So goes the voice in my head. The voice in my head has an uppity British accent. It’s often condescending. At this moment, it was bemused and snippity as yes… the clothes were falling into mini piles along the hotel room’s floor.
I had met this tourist about 2 days ago. He had bumped into myself and my running group at the bar where my running group likes to drink back the calories we so valiantly burned off just minutes ago. He seemed sweet and inoculous. A tourist from New Mexico. New Mexicans are nice. I offered to take him around SF to see the sights and sounds where the locals go, and where the stench of urine is less and where the self-medicating homeless are actually homed and self-medicating in their parents’ basements.
It was an offer of friendship. It was not a romantic gesture, although maybe I didn’t know that maybe it was. I have no idea. I thought I was doing a tourist a favor.
I completely forgot I mentioned it until I received a text a day later wondering if I was up for “drinks?” Ah crap. I hope he doesn’t think this is a date. I’m fucked up, man. I’ve still got an engagement ring on. I still masterbate to my fiance’s memory.
So I dressed down in a dirty tshirt and my work jeans to signal, “Me no want anything!” and met him for drinks at my favorite wine bar in downtown SF. Three drinks later, all the cards are on the table: my fiance died 6 months ago, he just got out of a relationship, he was 11 years younger than me, we don’t want anything.
But we’re drunk. And it’s a rare warm night in SF. A warm night enough to sneak onto a cable car and hear the ding! ding! of the bell and feel the metal on metal wheels whirring beneath us and marvel at the lights of the Bay Bridge. We rode out to Fort Mason and caught the last of the food trucks for Off the Grid, and giddily rode back through Chinatown on the 30 bus.
“I’m scared.” I stopped him. He looked at me concerned, and pulled back. Then with the hotel windows open and the warm breeze still blowing the curtain softly, he kissed me softly again. It was nice.
Everything was nice. It was nice to feel desire… I had forgotten it existed in me. I had thought that when I finally did have sex again after my fiance’s death, that I would cry. I always thought I would cry. But I didn’t. Instead, it was a peculiar feeling of relief and guilt. Relief that life did go on; guilt that life goes on.
It was feeling the memory of my fiance getting further behind me; as if the fading of that memory was a drop of death that signaled our lives were growing- note the word ‘growing’- apart at last.
But at this moment, I had to learn to put my fiance aside for the meantime, and give this person in front of me, my undivided attention. Because we were two ships passing in the night; both carrying our own separate cargo of loss. We had to learn to connect with what little we did have… which was this person, these bodies, this willingness, and this particular space and time.. which by the time you read this, will also be a fading memory….