Man to Man
While most of what I post on this blog is made up of real experiences from my life, the following is a piece of fiction. The plot and characters are figments of my imagination and should be treated as such. I hope you enjoy.
If I could be anywhere but here, laying on this rickety bed on top of this bedspread that feels like a burlap sack that went through a training program on how to become the most uncomfortable piece of fabric ever created, staring at the wobbly ceiling fan spinning in lackadaisical circles above my head, so much dust gathered on the blades that I can see it spinning off the edges in ghostlike tendrils - and oh, did I mention the man with his penis sorta inserted inside me but kinda just, like, rubbing against me because I told him I didn’t want him to insert it inside of me, I don’t think I mentioned him, but he is definitely there, grunting and groaning while I stare at the ceiling fan, wondering where I would go if I could be anywhere but here.
The point is that I’m not sure where I would go, which is why I am here, letting this man grunt and groan and generally have his way with my relatively lifeless body while I lay on his burlap sack of a bedspread, which he probably kept as a souvenir when he won the bunny hop race in kindergarten and had his grandmother turn into a bedspread, because that is the only explanation for why he sleeps like this, in conditions barely better than what I imagine prisoners in maximum security facilities face each night as they lay in bed and think about murder or repentance or whatever it is that prisoners in maximum security facilities tend to think about, and maybe if I could go anywhere it would be to join them in their prison cells for a night, if only to lay on their beds and compare them to this one, because I have an inkling that theirs might actually be better, I mean they have to be, there’s really no -
“I keep meaning to fix that, but you know how it is,” says the man with his penis kinda inside me but kinda not, as he continues to thrust and push and do whatever it is he is doing.
“What?” I say, because I had forgotten he was there.
“The fan. The wobble, I keep meaning to fix it,” he says, and I look at him and he gives me this look that’s almost like an apology, but whether he is apologizing for the fan or for whatever it is we are doing right now, that I am not sure of.
“Oh, right, yes,” I say, turning my head to instead look at the brown stain on the wall to the right that is vaguely in the shape of round-frame sunglasses, which I noticed when I walked in but immediately forgot about when I first made physical contact with the burlap sack bedspread.
“I know I’m balls deep in you right now, well, kinda, I at least want to be but I’m not so, anyway, sorry to bring the fan up,” he says, again giving me an apologetic glance, which I only noticed because I was now watching a fly buzz from the stain on the wall to the antique (or maybe simply old) dresser on the other side of the room, and it happened to be passing by his head as it made its journey.
“No, yeah, it’s good,” I say, tearing my eyes away from the fly and forcing myself to look at him, his brown eyes and reddish stubble, playing with myself, because I would really like to speed this up and be done with it, thank you very much.
Later, maybe much later and maybe only two minutes later, I really am not sure because I dissociated for the duration of our physical escapade, the grunting and groaning man is saying something to me as he is zipping up his (possibly vintage, possibly just old) light wash jeans, and I realize I am not listening because the fly is now headed toward the cobwebby ceiling fan and I want to know if it will die, or maybe just get buffeted around by the wobbly air and get high off of the adrenaline, almost like an amusement park.
“-really fun, let’s definitely do it again,” the grunting and groaning man concludes, or at least I assume he is concluding because I am not sure what came before the supposed conclusion because of the amusement park fly, which didn’t die but instead diverted at the last second and avoided the fan's wobbly blades entirely.
“Yeah, yes, absolutely, this was so much fun,” I say, hustling toward the doorway of the room, which doesn’t actually have a door in it, which should have been my first indication that maybe this would be a mediocre experience, but who am I to judge the doorless among us?
I am halfway down the stairs when he yells “my name is Chris, by the way,” and I say “okay” as I open the front door (which is robin’s egg blue, by the way, which seems like a total disconnect from the burlap sack bedspread and wall stain, a very tasteful choice that seems out of place among the wreckage of this home, if you can even call it a home, as it might be better called a maximum security prison cell), and I am out the door before the grunting and groaning man (Chris, allegedly), can say more.
Before I can even close my car door, I’ve deleted Grindr off my phone and sworn to never download it again.
So nothing really explains why, six days later, I am again in someone’s apartment, but this time on the couch, which is a gaudy red vinyl that is cold on my legs where my shorts ride up, as he sits next to me and discusses astrophysics, of all things, as if this is what I came to talk about, which maybe he thinks I did, because who is to say this couldn’t be an impromptu study session on astrophysics?
