A hard day, a cold driving rain, a lonely figure and a night of chance.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblances to actual events, characters, persons, alive or dead or beings of Earth or the multiverse, past, present or future, is purely coincidental. Unless, of course, I'm psychic, in which case this a work of non-fiction. But I highly doubt that, I'm not that attuned. I mean if I was, I’d have won Powerball by now and been able to afford creative writing classes and a proofreader.
Be forewarned, these writings may trigger some issue or issues that you have, either by the language used or it’s content in general. If you are one to get bothered by every little thing, just close it now and step away from wherever the hell it is that you are reading this.
Thirty five miles an hour. That was the speed limit for this road, on a good day. This day, was not one of those. The wind was either trying to drive the rain through the sheet-metal shell that surrounded me or toss me into the rock strewn walls mere feet from my tires. It didn’t really matter which, the battle was the same. My hands gripped the wheel tight enough to feel the threaded seams that bound the leather to its frame, as I reacted to every gust, and corrected that lumbering beast, back between the pavement’s edges. The radio was loud, cranked up just high enough to be heard above the whistles and howls of the furious, climatic onslaught, going on outside the thin metal armor.
“Six feet of snoooooow,
coming through my radio,,,
It's raining in stilettooos,
from here, clear down, to Meeehheexico…”1
Oh, how appropriate that those lyrics and that song, flowed out of those speakers at just that moment.
“My hands are nummmmmm,
from hanging on that steering wheel….”
But, then again, Little Feat did always have a weird symbiotic relationship with the soundtrack of my life, as did Mr. Seger and even Springsteen, until his angst went from defiance to whining like a little bitch. But I digress. I do that a lot. My friends say I have ‘Alice’s Restaurant-itis’ 2. See what I mean. Anyway, this story is not about that, it’s about something else entirely. So, I’ll get to it, before I take another dirt road, ooh look a deer, just kidding.
Let me set the scene for you.
It was a cold, crisp, rainy, Thursday evening, in April, two thousand and seventeen. The pockmarked black top, before me, swayed with an ethereal glow, of mist, driving rain, and wavering, wisps of steam, rising off that still hot pavement.
I was making my way home on a dark mountain road, anticipating a nice cozy bed and a well deserved coma. After working for thirteen hours in a sweltering engine room rebuilding, well more like having a test of wills with, a 100 ton compressor, I was ready for a hot shower, a hit off a bowl, and a really good slip into unconscious bliss. The aura around me was, thick and stagnant, and glued in to my soul, by exhaustion, sore muscles and aching bones. Lingering undertones of sweat, metal and engine grease were indelibly set into the recesses of my nose. I was spent.
The rhythmic sound of the rain and the hypnotic waves of light, off the street, threatened to lull me away from the drive and into a state of dreamy eyed wanderlust. I fought it off, as I sat, slumped in behind the wheel, smoking a cigarette, piloting that old e150 through a deluge of a storm. It was a Kraken of a weathering. One that seemed like it would be more at home in an end of days genre of film, rather than this, fairly peaceful, little town, tucked into the suburbs of NYC.
It had started out nicely enough. The morning was comfortable and laced with the smells of fresh grass and the sweet tang of rotting leaves. Then, as the sun rode further on it’s watch, it quickly evolved into one of those paradoxical spring days, that were so typical of the north east coast, that time of year. The late afternoon had suffocated in a viscous humid heaviness sending the temperature of the engine room to well above 113. Then, as the evening came creeping, the sky started to darken, and, with the help of some grey, low hanging clouds, everything just plummeted. The sun seemed to be chased from the horizon by winds that threatened to quench the very heat from its core, with a cold heart and a very ill will.
Five minutes into my drive, the heavens broke and a wall of liquid cascaded from the sky, like a wall of water when a damn's gates open or a levee breaks. Intermittent gusts buffeted against my van, with a solid whoomp, over an ominous hollow roar. I had to fight, more than once, to keep the beasts wheels between the yellow and white stripes that designated my lane.
Needing something to wake me up, after the adrenaline rushes faded, I put the drivers window down, hoping to fight the growing fatigue and the taunting of the light and shadows. The brisk coolness of the air and the icy splinters of spray, that drove through the window's opening on to my skin, were welcome sensations to my overtaxed shell. The sporadic splashes of rain felt glorious, invigorating.
Those feelings were not shared, it seemed, by the figure being revealed, on the fringe, of the old Ford's headlights.
It was a discordant image, that caught my attention, a bright flow against the dark, rocky slope and tree-scaped walls of this mountain pass. I watched, as slowly, a slender frame took shape, topped in light, whitish hair, below shoulder length and matted down straight.
It’s clothes were plastered like a second skin, to the subtle curves they clung to. Hands were clenched across opposite arms, rubbing in a swift steady motion, desperately losing their battle against an unseen and ruthless adversary.
I knew that kinda cold, wet, down to the bone chills, uncontrollable shivers through every muscle and that torturous shaking that stole the energy right from your soul.
