A is for Adam’s Apple. The first thing I notice about Kevin, the thing that keeps my eyes focused and my mind distracted, is his thick neck. It’s like the trunk of a tree. His terracotta skin is carpeted in stubble and when he speaks, or laughs, or smiles, his Adam’s apple bobs up and down like a bulging sex organ.
His throat is like a gateway to other temptations. His chin, lips and tongue to the north, and the hollow of his clavicle to the south. All else is concealed, wrapped and bound and left to the imagination, which is the biggest distraction of all.
B is for Baked. The hot oven fills 137 Patterson Street with the sweet smell of banana bread on the day I move in. Ali is baking.
I stack my belongings on hardwood floors beside a large ornamental fireplace. Kevin cradles a box in his right arm and flicks the switch to a singular light globe hanging from a black cord in the centre of the room. Cracked concrete walls are illuminated alongside unfurling cornices and the ceiling rose becomes a mandala in the empty room; a third eye watching us from above. The timber-framed window is open and sheer curtains dance with every breath of air. My new bedroom.
Afterward, we sit at the kitchen table and drink black coffee. Ali spreads butter across warm banana bread and we eat. An unfolded newspaper lies by the coffee pot, its main headline reads, Inside the hunt for a vaccine.
C is for Cat. Harold is old and beautiful and was left behind by the last tenants. He doesn’t have a favourite housemate. He loves us all. Our laps are indiscriminately perched upon at breakfast, whilst we study and after dinner.
Kevin, with the broad chest and bulging throat and big hands and hairy knuckles is surprisingly tender with Harold. He becomes quieter, more still, when Harold is around. Within that silence they communicate with one another. Entire conversations transpire through touch and glimpse.
This morning, on my way to a lecture, I pause to look into Kevin’s bedroom and find him sprawled on his unmade bed. Harold purrs beside him, having his head massaged.
D is for Dick. I have now lost count how many times I’ve seen Kevin without his clothes on. The first time took me by surprise as he walked through the kitchen still wet from his shower.
“Sorry. Forgot my towel!”
Looking up from the cutting board with wide eyes I stop preparing my packed lunch and feel my jaw slacken as I glimpse my housemates floppy uncircumcised penis. Kevin, unselfconscious and casual, gives a goofy smile as I stand in silence, searching for something suitable to say. Nothing comes. He leaves the room and I stand transfixed, watching his fleshy bum lift and drop as he strides away.
Yesterday, whilst taking my morning shower, Kevin knocks at the door before letting himself in, “sorry! I’m busting!”
I play it cool, standing naked in our tub with no curtain, and continue to wash whilst stealing quick glances of Kevin, who is still sleepy. He pulls the waistband of his pyjama bottoms down with one hand and gently peels back his foreskin with the other. As he holds his dick in his hand I can feel mine grow heavy.
“Want a coffee before you head to class?” The steady and forceful sound of piss hitting the water competes with the sound of the shower. With my back turned I hold my…