I remember being eight, sitting at my desk in school and dreaming about life. I pictured myself being twenty-six, living in a farm full of dogs and happily married. I knew I was gay by then and kept thinking I would have to choose a life. It doesn't sound healthy for an eight-year-old. When I was twelve, I realized I could be married to a man and I quickly adapted that aspect of my fantasies and that was at least one problem solved. I was nineteen when I set off on the journey to find that man. It was a suicidal mission.
I grew up really lonely, being the only boy in a family of three generations of grown women. I was barely an adult outed by his nosy mother who had kicked me out of the house in hopes of 'fixing' me. She did back down when the plan backfired on her, though.
It is a very strange journey to face the world when you don't drink or go wild. The world is so fucked-up I sometimes longed for nothing other than being in a dim-lit room in a bathrobe with a cigar in one hand and a large whiskey in the other. I was only nineteen and my dreams were of an old rich man. Two things I was really far from being, one of them ever.
It is hard enough to find someone. It becomes practically impossible when your social skills are nonexistent and the only time you go out is to the old bakery at the corner of your street. That never stopped me, though. I was glad to have been born in the early years of the internet and I had the world at the tip of my fingers.
It was too late to go out when I decided to give one very last shot at love and happiness. We had met online on our local valentine's day, 12 June. It was two days later. I was twenty-five. I was unemployed. I didn't have a degree or went to college. I was highly depressed without any treatment. I had given up hope, or so I thought. One thing I knew for sure: I was done with older men. All they did during those six years was to patronise and break me. There was this boy, Oliver, twenty-one.
Oliver was a salesman at a game shop who worked afternoons and evenings. On that valentine's day he was just one more sad lonely man like me on that site. Yet hopeless, I was addicted to that site, spending all of my days flirting with strangers I'd never meet, yet dreaming of a happy life with each and every one of them. I started talking to Oliver almost at the same time as other two different guys. They were all younger than me. I chatted with all three of them, pretending I was chatting to no one else, until the sun rose. I said my goodbyes, shut my laptop, placed it on the floor and, on that position, kept staring at the wall.
I don't know what time I slept or what time I woke up. When I did the sun seemed long gone. I didn't care about the time. I rolled over, picked up my laptop and went back to that website. Oliver showed up shortly after with a hello and a smiley emoticon. The others didn't show up. I didn't realise it. The night after that, when Oliver repeated his hello and smiley emoticon, I decided to give that dead body that was my love life one more breath before I buried it for good.
It was nearly eleven at night when I asked Oliver to meet at the beach. It wasn't exactly near any of our houses, but one of the few places still guaranteed to have a lot of people and feel less creepy because of the hour. At first he refused, claiming he was really tired and that he needed to prepare some drinks for a company party the next day. Upon my insistance, he agreed to go meet me at the subway station closest to the beach.
I took a quick shower. How long had it been since the last time? I couldn't remember. All I did was stay in bed staring at the ceiling, chatting to strangers online and occasionally jerking off to gay porn online. When I say occasionally, I mean three to five times a day. I put on a simple-yet-nice black polo shirt that disguised my not-so-slim figure, the same jeans and sneakers of always and headed to the door.
By that point in my life, all my mother bothered to ask was if I'd go back home that day. I replied I had no idea and left the house. Half an hour later I was sitting by the subway station, waiting for him. I looked nice, made sure I smelled good and that my breath was fresh. If it's the last chance you're giving yourself, you'd better at least do it right.
I waited a little and then off came Oliver. As tall as me, half my weight, which doesn't make me obese but makes him really skinny. Old flip-flops, a faded pair of shorts and a shirt that obviously had seen better days. Not to mention a recently poorly-executed highlighted hairstyle that made him look even paler under the post lights. I was the one highly depressed and he was the one who couldn't give a rat's ass to what he looked like.
So that was that. A perfect representation of everything my love life had been up to that point: pathetic and not worth the trouble. Depressed as I was, I discovered there was still room for some feeling inside of me, because that was clear and pronounced frustration. Then anger followed. Not at him. At him I was directing as much thought and attention as he did to his grooming.
We walked the short distance between the station and the beach talking about each other's day. Well, he talked about his, there was nothing really to tell about mine. What was I going to say? 'I don't know what time I woke up, jerked off some times, took my first shower in a fortnight and here I am'? That's exactly what I said.
