A VIEW OF THE BRIDGE
A Short Story By
Manhattan, Christmas Eve, 1969
As I emerged from the 59th and Lexington subway station, a single snow flake landed between my eyes, suggesting that the city might be in for a white Christmas. The ominous clouds above and the mounting darkness seemed to confirm it. People around me rushed for public transportation or frantically tried to hail cabs.
Having escaped from a dismally boring office party in lower Manhattan, I stood at the curb, gazing down Lexington Avenue, growing depressed as the snow flakes increased. The thought of spending Christmas in my roach-infested, west side hotel room was revolting. Hell, the place didn't even have a television set. Then it occurred to me that unless my luck drastically changed in the bars, I was about to end up being alone for an entire four-day holiday. Up to that point, my "scoring" quotient had been unimpressive. I was a young, burly and handsome newcomer who went for older guys, most of whom were terrified that I might be a cop or a hustler.
As I made the decision to hit every bar on or near Lexington Avenue, I noticed a middle-aged blind man walking toward me, tapping his cane back and forth. He was dressed in a camel hair overcoat with a jaunty fur cap and had a serene smile on his face. Apparently knowing exactly where the crosswalk was, he stopped and turned, coming abreast of me. He calmly stood on the curb, his head cocked to hear traffic sounds, his cane gauging the distance to the asphalt.
The light changed, but a cab recklessly turned onto 59th Street ahead of the crossing pedestrians. When the blind man didn't attempt to cross, I realized that he was probably confused. "Let me help you cross," I said, slipping my arm under his and leading him off the curb.
"Thanks," he said, his voice deep and resonant.
I looked up into the dark lenses of his glasses and wondered if he was totally blind. Through the fabric of his overcoat, I could feel an ethereal, erotic warmth. "No problem," I said, acutely turned on by his body heat. I led him across 59th Street and down to 58th.
I wanted to start a conversation but couldn't. Yet, I had a strong feeling that he could sense my attraction, that my voice would only confirm it. Highly aroused, I stared squarely at him, admiring his skin texture, his stocky build, that disarming smile. He vaguely smelled of Polo after-shave with a dash of library, as if he'd spent a lot of time around books.
After crossing 58th, he tapped the curb with his cane then stepped up to the sidewalk. "This is my block. Thanks." He gently pulled away from my grasp and continued toward 57th Street.
Feeling stupid, I could only stand there, wishing that I had insisted upon getting him to his destination or had at least found out more about him. Cursing myself, I pursued him, never considering that I was acting compulsively.
I followed him into a drug store near the corner of 57th, where he picked up a bag of medication at the pharmacy. While pretending to browse the next aisle, I could hear the pharmacist talking to him as if they were good friends. I moved closer to better overhear their conversation.
" . . . some kind of infection," the blind man was saying.
"Oh, that's too bad," said the pharmacist. "He was a great-looking dog. Guess it wasn't so bad, though, being as he wasn't with you that long."
"Oh, I got attached to him, all right, but they insisted on taking him back. I get a black Lab next week. His name is Midnight." That smile again. "Meanwhile, it's solo."
"Hey, I'll get Tony to walk you to the subway."
The blind man pushed the bag of medication inside his coat pocket. "I'll be fine, Nick."
"You sure?" The pharmacist looked out the front window. "It's snowing pretty hard."
"I'm sure. See you later." The blind man turned to leave.
"See ya, Frank." The pharmacist watched him depart, obviously concerned.
"Frank," I whispered to myself. "What a plain name for someone who looks that incredible."
As the snow began to collect on the sidewalk, I resumed my obsessive little game, following him west on 57th and into a bookstore near Avenue of the Americas. Again, I stayed close to him, eager to learn more.
He made his way to the rear of the store, where he was warmly greeted by a young woman. She lifted a shopping bag to the counter and placed a pen in his hand. The bag was half full of books.
"You have all six?" Frank asked.
"No, Mister Bloch, they back-ordered the Kingsley Amis. They just brailled that one last month," she explained. "Give me a call next week. Sign here." She placed his hand atop a pad and watched him sign. "I'll put the receipt inside the bag, okay?"
"Thanks." Frank groped for the bag and turned to leave. "Jesus, they're heavy! I'm glad you didn't have all of them." He waved and tapped his way toward the door and out onto the increasingly treacherous sidewalk.
