As soon as Charles saw Benjamin, he knew he couldn’t keep him. Benjamin couldn’t be contained by passion for just one person. He couldn’t be drugged, he couldn’t be bribed. Charles knew that Benjamin would love him, but he knew, with just as much certainty, that he would leave.
Benjamin always smelled like turpentine, he kept his fingernails short so that they wouldn’t scrape the canvas as he painted. Benjamin painted, dancing forward and back from the canvas in a termite infested building. Benjamin should have been crumbling inside – but instead, Benjamin thrived. The hole in his wall wasn’t a broken down piece of building that should, by all rights, be condemned, it was a window with the perfect angle for the morning sun to flood in. When he had to sell his watch to make his rent, he wasn’t losing, he was living.
For Benjamin, Charles was the good thing that was the stepping stone to a better thing, a rung on his personal ladder. Benjamin smiled as he put his arms around Charles, laughed to be pulled up, and did not weep to move on.