| When I had unfinished unpacking, I was ready to curl up in my bed and begin my winter hibernation with the Complete Short Stories of Truman Capote in hand. But my phone rang and you had called. I didn’t recognize you at first but I gazed out the window at the setting two pm sun and almost jumped when you asked to meet up at some bar.
I got dressed in a hurry, overdoing the cologne and feeling generally excited. It had been so long since we spoke; a few sporadic calls here and there, a few meet-ups here and there, and I didn’t know what I was expecting but all I knew was that I was. Expecting. Something.
I called a cab, knowing I couldn’t afford it and showed up early. Ordering a pint, I sat by the window, reading my book, waiting. You were an hour late but I didn’t mind. I remember the way the sun blanketed my body, setting sparks off my skin.
And when you arrived, you ordered a pint and we traded the old stories, and played catch-up. We slipped into our usual mode like nothing had changed, like the time between us had stood still while we went about our own lives. You spoke, I made sarcastic little jokes, then I spoke and you made sarcastic little jokes, and all our worries became safe and distant. You had this new porno moustache on your upper lip that I hated and couldn’t help commenting on… incessantly, but you didn’t mind. You never did. And when I had to step outside to smoke, you followed, shivering as the blistering wind moved snow up in swirls.
We talked about family; you told me about how your father was, how your sister was, and it was like I was there again. We talked about ourselves; you told me about your new job, what it felt like to have money again and prospects. And we talked about our love lives; you still with that girl and all the stuff you two do for each other, with each other. And I cringe inside but don’t let it show.
By sun down, we were both pretty drunk between the pints and shots of whiskey. We figured we’d watch a movie at the theatre next door and between the hour wait, we moved on to a different bar across the street to get some food. I didn’t eat, I just sipped my beer and watched you. We trade old stories for new, and I felt my heart beat faster as the words came out of your face, every little inflection, every closed lipped half smile, every full wide grin, every open mouthed laugh, every sardonic chortle where your eyes roll back with your head…
It looked like the dead of night by seven, we finished our glasses and decided to ditch the movie and just get a room at the motel across the street. Trading what we used to do for all we seem to do now.
You paid for the room, the way you paid for my drinks and the movie ticket. I waited outside, shivering against the wind and trying not to slip on the ice lined mounds of snow. I saw you through the glass of the door as you talked to the guy behind the counter, all closed lipped half smiles and wide open grins. You paid and when you walked out, I backed away from the door, back into the dark corner you shooed me into before you went in. And when you came out, you dangled the keys in front of me and said, “room twenty-two.”
The door swung wide and loosely, the sharp wind blowing in invading snow and our shoes carrying in slush. I closed the door behind me and saw the snow and ice melt on the cheap carpet, darkening as puddles formed. You quickly undressed, naked as I was still taking off my shoes and peeling off my wet socks. “I’m going to take a shower,” you said. I took off the layers of heavy jackets and sweaters, laid on the bed and turned on the television. Letting my drunkenness be carried off by channel twenty-four eyewitness CityTV news.
And out of the mist, you appeared. Naked, little drops of water running from your hair and down your back, running along that perfect curve of your ass. You dried yourself quickly, threw the towel into the corner and jumped into bed with me. You were looking down over me and I looked back up at you. I remember your eyes that soft green and the way they would swallow me up whenever you looked at me. And I remembered the way I wished and wanted for all those years for your lips to cover mine, to travel down my body and swallow me. But now it felt different, felt hollow.
And when you were done, you took another shower, got dressed and left. You told me that check out was at noon and I could stay if wanted to, you left the keys on the dresser like a roll of bills. I just turned over and tried to get some sleep.
Now I’m awake, the morning light seeping into the room giving everything a lunar glow. That soft glow the moon gives out while surrounded by darkness. And I don’t know what I wanted so I shouldn’t be disappointed, I repeat this to the empty room. To myself and no one else.