"Frank Bloch," I whispered. I followed closely, wondering where he would lead me. I didn't care, really. I wanted an adventureanything but a holiday weekend in the horrible room I'd rented until I could find an affordable apartment. I reviewed various means of starting a conversation but couldn't think of anything that didn't sound inane. I regarded the decreasing visibility and accumulating slush and snow. Hey, it looks pretty slick. How about letting me carry that bag for you? Or better: Looks like a blizzard. Let me help you. What train do you take? Small world, so do I! Where do you live? Small world, I live across the street! How about dinner? I blurted out a chuckle and thought I saw him turn his head toward me slightly.
It began to snow quite heavily; my pulse quickened.
Crossing Seventh Avenue, he turned north, coming to a sudden halt within half a block of 58th Street. He turned around, a look of confusion on his face. He was obviously lost. He stood near the curb and seemed to mentally retrace his steps.
As I made the decision to come to his aid, he swiftly turned again and continued his original route. Agitated, he furiously tapped his cane from side to side and turned his head back and forth to hear. The snow began to come down harder; I walked faster.
Just as the cane was about to tap the 58th Street curb, a skidding cab slammed into the rear of another cab in the intersection. The blind man defensively held up his hands, causing him to stumble off the curb, almost falling under the wheels of a delivery truck making a right turn.
I was over him quickly. "You okay?" I asked, helping him to his feet. I could see that his glasses had been crushed and his right eyebrow was cut and bleeding lightly.
"Yeah, I'm okay," he growled, obviously embarrassed and angry. "Please hand me my cane and books." He took a step and tripped over the curb to the sidewalk.
"Would you please settle down and let me help you?" I barked, reaching for his cane. I looked around for his books but all I could see was the ripped bag rushing toward a gutter.
"Jesus Christ!" Frank yelled, holding his knee in pain.
I placed the cane in his palm. "Here. Now hold on while I try to fish your books out."
As I attempted to locate his books in the dark water, another truck sped around the corner, showering me with slush. Feeling the cold wetness permeating my coat, I gave up. "I'm sorry, the books went into the drain," I lied.
"Sonofabitch!" he spat.
"Did you hurt your knee?" I asked, inspecting his torn trousers, then glancing up into his eyes. They were a stunning light blue and looked free of disease. "Where do you live? I'll get you home."
"Just get me to the Columbus Circle subway station. I live in Fort Lee." He struggled to get up.
I helped him to his feet. "Where's that?"
"New Jersey. You from Texas, Oklahoma . . . Louisiana?"
Taking out a handkerchief, I dabbed at his eyebrow. "Texas. Does it show that much? You cut your eyebrow."
"Is it bleeding?"
"Not badly. Press this against it for a couple of minutes."
He took the handkerchief I placed in his hand.
My teeth began to chatter as the cold wetness reached my bare skin. "So where is this subway station?"
"Near Broadway and Fifty-ninth. I thought that's where I was."
"Not quite." I led him toward Eighth Avenue, feeling the same warmth from the contact as before. It permeated my body, helping me to tolerate the icy wetness on my back.
"You sure the books went into the sewer?" he asked with a pained expression.
"I'm sure." I studied his beautiful eyes. "Sorry. How much did they cost you?"
"They weren't mine." He limped slightly and winced as he rubbed his knee. "I just picked them up for the Lighthouse. I work there part-time."
"Oh." Okay, smart ass, think of something. "Uhh . . . you'd better have your wife take care of that cut as soon as you get home."
"I don't have a wife." He almost slipped and yelped at the pain in his knee. "I'm divorced . . . and she didn't divorce me after I went blind."
I chuckled. "I wasn't going to ask that."
"Well, most people do." He turned to me and smiled like he'd done back at Park Avenue.
"Then have your roommate take a look at it. Your knee looks pretty much banged up, too."
"Alone on Christmas Eve?" I felt a rush of expectancy.
"Christmas means nothing to me." He didn't sound bitter, so I assumed that he was either agnostic, Jewish or an atheist.
I took a deep breath and blurted: "Well, I don't have any plans, so why don't I take you to your place and make sure your eye and knee are taken care of?"
His cocked his head, obviously wishing he could see my face. A look of skepticism swept over him. "Nah, I can take care of myself."
"If I'd been a mugger, I wouldn't have"
"Please don't be offended," he quickly said. "I don't mistrust you. I just want to be alone, okay?"
I was crestfallen.
"Hey, I really appreciate your helping me," he added. "As a matter of fact, if you'll give me your card, I'll call you and take you out to dinner next week. Okay?"
"I don't have one." I quickly searched for a pen and a piece of paper but came up empty.
"Tell me the number then. I'll remember it."
"I don't have a phone in my room . . ." I tried to remember my work number.