‘Ironic,’ I thought, ‘how something, so welcome to one person, for some reasons, could be a total discomfort to another, for different ones. Or even ones own self, under similar circumstance. But that’s life isn’t it?’
I pulled up off the gas, hit the button on my armrest and the passenger window crept its way down, the brake pedal resisted beneath my foot, and the old girl slowed, then came to a stop.
A rain streaked face turned to my direction. Rivulets, glistened in wavy lines and flowed from forehead to chin, dripping enviously down a slender neck. Teeth were clenched tight. Lips, taut and quivering, on the fringe of blue, opened slightly, breathing in more of the cold.
*"Want a lift?", I asked.
"I wo would lovvv one..," I heard back.
The words came at me, like Morse Code, from a voice lost and freezing. They fought to make themselves heard above the drone of the rain and its chaotic tempo, tapping, tap tap tapping, incessantly upon the van's metal roof.
"bu but I'm sasasoaked, I'll geget your cacar wawet."
*"Not a problem, she's seen a lot worse. Water dries, mud turns to dust and vacuums up. Hop in."
The door opened, the dome-light flashed, everything whitened then came back to view, as my eyes readjusted to the brightly, illuminated scene. The once hazy vision became more lucid, as it drifted into the doorway and slid into the seat.
A cute, tomboyish face, wreathed in white with a hint of champagne. Trembling lips, not on the fringe of blue, as I had thought before, but fully in its color range, too cold to even crack a smile. Cheek muscles flexed in unison, to the chatter of teeth. White brows and lashes and slightly red puffy lids, framed piercing, violet eyes, that were sullen yet appreciative.
But it was the white buttoned down shirt, clinging so tightly to the form, that revealed, subtle shapes, patterns of muscle and cloth, and the real extent, of this beings wintry, pitiful condition, goosebumps. Goosebumps so pronounced they gave contour to whatever cotton blend the shirt was made of, making it look like a wet paper towel over rough grit sandpaper. The picture it painted, in my mind, was of a dripping, shuddering mess, cloaked, in a heavy, sodden gloom.
The light, of the street lamp above, cast this beings silhouette in shadows. They were waifish and smooth, with gentle curves, and a sensual, muscular tone. A sculpting, that wasn't so much cut, as it was promised, by its fluidity and gracefully, spastic movements, if that makes any sense. As they fastened the seatbelt, an elegant shifting of limbs contrasted, starkly, against the harsh, pathetic looking, exterior.
*"Where are you headed?"
"Mamountain Edgege Sistate Papark."
*"East or South entrance?"
"Either wa wone, I'mmmm over bahby the gugugolf course."
I hit the button, to close up the windows, pushed the temperature lever to red, turned the fan knob to high and blasted the heat. The v8 thrummed as I nudged the accelerator and carefully maneuvered her back on the road. The silence settled in quick, thick and melancholy as the lithe, isolated figure slouched further into the seat and shivered.
It took some time, but soon enough the warmth from the vents calmed the more violent tremors running through their body. The hot air played on the shirt's fabric, highlighting dark rings, and uncomfortably long protrusions, wreathed by the hints of shapes and patterns, I had seen earlier.
I felt myself starting to rouse, so I forced myself to shift my focus on to other things. It set its sights on the cause of the sombre shroud, surrounding the being sulking in the seat next to me.
*"Are you okay?"
There was a slight, but sudden, shift in the air, shoulders rose then fell and the words crept at me monotone and low.
"Babetter, thanks. You can tuturn the heat down, if it's totoo much fafor you."
*"It's fine, a little more won't kill me and you need it. But that's not what I meant."
"Oh… It's nahnothing."
*"That bad huh?"
There was a rise of a chest in the pause.
The sounds tapered off into a desperate exhale. The wipers waved with a futile purpose on the glass, throwing water to the wind slower than the heavens replaced it.
*"It’s always, shit. If it wasn’t it wouldn’t weigh so much. If you care to talk about it I'm listening, but I should warn you, I'm good at making things worse sometimes."
A puzzled expression and then a smile, small, half-forced, but nonetheless there, took purchase on their weather worn face. It didn't last long though, for soon, an apprehensive look crept up and over that wet furrowed brow and labored grin, transposing itself over the sadness, like a black cloud across a moonless night.
You know the face. The one that people get sometimes when they want to shout out and curse the world and circumstances, or spill their pain in words, but they don't know where to start, because, if they say the wrong thing, they're afraid you'll look at them like they're some sort of freak, and toss em out, back into the cold, that soulless, hollow bitch, whose bonds they'd just escaped.
Yeah! That look.
Water rushed down the windshield like I was driving through a waterfall.
"It's just... aah hell, I..."
The sullen face stared straight ahead, gazing at nothing, lost in thought and suffocating in it.
*"Look, I've seen some shit in my fifty plus years, one thing I learned is this..." I felt the turn, more than saw it, as their eyes focused on the side of my face, *"Sometimes, a stranger's ears are the very best medicine."