Well, fuck it. He obviously didn't care shit about me, why should I care what he thought from then on? I proposed we walked the length of the beach, which led to another subway station from where we could head back home and then he'd go on with his life and meet someone more interesting.
During that walk I avoided details but answered anything he asked me truthfully. How many guys I'd been with (I don't know, lost count around the second year of my sex life), what I looked for in a boyfriend (a boy friend who loves me and fucks me), what I had to offer a boyfriend (the same, friendship, love and sex). Somewhere along the shore he mentioned he was really against any kind of gay PDA because we live in a shitty homophobic society and that he had already suffered abuse because of that. Mind you, we were at a rather commonly gay neighbourhood, yet he refused to even touch my hand.
We were nearing the end of the beach and I started telling myself I'd need to be strong and avoid the temptation to go back to the website. I had made up my mind to give up on that and that was that. He then asked for us to sit at one of the benches and keep talking. I raised an eyebrow but still accepted. I hadn't gained anything at all, so there was nothing to lose.
Shortly after he asked if I minded his lighting up a cigarette. I grew with a smoker mother and, although I had never tried a single smoke in my life (no matter how many times I longed for one), I didn't really mind his smoking. He puffed out smoke while holding the cigarette away from his face and smiled at me. It instantly reminded of my mother, she used to do the same thing when I was a child, before she found out her perfect little prince charming was into dicks as much as she was. There was warmth in that smile. Almost like thankfulness for my not minding the smoking an acknowledgement that it was bad for both us, but she (and he) couldn't actually let go.
My mind drifted to those moments in my childhood when even though I knew so many people disliked me in so many places, I had the love of my mother to compensate for all that. Now I didn't anymore. It had been six long years already. I started thinking that maybe there was a slight chance I might find that smile again when we were interrupted.
A homeless stinky drunk man (looking a bit like I was a few hours before) had stopped our talk to ask Oliver for a cigarette and then he started talking about his young days. Among a lot of the fucking balderdash he was saying, he added, pointing his cigarette finger at me, still talking to Oliver, 'you're young you'll probably won't know it, but this one here is from the old days, he'll remember!'
Christ, I wanted to die. It was my very first date with a younger man. I was only four years older than he was, but the fucking hobo made me look like a fucking paedo. The man left and Oliver started laughing and repeating 'old days' a lot. That felt like a nice burial to my love life, the first rose placed upon the casket. I thought I was ready to roll it down for good, so I said we should be heading home.
When we crossed the first half of the road and stopped at a two-way gas station in its center, I thought a final 'fuck it'. I was never seeing that guy again, but I refused to go home empty-handed. I grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him towards me for a kiss. This was before the rise of consent awareness and at least he kissed me back.
As we made our way to the subway station, his phone rang. It was his sister telling him to go home because his grandma was sick. And that was why I had until them refused to go out with younger men: they always thought they had invented the fucking wheel. Really, bitch? Pulling that trick on me so late in the evening? That one was old even for me, who am from the 'old days'. You're already going home, no need to pretend there's an emergency.
He then made a weird proposal: that he rode the bus with me. It wasn't exactly the best route for him, but at my stop he could get another bus to his house and the journey would last basically the same. I shrugged. What difference could it make after all that?
He entered the bus and headed straight to the back. I sat by his side. The bus had barely moved when he grabbed me and kissed me. It was late at night, very few people took the bus, but we'd stop kissing at every stop and resume when we made sure we were alone. I had stopped understanding what the fuck was going on in my life a long time before that, so I just went with the tide.
We got down at my stop and I waited with him for his bus, talking amenities. When we saw it coming, he said while hailing "tomorrow is my company party, but the day after I want to see you again". I just said okay and watched him enter the bus. I crossed the road behind it and headed home quickly, thinking how retarded the whole thing had been.
As I entered home it hit me I had agreed to a second date. That meant I was supposed to text him? And when? I didn't really need to answer neither of those questions, for when I took a look at my phone as I took it out of my jeans pocket there was already a message from him. I undressed and laid in bed while answering his texts about how he had enjoyed the night by my side. He had to be at least retarded, then. That shit made no more sense. But it was about to get even crazier, for his latest text read:
You know, we did just meet, but I have to be honest with you, myself and my feelings. I love you.
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