We reached the subway entrance, and I saw that the stairway was heavily coated with snow. "Wait a minute," I cautioned. "Let me get in front of you."
With one hand on my shoulder and the other on the rail, he carefully followed me down the stairs into the nearly deserted northbound station.
"You have a token?" I asked.
He grinned. "Yeah. Just get me to the turnstile."
I led him to the turnstile and reluctantly let go of his arm, then watched him walk toward the platform.
"Thanks," he called back.
"But what if you start bleeding again?"
He shook his head and playfully gestured for me to go away, then he disappeared around a corner.
"You didn't wait for my phone number," I said, knowing he'd never hear me. "I can't remember it anyway."
I slowly turned and urged myself to leave the station, eventually glancing up at a clerk inside the change booth. Unable to fight the powerful urge, I purchased tokens and followed the blind man to the platform.
Frank emerged from the subway at a station near the George Washington Bridge and walked into an adjacent bus terminal, where a woman led him to a waiting bus. I quickly bought a ticket to Ft. Lee and boarded the bus just seconds before it departed. Locating Frank in the mid-section of the bus, I walked past him and sat near the rear.
I had no idea where Ft. Lee was, so I was relieved when Frank pulled the chord just after we got off the bridge in New Jersey. After the bus slid to a stop, the driver escorted Frank off the bus. I slipped out after them and pretended to head for my destination.
I turned to find the driver glaring at me. "How about helping this man get to his apartment?"
"Don't worry, driver," said Frank, chuckling. "He was about to do just that."
The driver gave us both a puzzled look then shook his head and moved on.
"You knew all along," I said, relieved.
"It's your cologne."
"You've got a sensitive honker."
He stomped a foot into the snow, testing the depth. "I suppose you'll have to spend the night, huh?"
"I'll leave after I get you home and doctored up," I assured him.
"Oh, I think I might have room for you. It's the least I can do." He held out his elbow. "I've been feeling guilty for the last half-hour for brushing you off."
The hardening snow crunched underneath our feet as I led him down the sidewalk. I became increasingly aroused and breathless over my good fortune.
His apartment was a small, second-story walk-up. The living room consisted of a bedspread-clad couch, two mismatched upholstered chairs, a maple coffee table, and a large, German-built stereo radio/phonograph/television set. There were Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic posters adorning the walls but very little else to decorate them. The carpeting was a faded gold and badly worn. The small kitchen was separated from the living room by a bar with two stools. It had fairly new appliances and fixtures and was well-stocked with hanging utensils, spices and cookbooks, which I assumed were in braille.
Frank closed and locked the door. "Have a seat and I'll make you a drink."
"That sounds great," I said, my teeth clattering from the chill of my still-wet overcoat and the anticipation of having him. "Do you have a robe I could wear?"
He seemed to hesitate, then hung his cane on a hook near the door. "Uhh . . . I don't think so. I usually go nude around the house." He gestured toward the radiator under a window overlooking the street below. "It's usually so damned hot in this place . . . . Why?"
"I got soaked when I went diving for your books."
He reached for me and felt my coat. "Holy shit! You're gonna catch pneumonia!" He unbuttoned the coat. "Get out of this and take a hot shower. Hang the wet stuff on the bathroom door." With a concerned expression, he reached for the back of a bar stool to get his direction set. "I'll get you a fresh towel, then I'll make that drink. What's your poison?" He confidently walked into the hallway.
"Scotch . . . or whatever you're having." I followed him into the small bedroom, which consisted of an unmade double bed, a small dresser and a chest of drawers. The room was otherwise neat and clean; I was amazed that a blind man could keep an apartment in such good shape.
He took off his coat and hung it inside a closet, pulling out the bag of medication. "I don't drink, but I have a little Scotch. My girl friend, Ella . . . she drinks Scotch."
I frowned. "Ella?"
"She lives in Passaic, southwest of here. She's serious, but I'm not." He pulled a towel out of a chest of drawers and placed it on top of the sink in the tidy bathroom. He reached inside the bag and pulled out a box containing a bottle of insulin. "I gotta put this in the refrigerator. No, Ella would really like for me to walk down the aisle, but I just don't want to get that involved." He turned and smiled. "Damned good sex, though. She comes over about every other weekend and cleans the place . . . and my pipes. She went to Vermont to see her folks this Christmas, otherwise, she'd be here."
I took off my wet clothes and watched him walk into the kitchen. "You meet her after you lost your sight?"
"Yeah," he yelled back.
"Then you don't even know what she looks like," I ventured in a raised voice, hanging up my clothes on the door.
"Sure I do! I'll show you later how I see a face!"
