tagGay MaleAnd His Eyes Be as Blue as the Sea Ch. 03

And His Eyes Be as Blue as the Sea Ch. 03


Elmer Gantry was drunk. He was lovingly, loquaciously drunk. Or something like that, Alton thought, as he saw the bar still open. Its Christmas lights gleaming and gaudy. Its cardboard Santa in the window emptily haughty. Some cars in the parking lot. The snow falling roundabout. And the night late when the cold wind blew. All the seasons of love, Alton decided, as he headed to the parking lot, half tripping over a mound of stones covered by the night snow, are to be forgotten about. What did he ever think he knew? What popularity comes with your girl ditching you and Matt who used to be a friend, when you can't see straight because you are so sad, it cuts your heart in half? He stood at the bar door. He stood in the night that his fleece lined jacket could not protect him from.

He used to love Christmas. Used to love everything about it. All the way back to last year. Things change with such rapidity in love, such vapidity, so he went inside into the heat furnace where men and some women sat at the bar and in booths and all was red like hell and all was red like a horrible cold; this place was where the smell of booze lay hard and fast, like a grin that had gone too mean all of a sudden. Like a grin that had gone too haughty too fast and left you standing there at about age nine or ten again. The mirror over the bar with the leather padded seats, as Alton eased himself onto one, covered with snow fake foam and covered with reindeer flying to a never to be reached moon. And the man beside him was a talker. Older. Long away from university. Bulbous stomach. Heavy beer in front of him. And he talked. Like lonely people do. And Alton tried to ignore him. Everybody did it to him, why not to it to everybody else.

The man was a shambler and he punched Alton on the arm. Alton drew away and tried to hide in his own perfect night, that would come with books to read and hearts to sew together and love to give up, and move away from, because people used people, and to his horror as his beer came from the little bald guy behind the bar, as Alton sipped off the foam, noticing his left hand trembling just a bit, as the night swirled down his throat and kept some remnant of warmth into him, saying it's not the end of the world boy-o and the man beside him, smelling of cold and booze and cigarettes and that particular kind of horrible loneliness that Alton had read Christmas was peppered with for some people, as he talked, Alton ready to move to a booth or another stool, he realized the peculiar need for human companionship. That sturdy little rudder of flame inside himself that said anyone could talk and he could listen if he wanted. There was no law requirement that he had to respond. As if there were other hearts broken and he thought of Matthew and of Jo, and considered the human equation that was all gone and lost and smashed as he seemed to be doing to himself.

The man beside him, three sheets to the North wind, was funny really and he said funny things, that came with long greasy hair and a need for a shave, and Alton remembered Matthew like it was long ago, and studded with the need to get back with him, studded with the need to prove to him and to Jo that there were needs and all kinds of needs, that this could be a flower springing to life, blossoming forth in this Christmas coming night and he thought of old friends he could call, and he hadn't meant it, he hadn't meant to throw it in Jo's face, but he knew all the time now that he was with her, if she would give him another chance, he would be thinking of Matthew, and would remember the companionship of their jerking off together. Would remember the feel of it, his friend, his best male friend, beside him and them both erect. Okay they were drunk. They were sleepy. But they had touched somehow. And that was is for Matthew. Because who can live a life this long and all of a sudden, whamo, you're gay and you never knew it before.

He found himself in the chatter of the bar, in the clatter of the noises, over the country music wailing from the juke box, the man beside him, the interloper, he did not hear the words the man spoke, as much as he felt them, and, true, they might not be the man's words at all, but they scotched memories in Alton's brain, Alton of the Long Golden Sun Hair and someone beside him whose name he would never know, whose face he had not looked at, who was incidental to Alton and essential somehow, he thinking this later, at the same time. He wanted to be with Jo. Naked. The last and final night they had made love. He wanted to be back in balance, to kiss her breasts and to feel her underneath him. And he wanted Matthew to get it through his thick head this was what Alton wanted. This being thrown off track was not right. Matthew sitting there beside him. And telling Alton he was in love with him. Where the hell did that come from? Little pitchforks of hurt and anger went down his throat with the booze. He ordered another.

The colored lights of Christmas blinking on and off behind the bar and over the mirror that was cloudy like Alton's memory was getting. The man beside him more of a mumbler, more of a revenant, and he thought unbidden and unwittingly, that this was Matt is some years to come. This was Matt lonely on Christmas. His teacher going to fancy parties and reading books and loving quietly someone in his own studious way, not abrupt as he had been with Alton, not rude, because he had been quite a kind man all semester to all his class, and Alton liked to think especially to him, for some reason. So maybe the teacher was gay. Maybe he was scared and scarred, he thought, sipping the sour warmth again, and letting his head turn a bit toward the man beside him without the man noticing though he was mumbling something, like for jokes, like for sadness that gets all geeky and gawky and ridiculous because things hurt too much and you have to back away from it, all of it, and try to find yourself which has slipped its bearings and fallen too deeply inside you, so you can never pull it up again, like recalcitrant socks. And Alton laughed in spite of himself at the image.

