Life is alway full of surprises and demolished expectations.

That quick moment of touch on his forearm. Skin on skin. A friendly gesture, a dry hand shake. It lingers.

****

He had given up dating that month, it wasn’t much of a sacrifice or as dramatic as it sounds. He still hooked up with two easy lays. One 12 years younger than he, much taller, and not as lean as his picture but with a big cock. Another, who probably took a drug because he couldn’t shake off his horny after the man had fucked him real hard. The man didn’t want to kiss, and lost his erection. Not feeling guilty, more the need to get him out of his room, the man fetched the still horny man to his next tryst. The speed of which it was arranged made the man feel cheap and obligatory.

But back to the Surprise. Can I call you Surprise?  Because your attention always feels like a surprise, an unexpected muse. Skin on skin, a warm, rough hands. It’s nothing, and everything. I’ll call you S.

He told himself, you’re too old to fall in love with someone, someone that you can never have. So that’s why he avoided talking to S, even asking everyone else but S if they wanted to go with him that food fair. He had bought two tickets months ago, and forgotten to make arrangements. He knew S would want go.

Why don’t you ask him? One of his friends said innocently. He confessed. And she blushed.

As it turned out, no one could go, and finally, in a moment of desperation (he truly didn’t want to go alone or waste the tickets, but secretly he hoped fate would work out) he griped loudly, obviously for S’s ears, that he had an extra ticket and forgot to make arrangements.

I’m free, I’d like to go. Why do you have an extra ticket? It was meant for a date huh? S teased.

He smiled.

****

A stolen look at work. A lingering contact. Yeah. That was stupid wasn’t it. Said their eyes. It could have just been a sentiment shared alone, but whatever it was, it resounded.

Love creeps in on the most banal of words.

****

He avoided everything that might have felt like a date. Because it was not a date. It can never be mutual.

Everything alright? Yeah, just the girlfriend calling for a bit.

The best dates he’s ever been on were the most casual, free. Conversation. Connection. Comfort. But this is not a date.

It went well. Then, luckily, another friend joined them, so that it was clearly not a date. They hung out till 4am. He gave both of them a ride back, which involved another extra hour travelling, but 10 more minutes with S. If only the 10 was tenfold.

He imagines what it would be like to kiss him good night.

****

His list: a bookstore on a Friday night filled with the the smell of musky paper; dancing to really good music with really good friends; swimming in the middle of the day when everyone else is working, sex after, skin hot from swimming sun; reading with his leg on S thigh, or vice versa; cake or fried chicken; late supper conversations; fall in Boston; a worn cap that smells of sweet sweat.

****

A Kiss is made of two “S-es”

****

He lies on his bed big enough for more, crowded with too many pillows left by his last lover. It is neither night nor morning anymore. On his metal bedpost hangs a dreamcatcher. Handmade by a friend, accepted sheepishly but with relief. A year ago, his lover had left. He became afraid of coming home to a quiet room, alone, afraid of sleep. Now he’s just afraid of dreams. He hopes the dreamcatcher would do what it’s supposed to do. But how would it know what’s a good dream or a bad dream?

He remembers waking up to a lover. The truest sense of the word, or at least, the truest he has ever felt. The nonsensical gibberish, slow waking. The light kisses, tight lipped against morning breath. The crumpled sheets. Sweaty limbs. He hasn’t made Love, or been made Love to in a while. He has forgotten Love. Or at least he is trying his best to forget. But in S, he recognises the crazy rush, the minute by minute countdowns. He endures the morning thoughts, and suffers the night haunts. He recognises the ache held in his stomach that fuels his heart.

It’s a bad dream.

****

A smile.

****

He is jealous of S. How can someone younger than he, albeit a few years, be so mature? So confident. So sure of himself. So generous. He admires the talent of S, and shimmies between a crushing desire to hate him, and humorous indulgence of possible partnership. He feels like he has not lived compared to S. He has not suffered the World. God, at his age? It is crazy, romantic even, to imagine that he needs to suffer the world to be a better person. But he has done silly things, like talked a bit louder about a certain subject because he knows he would pique S’s interest, post something because he wants to be seen as such in S’s eyes. God, those eyes. God, he hates him.

****

To sit in solemn silence in a dull dark dock, where he must surely pack a very nice cock.

****

I’m just gonna call in sick. Lovesick.

****

The three of them, colleagues, are to hang out. He’s early. She’s very late. S is on time. Quick come! She’s not quite in a cab. Gawd, save me from S’s eyes and smile.

They talk. Strangely awkward. An innocent question. Have you been to Genting? Turned open a sliver of S’s life. Yeah, my mother brought us there right after my father left us. The pain of what the 12-year-old and his mother must have felt struck him. He feels once again, guilty, jealous, heartbroken for this man. This beautiful man who had to return to a country he didn’t grow up in, had to work his way through college, who was always so open, and generous, and more whole than he could ever be.

Who are you? Why does my heart call to you? You are something. You are something I could never be. You are so much light given such dark. I have so much dark though given much more light.

She finally arrives. Nothing else is said, or perhaps wanted to be said.

Later, the three hug good night. S was warm from drink. He tries not to enjoy too much, that warm, tight hug.   

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