I shrugged and jumped into the shower. The hot water was invigorating and led to an erection.
After drying off, I draped the towel around my shoulders and walked into the living room. The television was on and the news anchor was telling about a brazen, bloody Viet Cong ambush near Tan An. My cock was still erect and aching; I got a perverse thrill over "exposing" myself to a blind man.
Frank was in the kitchen, preparing dinner. He was listening to the news, a grim expression on his face. "Jesus, they're kicking our ass. Sometimes I think that Nixon doesn't want to win this war." He turned to me. "Feel better?"
"A hundred percent better." I sat at the bar and watched him, elated that he was now bare-chested and dressed in running shorts.
Without the hat, I could see that his hair was nearly all grey and cut short. He was portly yet muscular with grey chest hair and thick, hairy arms.
"You going to feed me?" I asked, leaning over to inspect his crotch bulge, which was ample. What are you going to feed me, Frank? I bit my tongue to keep from laughing.
"Hope you're hungry." He smiled and my stomach felt like I had fallen off a cliff.
"If you only knew how hungry."
His brow furrowed slightly, then he shrugged. "You like Beef Stroganoff?"
"You kidding? It's only sauteed onion, ground beef and sour cream over noodles."
"Sounds great," I said, spotting my drink and picking it up. "I hate to drink in front of you."
He shrugged again. "Doesn't bother me. I was a heavy drinker before I lost my sight to diabetes. After I was diagnosed, I ignored what the doctor said and kept on drinking." He sighed. "So I finally paid the price and wised up."
"That's too bad," I mumbled.
"I lost my wife and two kids to the alcohol, though." His eyes misted over. "I guess that was the biggest loss."
"Jesus," I reacted. "Do they know you're blind?"
"I lost track of them over ten years ago. Last I heard, she'd moved to California to live with her mother. She got the house, car, custody and everything." He sighed deeply and busied himself with chopping onions and browning the meat.
I inspected his injured eyebrow. "I'll take care of your eye and knee when you reach a stopping point."
"After we eat." He smiled again, probably pushing painful memories back into the recesses of his mind. "I'll take a shower and then you can operate."
Blood surged into my cock and a lump formed in my throat. "You got it." I turned and noticed that the drapes were open. "Oh, shit!" I quickly crouched and crawled to the drapes to close them.
He chuckled. "What's the matter? The drapes? What, are you nude?"
"Yeah. Hope your neighbors didn't see me."
"Fuck 'em," he assured. "I forget they're open sometimes. When I first moved here, there was practically nothing across the street, and you could see the whole bridge." He seemed to dwell on memories of better times. "You can only see half of it now, but it's still impressive, isn't it?"
I peeked out through the drapes and shuddered at the ghostly apparition enshrouded in heavily falling snow.
"Describe it to me," he urged.
"Looks eerie now, like a huge insect crawling through fog," I offered.
"I think I miss that the most. All the many moods of old George Washington." His expression turned melancholy. "It appeared different every time I looked out the window."
I returned to the bar stool and watched him finish browning and setting aside the ground beef, replacing it in the skillet with the onions.
Deftly, he threw a handful of noodles into a pot of boiling water. "What are your views on the war?"
The question caught me off guard, and I hesitated answering, having assumed that he was probably a hawk. "I tune it out, mostly."
"Excuse me?" he said, obviously wanting more clarification.
"I just don't think it's winnable, and I'm really sick of the body counts."
His expression turned suspicious. "How'd you duck the draft?"
I was slightly irritated. "I didn't duck it. I spent four years in the navy before I went to college," I said with an air of indignation.
He appeared satisfied, then smiled. "Navy man, huh? What'd you do?"
"Electrician. It was a very dull four years, most of it spent in San Francisco, Manila and Norfolk."
"Why did you follow me home?" he asked at length, again catching me off guard.
I sipped my drink, studying him, wondering why he was playing games. "It's not obvious?"
"Oh, it's obvious all right." He rolled up those baby blues and my heart thumped.
"Is it?" I toyed, joining the game.
"It's obvious that it's either pity or compassion. A little of both, maybe."
I was confused. "Pardon?"
"What do you get out of it, a pass to heaven, good karma? Hell, I don't even know your name. What's your name?"
"Larry. Larry Trager . . . . Get out of it?" I suddenly realized that I had terribly misjudged him. "I guess I have no idea what you're talking about."
