The Thousand Words

“Talk to me.”  “About what?”  “Anything.”

I had gone to Philadelphia to visit Ron an old lover. “Talk to me.” I whispered. We were about to go to sleep and had spent the entire day together crossing bridges, healing, dealing with real emotions, the hour already early AM. I had not seen Ron since we both lived in Boston years earlier, so I had not been to his apartment in Philly. Actually he has an artist loft, furnished with assorted tools, supplies, finished projects, technology and both a futon couch and a four post single wood bed. I was surprised when he opted to sleep in the single four post bed. Now I’m not one to lie, driving down from New York City the whole 2 hours I fantasized expected that we would, well, sleep together. Never mind the four year gap in our communiqué nor the voice I heard, Bert you already have a lover, what are you trying to do. Well that’s true. But I needed, wanted to hear his breath, feel his pulse. “Talk to me.”  “What do you want me to say.” We chatter a few more seconds about this and that. “Ron.”  “Yes.”  “Can you come here and sleep with me tonight? Nothing sexually, just sleep with me.”  “O.K.”

Is he weaker now? His breaths are short, quick burst. We can not find a rhythm, we can not find the right timing. I signal with my chest snug against his back, fetal to fetal, locked frames. Breathe in, breathe out, I can feel his pulse. As we touch, (personal note explore the entire sensation as well as the mental notes before just saying his touch made me hard) my body does not obey me, and I’m unable to hide my erection. Shit let him feel it, let him know of my goddamn lust. No I’m not ashamed of my desires. Yes he feels good, familiar, I exhale slowly smelling his skin, his scent, known to me from some time past, brings comfort. As time permits the pattern breaks, with him I usually make the first move. Habits really when we were both boys, now we are men. His halting breaths short, deliberate, betray me. Brings me back to why he called, after so many years. Who but time could play such a trick?  “Are you all right?”  “No, I’m still in pain.”  Is there anything I can do for you?”  “No. It will go away. Thanks.”

Inside I start to cry, stripped naked left on the side of the road. This too is familiar, holding lovers, brothers unable to offer anything more than words of assistance. We lay there, sharing time, for the thousand words we have yet to say and the thousand words left unspoken. I readjust my position, no longer trying to match his breath, and send my spirit through the air. I reminded of thoughtful, consistent, reassuring love, with this I try to touch his future, and fall asleep. In the morning he reminds me how I snore, how my snoring kept him up all night, a familiar yet forgotten issue.

I wonder did he watch me sleep like I’ve watched him. Beginning a time, when in simple gestures, you give of yourself, something real and treasured. I slowly turned to him, kissed his forehead gently and thanked him for calling me.

© 1991 B.Michael Hunter

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