We were only children
Old Love/New Love
Letters in the mailbox
What I wrote is below.
We were only children, really. Twenty-five and still coming out to parents and friends. I thought you were straight for two months. Your handsome face behind the glass counter, your strong and gentle hands moving the croissants with a paper sheet. I watched your bicep flex as you scooped the chicken salad, or when you brought the pitcher up to the arm of the steamer, that big, beautiful espresso machine and your lovely, full-lipped smile.
We rode our bikes home through the warm summer evening, stopping once for a beer, and I thought, “Here I go again, falling for a straight guy.” I did that a lot back then, so when you told me you found me attractive, I nearly choked.
“Are you experimenting”? I asked. “Because I don’t like being a practice run.”
“No,” you said, “I’m gay. I’m interested in you. Don’t you get it?”
What followed was one of the great, short-lived love affairs of my young life. Your smooth, hairless chest and soft kisses, the deliciousness of working together like friends and leaving together like lovers. Candlelight nights and lazy mornings. The time we couldn’t find any lube; I suggested olive oil, but grabbed the sesame oil by mistake. The next day you said, “I will always think of you when I eat sesame noodles now.”
When I returned to school, your letters began to arrive, waiting for me behind the tiny metal door of my P.O. box. I felt like a Jane Austen character, especially the day I climbed up into the old elm and read your profession of love. “I know what you’re thinking,” you wrote. “That I shouldn’t profess love in a letter, that we haven’t known each other long enough, but I don’t care: the truth is I love you. I love you. I do.”
No one had ever written me a love letter before.
Where are you, I wonder? And who are you now? Are you bald and unhappy? Are you a faithful partner? Do you think of me sometimes? But most important of all, are you being loved? That’s what I really want to know. Are you being loved? Is somebody loving you?