"Sastranger's ears, huh? Sometatimes, I thathink that's all that surrounds m-me."
There was a subtle movement, a light corn-silk wave, as they turned to look out the passenger window. Energy drifted away, grabbing at thought. That dark cloak pulled itself tighter around them.
"I guess, I'm just… depressed."
I could hear their inner struggle and uneasiness in the shifting sounds and warbling sighs.
"Shit! I'm twenty-three years old and I've never even been kissed!"
*"Why not? You're pretty damn cute, I'd kiss you."
“Are you gay?”
*”Not in the least bit.”
“I have a dick.”
"So? Do you still wawanna kiss me?"
*"That’s not… Look, what I meant was, you’re cute,” I took a quick look over then back to the road, *”I’d say beautiful even, in an odd, scifi, anime, sorta way. So, how the hell is it, that you’ve never been kissed?"
*"Don't be sorry. I just asked because it doesn't make sense to me."
His head bent forward and he stared at the dashboard.
*"If you want to talk, I've got time to listen to complicated. Especially, depressingly complicated. Been there, lived it, fought my way out, on more than one occasion."
His look changed a few times, trepidation, fear, loneliness, sorrow and a couple more emotions that I couldn't quite read drifted across that forlorn face. Then a spark set into those watery, purple eyes, as he looked at me and realized, I wasn't judging. I wasn't freaked out or intimidated or whatever and, even though I had confessed an attraction, I didn't blame him for it. Nor was I accusing him of playing some sick game and fucking with my sense of self. I had just accepted him as a person with a problem and was willing to hear him out.
His brain surrendered to its need for something, anything, other than that oppressive weight bearing down and enhancing the turmoil.
"I dadon't know, people just haven’t reactated to me in a kindly mamanner and there's other th-things that..." Another pause of voice but I didn’t hear a struggle in their breathing this time, "Wait, slow down, there’s a red mailbox coming up, that's me. My house is just after it."
I pulled up a long, very worn driveway, steered under an overhang, edged up behind the car that was parked there, put the brake to its limit and stopped. A sudden gust of wind whipped into the Ford's three ton shell and rocked her with stomach clenching force.
We sat in silence for a few intermittent swipes of the wipers. They started ribbiting from the friction of dry glass under the rubber blades motions. I shut them off and put the van in park, waiting, for his thoughts to return, or for his courage to fail and then for him to take his leave. The seat-belt unlatched and his body hunched down. He shivered a little, found the door handle and began to fidget with it. Then he sighed, staring blindly through the windshield.
"I've got problems!"
*"Ha! Don't we all. There's not a person in this world who's wrapped right. The sad part is, the ones that think they are, they're more messed up than most. Hell, some of my best friends went right passed issues, directly to subscrlptlons. I may even have a couple of lifetime ones myself."
Another smile crept up, still forced, but this one sparkled with more than a glimmer of honesty. The trembling settled but hadn't stopped. I wondered, then, how much was due to the cold, and how much was really the weariness.
*"You should get out of that wet shit, before you really get sick."
Thin fingers slipped through the silvered handle and paused. His eyes stared at the chrome like it was a gateway to some uncertain future or the lever to a slot machine, you just put your last token in.
"Would you, maybe, lalike to come in and hang out for a babit? I don't feel like sasleeping yet, hell, I don't even know if I cacould."
We walked up a neatly stepped cobblestone path to a nice, albeit weathered, A-frame house. The cold took hold of him again and his hands trembled with such ferocity that he couldn't slip the brass into the slot. I took the keys and unlocked the door.
The inside was almost all wood and stone and it had the cozy air of a well loved home. The smell of old pine and oak, mixed with the essences of firewood and smoke, created a scent that only enhanced the Alpine feel of the place. It was the kind of place I’d want to escape to, on days very similar to this.
I sat down on the stairs and removed my boots, while he kicked off his shoes and socks. He took my boots and put them by the door. I pulled off my socks and tossed them on the pile he had started. The worn blue and brown tile-stones met my feet with cool, soothing energy, pulling hours of heat away.
*"Damn, that feels good. I could slip into a happy coma right here."
He grinned, turned and walked up the stairs to the living room. I looked up and my brain, along with another part, took notice. His hips had a gentle sway, not forced, but natural and kind of sultry. I shook at the thought and pushed it away.
*"Nice place. Reminds me of an old Adirondack lodge I used to love to stay at as a kid. I like it."
"It's okakay I guess and chacheap enough. I can't afford to spend too much and go to skschool."
*"Wait! You're going to school and working enough to pay for this?"
"Oh no, I got a settlement from a lawsuit and a bit from insurance. Not a huge amount, but enough to start a dadecent life. If I'm smart on spending, I can finish school, travel a babit, then start my own thing. Although, I think I already hahave."
Home, safe from the biting chill and a little less frozen, an unrefined, but genuine hospitality started to take over his demeanor. The cloud lifted a little and an inner warmth began to emerge, as a friendliness, always there but rarely given a chance to be seen or shared, remembered itself and started to push out against the grim.
