that. It's not easy to uncover old fears and emotions. Justin, you should expect that, as well, from Brian. I'd like to see you guys together occasionally, and if you hit a wall, give me a chance to meet with you both.
JT: Doc, how can you help me recover that memory?
Doctor: It wouldn't be me, Justin. I don't want to treat both you and Brian. But I can refer you to someone competent.
BK: I won't have him recall the horror of Chris Hobbes.
JT: Brian, I have to make that decision for myself.
BK:(Started to speak, grew silent.)
Doctor: Call my office tomorrow, Justin. My assistant will have some names for you. Brian, we'll work on your fears about Justin's recovering that memory.
End of excerpt.
Doctor's Notes: The emotional bond between BK and JT is complex. Love and desire are balanced by fear of abandonment and a subtle struggle for domination. BK's insecurities about being left by JT are only partly caused by their earlier breakup. These fears are deep rooted in his self portrait of unworthiness and inability to express emotion for fear of being rejected or ridiculed. His description of a second "inadvertent" failed suicide attempt at age thirty underlies his belief that all he has to offer JT or anyone is his youthful good looks and his financial success. His promiscuity is fed by his constant need to validate that he is still attractive and desirable. Now, he must also deal with the fact that seeking that validation with others may destroy his relationship with the one man he loves. He will need help realizing that same or stronger validation can come from a partner in a monogamous relationship. I anticipate this decision to live together at this stage in BK's analysis will create interesting emotional challenges for both partners.
|Disclaimer: The television show Queer As Folk and its characters are the property of Showtime and CowLip Productions. No money is being made. Stories and discussion are intended purely for the entertainment of fans of Queer as Folk, the Brian and Justin characters, and Randall's writings.
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July 25, 2004