Bryn Kelly is a writer, and performer. For the TIME IS NOT A LINE issue of the WE WHO FEEL DIFFERENTLY journal she crafted a short story that takes on many of the urgent realities around HIV today. Below is an excerpt. Accompanying the story are works by artist Jack Waddell.

What's for dinner, he asks. For you, I got dinner right here. He rubs himself and grins. You could live all week off of eating just my come, couldn't you?

It is the Tuesday after Valentine's Day weekend. They had just gotten back from a weekend "staycation" (God, how she hates that word) at the one bedroom apartment a friend of theirs had graciously loaned them, equipped with a sex sling, a drawer full of "sex towels," and the special gift of an ample supply of Adderall, which they consumed in its entirety.

She is never as present during sex as when she is on speed. It takes her back to days of being another meth'd up twink in drag at the circuit party and, later, to her abundant access to amphetamines from a Medicaid psychiatrist who was quite generous with the prescription pad. The shrink suggested that prescription amphetamines would, "improve concentration caused by the neurodegenerative effects of HIV." She didn't take very much, though-- she mostly traded it for favors, like having her bulldyke electrician friend come over and install a second-hand chandelier light fixture.

Eventually, her doctor got burned out from long hours and low pay at the clinic and quit. She was replaced with a physician who practiced a much more standard-issue no-'fun'-pills-for-you, you-drug-seeking-impoverished-AIDS-monster variety of public health medicine. You're anxious? Try these deep breathing exercises, or try reading a boring book.Have you tried yoga? So, she quit going to the clinic, which was no big deal, on the Adderall front, anyway. Speed is not really her thing anymore. It steals something from her that it takes a long time to get back.

Her lover is still hungry for sex and food, in that order. I have an email to send first, and then lemme get started on the food. You know I love that dick, but I want to eat for real before ten o'clock.

He looks hurt. Sometimes, I wish you were more spontaneous. It feels like sex always has to be such a production with you.

They have been through this before. Sorry, poppa. It's been a long day.

She throws the pork trimmings into a hot skillet. They sear. When they are crispy, she takes them out and throws in the onions, finely chopped, and turns the heat way down. That gives her a good fifteen minutes to kill. He is still in bed. She likes it when he gives her space in the kitchen. She moves quickly, like a chef, often with a knife or other sharp object in her hand. It's always her fear that she will accidentally stab him while he attempts to molest her while she is cooking, in some misguided attempt at a 1950s naughty housewife role-play scenario.

Read the whole story: Other Balms, Other Gileads.
We Who Feel Differently Journal is a sporadic online publication that addresses critical issues of queer culture. It features analyses and critiques of international Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer and Questioning politics from queer perspectives.

Jack Waddell