All I have of you is your body and the stories you tell. I don’t see what you keep by your bedside, the books you read, the moisturisers you use. I don’t see what you look like in the mornings – are you grumpy? – what you smell like after a night’s sleep, even those nights when you haven’t been making love. I don’t hear you eat breakfast or see the table you sit at, or the way the light comes into the room if it’s not too early and you don’t get up before sunrise. Do you listen to the radio in the morning, play music when you get ready for work? I can’t tell if you live on your own. I don’t see what you wear to work, don’t know how you get there. Are you the kind of person who cycles in? Do you work behind a desk, in an office, on the railways? Who’s there to greet you when you get in to work? I can’t tell how often you visit your family, or if your parents are alive. Are you close to your mother? Too close? I don’t hear what she calls you, or what they call you at work. Tell me your nicknames, every term of endearment, every name you’ve been called from crib to college – did you go to college? – and what you lovers have called you, other men you’ve been intimate with, men who’ve known things about you. I can’t taste the food you like, the pastries you order with your coffee, or do you prefer tea and a scone? Do you bite your nails? Do you check and recheck things are switched off, the gas, the boiler, the lights, before you leave the house? I can’t tell where you go on holiday, what you look like in a swim suit, or a suit, what you like to dress up as when you get invited to fancy-dress parties. I can’t smell what you cook, what you feed your friends when they come for dinner. I can’t see what kinds of friends you have – are they women, mainly straight? Do you play sports? You look like you might be one of those guys who plays five-a-side football every Saturday with his friends. Do you call them “mates”? Do you go to church? Are you circumcised for a reason? Will you be doing stuff for Easter? Do you like chocolate? I can’t tell what presents you like, what your favourite flower is, favourite colour, bar, shoe, deli, fruit, chocolate? I can’t tell how you walk into a room, but if it’s anything like what I saw when you walked in here, you’re a confident guy. I don’t know what kind of insecurities you have, how you feel about an audience, what you talk about when you talk to a room of people. I’ve not heard you shout, I can’t tell what you look like when you’re angry or frustrated or want to stop someone from doing something stupid. I can’t tell what you carry in your bag, whether you have good-luck charms or family heirlooms, thing passed down, inherited. I can’t see the stamps in your passport, don’t know where you’ve been. Do you snore? Do you drink? What kind of a teenager were you? What do people say when they’re asked to describe you? How do they feel when you walk into the room? I can’t tell what kind of shoes you wear, what underwear you wear, nor if you keep your laundry basket in the bathroom or the bedroom. Is your house big enough for a laundry room? I don’t know where you live or where you were born. You could be from Colombia or Spain or the Philippines. I fucked a guy once from Mongolia who looked exactly like you. I can’t see you collections or if you have a collection, if you’re the stamp-collecting type, the coaster type, the type who keeps match boxes from every bar, café and restaurant you’ve been to. Did you smoke in the past? What drugs have you taken? So many men here are on one drug or another, especially the younger ones, though I know someone who likes them like that, skinny and strung out, tweaking twinks who’ll do pretty much anything you’re into. I can’t tell what sort of men you go for. When you get your hair cut, do you prefer a barber or a hairdresser? Do you like sitting in a chair while someone cooks for you, cuts your hair, fills your teeth? Tell me what kind of pain you like and how far I can go. Tell me if you’ve been tied up. I can’t tell what kind of school you went to, if you’re the type who likes to be smacked, who likes to be reminded of his school days. And in the evenings when you get home, do you watch television. I can’t tell if you’d cook for yourself or order a takeway, or stop off at Waitrose on your way home and buy a ready meal, one of those meal deals that comes with a bottle of wine. Do you drink the whole bottle at the end of a day’s work? And then when you’ve drunk it and you’re still buzzing, still coming down from something or other that happened at work and is nagging at you, do you land up coming to places like this? And now that you’re here and we’re doing what we’re doing, because any moment now we’re about to come and I really like you and maybe we could swap numbers, maybe we could meet up again, see if there’s more to this chemistry that just sex, if we let everything that can unfold from this moment unfold, if we went further than this room, stepped out into the world, took the risk of finding out the answers to every question one person might want to ask another human being.