The last time I had sex with The German Guy the conversation went a little something like this:
“I don’t think I’ve ever been in love” he says. “How do you know if you’re in love.”
We’re lying in bed after sex, after good sex – we always have good sex, which mainly involves me fucking him, but also a lot of kissing and rimming and cocksucking (he likes to force his cock down my throat) – so we’re lying there under the duvet, him on his back, my arm across his chest. He tells me his friends say he’s built a wall around him, a wall so high no one can climb over it. He’s adamant he’ll never love again.
“It has to do with light,” I say. “With the amount of light the other person brings into the room.”
“Yes,” he says. “But what if the lights are on already?”
“Have you ever seen your father cry?” I say, unfazed by cynicism, going deeper, to the heart of something, perhaps.
“Never,” he says, adding that he can’t even remember the last time he cried.
But then he does. Six years ago when he went to see his boyfriend in Vegas and discovered that the guy was cheating on him.
“I cried like a baby,” he says.
I tell him hardly a week goes by that I don’t cry: movies, books, the news, listening to writers read stories on the New Yorker’s Fiction Podcasts, especially Aleksander Hemon reading that Bernard Malamud story. It kills me every time. I’m in love with Aleksander Hemon’s voice. I remember the first time I heard him read. I cried tears of joy, I really did.
“You’re lucky,” Stefan says, though he says it in a way that is entirely unconvincing. You can tell he does not want to be the kind of person who cries once a week, to be vulnerable like that, sentimental. He’s the kind of person who’s happy to meet up and get fucked once a week, and then leave after minimal conversation, minimal cuddling, minimal sharing of personal details.
That was almost three weeks ago.
Not long after that night (we haven’t seen each other since then; he’s been in bed with pneumonia) I met someone else. I met someone and I almost fell in love. I don’t think I did fall in love, but I certainly wanted to. He was the kind of guy I’d want to fall in love with. Not since October, not since Tariq, have I felt that kind of about-to-fall-in-love feeling. With Tariq I did fall in love. The new guy, Jacob, would be easy to fall in love with. He’s tall and skinny and plays the guitar and sings (like Jay Brannan, but better) and he kisses in a way I’ve not encountered before, in a way that might have turned me off if it had been someone else.
Jacob’s tongue is a thing of wonder. He licks. His tongue feels big, like a cat’s tongue, rough and comforting. He likes to lick and kiss and for the first time in a long time, we were having foreplay. When you have sex in saunas and sex-clubs, foreplay is very hard to come by. It’s anathema to the context. I want to finish this blog before midnight, before the Day of Love is over, even though I know that in some parts of the world – like New York, like LA – Valentine’s Day is in full swing. So I will conjure up three images of Jacob, who is now in Paris for the week with some music friends.
1. Jacob comes round late in the evening with his guitar that he’s just picked up from a friend’s flat in South London where it’s been in storage. He hasn’t played for a while. I run a bath before he comes and while I sit in the bath, he sits on the toilet seat, naked, and plays and sings. I watch his fingers move across the strings, along the neck of the guitar. I watch his mouth. I close my eyes. I think: My dad would love listening to this. I miss my dad.
2. We manoeuver around the kitchen eating breakfast. We eat bagels with jam. We drink coffee. We touch each other and kiss. He’s wearing jeans, nothing else; I’m in a T-shirt, nothing else. We stroke each other. I sit at the table by the kitchen eating cereal. He stands at the window smoking a roll-up. I want our conversation to be easy, effortless, but it is not. We are 15 years apart. I am not used to waking up with other men. He comes to sit and the table and picks up his guitar and plays something. It is gentle and mournful and beautiful. A sticker on his guitar says Please Don’t Smoke.
3. We sit on the sofa and make out.
* I don’t remember whose tumblr I got these images from. If you know, please let me know so I can put up a link.