I now have an account on Wattpad, where these short stories are being published as Fruits: An LGBTQ Short Story Collection. Please visit, comment and like! Anyway, here’s this week’s story:
Luke looked at the object in the box before him, lovingly caressing the brightly colored tissue paper that was nestled around it. Long fingers reached in and touched it, the elongated gadget at once a part of himself, and the target of his desire. His breathing slowed and he was acutely aware of the single strand of jet black hair that touched his soft, lightly bearded cheek. Blue eyes twinkled with longing and he withdrew his hands as they shook, barely able to contain himself.
He grabbed the lid and threw it back on the box as the front door slammed shut in some distant part of the apartment. He dived to his feet and threw the nondescript box onto a top shelf as his husband walked into the kitchen and set down his briefcase. The automatic tea-maker chimed as it finished steeping Nicholas’s evening chamomile tea, right on time. He took the cup and set it on the synth-oak table as Luke emerged from his room. A friendly greeting died in his throat at the serious, almost mournful expression on Nicholas’s face.
“Luke. Sit down. I want to talk to you.” Nicholas’s voice was soft, but the words hung in the air like a command, making Luke feel less than equal. Luke sat, the dying sunlight catching his foil-fabric blue leggings. He clasped his hands together in anticipation, wondering what Nicholas might have in mind. A vacation? A new job? Or perhaps he just wanted to apologize for leaving the toilet roll holder empty, again.
“I want a divorce.”
Luke sat at the table, frozen in place by those four cold words as day turned to night. The sun rose and set as dust settled around the apartment, the silence of the room nothing less than stifling. Nicholas came and went, removing his things from the apartment with surgical precision. Even the tea-maker went missing, leaving a hole in the wall with wires protruding from it. The kitchen was incomplete, just like him. Nicholas had found his special object, apparently, and it had driven their marriage off a cliff that Luke hadn’t seen on the map. The cruel irony of the situation was not that Nicholas had rejected Luke for the object; but that he desired one of his own with a jealousy so powerful it had burned out their love with the force of a supernova.
Luke stood and wandered through the hallway to his bedroom, where the bed had been conveniently separated into two, leaving him one half to sleep on. Everything these days seemed to be conveniently designed for detachment in case of divorce, to be separated into two units at a moment’s notice.
He’d even been born that way: incomplete, a piece of a finished being. He’d been sixteen before he could even admit the man inside was there, twenty before he’d finished transitioning. Married at twenty-one, to someone in the same situation as himself. Another colony boy who’d been born into a female body. It’d seemed like something to bond over, at the time. Hormones, surgeries, and transitioning, a dead name to dispose of, and a new one to choose.
Luke reached up to the shelf and pulled down the box. Unwrapping it one final time, he looked at the object with sorrow. It was a perfectly crafted prosthetic penis, made only by special order on Earth. Once attached, the penis would make a connection with the user’s own neural pathways, making the attachment capable of every pleasure and function of the real thing. It had cost a lifetime’s wages, carefully squirreled away while they’d scraped by, paycheck to paycheck.
He’d bought it for Nicholas.
Luke looked at it one last time. He knew he could keep it, but he wasn’t capable of such selfishness, even now. Though it wouldn’t make him come back, Luke’s final gift might give Nicholas the chance at happiness, out there in a spectacular, infinite universe.
With loving hands, he wrapped up the last piece of himself he would ever give to his husband.