A lonely existence without you

He was walking down from the third floor to the second floor of my apartment that night. Somewhere between those twenty eight steps, I brushed past him. The sleeves of our shirts touched and neither of us thought much of it.

"That was our first meeting," he said.

"I only remember our second meeting," I replied. It was when I was working in a coffee shop, scrapping tips off the table. He left me a hundred dollar bill and his number. I called him to say thanks, and hoped he didn't think I was a whore.

He came to the shop again, and I ended up having a late dinner with him after my shift. It was two in the morning and the restaurant owner had to kick us out. It didn't matter, the night was freezing but it felt all the better to mask our nervousness. He asked me if I wanted to chill at his place. He said he makes great scrambled eggs.

That was how we started dating, I think. There were no grand gestures of romance expressed by either of us. If anything, it happened as naturally as people finding themselves becoming best friends with someone. It didn't matter to us that we were both guys because we enjoyed each other's company in its simplicity. There was no couple's squabble, no feminist nagging, and no petty jealousy.

We agreed to an open relationship when we moved in two month later. He could still bring home his boys, and I could bring home mine. As it turned out, neither of us were much for prying on tricks. The one time I brought someone back from a club, we ended up sharing the goods.

He wanted me to meet his friends two weeks later. I didn't have any friends so I didn't know what to expect. They were very normal to me, as normal as we were queer. They wished us the best and tried to make me feel comfortable, except the girls wanted to see us kiss. As insensitive as I thought the request was, we ended up doing it for them. It was our quickest kiss ever.

On our way home, he wrapped his arms around me because neither of us brought a jacket. I wonder what we looked like to other people; two tall skinny pale boys in white shirts and blue jeans with one's arm around the other and sharing a cigarette. His bleached white hair and my dark brown shag were as opposite as the ying and yang, but we were the same in height and could pass for twins from faraway.

We stopped in a 7-11 half way back because it was too cold with the light drizzle coming down. He bought a double pack of Twinkies while I got two hot cups of coffee. We stared out from the windows and it felt so safe. The street lights looked like long, thin angels with overpowering halos. They lined up neatly as though to guide us home, I thought.

We ran home after that. And even though he was usually the better runner, I ended up beating him to the mailbox. Maybe it was because he didn't have his keys on him. When he caught up to me, he threw his weight on me from behind. The protectiveness of his arms wrapped around me gave me a feeling of security I've never known before, not from my foster parents, not from my ex-boyfriends. I was so happy that I shuddered.

He must have sensed it, because he brushed the hair away from my ears and whispered, "If you were to go, I will cry until I drown in the ocean of my tears."

"If you were to go, I'll become emo and write love poems for you on my arm with a razor blade." I whispered back. For kicks I said, "I'll wear black everyday and never eat."

"Agreed," he laughed. I laughed.

Later that night, after I had fucked him and he had screwed me, we smiled at each other's exhausted faces. The pillows were wet with sweat and cum and the room smelled like salty sex. It was a feeling that I don't think I could forget even if I had Alzheimer's.

"I got something for you," he said. His eyes sparkled in the dim room.

"Yeah? I love gifts. It's free, right?"

"Nah, you gotta gimme a hand job for this one babe." His head disappears over his side of the bed as he dug something out from between the mattress with his right hand. With his left, he pulled in my neck. "Come'ere, I'll put it on you."

He leaned over me, a moment later he plops back down on his pillow. It was a ring stranded on a string of silver.

"So, this means we are married or something?" I asked as I played with the ring. It was heavy. January, 17th 1979 was engraved on the inside.

"Yup. You and me babe, since 1979 till forever."

I laughed, and he laughed along.

Two days later, he disappeared.