He’s the sort of character that makes your pupils dilate. My black hole gaze is tracing the shift of his shoulders and sway of his hips as his expression of nearness rapidly unveils.
Perched on my Bleeker Street stoop I’m pretending not to see him, even though I’ve been sitting here waiting for 37 minutes. That makes me 17 minutes early and him 20 minutes late.
If I hadn’t patiently passed 29 years in quiet confidence that childhood dreams indeed physically manifest, his reliable lateness might be of concern. Instead it is vanquished by the way he arrives scented like pine and tasting like wine.
With no word of hello my hair is tangled in a hungry grip that pulls me to my feet and locks me to his lips. Our exchange of low moan roars is an audible delicacy that silences every other city sound; including that of an elderly couple who’s travelled down from E81st Street for brunch.
A woman with violet white hair wafts a trail of gardenia as she passes. When she squeezes her partner of 62 years’ hand the summer sun shoots through the stones of her antique bands and lights him up even brighter.
‘Remember that?’ she whispers.
Our connected foreheads seem to hold the other up standing on a block of pavement with our initials carved below our feet. The morning he led me outside to reveal my birthday present drying inside an orange cone border, I knew I was in love.
Even if I’ll never tell him.
A pack of NYU art students pass us and, oblivious to their presence, he guides me to a straddled lap position on the fifth step up of my nine step stoop.
The gaggle is all girls. They all have the same uneven hairstyle to define their individuality. He’s whispering Whitman in my left ear and the tallest passerby leans in to her collection of trust fund recipients and says, ‘My God Andy would never do that, like, he doesn’t even hold my hand in public.’
And although I know any gesture of permanence defeats all purpose our moments construe, I still believe every word when he purrs:
That you are here—that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.