Luv U Blind

Cathal Gunning


When I'm good I'm great. I mean it, I get it. I'd want me too. Not to sound– no, happy to sound arrogant, or conceited, or whatever. Extra. When I'm on form everyone in the room, male, female, or otherwise, myself very much included, would want to lick my tight stomach, and I know it. And he’s one of them, which is why he’s dancing right now, not with anyone in particular, the shimmying self-unaware bop of a pill high, the sort of blatant, un-ironic self-love which makes a dance floor congregate around a lone set of gyrating hips and a single perspiring chest, male, female, or otherwise.

Fuck, playful ecstasy limb-loosening is unisex kryptonite, everyone’s into it. Like concentrated confidence.

And oh my God Danielle won’t shut up about a “Champagne bro-cialist” and I could hit her. This’s an actual supernova in the flesh; I’m sure that haircut’s out of fashion this week but if he’s champagne I’m sorry, mea culpa, but I want to swallow him. Fuck the cause (my sincere and heartfelt apologies I regret my comments already and delete them unreservedly).

But then he’s dancing with me, not everyone in the world any more but me, just me and me alone. And I’m not even high, just a little tipsy, but it does feel justified. I feel like I look good enough to blot out the rest of his world. We should all feel like this, always, imagine what we’d get done–

Shit, his ankle just loosened under him as if he'd a heart attack. JFK when the bullet hit– Dazed, done for. Empty-headed. He's not even that much younger than me, but for some fever-dream reason I can picture myself making that reference and him asking if JFK was "from that show Dallas?"

Okay, it's really not that big an age gap. I never saw Dallas. But it feels bigger because he’s out of it. So much so that I really shouldn't go for it, and while I try to wrestle with that uncertainty he's already gone, moved on and dancing with his next lucky partner– Or with himself, really, playing with his hair and pulling up his shirt and chewing on his lip and his collar, licking his teeth.

That wasn’t a single, one-time wobble, though; he’s unsteady on his feet. This isn’t me staring at a guy because he moved on from dancing with me; this’s me observing and worrying about the health of an innocent young man. Fuck, he’s really slipping, not cute weak-in-the-knees but can’t stand weak-in-the-knees, and his big eyes might as well have just done the Windows shutdown theme.

Fuck, you’re watching a guy die.

This night just became the night you talk about to a professional. The one you and all your friends aren’t ever really the same after, when the police talked to you until a teary 5am and the local paper tried to ask about it after.

And now being pretty isn’t helpful, and feeling it is worse. Being pretty means people look at you, and if they look at you any time they certainly fucking stare through you when they’re worried: “Of course I expect an answer from you, I’ve been watching you all night, I assumed you’d superpowers, that you’d a plan for every eventuality. You put your face together the right way for my eyes, have you no solution for every other problem?”

And you don’t.

And no one’s looking at me or expecting me to do anything, no one except me, and I catch my eyes in my reflection and think if I cry when he dies it’ll look really aesthetic, and it really doesn’t help. No one cares if I can help, or expects more from me. No one but me.

And that broad-shouldered guy, the one with the red hair and a bear’s build, all laughter and curls, is pulling him up from the floor, roaring in desperate bursts about his room in Boulder(?) and we “ain’t ever getting old–”

And his handsome pilled-up friend is fine after all. Of course.

Pretty boy’s bouncing back up, cradling his heavyset friend and roaring along to the fucking Chainsmokers too, yelling the lyrics into the redhead’s ear as he kisses him on the cheek, biting his own tongue and smiling, twisting his torso in time with the drop. One arm’s around the friend who helped him up when he went too hard and almost slipped, son, it was wild, and the other’s around the rest of his friends, the rest of the world, because really, we’re all connected, you know? I mean, we’re all fucking like– There’s like, an energy that connects us, something eternal, sublime, outside of life, or time, or space, right?


The worst thing is he really can dance, too.

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Cathal Gunning's debut novel, Innocents (Solstice, 2017), is a story of love, sex, drugs, and being broke in twenty-first century Ireland. Hear more from him on Twitter.

FlashJeremy Bibaud