I never saw it coming.
We met from a distance. Virtually. Naturally. Personal meetings are so rare these days.
Running through the mall, glancing up from my electronic appendage, I caught his eye.
Silly, I thought. Fuck, he’s gorgeous.
Hey! I said, with an exaggerated vocal throttle and a grin so wide it’d make Jeremy’s ass look slim. Jeremy was my really fat brother, who ate KFC to compensate for his lack of a love life. Bless his heart, but he was lost in a world of chicken skin and Pepsi-cola.
The guy looked a bit taken aback. I mean, it was a chance meeting, neither of us were expecting to see each other. I had a feeling though, with our past conversations being so flirty, that we were both looking forward to the day we’d actually get to meet. And here it was. Game time.
Hey, he responded, with an awkward yet fucking adorable grin. A gestured hand turned into a hug, a hug that could have well lasted longer if it wasn’t for the fact that we met at the entrance of the busy mall. Hoards of high school kids kept pouring in through the doors like a tsunami of cheap Tommy Hilfiger cologne and stale cigarette smoke.
Funny running into you here, I said as our hug released, leaving me a bit hot and bothered.
Well, I guess I’m glad we finally met. When did you want to get together to discuss the project? In my head I wondered if I could turn it into a date somehow. But then reeled my heart back in and reminded myself: business first.
I had wanted to get this project on the ground running for over a year and this guy was too perfect of a partner to pass up. He was smart, and knew his shit. We had the same vibe in what we liked to paint. He did water colour while I stuck to thick oil paintings. I loved how the paint came off of the canvas, thick, real, tangible. Just like him. Now, at least. Tangible. I touched him. He is, in fact, real.
We decided to meet up for lunch to discuss what we wanted to get done. Betty’s, say 2PM Sunday? Sure thing, he said, again tossing me that awkward grin and a slightly bashful eye. K, see ya, I muttered as he turned and walked away all too soon.
I spent the rest of the day thinking about him. I had no idea who he was. Despite us having some similar friends, we had never really met. I knew his ex only too well. Pablo. Cute Latino guy, about six feet with very big hands. A physiotherapist down on a clinic at the University. I met him at a bar and we fucked in the bathroom stall. Man that was hot. He took me right there. I was scared all to hell. People kept on walking in and out. Bursts of the music flooded the room as the door swung open. My hands on my mouth, muffling the sounds of pure ecstasy on top of the two I had popped earlier in the night.
Excuse me! Excuse me! I jolted out of my imaginative haze to see an elderly woman peering over her thick framed glasses inches from my face. Excuse me. Can I please sit down? I had sat in the “priority seating” on the bus and must have dozed off thinking about Pablo and that bathroom stall. Of course. Sorry, I replied. I got up, using my backpack to hide my obvious erection, I moved to the back of the bus to finish thinking about my chance meeting this morning with that guy.
Sunday came faster than that guy Andrew I fooled around with in the 10th grade. I was up pretty early, getting my thoughts together, choosing the best outfit I could find in the heap of clothes on the floor. Smell test! Yep, that one is doable.
I walked up to Betty’s Diner around 1:45. I knew I was early, but I liked being on time. There he was too. A corner booth, staring off into nothing. Rubbing his clammy hands together and occasionally biting his nails. He quickly took his fingers out of his mouth when he spotted me approaching the table. Hey, he said and shot me that smile. Damn.
Hey, you hungry? he asked. Totes! I replied in my pathetic hipster vernacular. We ate, chatted about life, stuff, boys, art. We laughed, smiled a lot. The afternoon went by, and we had discussed nothing about the project. I didn’t care. I don’t think he did either. We just were locked in this back and forth. I was happy.
I told him how I felt that same night. In person? Hardly. Facebook message. Lord help our generation’s social skills. He reciprocated but mentioned something about Pablo and how he and him were trying to work things out. My heart sank. Fucking Pablo! I screamed in my head. Business first I guess. Just like I originally planned, until the first time I saw his eyes, his grin, his soul.
To be continued…