Repost from old blog, 11/14/2007
He got on the stop after mine; there was an empty seat next to me and I hoped and feared he would and would not take it.
He was beautiful, the kind of person I could never be – smiling, handsome, at ease. He took a seat next to another handsome man and started up a conversation with him. How? Living seemed to come so easy to others. I was a dead thing on my way to a dark house, bland meal, sleep. They smiled and talked and I didn’t understand.
He stood up one stop before mine. He said goodbye to his new friend. I decided to get off there too. A sense of freedom overtook me. Why did I have to go home? I could go anywhere I wanted to.
I followed behind him, across the parking lot. He stopped and I stopped. He reached into his bag, noticed me, turned to me.
“Hey man – you got a cigarette?”
“Uh – no. Sorry.”
“You were on the bus with me, right?”
“Yeah, I guess. I mean, I was sitting in back.”
“I saw you. Come closer – why are you standing back there?”
“I don’t know.” I walked closer to him.
“Are you doing anything right now?”
“Good – you want to check something out?”
He talked as we walked. “It’s worth it, trust me – it’s kind of a walk, but it’s worth it.”
We were going up a hill through suburban streets. Houses and patches of forest. It seemed he didn’t know exactly how to get there. We cut through yards and hedges. “It’s just up here – you see it?”
It was a water tower at the very top of the hill, ocean blue and faded in the golden-hour sunlight. It was big. It was just beyond another row of houses. “We’re so close.”
We cut through another yard. A guy was playing with his dog. He looked at us and said “You’re trespassing.”
“Sorry,” my friend said.
There was a gate around the perimeter of a small yard. Sitting in the yard was the tower, like it was just another house, just another yard; but in the center of it was this big, grandiose thing.
“My dad used to work for the water authority,” he said as he hopped the top of the fence. I followed. I snagged my pants on the top. “Most towers you need a ladder, but not this one.”
He grabbed on to the bottom rung and hoisted himself up. He watched me, smiling, as I did the same. The rungs were flakey blue; we got higher – I looked down and felt gloriously dizzy.
At the top was a cat walk that ran around the perimeter. The view was breathtaking. I could see the road where I’d taken the bus, the hills we’d just climbed, soundless traffic. I’d passed this tower so many times. This view was always here.
My friend met me.
“Told you,” he said, leaning right beside me so our legs were touching. I felt his hand on mine. I looked up at him. He was looking at me mischievously.
“Do you want to kiss me?” he asked. I didn’t say anything, and he bent down and touched his lips to mine. I opened for it. He tasted exotic, bitter like cigarettes.
“It’s cool that you’re not weird about kissing another guy. The way I figure, we’re in a different place up here. When we got off of that bus, we stepped into somewhere else, another dimension.” He kissed me again. We kissed for a long time.
The sun was very low. We sat on the grate and watched it.
“What made you follow me?” he asked. “You were following me, right?”
“Yes. I thought you were beautiful. I was afraid you’d sit next to me. And then you were talking to that guy, and the way you did it, so easily – it made me almost want to cry. You seemed so alive. I just wanted to be a part of that.”
“I never would have known you were beautiful if you hadn’t followed me. So thanks.”
We said goodbye. We exchanged numbers. I went back to the bus stop. A bus passed. I crossed the road and took the next one going the other way.