"Sorry about the mamess, I don't usually have anyone over."
*"You call this a mess, HAH, I've got a pathway, carved in clothes, from my bedroom door to my bed. I've put in thirteen to sixteen hours a day, going on almost two weeks straight now. Trust me, this place, is immaculate."
"At least you have some overtime pay to look forward to."
*"Overtime? Ha Ha ha mmmm, No! I'm salaried."
*"It is, what it is."
He picked up some things from the couch, despite having started to shake again. His voice sounded, easier, even if it was still a bit tremolo, and oddly, more soft and feminine in it’s range.
"Hey! You wawant something to eeeat?"
*"Thanks, but I'm good, I grabbed a burger before I left work."
"A beer, or some sasmoke? I usually don’t do either but lately…” His voice trailed off into the quiet again.
*"Not unless you're planning on me being here a few hours. I won’t do either one of those and drive, never mind both."
"That’s okay, I've got nanothing to do, and I could u-use the company."
*"Cool, I'm in. Jobs done, so I have a couple days coming to me. Whatever you got. I'm Joe by the way."
*Nice to meet you Sandy."
"You too, and Joe, thanks for the ride."
*"No worries, go dry up, we'll talk when your done."
He handed me the remote and headed on down the hall.
I put the remote on the table next to me and just laid back into the couch, thankful, as I settled into it, that I had done ‘the ole men’s room two step’ 3 before I left work.
*"So! What's this business you think you already started."
One door shut. A gentle pitter patter, plodded on the pine plank floor. Another door opened, with an aged creek, but it didn't close. Words reverberated down the narrow hallway in reply.
"I do pieces for cocosplay outfits, mostly l-e-d stuff, scanners, helmamets, anything with lights."
*"Really? Sounds like fun. If you ever need some welding or grinding done lemme know."
"You weld? Cool. I actually have some pieces I wanted to make out of metal. That would be perfect."
*"I put my card on the table over here."
"Seriously? You'd give me a hand?"
*"Sure. I like that kinda shit, I'm weird like that. And there's never a bad reason to start some sparks flying. Grinding, welding, cutting steel or stone, it's all good fun."
"What other stuff can you do?"
*"In my line of work, all kinds, electrical, mechanical, carpentry. All kinds of things. I've done some leather work, but I'm not great at it. I'm crafty in general though, especially at work. Sometimes I feel like Macguyver, without the fucking brains."
I thought I heard a chuckle coming from his direction but I couldn't be sure.
"And you really wouldn't mind?"
*”Not at all. Like I said, it's fun. I enjoy using my hands, fixing and creating stuff."
"I'm almost done, gimme a sec."
*"Take your time, I'm tactical."
It wasn't that many ticks on the clock before I heard those soft plodding footsteps walking back in my direction. He had changed into grey flannel pants and a matching shirt. Still barefoot, he handed me two beers, the weed and pointed to the bowl on the lamp table, then turned and walked over to a well aged, pot-bellied stove and fed in some of the wood from the pile next to it.
Stiff hands fumbled with the lighter a couple of times, it refused his attempts, then, shot abruptly out of his grip and skittered to a rest by my feet.
*”Want me to fire that up?”
"Paplease! My fingers don't seem to be waworking right."
I took the lighter from the floor and sparked it, put the flame to the kindling, and watched it, singe and smolder then flare to life. I placed the tinder under the neatly arranged pieces. Yellow tendrils became flashes and roared upwards. The fire danced, slowly at first, then forced itself to life, hypnotically swaying, to it's own quiet song. The heat came off in waves and ignited the rest of the wood in a violent fury.
The smells of apple-wood and maple hinted on the air, leaving a sweet lingering aftertaste in the back of my throat. He rubbed his hands together toward the opening, allowing the heat to thaw and loosen their muscles and frozen joints. His fingers were elegant and toned.
I sat back into the couch. The firelight painted images, in the shadows of his shirt, that commandeered my attention. Images of feminine points and profiles and curves, the likes of which my fingers, more than once, had held. My mind began to empathize with his issues. My libido began to deny his gender once again.
I grabbed the beer twisted off the cap, and took a long sip. The taste, unfamiliar to me for a long time, made me cringe, but the coolness was crisp and soothing to my very dry throat. I put the bottle back to my mouth and took a bigger swallow, it burned, icy and wet. Two fifths of the bottle was gone and I felt it lull the thoughts from me. I put it down next to the pipe. My head rested back into the cushion and my thoughts got lost in the blaze.
He shut the door to the stove, came to the couch and settled into it with an exhausted whoomf. The soft shirt peaked, revealing a chest a little further out and a little fuller than one would expect, from such a thin guys frame. There was a noticeable jiggle, slight, but unmistakable. Contours, revealed under the streetlight, were now accentuated by the shifting of the grey flannel fabric. The disturbance underneath it recalled, in my brain, memories of shapes more maidenly.
