What was he like – you mean before, don’t you? Wait, move, my arm’s going to sleep. Oh, it’s not so bad for a foldout couch. Hey, it’s free, right?
Okay, it was sort of – no, it’s fine, they always shut their bedroom door. Okay, first. Up until the Halloween party, that was the last time I saw him healthy. I really didn’t know him long, I guess.
Let’s see. He was blond like you, furry, same quality there, but the skin and hair a little more delicate, slightly more golden. An inch taller than either of us, I think, but his shoulders weren’t as broad as yours.
Now, stop it. Because it tickles, that’s why. Well, if you don’t want to hear. Okay, move your arm over. Better.
I suppose he was more of a golden boy than you, a bit more delicate, more beautiful. He was beautiful, really, even in the hospital, when he was all –
No, handsome, but never as solid as you. Not as much of a man, really. Though only by a little bit. Not as grounded.
You know what I mean, it’s like you’re in more solid contact with the ground. You walk like you’ve been in the Navy. You’re sexier, I’ll give you that, and you smell good. To me, anyway. Ow, hey, hey, stop. If you don’t stop I’ll take your clothes out and sell them on the street. Ha. Okay.
So, he was a bartender – No, at a nice bar, really a pretty ritzy place. So this big, blond bartender gave me an incredible smile, and he kept it up and I couldn’t even think straight, he gave me his phone number and, of course, I practically fell off the stool getting out one of my cards. And he says, how about breakfast?
No, he didn’t mean that. Well, I wasn’t going to hang around ‘til three in the morning. Although, if he’d – Anyway, next morning I was running late. Oh, stop, I am not always late. Okay, so, he shows up and I’m in the shower, but since I left the front door unlocked–
Well, I didn’t want to make him wait outside. Hey, come on. So, about two hours later – look, do you want to hear this or not? Two hours later, we got dressed and out the door, went to breakfast, and he starts talking about reading Nabokov in Russian. Oh, a novelist, modern, very tricky, subtle, sort of like – anyway. But it was so –
No, I know you can’t read novels in Russian. You’ve never read any Nabokov anyway, I bet. No, don’t be ridiculous, I don’t care. Well, don’t look like that. You don’t think I only want to fuck with readers of the New York Review of Books, do you? Don’t be silly. No, look, I’ve been hanging around intellectual types all my life and, believe me, it’s no better than anything else.
Look, I’ve seen you cook, and you make the leather things, the – it’s like you’re directly in contact with everything you do. And how you were with the kids at the store, and your dogs, and all your plants. I mean, you’re so good with them, sensitive to them, in touch with what’s living. That’s an incredible talent, and do you know how amazing it is for me? It’s like it gives me a chance to really live. I mean normally, I’m miles away from everything around me, even – oh, of course. Well, yes, I assumed that would go without saying. I’ll admit that I really like that. Anyway, it’s not like I cared about discussing Nabokov with him, it was just a nice surprise, as an idea I mean.
I don’t like the tone of that. Hey, I think of you, and it’s like... Yes, I do. You’re here, and you’re so – I shouldn’t say it, it’ll give you a swelled head. Okay, you’re such a solid – no, I know, I don’t mean that, let me finish – you’re so real, holding on to you is like, the most real thing I’ve ever done. And you know you’re handsome, I’ve seen the photos, I’m not going to go over all that.
Well you wouldn’t have pictures of you in those costumes if you had much doubt, would you? Black cowboy hat, vest, boots, period. Huh. I mean. No, they’re great photographs, but I’m not going to worry about convincing you that you look good.
Well, I know you look good to me.
Prove it? Just wait. If I can get one arm free, I’ll prove it. And no more tickling.
No, I had a good time, I’m just a little tired.
Well, these boots are just, and then it got so crowded.
I guess so. Yeah, the men looked good. Okay, pretty good. Huh, I just wasn’t looking at them, that’s all.
Here, help me with – thanks. Damned boots.
Okay, it starts at eight so, we can lie down for maybe an hour. No, just on top of the comforter, it’s fine.
No, not sleepy.
So. Tell me about Brian.
Oh, everything, I guess. How long were you together, anyway?
God, I can hardly even imagine that. No, I think it’s wonderful, you must have really loved him. And the house and everything.
But what was he like?
Oh, just anything.
God, you are kidding.
No, that’s good. I mean, you loved each other anyway. Besides, it means you can put up with me, right?
I mean, you know what I mean. When I get cranky.
Oh, did I? Sorry, like I said, I was tired. I’m sorry. No, we did stay five hours, I thought you’d had enough too.
So, then, did he do the living room that way?
No, I think it looks great, it’s just – it’s not how I think of you, that’s all.
The entire house? How long did that take?
That’s great, that he could still do that.
So then he must have died right after. A whole year?
What did – what did you, do with him? You know. What did you both, like to do? Together?
Sorry, I didn’t want to be pushy, I just wondered.
You know, I want us to take the coast route back instead of the desert. Yeah, it’s long, but it’s so beautiful. I took it alone last time, it was amazing, the fog, the trees and everything, green the way Ireland must be. And the ocean past the cliffs, it’s... I was thinking how nice it would be to share it.
We can both drive, it wouldn’t be so bad.
We can decide tomorrow. I already know my vote is for the coast, though.
Actually, the best part, it’s neat that he’d tease you about always leaving your glasses behind. Well, you don’t like to admit you wear them. No, uh-uh, I’ve seen you hide them in your pocket. Oh, come on, it’s sort of cute. Yeah, this big, brawny man with glasses. Ahh, c’mon.
You know, it feels like – nah, I shouldn’t; well... I like being with you so much. No, it’s like I want to wake up with you, every day, and, I want to remind you not to forget your glasses, and laugh with you about it...
No, I’m not trying to go too fast.
I know. I didn’t mean anything.
Hey, we need to get up and get dressed for the party, it started an hour ago.
One or the other, doesn’t matter to me.
No, it’s not open for breakfast. Never is.
Let’s just go in here, it’s fine.
Eggs and hash browns. Yes, that’s fine. Whatever. A bran muffin.
I’m not looking serious, I’m looking unhappy.
Frustrated. Um hm.
I didn’t sleep. Not much.
I understand that it’s difficult for you, and I’m willing to give you all the time in the world.
No, it’s not that, don’t be ridiculous.
You should have gone home with that guy from Atlanta.
Oh come on, I saw you. That was the fastest your head moved all weekend.
No, I’m sorry, really, I don’t want to sound like that. But it was clear that, if you – if you can’t deal with everything since Brian, then it’s...
I mean if you can’t deal with sex. With someone living.
... I’m sorry.
It just – it seemed like you could deal with sex when it came to that child from Atlanta.
I think you should have done it. Maybe it would have been a good thing, I wouldn’t have minded.
No, I’m not saying anything about what you, I don’t have any – claim on you, I don’t have any right to say anything about whatever you want to do. And I wouldn’t take it anyway, I don’t want to push you into anything, that would be like, I couldn’t do that. I only want to –
I’m calm. I just need to explain, and I don’t like living in some fool’s –
Because I thought you wanted me.
No – no, go ahead, take the plate, I’m done. No, I don’t think? – nothing else for us. Thank you.
Oh, you don’t need to do that. Look, all right, I’ll leave the tip.
I think we should go home through the desert.
It’s shorter, and I have a lot to do when I get back and so do you.
No, I wouldn’t suggest it if I minded.
It’s late. We’d better go.
you forgot your glasses –
[San Francisco, Los Angeles, 9/8/91-4/19/92]