Someone bumped against his back as they went to pay their bill, and Alton hunched over his beer more tightly, and this was the way with drinks, we become children again, and we hunger and it comes out tear stained and we are embarrassed at the words and what we did, the next morning. And Alton felt the man's words, like shadows on a winter day falling on snow, feeling guilty and not allowed. Feeling the world is stumbling, when it's really only you and the other inhabitants of a planet that must be as scared as lonely as hurt as confused as Matthew and Jo. Okay. And he felt sorry for the teacher and for them and for everybody. Everybody has their loves, and okay, Alton was loved, once, by Matthew and Jo and previous girl friends and maybe other guys who were keeping it secret like Matt before they both got drunk. And he kept getting this insipient feeling this was Matt beside him. A man in his forties maybe. A man who worked with his hands. Alton had glanced at them. They were calloused and leathery looking. A man who had spent his years regretting. Or probably more like it Alton was using him as a mirror to play off of, to say this is Matthew in his cups, this is Matthew without a friend in the world, this night soon of Christmas when the thoughts get maudlin and foamy as the fuzz on the top of the beer he had just finished off. Think of Jo. Dammit. Think of Jo. How you hurt her, how you threw the news in her face, to make her like you more, to make her laugh with you at Matt, and Matt I'm sorry, God. I'm sorry you love me. Or loved me. I didn't do anything to lead you on. If you had told me earlier, then I don't have this time warp man sitting beside me.

Is he you? Or is he the husband of some other Jo who has been having an affair on him and he has just found out just in time for Christmas cheer? Alton thought of his penis now and smiled as it got harder and pushed against his jeans. It all comes to that, he thought, it all comes to where you put it or in whose hand, and I am not a mean person, but these are mean thoughts and what is happening to me and why can't I get out of here and call Jo and call Matt and what the hell call the teacher I used to respect till he blew me off, for who knows what reasons, and say look everyone I was the high school golden boy. Okay, I remember one boy in my gym class who was always looking at me surreptitiously in the changing room and one day I saw his penis harden as we showered there, and he turned away shy as cat's milk when I looked at him and I was brave and superior-no I wasn't. I have never felt that way. I have never felt anything but eyes on me and eyes on me gauging every move I make, every word I say, I am competing with an image of me and I just want to get out of here, and so thinking, Alton accidentally knocked over his beer right onto the lap of the man beside him who had been affecting him in some really spooky way.

Alton jumping up. Apologizing. Really sorry. Really stupid of me. The man said gruffly in a voice that said he had given up and given in a long time ago, forgetaboutit and got up and walked stumbled out of the heat into the cold wind, as Alton saw all the eyes on him, college boy, the townies thought, stupid drunk college asses, and Alton paid his bill and left after the man. Who was standing by his, of course, pick up truck. Alton stood there in the night, zipping up his jacket, the snow falling less heavily on his hair and shoulders but the cold was piercing enough. The man with too much stomach was leaning against his truck on the driver's side. Pressing his front into it. Alton's family had money. That was not his fault. Matt's family had little money. That was not their fault. Matt saw the man he walked toward unsteadily and he wondered if he had gotten it all wrong in his too smoothed by booze brain, and the man was like the teacher Alton had once had such affection for. Maybe he's me, though. Maybe I should remember where and who and what I am. In a matter of days and hours everything named Alton Floyd was in flux. Floyd was pink and that was where it stopped, the last joke, as he stood by the man. The man noticed him in some few seconds, felt Alton, former star everything. Felt the shadows creep up on him. And the man said without looking up and over at him, let's gets a room, in the sad sorry sodden voice that knew Alton would say yes, and in the same sad sorry sodden voice that knew the man would ask and that Alton would say yes, he did so.

They got in the truck. Them Motel Six was a few blocks away. It was all of it awkward and fleshy and Alton thought it was going to be horrible. Thought this is a way for me to exorcize Matt, to say hello to Jo again, not to tell her, God, he would never do that again and the man kept apologizing, the booze heavy on his breath, and Alton stayed outside the office of the motel till the man got the room and in they went, Alton haltingly, the man knowing what would happen and that spelled dejection for him. He held Alton in his arms as he pushed him to the bed with cheap covers in the cheap room with the dim lighting and Alton to his amazement held his arms around the man and felt his good warmth in the too cold room as the man, nameless, as was Alton here and maybe forever, nameless himself, felt the man unzip his jeans and feeling for Alton's penis which was in spite of every thing, especially the fear of danger, who was this man?, would there be hurt?, would there be pain? And in the innocent still regard of naivety that Alton was still form from, he thought he had to do it right, he had to make this man happy as he felt the beard scratches on his face as the man tried to kiss him and Alton reflexively pushed away, so the man, knowing always knowing, that booze had to be the template of his release and sorrow was to be his induction into momentary sex, pretend love, as he pulled away from Alton and felt the young man's penis through his briefs. He looked at Alton, asked, said he was sorry, they didn't have to go through this, and Alton said nothing, just nodded, fearing.