Nothing explains my presence here, other than the fact that I am gay and horny and I fall prey to my more basic needs, and Grindr happens to be a means to an end, an end that almost always means disappointment and general self-loathing, but at least it is an end, and isn’t there something to be said for endings?
“So when stars collide, it creates a -” the man is saying, though this one is more like a boy, much younger than the man from last week, Mr. Burlap, or whatever his name was, which I had forgotten before I could even pass through his robin’s egg blue front door.
“Please, can I just, like, suck your dick, or something?” I ask, because I do enjoy learning new things but right now I am horny and this astrophysicist (or maybe he works as a cashier at the local grocery store, I do recall him mentioning something about that, so maybe astrophysics is simply a side passion of his) is actually quite attractive, lean, with skin the color of the burlap sack bedspread, which on a human being is really quite nice and not horribly intimidating as it was on the bedspread, and it seems he does take care of himself, as his hair is curly and shiny, but not in a greasy way, more of a way that makes him glow.
“Yes, you may suck it,” he says, releasing the object in question from its prison, which is linen shorts that actually look quite comfortable and leave me wondering where he got them and is not, in fact, a maximum security prison cell.
“I’m glad this wasn’t trapped in a maximum security prison cell,” I say, sliding to the floor to perform my duty and grabbing it with my right hand.
He forces a chuckle and looks a bit like he has regrets, but I don’t worry about that because I came here to do something and I intend to do it and do it well, so I do, and he seems to be enjoying it, because he begins groaning, but not like Mr. Burlap - these groans are lower and sexier and less reminiscent of a dog warning of an intruder.
“This is better than looking at the stars in an open field on a clear night in summer,” says the astrophysicist/cashier, and I stop what I am doing for a moment to look at him, and he starts laughing when we make eye contact, and I surprise myself by laughing, too, not by force but by nature, and the feeling is a bit like the first sip of a fresh bottle of champagne.
“It better be,” I say, wondering where such a comment came from but proud of myself for saying it because he seems to like it, as he closes his eyes and leans back, a slight smile on his face, maybe thinking about stars or maybe being fully present in this moment, I may never know, but I cannot blame him if he is thinking of stars, as they are really quite breathtaking.
Later, about twenty minutes later (I know this because I enjoyed it and I think he did, too), we are finished, and both of us got to finish, if you know what I mean, and I am sitting on the red vinyl couch, which is no longer cold because both of our bodies have been sitting on it and it seems to have warmed up to us.
I stand to pull on my underwear, which is trying to hide from me under the red vinyl couch, but I see it because it is patterned with bright yellow stars, which is ironic considering the interests of the astrophysicist/cashier, but the wearing of which was not at all planned.
“Can I keep these, actually?” he asks, snatching the underwear from my hand before I can put them on. He is smirking, thank goodness, because I would have maybe run out of there naked if he had not shown mirth and instead was some sort of serial underwear snatcher.
“Sure, if I can keep these,” I say, picking up his underwear, which is not patterned at all and is, in fact, tighty whities, which makes me want to laugh but I control it. They were also trying to hide under the red vinyl couch (does this couch hold a grudge?), but their stark whiteness against the black carpet (interesting choice, maybe based on his love of space?) belied their location.
“A swap. Yes. Let’s do it,” he says, as he is already sliding into my star-patterned underwear, which I must admit look much better on him than they did on me.
I do not want to put on his tighty whities, if we are being honest, but I do, partly because I know it is expected of me but also partly because I think this is fun, which surprises me more than the fact that they are comfortable.
“Those look better on you than they did on me,” he says, echoing my thoughts about him, and I smile and thank him and put the rest of my clothes on in silence. He does not do the same, but instead sits on the red vinyl couch in my star-patterned underwear and stares at me, perhaps wondering if he would like to take his underwear back, or perhaps thinking about how he has a shift at the grocery store in 43 minutes, which he very well could, as I still do not know whether or not he works at a grocery store.
“Would you like to keep my number, along with my underwear?” he asks, standing from the couch, still in nothing but my underwear, looking maybe a little bit nervous.
“I, um, sure,” I say. I do not really want his number, as I do not envision myself dating an astrophysicist/cashier with a red vinyl couch and black carpet who maybe dreams of summer nights under the stars while getting a blowjob, even though I find all of that slightly charming, but I give him my phone and allow him to put in his number, which he saves under the name “Jay,” which is somehow a softer name than I was expecting him to have.