*"Is that what the lawsuit was about?"
A hand went up absently and squeezed the placket of his shirt self consciously. Whether it was out of instinct towards self preservation or modesty, or a learned response to some torment from the past, I couldn't quite be sure.
*"Don't be embarrassed, I was just taking notice and doing the math."
"It's okay, I jajust..."
*"I'm guessing that, that mixture of parts, has a lot to do with your issues?"
His eyes looked down for a second and his weight slumped further into his seat.
"Sorry Joe. I Didn't mean to snap, I..."
*"It's okay, I get it. I can empathize. But I'm thinking in ways that you're not thinking, well, maybe in one or two you are."
*"Wow, That was a bit confusing wasn't it. I don't think my brain’s made it all the way out of work yet. That beer, might not be helping things either. Been a long time for that."
"Thank god. I had a couple at the bar, I'm pretty buzzed myself. And I think, maybe, something was in one that I didn’t ask for? I'm just glad it wasn't just me."
I put my hand out and gave him a short friendly push. He flinched a little, then sat up straight again.
*"Let me try to explain. I'm good at seeing different angles. And it seems curves too, I guess."
"Funny, funny. Rub it in why don’t you."
*"Don't tempt me."
The elfish angular face flushed, he shifted a bit, pulling his knees to his chest and wrapped both arms around his shins. I twisted off the other beer’s cap, and handed it to him. He took a swig, then rested it on the end table by his side, shaking his head in distaste.
*"Better? Can I continue with the collective ravings of a well seasoned lunatic?"
There was a shrug, and his gaze turned toward the crackling stove as he quietly acquiesced.
*"There's quite a few reasons I can see. You're either really apprehensive about people thinking you're a freak. You were bullied, or you hid for so long you can't let someone in? It could be someone did something to you that fucked the situation in your head up even more? Or maybe, just maybe, your confidence is so low, your need so deep, you unwillingly force them to put you into that poor soul, or worse yet, that creepy quiet category?"
I searched his eyes to see if he was keeping up, or if I was even making sense. There was an iron there, in that look, that told me both were probably true. But there was also a hint of a furrow, that told me I was somehow off. I got lost in those orbs for a beat or two. Then I shook myself out of their depth and continued.
*"People are weird. Most of the time, they freak out over things that really have no bearing on their lives. I mean if so and so is gay, or that girl likes to play football, or that guy has a third testicle, is it really interfering in YOUR fucking life? Is it taking food off your table or decreasing your paycheck? NO, then why is it such a concern? I don’t get them sometimes. It’s like there’s something inside them that is afraid who they are will change, if they don’t freak out and cleanse themselves of the cooties by acting like two year olds."
There was a laugh, at that last thought, then another quiet, as his eyes stared blankly at the TV's, dark, lifeless screen.
*"Look, I'm a skinny mother fucker, been like this my whole life. I wore thick glasses, had curly hair, my skin was not WASPish enough and my last name too Italian, to pronounce, never mind blend in. I was the target of every bully around, who preyed on the weak, but I was skinny, not weak. But I let them convince me, for a while, that I was. Then when I had had enough and I finally stood up and fought back, I hit harder and quicker than they could imagine. The damage I did, took me by surprise too. After a few dust ups, they all started walking on the other side of the street or just shut the hell up. As the years passed there was always someone new who needed to prove himself a man, to his friends or girls or whatever club he was prospecting for, but by then I found ways to stop it, before I needed to throw a punch in return. This, is my burden to bear, that's yours. Deal with it, make it work for you."
His head slumped forward as he continued processing my words, then it tilted back and came to a rest on the cushion. Weary eyes stared up at the ceiling blankly, then closed. I could see his chest rise as his lungs breathed in long and hard, trying to push down against what was rising. He exhaled heavily, lost that tenuous grip and broke the hell down. His head tilted away, trying to hide it, but I could see the tears glistening on his pale almost white cheek, as whatever he was going through just erupted from inside.
The somberness, mixed with a buzz and the cold, tore down the defenses, of, what I now realized, had been a very stoic facade. It had been nothing more than a mask of sadness that hid the true depth of the turmoil on the other side. That cute, tomboyish face was framed in delicate hands, his back was constricting and flexing, in an effort to contain the sobs and salvage some visage of strength and hide the pain.
I fucking hate when people cry. It turns off something in me and makes me stone. My thoughts stop dead, never really knowing the right thing to do. Everybody is different in how they want to be consoled. Some things, even the most innocent of things, just make matters worse, depending on that individuals experiences. But most of the time, just a simple hand on a shoulder can help wear it out.
So it was, without thought, that my arm stretched out and I put my hand on his back, it trembled, he breathed a heavy, heart wrenching sigh, then slid, down my arm and into my chest, like he was falling into sanctuary. I didn’t have the heart to stop him.
