Romance Gay Sad

He turned his waist clockwise, bent slightly backwards, and drew curves on the air with his fingers. Time slowed down; he was moving in slow motion, and everyone around him blended together into a blur. The speakers were playing Sinéad O'Connor. And I fell in love.

I didn't believe in love at first sight. He was a proper lesson in irony. The music drowned everyone, and he was the only one who managed to swim. He opened his arms gracefully and slowly. He rotated his body twice, lowered his hands on his chest, and rocked his hips twice, from one side to the other.

I tried to grasp at the gravity of the emotions he made me feel. I took one step forward. I gazed at him, dumbfounded. Enchanted. In love. My friend, Alan, grabbed my wrist and pulled me closer to him.

"Are you seeing this drag?" he asked me, his voice cracking with laughter.

I didn't turn to face him. I instead kept my eyes fixed on the man. He burned a longing into me—a desire to hold him, to feel him. The last lyrics sang their way into my ears, forcing me to take a step closer. The man embraced the air, hugged his shoulders, and bent his core forward. The moment the music stopped, he opened his eyes, which met mine.

"Beautiful," I heard myself say.

The man morphed the corners of his lips into a smile, and it took this much to feel my heart melt for the first time. I could feel it dissolve from its solid form, become a liquid, and fill my lungs and stomach. I felt like I should have shouted out that I loved him right there and then. The stranger who moved like a sneaky carnivore ready to consume me, the stranger whose smile made my vital organs melt.

I looked at him in the eyes. I desperately wanted him to say something, anything. I wanted a single word—a moan, even a groan—to escape his mouth. I wanted to take his voice in and taste it with my earbuds. I stood in a trance when Alan snickered behind me.

"Seriously, dude, what the hell?" he asked me, tugging on my shoulder. "You cannot be serious right now."

The stranger looked at him, tightened the corners of his lips back into a straight line, rolled his eyes, and turned his back to us, disappearing into the crowd.

"Man, what a queer."

At that exact moment, I despised Alan.

Alan was the classic middle-aged man with a classic middle-age mindset. He was my supervisor at work, and besides that, the only other thing we had in common was our gender. I hated him. I hated that I had to live up to Alan's expectations and Alan's reality in order for us to get along. For the first time in my life, I had fallen hopelessly in love with someone I had just laid eyes upon, and I hated Alan for being there to impose his critique. I hated him for being close-minded; I hated him for calling this beautiful stranger a "drag" or a "queer.".

And at the same time, I hated myself for actually feeling ashamed to have fallen in love with a man my colleague had vocally disapproved of. I hated myself for agreeing to go out for drinks with this man. I looked down at my hands and regretted every single handshake and every single high-five I had given this man. I looked at his red face. His yellow teeth showed through as she spouted nonsense about how this behaviour was killing manhood and how this was the example our future sons would take. He was an ugly man, inside and out. It was a moment of clarity to see him lose his sanity over a man who dared to dance. I decided then that I would no longer try to appease him or listen to anything he spouted at me. I despised him.

I glanced behind his back and saw the stranger again. He had sat down by the bar, together with a group of about five people. They looked close, probably his friends. I felt a sting of envy for every single one of them. They had heard his voice, they had made him smile, and they knew his name. Yet I was the one who was in love with him.

"Are you listening to me?" Alan asked, irritated.

"No, I spaced out."

He kept talking, but I didn't hear much. I kept my gaze fixed on the stranger. Someone from his group of friends said something that made him laugh. He laughed out loud; only the music was too loud for it to reach my ears. I cursed at Chris Isaac for singing over the laughter of the stranger. I cursed at his friend for being able to make him laugh like that. I looked at his face once again—the face of a person who I loved yet a complete stranger.

He waved his head from side to side slowly to match the beat of the song, and the only thing I could feel was sorrow. I was standing helpless before a man who barely knew of my existence. My heart was curiously haunted by grief at that realisation. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes, one of them trickling down my right cheek.

Alan grabbed me by the shoulders and pushed me. I fell back; a young couple caught me before I met the ground. The man looked terrified, and the woman looked furious.

"Don't you fucking ignore me!" he yelled.

As tears of sorrow for a one-sided hopeless love wet my face, I looked at the man who had just hurt me, and I felt nothing but utter disgust.

I stood up, moved two steps further from him, and closed my eyes. Billy Withers was singing through the speakers. I let myself forget everything but the lyrics I was hearing.

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone. Only darkness every day.

My hips moved, my conscientiousness ascended, and my soul looked onto my body, waving its arms as it was being lost in the song.

May 08, 2024 12:06

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.