Frank mixed the meat, onions and sour cream. "You know, sometimes traumatic changes in a man's life can really change the way he thinks. My whole concept of life changedit had to. I never thought of things like kindness or concern for my fellow man. Now, I'm very conscious of things like that. Except for you, no one has ever gone out of their way like you have." He chuckled, almost tearfully. "I'm really moved by your compassion, man, but I just can't tolerate pity. Is that what you felt when you saw me fall off the curb?"
I was flabbergasted and felt my cock shrivel.
"Some people are hooked on pity," he pointed out.
My vocal chords seemed frozen.
"Uhh . . ."
"Larry?" He appeared concerned and walked around to the bar stool, feeling my face with his hands. "You okay?"
His touch was magical; his chemistry was capable of driving me into a frenzy. Part of me wanted to be totally honest, but the other part wanted to hold back and see if I could seduce him. "I, uhh . . ."
"This is how I see." His hands gently and innocently discovered my face, shoulders and chest. "Hey, look at this good looking sonofabitch, will you? Big motherfucker, too! You play ball?"
"Yeah," I choked, blushing, breathless.
"Linebacker," I mumbled, struggling not to kiss him. I closed my eyes and begged myself not to fuck up. It was imperative that I make a lasting impression. With that in mind, I decided to be honest. "You're way off base."
He blinked and slowly lowered his arms.
"I don't pity you . . . and I'm not a saint."
"Then . . . why?"
"I've never ever been so turned on by a man in my life," I said, my voice dry and almost cracking with dread.
He considered this, finally making his way back to the stove. "Jesus, I must be slipping. But you just don't sound gay. Fuck, I never thought"
"I'm sorry," I said sincerely. "I didn't mean to lead you on. Had you been able to really see me, there'd've been no question in your mind."
The stunned look on his face made me wish that I'd held back.
"What would I've seen?"
"Cow eyes, from the moment I first laid them on you."
Suddenly, he burst out laughing. "Cow eyes?"
"What's so funny?" His laugh was incongruous; I felt frustrated and irritated.
"Here I am, pushing sixty, overweight and blind . . . and you've got the hots for me?" He continued laughing heartily.
"Maybe I'd better leave," I suggested coolly.
"God, don't leave! It's just getting good!" He reached for the bottle of Scotch, groping for my glass, pouring another splash. "Don't get pissed, okay? Hell, let me catch my breath, will you?" He poured the food into a casserole dish and placed it inside the oven, turning the dial down low.
"It's not just sex," I pointed out.
He poured himself a glass of milk and placed it on the bar. "Ah, a combination of eros and pathos, right?" He felt his way around the corner and sat next to me. "Don't mind me. Go on."
I felt encouraged by his mildly bizarre reaction. "I don't know what happened to me. It's never happened before. I never . . . followed anyone like that before."
He smiled and seemed eager to hear more.
"When I first touched your arm, it was like a bolt of lightning hit me."
He reared back dramatically, then smiled. "Sorry."
"I'm obsessed with you . . . your eyes, smile, voice, smell . . . ." I shuddered. "Your overall chemistry . . . ." His expression made me chuckle. "I assume you've never been propositioned by a man before."
He guffawed. "You kidding? I was a marine captain with twenty inch arms and a fat dick. I got propositioned like you wouldn't believe."
Instantly, my cock got hard again. "Anyone succeed?"
"That's a loaded question," he said, his eyes sparkling mischievously, his grin answering the question. "But you didn't come here just to give me a blow job, did you?"
"No," I said simply, honestly. Of course, I wanted to be invited back. Frank wasn't the type of man you just serviced and walked away from. This was the kind of man you never forget. The taste of him would haunt you, make you addicted. Somehow I knew that.
He took a sip from his glass and seemed to hesitate. "When I was in the marines, I had this sexual problem with the effects of alcohol. Some people get violent. Others, sleepy, whatever. Me, I'd suddenly had the morals of an alley cat. To answer your question, yeah, I got my dick sucked by a few guys, but I never looked for it. And, though I was never a religious person, I felt bad about it. It just didn't seem right. I guess it's some macho thing."
I felt compelled to change the subject. "What's it like to be blind?"
He shook his head in amazement.
"Dumb question," I groaned.
"On the contrary." He leaned back against the bar, absently exposing his bulge, inflaming me. "It's like being tied up and blindfolded at first. Tied up because of this fear you have of falling and hurting yourself. You're frozen with fear. And just when you can make it around your apartment, you know you have to tackle the street." He seemed to shudder. "The roughest day of my life was when I went to the Lighthouse for the first time by myself. I sat for two days here, picturing where the bus stop was, what the bus terminal looked like inside. It had been over two years since I'd taken public transportation in New York." He smiled proudly. "Then I went out early one morning and just did it. And I did it again the next morning and the next." He chuckled. "Man, was I bruised and battered after the first week." He abruptly turned to me. "It hasn't been that long, you know. A little over a year, really."
