The way Charles smiled at John was too bright, and so John brought him to back into the darkened music hall. But even in that dark Charles seemed to glow, so John pushed him behind a red velvet curtain into a closed dark. But even there, in that claustrophobic dark, Charles seemed to emit a kind of light, a singing presence. John wanted to punch him in the ribs, the jaw and feel those tall bones crack.
John clenched his fists into white knuckle balls. John kissed Charles hard, with his teeth clenched, like he wanted to hurt him, break him, burn him up. Behind that tattered velvet curtain of the music hall, standing precariously on top of the ropes that pulled the curtains up and down, John kissed Charles like it might kill them both. On the other side of the curtain, a stagehand pushed a hog-hair broom across the stage, sweeping up the remnants of a nights performance, the blooms that hit the stage and were neglected, the shredded bits of paper and the smeared stains of sweat.