Jo had given Alton a blow job any number of times. Matthew would have given him one in an instant of Alton had just said it was okay, and the boy in that changing room too, of the hurt pained eyes, but this man, bearish, scared and scarred too, remember?, had taken down Alton's jeans and briefs and had graced him, had made an art of the thing, the too fleshy lips, the tongue tip touching, the large broken hands caressing Alton's balls, this was an artist out of time and out of luck and with too many years on him, this gruff no nonsense man who intimidated who ordered around at whatever his job was, this man became a Rembrandt at this moment of oral sex, and Alton was lost in a fever as his whole body paralyzed and then gripped him and then bowed him like a bow on a violin that had never been played with such delicacy and with such imagination and such skill, and Alton held the back of the man's head, the thick oily heavy black hair under his fingers as the man reached up to under Alton's shirt, they still had their coats on for God's sake, the need was that immediate, and the man played with and pinched Alton's tits and rubbed Alton's smooth chest, and his flat stomach and touched his blonde pubic hair, and soon and soon the man brought Alton to whimpering climax and took all of him in his mouth.

Then they lay there. Beside each other and Alton's hand went with shaking bravery and too frightened courage to the man's crotch and felt the man's hard on beneath his jeans. He took it out, like a chimp playing with a toy, giggling a bit, and the man smiling in a dream world, and held it, far thicker than his, somewhat longer with more throbbing veins and uncut, unlike Alton's, and the man said, reading and remembering tomorrow was really yesterday warmed over, it's okay, a hand job would be most appreciated. And Alton with the man's help did it to him and tried to please him, but when the man came, Alton turned away. Questions peppered the air and he felt the man behind him now. Hugging him like Alton was a little puppy in the arms of some great father like figure. And the man began to weep, sorry he was not for Alton, sorry he was to do these things surreptitiously, quietly, being forgotten as it happened, wondering if there was always to be sadness mixed with sex, wondering if being together if only for a little while was the worst loneliness there was, remembering when he had asked his best friend once long ago, and his friend hit him hard in the face, cutting the man's lip, making him bleed, then laughed at. And knowing Alton was to laugh at him too later on. Wondering if he should put some bills on the bed before he gave Alton a ride back to university or wherever.

Tinkly Christmas music touched like soft cotton snow their ears. In the bar, in a country style way, and now in the parking lot, all cleaned up and jackets zipped, they got into the truck, having not said a word after the hand job. God, these self-abnegating words hateful words jokester words people used to describe sex, when for the man sex was worship, was a fresco that deserved painting, was a world that needed creating, was re-crafting the sun and the moon and the Earth, putting things to right, making things less lonely so a man didn't have to drink his way through Christmas and the loveleless marriage back at what was laughingly called home—love long gone, wife hating husband, husband perplexed at where the beauty of it had gone. They had met at university. This very one. Long time passing. He had been with a few guys before. Nothing serious. Just jerking around. And she had caught him and a friend at it. Screamed at them. Made him crawl to her for forgiveness. And he had indeed been deeply sorry and ashamed and he had hurt her terribly, had he meant for her to find out?, especially in this cruel way. So they married. And that was her increasing punishment for him, the war he walked into every night when he came home from work. And trying to recapture his youth and that particular friend she caught him with, the friend who was so embarrassed and would have nothing to do with him again.

He had driven the boy back to the dorm. They sat there for a while. The boy mumbled thanks, really, I mean it, thanks. The man had nodded and said sure, as the boy got out of the truck, closed the door very quietly, and walked into the snow and up to the dorm building. Shoulders hunched against the snow and the cold and the pain that was life. The man looked at him, remembered forever sucking him and how good his hard on had felt and tasted and his lubricant come, and wanted it again, oh please, but always the other person just gave him a hand job and never touched his rumpled hairy body, just that they would do and nothing else, and he learned to live with it. As he watched the boy enter the dorm. And could not help thinking, good luck kid, you'll need it, I think I have just seen myself twenty years ago, and as he pulled out of the parking lot, the windshield wipers pushing away the snow, the cab of the truck warm now, he wondered if twenty years from now, that university boy will have the chilling realization that he has become me?

We are mirrors, clown house mirrors, he thought, identities flow off of us like water. And the fun house has its way with us every single time. It's to laugh, he thought, it's to laugh. He turned on the radio. Elvis was singing, "it's gonna be a blue Christmas without you." And the night wind blew cold, and Christmas was coming and these were how things were and are.


(This story is dedicated to James and Edision for inspiration, encouragement, and many of the plot points and suggestions and ideas—the flaws are solely my own)

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