The Golden Boy

I barely knew this guy, he was a friend several times removed. We were at the same graduation party, drinking beer, doing shots and eating picnic food in a public park.

He was blonde, tan and muscled in his sleeveless shirt. My friend referred to him as “The Golden Boy.” He was frat, yuppie, upscale – polished and clean, the iPad of his day. His name was Cliff. I didn’t become obsessed with him until my friend told me that a few days earlier they’d all gotten drunk together and Cliff had admitted to her that he might be bisexual.

This information sent me into a tailspin. What was really just a glimmer of availability became, to my mind, a feeling of entitlement. He was like me. I deserved to have sex with him.

I got way too drunk at this picnic. The party moved to a house – the house Cliff shared with a female roommate. By this time my friend had left, it was mainly Cliff and his friends, but somehow I’d tagged along. I have this ability.

One time I went to a concert alone. Afterwards I met a girl in the crowd as we were leaving, and somehow I ended up accompanying her and her friends to a house a few blocks away, where they grilled food and drank beer on a patio. When the group decided to leave to go to a bar I got into the car with them, carrying a beer in my hand. We drove a couple miles and parked in a lot. As we were getting out, the driver noticed I had an open beer and got upset about it. She told me it wasn’t cool. They got out and walked toward the bar. “Who is that guy anyway?” I heard the driver say as they walked away. “How did he end up with us?” I let them go, headed home on foot.

I could barely say how I’d ended up with them. It was like a game, to see if I could ingratiate myself with a group of strangers. I wouldn’t talk much, wouldn’t be myself. I’d subsume myself to the flow of life, unnoticed, uninvited.

Cliff and his friends were playing drinking games around a dining room table and I was with them. When you lost you had to do a shot. I remember losing a lot. Cliff was making me do shots. He was getting into my face, yelling “Drink it!” It was the most interaction we’d had all day and it felt like progress to me.

I got piss drunk. I may have thrown up in their bathroom. I passed out in an upstairs bedroom. When I woke up I looked down the hall to Cliff’s open bedroom door. His dog was there. I called to the dog softly and he padded out to me down the hall. Nobody else was awake. I waited for something to happen but nothing did, so I left quietly, unnoticed.

Some months later a group of my friends moved into a house just a few streets down from Cliff’s, to where I had to ride my bike past his house to get to theirs.

One night Cliff’s front door was open and all his lights were on. I remember feeing frustrated, horny, lonely. I rode past his place then turned around and rode past it again. Finally I stopped and crept up on to his porch. I knocked lightly on the screen door. I didn’t know what I’d do if he answered. I left, rode around some more, then came back. I knocked again. I called into the house, “Hello? Anybody home?”

Cliff’s dog came to the door. She looked at me. She didn’t bark, just watched me until I left and rode away and never came back.

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