So, after all the angst, I was meeting Jeremy, and we were going to the movies. I was in a state where everything a boy says is fraught with meaning. For instance: did Jeremy suggest a movie because he doesn’t want to sleep with me? Or perhaps he suggested a movie because he likes me so much that he wants to spend quality non-sex time with me? I suspect the answer is he suggested the movie because he wanted to see The Children of Men and I wanted to get together, but then there was no subtext to agonize over.
I headed downtown. I bought two tickets and, because I’d been worried about the tickets selling out—we were seeing a independent, well-received film on a Friday night in the East Village, after all— I now had 45 minutes to spare.
I shuffled against the cold to St. Mark’s Bookshop, where I tried to surreptitiously study The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Oral Sex. It was on the counter in front of the register, for God’s sake. I checked the index for deep throating, but there was no definition.
I timed myself so I would not be too early, and when I got to the theatre, Jeremy was inside, leaning against the lobby wall. He’d cut his hair; he didn’t look so much like a schoolboy anymore. We kissed awkwardly, ’cause I was still wondering if we were going to the movies because he didn’t want to sleep with me, etc., etc.
While we waited on line to be let into the theatre he said he had to work the following day. “Oh, that’s too bad,” I commiserated, thinking, Does he really have to work, or just he just want to make sure I don’t stick around? Looking for hidden meanings in desultory conversation can be habit forming. Not to mention stupid.
We sat in the theater and chatted a bit. There was a little familiarity, but no affection. When the movie started he briefly ran his hand up my shin and gave it a squeeze, before returning his arm to the romance-free neutral zone of the armrest. I spent the rest of the movie wishing he’d take my hand, and wondering if his not doing it was meaningful, and thinking that if I had been at the movies with Daniel (we were going the following day) Daniel would undoubtedly clasp my hand…
When it was over we walked out into the bitter cold. Jeremy said, “So you feel like coming back to my place and ordering a pizza or something?”
Did he think I might refuse? “Sure,” I said. And, with his three speed between us, we walked back to his apartment.
Up in his warm apartment we kissed and hugged, briefly. I was completely nonplussed but couldn’t for the life of me think of the right thing to say about how I felt. We ordered food and then started talking about baseball.
I don’t know what it is but just listening to Jeremy talk turns me on. He is really, really bright and never boring. We were discussing the dullness of baseball and Jeremy observed that the interesting thing about baseball was something about how when each player got up to bat, it was a different game, and every second was a new game (or something along those lines) … “Quantum sport,” he concluded.
I got up, leaned over and kissed him on the mouth. “That was hot,” I grinned. “Quantum sport.”
“Yeah, it was?” He smiled uncertainly.
The food arrived and I was hungry but I didn’t get a chance to eat because Jeremy pushed me back onto his bed. We tugged off our clothes and as my tights came off I said, “I shaved my legs in the bathroom at work today.” Jeremy smiled. "On your behalf," I added. I don't know why I told him that.
I was straddling him when he rasped, “I want to fuck you.” I don’t know if I’d ever heard him say that before.
“Yeah?” I paused, as if mulling it over. “Well, OK.”
He unrolled the condom and when I sank onto his dick we sighed in unison. I slid back and forth on top of him, staring at him, my legs shaking.
“Open your eyes,” I murmured, “I want to look at your face…” He obeyed, but his eyed were heavy-lidded, and I felt like I couldn’t see them.
“Do you like that?”
“Yeah, I like my dick in your pussy,” he said. I couldn’t recall him ever saying pussy before, either. He’s quiet in bed, come to think of it.
When I came and we turned over so he could fuck me I thought, This is bad. I am vulnerable. I stared at his living room cum bedroom, with its low Ikea furniture and no books (they’re all in storage) and thought, I want to fall in love with him. And perhaps with me the desire and the act are one and the same; I don’t know. All I know is that as he was fucking me hard, with his face pressed against my neck, I was scared.
Then I had a brainstorm: a voice in my head said This is your gift! Your vulnerability is your gift! And it was corny and New Age-y but it made me feel a little better, even though I didn’t know what it meant.