"No kidding," I said, impressed. "And you learned braille and everything."
"I got my first dog about a month ago, but it got sick and they took it back."
"I overheard that in the drug store."
"Oh, yeah." He patted my shoulder. "Yeah, you were there, weren't you? So you know that I'm getting a new dog next week."
I looked into the kitchen and saw a dog dish in the corner. "What were you like before you went blind?"
"You wouldn't have liked me. A lot of people didn't."
I couldn't picture it.
"I was a jock, too, back in high school and in the marines. Always playing ball with the guys. I worked hard, made pretty good money in insurance, burned the candle at both ends. I was a Don Juan, arrogant as hell. I think I fucked every secretary in my company. Before that, I was a marine in the Pacific. I was at Iwo Jima, wounded twice over the course of the war. Boxed, too. I was a welterweight. Came close to taking national until this fucking gorilla from Detroit broke my jaw."
We both laughed.
"After the war, I came back and got my degree at Princeton. Where did you go to school?"
"Abilene Christian College in Abilene, Texas. I got a B.S. in electrical engineering"
He hesitated. "So when did you turn gay?"
Memories came rushing back into my head. It never occurred to me to sift through those first memories of my homosexual life. "This fellow jock and Ihe was fifteen and I was sixteenwe were driving around one summer night. We were on this double date and both girls were on the rag. We got so frustrated that we drove out into the country and had at it. I'd played around before, but this was the first time I went all the way."
Frank seemed to squirm slightly. "How old are you, Larry?"
"Twenty-five," I answered, wondering if our age difference would turn him off.
"Good Lord, I'm thirty years older than you!"
I created another diversion. "So how long were you married?"
A sadness crept over his face. "About fifteen years. I got married at thirty. We had two kids . . . two boys."
"I'm sorry. Wrong subject," I said, ready to change the subject again.
"No, that's okay." He groaned and sighed. "I was drinking pretty heavily then. One day I came homewe lived in Nyack up the riverand she'd moved out, filed for divorce. Of course, I was fucking everyone and she found out."
I didn't know what to say to comfort him.
"I have to give myself a shot and eat something." He got off the stool and walked back to the kitchen.
"Wait a minute," I said, suddenly wondering how a blind man could extract insulin from a bottle. "How . . . ?"
He grinned smugly and opened the refrigerator. "Everyone asks me that."
I looked inside and saw two drinking glasses filled with capped syringes.
"Ella fills them for me and puts them in the refrigerator. The textured glass has the morning shots and the slick glass has the night shots."
I suddenly felt an intense jealousy of Ella.
He took out a syringe from the slick glass and placed it on the counter. "Then I get the only alcohol they'll let me have." He reached into a cabinet above and pulled down a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a bag of cotton balls.
I watched as he moistened a ball and took the cap off the syringe. He pinched a layer of fat on his abdomen and wiped it with the ball, finally injecting the spot.
It was easy to fantasize learning to give him shots, to take care of him. It was a dangerous fantasy, but one that I couldn't resist. He was acutely lovable.
We ate the Stroganoff and a salad at the bar, then he went into the bathroom to shower. I poured myself a brandy and sat on the couch, wishing that I had enough guts to sneak into the back and watch him shower. Certain that he would sense my presence, I decided to exercise decorum and hoped that it paid off.
I parted the drapes, looked out at the street and beyond. The bridge was sparkling white, caked heavily with snow. No moving cars were in sight. The snow on the street below was now quite deep and I realizedhoped? that Frank and I would be snowed in for the whole holiday. I wanted it to be a pleasant experience for him. I had no intention of pawing him and turning him off. I wanted to turn him on, to be invited back. Hell, I wanted to be his lover already!
As I sat watching a Christmas show on television and sipping the brandy, he walked into the living room. He was nude and exhibited a flaccid, fat stump of foreskin. His body was stout, but the moderate layer of fat over his muscular frame was uniform. He was built like the proverbial "fireplug" and possessed an abundance of soft, brown body hair. I looked for his war wounds and found a circular scar on his left shoulder and a larger jagged one on his right side. I assumed that the larger scar was from shrapnel. As he went into the kitchen and made coffee, I shuddered at the intimacy and promise of the moment.
"I smell brandy. You want coffee to go with that?" He lowered his head so that I could see his face underneath the kitchen cabinets. His smile was brilliant, his hair frizzy. He looked cute.
