His name was Hans and he gave me red wine. The apartment was pristine, mostly white with a few loud splatters of red paintings. The white sofa did not have a blanket draped over its arm, nor did any cushion nestle in its corners. Dimly lit, it was a space occupied mostly by the quiet yet pervasive personality of the short pale man who owned it. He was forty-two and his name was Hans.
Underfoot the bleached floorboards were smooth and silently hard, stripped of colour or dust. Though unquestionably expensive, the room did not attest to its wealth – it offered instead the mild grandeur of an innate sense of style. My fascinated wanderings were shortened by Hans’ interjection, “Oh no, not there! Not to my bedroom, please. Out of bounds.”
He ushered me back into the living room, where a red record player observed our proceedings from a dark yellow corner. I sank deeper into the sofa, its plush whiteness softened by the wine radiating through my bloodstream, as we discussed where I should go that evening. The place to be, he assured me, was Bassy’s cowboy bar.
I was among my people. At the bar stood two men in long dark red gowns, their sequins glittering in muttered flashes beneath the shadowy lights; seated along the wall, men watched the excited crowd, their t-shirts bulging over hard balloons of hairy muscle; boys at the bar were prowling for alcohol. We may have been wearing clothes but every man in the room had been undressed by someone else’s eyes.
Four steps led down into the dancefloor, to the pantheon of twirling men suspended in bursts of coloured light. Somewhere in this red flashing darkness I found JJ. Vodka has erased any perception of when this occurred, and no memory exists of what greetings were imparted. (He later informed me that I was more than polite.) I do not remember what our activities were in that hot, raucous vice-pit, but I reportedly did not wear a shirt for much of the evening. This is not unbelievable.
I do not remember leaving at 05:30. I do not remember the thirty-minute commute to his flat. I do, however, have a very clear memory of the events that transpired thereafter (the details of which shall be excised for the sake of propriety).
He was twenty-four, his skin made of silk and miracles. No tailor, couturier or dressmaker could ever dream of possessing a fabric so fine or flawless as the pink sea pulled across the high crested waves of this boy’s chest, hard and toned and hairless. Every part of his body was toughened by exercise and every inch of it was bewitchingly smooth. He was a boy made of hot pink silk.
His face was resplendent in youth and constructed of that rare quality of beauty reserved for Grecian sculpture. Short wavy curls of chestnut hair perched at the top of his forehead and kissed the back of his head. He had thick dark eyebrows, held incuriously over large brown eyes so dark as to be almost black. Far and deep into those eyes does one fall, and what splendours await the journey’s end.
He fell asleep in my arms, drowsy with sex and cannabis. My head nestled into his hair as I combed his curls with my fingers, whispering thanks to whatever god had led me along this sublime path lined with liquor and satin. The soft, regular hiss of JJ’s breath felt like a feather brushed across the back of my hands. I spread my palm over the firm grooves of his abdominals and held him tight against me, inhaling the warm odour of sweat, smoke and seduction.
I did not sleep for I was already dreaming.
He made me tea and scrambled eggs at noon, the day already festering in his small cluttered flat. It was bright and cloudless. As the textures of my reality tingled with the promise of a hangover, JJ stood at the stove in his boxers like a diamond eclipsing the sun. The darkness of his eyes had sunk into the skin above his cheeks, small pools of lost sleep. His expressions were quieter and tinted with weariness, his hair a sparkling wave of brown cotton deformed by my hands.
I wrote my name on a piece of paper before I left, and have heard nothing since.