“Well, um, thank you,” I say, heading toward the door, which is fully on its hinges and does, in fact, exist.
“Well, um, you’re welcome,” he says, in a tone of light mockery, which I enjoy.
I never texted or called him, of course, and deleted Grindr as soon as I got home, of course.
I don’t think any of us are surprised to find me, nearly two weeks later, in what appears to be somewhat of a mansion, or at least it is a mansion to me, someone who grew up in what most would call a modest ranch house in the suburbs of North Dakota, which is a state so forgettable that people forget it exists even though there are basically two of it, due to it having a southern counterpart, which is really just another name for the same state.
A boy (for we really cannot even try to call this one a man, he can’t be a day older than 19) is standing next to a Grecian pillar, which is not in a ruin or even outside but is, in fact, in the living room, which the boy has referred to as “the drawing room,” despite the fact that we do not live in England and I do not see anyone drawing a thing.
“This one is called Ernest,” he says, fondling a figurine the size of a baseball but in the shape of some sort of animal, maybe an elephant, or perhaps a particularly large dolphin, “it was a gift from my grandmother, God rest her soul.”
“I see,” I say, not sure if he wants me to take Ernest, so I reach toward it, which causes him to recoil in horror and place Ernest back on the glass shelf where he (she?) came from, which is littered with figurines, none of which appear to be similar or follow any sort of theme at all.
“Do they all… have names?” I ask, letting my eyes roam the shelves before they land on his mess of curly blond hair, afraid to look him in the eye after threatening Ernest’s life.
“Of course they do, but that’s not important,” he says, getting a glint in his blue eyes (which I am finally looking at) that reminds me of a predatory animal preparing to leap at its prey, prey that could possibly be an animal like Ernest, “now please, take off your clothes.”
I do, littering them on the marble floor around me, which is cold on my bare feet but also strangely empowering, because no one would ever have thought I would be naked in a drawing room the size of my childhood home, about to have sexual relations with a boy who names figurines things like Ernest, and it is at this moment that I realize I’ve worn the tighty whities I acquired from Jay and I giggle, just a little bit but loud enough to be noticeable when you are standing in a room with marble floors and high ceilings where sound travels as if you are in a museum.
The blond boy looks a little wary but doesn’t bother asking where the giggle came from, as he is busy doing other things, things that I am enjoying, but then I start giggling again because I realize at some point while his mouth is on my penis that his mouth is on my penis and yet I know the name of his elephant/dolphin figurine but I do not know his name, as I never bothered to ask and he was too busy with Ernest and his friends to consider telling me.
“Can you stop laughing? It’s killing my vibe,” says The Master of Ernest, and I do my best to stifle my giggles but they keep slipping out, one by one, little by little, almost like a gas leak, as he finishes and we begin wrapping up.
“Well, that was… odd,” he says, putting his salmon-colored polo back on and running a hand through his curls.
“Absolutely, a joy, a pleasure, thank you so much,” I say, picking up my clothes from the marble floor and realizing that each article of clothing I pick up and put back on represents a return to who I really am, a leaching of the imposter who pretended this was his life, if only for a moment.
He walks me out once I am finished, which feels like it takes three minutes, and maybe it does because this place is bigger than I thought, and I now realize this would be called a mansion by anyone’s standards and not just mine, or maybe even more than a mansion, whatever the word for the would be.
“Goodbye,” he says, moving to close the giant wooden door on me, but before it can close I say “Goodbye, Ernest” and I am confident he hears me before the door closes, so I stand on the front stoop and laugh harder than I can remember laughing in a long time.
When I am standing on the stoop, with an entire mansion behind me and a garden (at least I think it’s a garden, it looks like it could possibly be a public park, is that a couple with a baby stroller over by the petunias?) in front of me, I get out my phone and open Grindr with the intention of deleting it, but instead stare at the app and all the men in all the little tiles, realizing that each of them is just like me, well not like me at all, really, but that’s the point, all of them are just people, and all of them do things like apologize for their rickety ceiling fans, or swap underwear so that they can get the ones with the stars on them that they love so much, or tell me the names of their figurines, and they do these things because they want to connect but they don’t know how, none of us do, so we do this, and we keep doing it, and maybe the irony is that in the middle of all the connecting we lose sight of what connection really means.
I delete the app, of course I do, but I also pull up Jay’s number and type out a text, even though I never thought I would use it, because I find I’d like to know more about astrophysics after all.