L C McCahon

The Beginning

One day Ben was playing this beautiful music with a Latin flavour to it. It made me feel rather tragic and mournful, and I couldn’t hide it.

James asked me what was wrong. ‘You look like you’re gonna cry.’

I sniffed. ‘It’s this music. I’m feeling very intense and this music isn’t helping.’

‘Oh ... I can turn it off.’ Ben moved to change the track.

I instinctively grabbed his arm. ‘No, don’t.’ I sighed deeply. ‘It’s beautiful.’

‘But what’s wrong?’ The huge awkwardness inside me was not ready to tell them. To say something could’ve jeopardised the friendship. We could’ve lost everything and it would’ve all been my fault. Besides, these feelings are mysterious, tender and shy, at the very heart of ourselves. But I wanted some small thing.

‘Can we dance? Please? The three of us? Just for a little while? I think it would help.’ I immediately felt like an idiot. What sort of request was that?

James had raised his pale eyebrows at Ben. ‘Sure.’ Ben nodded.

So we stepped onto the lawn and I put my arms around James and he put his arms around me. I grabbed Ben’s arms and put them around me as well, keeping his right hand in mine, and I was gently sandwiched between them. We moved a little, shifting from side to side. I laid my head on James’ shoulder while I brought Ben’s hand closer to me.

I was filled with sad frustration, but I was also enjoying it, just being close to the guys, and I hoped they were enjoying it too. Eventually the music track ceased and then we slowly stopped, still holding each other. I realised the guys had their foreheads touching. Were they having their own moment, or were we all having a moment together? I turned my head so I was looking up at them and we smiled.

James spoke first, quietly. ‘You know you can always talk to us. You don’t have to, but you can.’

Ben gave my hand a squeeze.

‘Thanks, guys. I know.’ I closed my eyes and snuggled into James’ shoulder.

They both shifted and James’ neck seemed closer then, I could smell his skin. They were resting their heads on mine. I felt something like James’ lips pressed into the top of my head. I sighed. James was mostly gay. He didn’t mean anything by it.

Ben seemed to be sniffing my hair though. ‘I’m worried about you, Anna. You’ve been getting sadder and sadder for over a month now. Please just tell us you’re looking after yourself, okay?’ He spoke into the back of my head.

I opened my eyes. ‘You’ve noticed?’

‘Of course I’ve noticed. We’ve both noticed. Hell I’m not that dense.’

I felt James laugh silently beneath my ear. ‘When Ben has noticed something like that and gotten worried about it, you can be sure it’s major. Is there anything we can do to help?’

‘Probably not.’


I noticed something. We were still standing there wrapped around each other. With Ben’s face buried in the back of my hair, I started to feel like maybe something should be said before I damaged things by staying silent. ‘Look, it’s probably not major, I’ll get over it, but I’m developing feelings for both of you. I’ll just stay away for a while and come back when I’ve found someone else.’

Their heads lifted from mine, and I could tell they were looking at each other. I felt them each lift a hand from my body and link them. They had a bond I had no right to interfere with.

James slowly took a breath. ‘... Would you believe you’re the first girl I’ve been attracted to in five years?’

‘I’ve always been attracted to you,’ added Ben.

‘You’re attracted to everyone,’ I said.

‘True,’ agreed Ben. ‘But you’re the first girl we’ve both been attracted to.’


Six months later I had moved in with them. A year after that, we bought our own house. Before we left, I got a photo of the three of us, in the backyard, beside the living room steps. All of us holding hands and grinning like lunatics.


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