His whole being was still slightly chilled and it felt so good, against my overheated skin so, I just let him be. He pushed further under my arm and cried, feverishly. Tears soaked into the fabric of my shirt. Sobs, merged with the crackle and pops of the fire and resonated through my chest.
"I'm sorry.....I swear I don't know what's fucking wrong with me tonight?"
*"No worries. I did warn you that I can make things worse sometimes. I'm not going anywhere, so just spill it."
The last vestiges of tears ended in a few hard, sharp gasps, a deep breath, an exhale, and a wiping of the eyes.
"Sorry your shirt is soaked."
*"Not a fucken issue, ain't nothing but salt water and pain. I've seen enough of the latter, myself, I can deal with the former in my clothes."
As he nuzzled his head into my chest and shivered, the hairs stood up on the back of my arm and I noticed a growing firmness in my pants that took me by surprise.
"Thanks, I'm just, I guess everything’s just too much today. You’re right about a lot of stuff."
It got quiet as he captured his thoughts and pondered how to continue. I could feel his breath become steady and calm.
*"So what happened? Look, I’ve seen enough shit in this world that I’m probably not gonna be shocked."
The door was opened and for the first time I guess, in a long time, it was time to step outside, into the valley and just, let someone, see. The words to come were not anywhere close to what I expected.
"My mother and father tried for years to have a kid. Both my parents it turned out were less fertile than they needed to be. They went to specialist after specialist. When that didn't work they went to others. Well it turns out certain therapies should not be mixed. The doctors didn't know it at the time, or in their arrogance they just didn’t care, so..."
There was a twist, a heavy swallow, then a final sigh of committal.
"One day the therapies took. My mom got pregnant and 7 1/2 months later, I was born, premature and totally fucked up, an underweight baby with a lot of health problems and issues."
There was a really long sigh and some sobbing, sobs that went deeper than before, so deep they tore into me and made my heart fall.
“My parents searched everywhere looking for help. One trip cost me both of them, the only two people I ever had in my life that loved me regardless, and they were gone. The best part of it all is, every now and
then, I get ambushed, a great day of raging sadness, for no damn reason, creeps in and tears me up. Kinda like today."
I laughed, he looked up at me, with shocked eyes and an expression that bordered on betrayal.
*"Ah shit, little one, that happens to everybody now and then. You wake up and the world is just fucked," The shock dissipated, he turned his head, sighed and nestled back in. *"for no good reason, it just is, to you. Then you go to work and it shits on you some more, out for a few drinks and it's fucks you even harder. Everybody has those days. And you, my friend, have definitely got a brain load of shit to navigate. Shit, from what you’re saying, I'm surprised it doesn't happen once a week."
I let him be for a bit, his mind in thought, his head against my chest, curled up, with knees pressed up to my thigh.
My mind drifted. Thoughts and distant echos purged my aches, once faded faces came back to view, bringing with them a sense of things. I felt a calm emanating around me. A calm I hadn't felt in many years.
Not since the last time I comforted a friend who just lost her mother. All she needed was for someone to just be and let her cry. So that’s what I set my mind to.
He sniffed and adjusted his frame more comfortably. The faces fleeted and fell away, yet the calm somehow remained. It seemed to have taken root in him as well.
I looked down and saw my hand, moving through strands of white silk. I had been stroking his hair, unconsciously, for how long I didn't know. The softness and curves denied me the perception that this body had parts similar to mine. His smooth skin, feminine shape and the position of things, recalled in me, the times I held girlfriends, or female-friends in an attempt to steal their pain, or share in the quiet of an afterglow. Some of those same women, whose faces, just seconds ago, had stolen into and out of my memory.
I searched for a way to detract his thoughts from this melancholy and mine from the more erotic ones it was having. An Xbox 360, nestled under the TV caught my attention.
*"What video games do you play?" Stupid I know, but it seemed like a start.
He responded, half-hearted, at first, then, as time passed, more enthusiastically. Our exchange continued, escalating into a steady banter. We chatted for a bit about movies and cosplay, science fiction, science fact and all kinds of geeky-chic. Anything, to get his mind off the train of fuckall running rampant through that over-weighed cranium.
The conversation lulled into a comfortable silence.
*"Do you mind if I smoke a cigarette?"
His response came soft, almost absently, "nnhnn, go ahead."
*"I can roll it with some weed, if you care to partake, it is yours after all."
"Mmm, I don’t smoke much, barely ever, but yeah I’ll join you, it’s been a day, what the hell."
I got out my pouch and pulled out a paper, creased a pocket in the long side, opposite the glue, sprinkled in some weed and covered it with some fine whole leaf tobacco. I rolled it methodically and purposefully.
Half the fun of rolling your own cigarettes is getting it just so. It's therapeutic, meditative, almost zen. You could never get it perfect, but that didn't mean you shouldn't try.
I lit it, took a nice hit, then I put it to his lips and held it for him. He took a nice slow draw and coughed. His arm pushed behind me, his body went soft and his hands found each other around my side. Fingers, now warmed, entwined together and he held me tighter, like he had found a puppy thought lost, or a buoy in a terrible sea. It was a hug of gratitude, it was comfortable and protective.