"Please." And then I could smell him, too. He'd splashed on something very exotic and masculine. Did he want to encourage his seduction? I wondered.
He poured two mugs of coffee and brought them to the coffee table, navigating by rote the space between the nearest chair and the couch. "If you want cream or sugar, you'll have to help yourself."
"Black's fine," I said, giddy that he was sitting down next to me. I sucked in all the air around him, hungry for his essence. My cock smarted from all the surges of blood.
Frank toasted with his coffee. "Merry Christmas."
I chuckled, amazed at how my disastrous holiday weekend had turned into the most memorable event of my young life. "Merry Christmas." I lifted my mug and clicked it against his. "Here's hoping that the upcoming year will . . . will bring you everything you ever wanted."
He nodded. "And the same to you, young man."
I noticed the abrasion on his knee and remembered my offer. "If you'll direct me to your hydrogen peroxide, I'll take care of my nursing duties."
"That's okay," he said, waving his hand.
"No, you might get it infected." I jumped up and went into the bathroom. "Is it in the bathroom?"
"Yeah. In the medicine cabinet. There're some Q-tips there too."
I found both and brought them to the coffee table, then went into the kitchen to fetch a saucer.
"Hey, I just thought of something," he said, absently picking at his bruised knee. "I have some wrapped gifts that I never opened. Ella brought them my last birthday and we never got around to opening them." He chuckled lecherously. "She fucked my brains out that night."
The pang of jealously was like a knife penetrating my stomach. "That good, huh?" I commented icily.
I poured some peroxide into the saucer and dipped a Q-tip into it, then gently cradled his face with a shaking hand.
"You're hands are cold," he pointed out.
"Warm heart," I countered, dabbing at the cut over his eye. I looked into his eyes and felt an ever-increasing fondness for him. His effect on me was awesome; the mounting hunger I felt was agonizing. Being that near to him and not being able to touch him was tortuous . . . deliciously so. I felt that I could actually taste his skin as I fantasized noisily sucking his nipples.
"Ouch!" he protested as the wound fizzed.
"You baby," I chided, dipping another swab and cleaning his knee wound.
"Ouch!" he repeated, exaggerating the pain.
"Okay, you'll live," I assured him.
"I'll get the packages," he said, bending to get up.
I pushed him back, watching my hand become enveloped in soft, salt and pepper chest hair. "No, let it dry first." I noticed what seemed like a slight swelling in his cock and decided to be a little bolder. "I'm curious. What was your reaction to those experiences with other men?"
Frank smiled. "Are you about to try to seduce me now?"
"No," I said defensively. "I'm afraid that if I seduce you, I'll end up leaving with just that. I want more."
"How do you know that?"
"That I want more?" I was confused again.
"No." He chuckled. "That's obvious. How do you know you'd leave with just that?"
"It depends on your reaction, doesn't it? Do you know what your reaction would be?"
"No," he said flatly. "I've never had sober sex with a man."
"My wild and impetuous self wants to drain you dry, damn the consequences. Then another part of me wants to leave here with your respect, whatever it takes." I tried to gauge his impressions. "It's very important that I be invited back."
Frank shrugged. "I never considered what my reaction might be. When it happened back in the marines, I felt unclean the next day . . . like I was infected."
"You were afraid you'd turn gay?"
He considered that. "Yeah, sort of." He crossed his legs atop the coffee table and crossed his arms behind his head. "Of course, that was then. Now I know that sexuality isn't as simple as it seemed then. Then, you were either queer or straightnothing in between. Sure, there were people who called themselves bisexual, but they were queer to me." He scratched his knee, but I tapped his hand away. "Ella brought her flower child niece here one night and she said something that really stopped me in my tracks. It was something like, 'Too many people look at sex as either black or white, when in fact it's like the entire color spectrum.' It's like, if a straight man is red and a gay man is blue, then who is yellow? Green? Purple?"
I was astounded at this burst of wisdom. "Now that's eloquent."
"What I'm saying is that I have no idea where I fit in the spectrum." He seemed to squirm again and placed his feet on the floor, taking a sip of his coffee. "But then, I'm really not that interested in finding out. The question isn't pressing, you know? If you suddenly went down on me, maybe I'd be so unglued that I'd tell you to stop and then kick you out. But then, maybe I'd like it and fuck your brains out, who knows. I just can't visualize it in my head."
I digested what he said, finally mumbling, "It's like Russian roulette."
"Hey, let's open some presents and have a real Christmas, okay?" He jumped up and made his way to a hall closet. He opened the door and knelt, rummaging through several items on the floor.
