Vancouver
3 min

This is war

My anti-homophobia crusade

Credit: Xtra West files

Dear Diary; Exam fever is reaching frantic pitch here in Totem rez. Kids flopping down the hallways in pyjamas, mumbling math theorems or reciting obscure passages of poetry. A couple of guys on fourth floor got scurvy from eating nothing but chocolate bars all week.



Jamie jumped out of bed this morning and recited the entire table of elements while pumping out 50 push-ups in his boxers. Watched him dress in the half-light of the morning. He was looking everywhere for socks, in a rush to get to an exam.



Finally he noticed me and stood up, smiling. Put a hand on his hip and gave his pecs a twitch. “So, do I take the cake or what?”



“Are you referring to your memorization of the periodic table or the fact that you can make your chest dance?”



Jamie just laughed and didn’t answer. “Do I?”



“Do you what?”



“Take the cake.”



“Yeah, you take the cake.”



Gave me a dopey grin and bent over, licking my forehead and grabbing his T-shirt from behind me in one motion. And out the door.



Now, here I am. Fuzzy morning beard and bleary eyes. Outside I think maybe spring has come.



And I have my first exam tonight.



Spring is silly joke, invented to stop uni kids from concentrating on studies. Hate the wretched flowers and tittering birds.



Must be off to library now. Much studying. No time. Will write later.



Later:



Lucy and Ryan interrupted my reading of Pride and Prejudice just when Darcy was about to propose. Lucy, chin tucked into a loose ivory turtleneck, snapped the book shut and tutted at me: “Only you could be reading Austen while there’s a world war on.”



Ryan sat in the carrel next to mine and tilted his gaze out the library’s wall of window, towards a pair of boys playing football in the road. “You know,” he murmured, “I really think that whole Iraq thing comes down to a group of boys measuring their cocks.”



Lucy gave a snort and tugged off the cashmere sweater. Beneath, she wore the sexiest singlet. Her skin was like the meat of an almond. “Typical fag political view,” she sneered. “Gay men always believe that geo-political strife can be reduced to a couple of closet-cases.”



Ryan looked at her, wide-eyed, and brushed some imaginary dirt from his knee. “I thought I was being a feminist.”



Lucy shrugged, “I don’t even know what feminist means anymore.” She pulled us both into the hallway. “Let’s get some air.”



Outside, the world felt like it was trying to remember summer, but couldn’t. We, the three of us, were annoyed with each other, but no one knew why. The football-playing boys were lying down in the grass now, their knees bent up, making little look-in-here tunnels out of their soccer shorts.



Ryan broke the silence: “How’re things going with Jamie?”



Told him fine, everything’s fine. Jamie takes the cake.



Lucy gave me a snarl: “What are you, Wally Cleaver?”



“He takes my cake.”



Some kids walked by with an anti-war banner, chanting something militant.



Lucy: “The biggest problem with a war that’s based on lies is that all the boys and girls in the army are dying for just that-a lie.”



“Still,” philosophized Ryan, tapping the side of his nose like Santa Claus, “Military sex. There’d be military sex. Guys in camouflage. Sweaty boys. Everybody going commando. . . . That’d be fucking hot.”



I nodded assent, but still felt bad for the imaginary Iraqi child I’d adopted in my mind.



Ryan put on some lip gloss and pouted: “Darling, I’m off to war now. . . If ever you did love me, and, dear, I think you have, then kiss me now. Kiss me, damn it, in brotherly love.”



Grabbed my head with both hands and laid a huge one on me. Just as breeder-roommate Chris was walking by with his buddies.



“Fucking faggots” went one of them. Chris gave a little laugh. I caught his eye.



Ryan said just to ignore them. But Lucy went running up to the brawny gaggle. When they turned to meet her she was at a loss for words though. Just stood on the road with her tiny angry fists at her sides.



“You bigoted fucks!” she spat at last.



But the boys just walked away.



Fucking roommate dog shit. Bastard!



And I have to live in the same room. Our beds two metres apart.



This is war.