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Gavin Tomson

Takk But Nei Takk

It’s been so long since I’ve last talked with a friend that I don’t know how to do it or if I even want to. I spend my days alone. I don’t say anything except takk or neitakk and when I go home at night I turn off my cell phone and laptop. I don’t even have Facebook anymore. What is it like, to be touched? The word itself smells like the inside of a microwave. And how would I even do it, touch someone, without inwardly questioning it the whole way through? Impossible. Even while high. I wouldn’t stop asking, Should I do this? What does [insert name here] feel? Isn’t this weird? But of course I couldn’t ask, Isn’t this weird? because that would ruin it. I remember one time my friend – he’s not my friend anymore and I don’t know why; what did I do? Whatever it is, I’m sorry – his name was Nicolas (French) and he told me that he was too self-conscious to enjoy sex, that he just thought it all so absurd. You just got to stop thinking, I told him. You just got to turn off your thoughts and discharge your mind. The strange part is: I believed it. I believed that I liked being touched because I believed I was supposed to like being touched at the time. Because, isn’t it unsexy to dislike being touched? And, like, isn’t it bad, to be unsexy? Now, though, now that I live in a new country and have no friends and say two words a day on average, I can admit to myself without feeling guilty that I neither like touch nor people.

Even children are cruel when they play with each other.

I’m finally having the type of thoughts I want to have.


Gavin Tomson's fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Undertow Magazine, The Dalhousie Review, Scrivener Creative Review, Weijia Quarterly, and other journals. This year his short story, "Sometimes Their Parts Fall Off," won 1st place in The Dalhousie Review's Short Story Contest. He lives in Montreal and he loves to tuck his pants into his socks.


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