The telephone rang and I got up to answer it for him. "Want me to get that?"
"Oh, shit no!" He sprang up and rushed to the kitchen. "It's Ella." He answered the wall phone. "Hello?"
I returned to the couch.
"Well, Merry Christmas to you, sweetheart."
Enraged with jealousy, I quietly walked back toward the kitchen. As his conversation with her became more quiet and intimate, I got closer, inviting the pain. He absently played with his cock until it had become semi-erect. I quietly knelt, three feet away.
"No, why do you think that?"
His cock was almost totally engorged, luring me closer.
"No one's here, baby. I'm just sitting here thinking of that sweet pussy of yours."
His cock, almost as thick as my wrist, became hard and dark red. My mouth filled with saliva.
"I can't wait either, babe. Oh, shit, I'm as hard as a rock."
Hating her, I lost all control and locked my arms around his thighs, immediately swallowing his cock. His free hand pushed at me, trying to dislodge me, but quickly retracted as I lightly bit down on his cock head.
"Huh? Nothing. I just lost my balance a little."
I released my hold on his legs and made love to his cock like I'd never done with any other man. It was like drinking from a diamond and emerald-encrusted chalice.
"Sure, I'm breathing heavily. You do that to me, sweetheart."
Massaging his balls, I rejoiced as his legs spread further apart, welcoming more.
"Jacking off? Why do you think that?"
I sucked both testicles into my mouth, then turned on the floor until my nose was in the crack of his ass.
"Oh, shit," he mumbled. "Uhh . . . Oh, I dropped some food on the floor."
Having never had the desire with anyone else, I ventured into exotic territory, sending my tongue to search for his sphincter, finally finding it shower-clean and willing to be probed.
"A piece of bread, I think." The timbre of his voice had altered. He sounded somewhat hoarse.
My tongue fluttered over his sphincter, glided down around his scrotum, slavered up his shank and finally swirled around his broad head. My throat completely dilated, I swooped down to his pubic hair, causing his feet to dance upon the tile floor. Sliding back down to his balls, I took both inside my mouth and looked up at his face. I focused upon his face, then his cock, then his face as I slipped my thumb into his anus. Suddenly his face turned bright red and he grunted. A streamer of semen shot out of his cock and into my hair. Another spurt came, but I captured it with my mouth. In the throes of ecstasy, I drank his essence and spilled my seed onto the floor at his feet.
"Nothing, babe. Just cleared my throat."
I sat back and marvelled at the sight of his spread legs and quickly shrinking cock. A pearl of semen slipped out of his slit and soon became a two inch rivulet, which I captured with my tongue just as it began to fall.
And then I looked up at his disturbed expression and realized that I would indeed leave with only a memory and the aftertaste of his cum in my sinuses. I got up and quietly walked into the bathroom, quickly getting into my semi-dry clothes. As I returned to the living room, he was sitting on the adjacent carpeting, yawning as Ella talked.
Acutely depressed, I let myself out and slowly walked down to the apartment entrance. The snow was even deeper than I had thought; I couldn't distinguish the sidewalk from the street. Knowing it was insane, but unwilling to face Frank's adverse reaction, I struggled down the sidewalk through foot-deep snow. Not ten feet away, my socks were already soaked and my feet seemed like they were freezing.
A window opened above and Frank stuck his head out. "Where in the holy hell do you think you're going?"
I looked around and held out my arms in desperation. "Beats the shit out of me."
"Then how about coming back and opening your goddamn present." He closed the window.
Feeling childish and stupid, I meekly returned to the apartment. He was sitting on the couch.
"I was afraid . . . " I began.
"You can't read me. Nobody can read me." He nodded toward the kitchen. "I almost slipped and fell on your . . . your . . . mess in there."
"I'll clean it up," I said, struggling to fathom him. I hung my clothes in the closet and returned to the kitchen, where I mopped up the semen with a paper towel.
"Ready?" he asked, holding a package in his lap.
"Sure," I said, sitting next to him. I inspected the package on the coffee table in front of me. "This mine?"
"Yeah. You first." A small smile formed on his lips.
"Okay." I opened the gift. "A wallet." I held it up for him to feel.
He felt the wallet, then opened his present. "Don't tell me. Let me guess."
I could see that it was a three-jar package of gourmet jams, but there was no way he could know.
"Okay, what is it?"
"Looks like some pretty fancy jams."
"Good, 'cause we don't have a fucking thing for breakfast except bagels." His exquisite smile returned. "You're crazy, you know?"
"Guilty." I shook my head, amazed at myself. "I've never acted like this before, though."