Afterwards we sat on his ugly modern couch and ate our Burmese food and I made jokes about an appetizer called The Golden Triangle (“Full of tasty heroin!”). We sat close together and I leaned up against him.
By the time we were done it was pretty late and we climbed into bed. Jeremy turned off the light and soon we were watching TV in the dark, just like regular couples do before they go to sleep. I was thinking that my eyesight is getting really bad, I was kind of squinting my left eye in order to get a clear picture – when I felt Jeremy’s hand slide between my thighs.
In the morning I read and waited for him to wake up. When he did, and we were lolling about, I exclaimed, “Your eyes aren’t hazel, they’re gray.”
Ever since the first time we’d slept together, I’d been wondering about Jeremy’s eyes. When I first woke up next to him that morning a few weeks ago, I was fascinated by his body; everything was new to me and strange. His eyes especially so, cause I couldn’t recognize them as a particular color. They weren’t quite brown, and they looked sort of blue around the edges, but I just couldn’t tell. In the end I’d gone back and looked at his online profile to see what he called the eye color: hazel.
“Grey?” said Jeremy. “I didn’t know anyone had grey eyes.”
“Well, it’s mostly in romance novels,” I said, “Like when the authors have run out of blue- and green-eyed heroines. Oh, and Anne of Green Gables has grey eyes.” Anne of Green Gables was one of my favorite books when I was a kid.
We had sex again and while I rode him his thumb snaked up my ass. This was the second or third time he’d done that. When he first did it I was sure he had at least two fingers there, it just felt so big, but apparently not. I kind of like it— one time, I was amazed to hear “Oh!s” coming out of my mouth as he massaged me, though I’ve never come that way— but mostly it just feels like this tremendous pressure. It’s not exactly painful, but “not exactly painful” isn’t really a ringing endorsement. I expect I could get to enjoy it, though.
At last we got dressed. We were planning to go to a very, very delicious restaurant that serves Southern food. The last time we’d tried to get in, the wait had been about an hour. (“Hipsters,” Jeremy frowned). But it was earlier this time, and perhaps the neighborhood’s residents would still be recovering from their coke binges and whatnot. I said as much to Jeremy.
“Hipsters,” said Jeremy again.
I clued him in: “Jeremy, you’re a hipster.”
“No I’m not! I’m too old.”
“Yes you are,” I said, confident in my knowledge. “Look, you’re wearing blue jeans and those black framed glasses and you’re an architect, which is almost like being a graphic designer which is the hipster occupation and you listen to Yo la Tengo…”
“Yo la Tengo?” Jeremy was critical: “I think Yo la Tengo is too old to be a hipster band. I think the kids are listening to Franz Ferdinand these days.”
I giggled: the kids. Franz Ferdinand. “But last night you said that The White Stripes were your favorite band in the last five years …Anyway, I like hipsters. What do you have against them anyway?”
“Nothing. They’re like Jews; I just don’t like a lot of them around.”
“Jeremy, you are Jewish.”
There was a pause. “I guess I just made your argument for you,” he admitted after a moment.
So we went over to the restaurant again but it was, if possible, even more crowded than it had been the last time we’d attempted to get a table. So we went across the street to an Italian sandwich shop where they sell piadas, which are like panini (“Remember when there were no grilled sandwiches in New York?” I reminisced. “Back in 2002?”) but made with flat tortillas, not bread. Jeremy ordered a six shot decaf, which I found very amusing, but, as he explained, he wanted the taste of a strong coffee but not all the caffeine.
I wanted to go back to his place and spend the day in his bed, but I was meeting Daniel later. We crossed the street and stood facing one another. We kissed.
Then we kissed again, and again, and he made a move to go. I tapped him on the chest, and paused. He looked at me.
“Next time,” I blurted, “You get in touch with me, OK?”
He smiled: “OK.” Then he kissed again and left.
But on the way to the train station it occurred to me that it was very possible that my statement might be misinterpreted. Because when I said, “Next time, you get in touch with me,” what I meant was, “Get in touch with me sooner. I want to see you more often.” What if Jeremy’s not a mind reader?