Between having my first beer in years, and now having some really nice bud in me, I was settled in nicely. The coolness of his body, was soothing, the hug was warm and welcoming. I held it to his lips again, my brain went back in time once more. The Smokey Mountains at sunrise, the world in fog, leaning against my Harley. A campfire, Janine, cuddled into me, bare as a newborn. The veil lifted and the world unfurled, her head on my chest as I put a joint to her lips, she drew in deep… And so did he.
His fingers released their grip on each other and his body shifted, to a more relaxed position. One hand came to rest on my stomach just below his chin, the other stayed behind the crook in my back.
We talked more, about familiar things. The mood was lighter and more casual as the minutes slipped away to friendly conversation. Somewhere during our lighthearted exchange, his free hand found its way to the fabric on my pants pocket and it started playing with the seams. I felt fingertips, absentmindedly, tracing the lines of the denim on my thigh, not with the intention to excite, mind you, more like a subconscious desire, to feel, to touch, to communicate, or maybe, they were just moving involuntarily and of their own accord.
I felt that warmth starting to build again, then a twitch, as the circles, he was now tracing on my leg, were getting closer to the place, where ‘i’ was trapped against my thigh. Slowly, his fingers grazed, not lustfully, but inquisitive. Their intention seemed to be on the texture and feel of the fabric and not on the object so close to them, nor, on the effect they may have had upon it. I felt myself throb and grow. They were having it.
I brushed my fingers down his neck, out of either, habit and illusion, or curiosity, or want, or need, or God knows what the fuck was running through my mind. Whatever the impetus was, they roamed effortlessly, from his shoulder down his arm. He sighed as my hand slid to his waist, up his ribs and found the side of a small firm breast. He jerked at the touch, his hand gripped my thigh tighter. He exhaled heavy, his body settling as the air left him. My hand smoothed over his ribs and relaxed on his stomach.
He raised his hand, scratched his nose and rubbed his eyes, then it found its way back to my thigh casually and made itself home again. His thumb slipped into my pocket. It stayed there, motionless, yet enticing. It wasn't too long, before I felt those fingers return to their wanderings, sliding softly up and down my thigh.
The quiet had settled around us peacefully, interrupted only by the crackle and pops of the stove and the occasional hushed breathy purl. I slid my hand under the curve of his chest and cupped it. He stiffened hard, sighed and melted back into me. I felt him push back into my touch, just a little. His hand, slid down my crotch and between my legs, firmly gripping on my inner thigh. Lean fingers pressed over my shaft and took its curve. His head shifted, ever so slightly from the stove to where his hand was searching and I could feel those eyes joining the play.
I weighed a breast hungrily, in my palm, it was firm yet yielding, then it rubbed against a very stiff desire. It was still a bit cool, even through the warm of his shirt but it heated my blood just the same. He half sighed a moan, a hand slipped deeper between my legs, his body pressed deeper into mine. My cock throbbed, not just from his touch, but also from the enjoyable, supple mound of feminine form that was encased in my hand and the hard stiff nipple that pressed into it, teasing it back with each rise of his chest.
I slowly moved my hand down the side of his stomach to his leg, halfway down to his knee, then gently stroked the back of it up to his more than girlish ass. The signals on my fingers contradicted, what I knew, and what I could feel. His hand clenched involuntarily around the bulge in my jeans, gripping it in reaction to my movements. My cock pulsed again and pushed itself further into that grip. His ass urged itself back and into my touch, exposing the effect I was having on him, and the equally hard presence that pushed out from his pants. Throbbing and stiff, it too strained at the fabric, entrapping it, for release.
Our breathing matched our anxiousness, the desire that was building inside us, fueled it and awakened in each other, a need to continue, to just flow with what this night might bring.
His body arched into my hand as I traced the curve of his cheek, up to his lower back, then down to the softness of a slender leg. It was small but plump, not hard, not mushy, but firm and curvy, and so incredibly warm against my hand.
"Is there anymore of that cigarette left?" He gasped more than spoke. The words broke the sounds that were filling our heads with intensity.
I reached to the ashtray, took the half-joint and lit it, then held it just there. He put his lips to it and inhaled, and leaned his head back into me.
He looked up at me quizzically.
*"Kids these days. What do they teach you at school? When you're ready to exhale, blow the smoke so I can take a second-hand hit."
He acknowledged with a half-smile and a nod, held it a little longer, then, tilted his head upwards, offering me his mouth. He pursed his, pinkish, lips and exhaled. I opened my mouth in an tight o and breathed it in.
His eyes danced between my lips and my eyes. I know because I was watching them. Their tone shifted from a deep purple to a cerulean blue, depending on how the light had caught them.
