I miss my sex life. Most of all, I miss being able to masturbate without hearing the boner-crushing creak of a door opening. When my nephew and his girlfriend moved into my one-bedroom apartment with me last fall, I made a slight misjudgment in giving them my bedroom while I camped out in the living room.

Given that they were leaving the South Side of Chicago to pursue a better life, it was important to me that their new environment was comfortable and stable, rather than them feeling like transients bumming on my couches. It was also a strategic attempt to preserve a bit of privacy, so that I, and any guests, would not have to endure a walk of shame through the living room.

However, in the four months they’ve lived with me, I’ve had only one sexcapade while they were in the apartment. With my nephew being 20 and his girlfriend 18, I believed they were mature enough to appreciate my request for them to remain in the bedroom while I had a little boo company. However, at the exact moment of penetration, heard the bedroom door open, causing me and my nude companion to dive under covers.

Whoever opened the door didn’t come into the darkened living room, but aside from the eventual sex, the episode was unpleasant enough for me to arrange for hookups only when neither of them are home, which is rare. The more dire—daily—challenge has been trying to jack off without interruption, and is my only regret about our living arrangement.

It’s easy to lose track of the frequency of one’s masturbation when living alone. I now yearn for the predawn and late-night drone of televisions, although even in those solitary hours, I watch porn on my cellphone instead of laptop because its more discreet and easier to dim, and there’s a perennial risk of hearing their bedroom door open.

Blessedly, they’ve signed a lease for an apartment they’ll be moving into in a few days, but the imminent return of my sexual satisfaction ranks low in my thoughts. I’m proud of the two of them—their courage to leave everything they’ve ever known, and their commitment to fighting for more than what had always been awaiting them in Chicago.

They made the experience far less burdensome than I had feared, as both found jobs within a month of their arrival. All three of us have made missteps, of course, and I’m concerned they may be on the brink of their biggest thus far.

I called them South Side refugees when I first wrote about them coming to Atlanta, and my nephew has the noble instinct to reach back and rescue his older brother, his girlfriend and their infant daughter by bringing them down to share their two-bedroom apartment. I’ve objected to the wisdom and timing of this immediate resettlement in the bluntest, most alarmist terms possible, but accept its inevitability.

This will be their apartment, their first apartment; their lives, their young and hopeful lives; their mistakes to learn from or odds to defy. I worry about their unripe instincts, but I trust their grit.

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