My mind drifted again. I'd seen that icy blue before, but where? Mmm, Rene Annette, Daytona Beach, Bike Week, it was her last day in the states. We rode down to New Smyrna and made love in a grove of palm trees just off the beach. I stared into those eyes as they pierced into my very being. My brain transposed, I could taste the salt air and smell her heat, just like it was here and now.
His color had returned. He was still pale, but less blue, with the rosy hue of reheated flesh and faster circulating blood. How much of that was temperature, and how much the cause of touch, I couldn't say. My hand was firmly in a valley of soft flannel and warm flesh. His slender fingers were pressed into my cock as he held himself up to my face and, in some very odd and serene way, I was okay with that.
Now normally, just the thought of a guy's lips being, not even this close to mine, would make me gag a little. But I wasn't feeling that. A few guys, not many, have hit on me, and a couple of them, finding me to be
unyielding to the their ‘charms', gave me the bullshit line, "Well you just haven't met the right guy yet," insinuating, by that remark, that they were, if, I just gave them the chance. My response to them was usually something to the effect of, “You have a point, and judging by the fact that we are not going at it hot and heavy in the parking lot right now, well you’re right, I still haven’t met him yet,” Now, here I was, a breath away from a guys lips, my hand on his ass, his hands holding me firm and I was nowhere near needing an airsick bag.
This was not a guy who had taken hormones to be a girl, or passed himself off as a girl, with great make up and even better fashion sense. No this was a guy, that I knew had extra parts, and not just a guy, but the one guy that I have ever told, or even felt, that I could honestly enjoy kissing, albeit, before I knew, but still, what’s done is done.
There was more than a hint of electricity in the air. Not the way it gets when, that feminine olfactory wonderfulness, fills my skull, with whatever drug it mixes and twists and burns inside me, but it was there, sparking to life. There were no hearts beating faster or skipping, a little stronger yes, but not faster. It was a slow, tenuous thumping though, and man, was it, pounding.
Not only was I attracted to his body, the feminine features and that otherworldly look and those piercing, fucking amazing, magenta eyes, but I liked him as a person. I thought he was good people and even if circumstances hid the truth sometimes, I didn't think, this, was one of those times. He seemed genuinely nice and the feel, was undeniably, weirdly, comfortable. It was foreign, not uncharted but definitely off course, totally fucking erotic, in a taboo sorta way, but comfortable. And, I've never been one to run from an experience that I might enjoy, or ones that could have gotten me killed for that matter, if the cause was right, or there was good fun involved. I mean, shit I left the ground in quite a few more planes than I landed, back on terra firma, in. So whatever was going to happen, was going to happen, even if it was nothing, but, if it did happen, it was gonna be really… interesting.
So I took another hit, of that sweet mellow mix, and moved in to return the shotgun. Our faces moved precariously close again. I exhaled, his lips parted and he breathed it in.
I couldn't help myself, by some force of Id, or an act of my odd sense of humor, I just squeezed his ass, right when the first whiffs of smoke entered his throat. My pinky grazed that sensitive ring between his cheeks. His eyes widened, he straightened up and his forehead pressed up to mine. He sucked the smoke deep, shuttered, coughed and gasped. Our eyes locked, the expression on his face changed from shock to, 'I liked that?' and then to, 'He did that and I liked it!'. His head pitched forward slightly from the sensation running up his spine. His nose brushed tip to tip with mine. He rolled his back into the pleasure of my fingertips and half closed his eyes. He hovered there, then angled his face closer and continued inhaling the smoke, deeply, slowly.
I felt a hand move up my back, caressing my neck. Tingles teased into every hair of my being. His fingers entwined in my hair, then pushed tenderly into my scalp. There was a gentle request, spoken from their tips, inviting me closer. No, they weren’t just inviting me, they were wanting me closer, hoping and willing me there.
My head went slowly forward, tempting the distance between us. His fingers, fondled firmly, at the fullness, under the fabric, in his palm. It was my turn to gasp as he squeezed and pushed up my length. There was a throb and I ground myself up, trying to break through my jeans and into the fingers that had caused it. The awkward angle added to its desire to be free. He twisted and pulled his knees up to my side, my hand slid deeper into the recess. I felt for that distinctive depression and traced a line, from it, to the soft flesh, of the ring I had grazed before. His eyes grew big, then wanting. He leaned in matching my tempo. The distance between us tauntingly close. I brushed my nose alongside his. I could feel two hard points press into my chest and another hardness grind into my side. His fingers whispered in my neck once more.
He opened his mouth slightly, beckoning me with its promise.
1 ”Six Feet Of Snow” by Little Feat, from the album Down On The Farm, 1979
2 Alice’s Restaurant-itis : A twisty turning way of storytelling that goes down many paths only to end up at the conclusion after many side trips and wrong turns. Defined by the song “Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie, from the album Alice’s Restaurant, 1967, which is pretty much 18 1/2 minutes of comedic lyricism epitomizing this form of story telling. Give it a listen, it’s a Thanksgiving staple for us old fucks.
3 The Ole Men’s Room Two Step : A quick full body wash at the sink and a change of clothes.