October 02, 2024

Isolation. To Brandon


The bus was full when he got on; I had one of the few empty seats. I recognized him immediately though it's been--what?--six years since I've seen him last?

He sat down next to me, and I didn't see him again for the rest of the bus ride. I had my iPod on and he stared straight ahead. It's possible he never recognized me. When he slipped his right arm into his pocket to fish out his cellphone, I felt the muscles of his arms moving like pistons beneath his jacket sleeve.

He was the first guy I dated. I was 19 and had moved down from small town Minnesota to medium sized city Minnesota, and I suddenly found myself surrounded by gay people. Oh, it's a common narrative, isn't it? How did I meet Brandon? On the internet, I'm sure. IRC, back in those days. He had just gotten out of treatment at Hazleton. He smoked menthols. We had a couple of dates--was he the one who took me to the Olive Garden?. Then, I dunno, I guess I just stopped calling him. I was embarrassed at my desire, so far-ranging, without sense to it, fickle. Maybe he was hurt, but as he would admit, being out of treatment was a confusing time. He felt transitory. Laying on his bed together after sex, staring at the ceiling and smoking, I told him he should decorate his room. He said he didn't know how long he was going to be there, so why bother? It could only be a week. I told him he should anyway--he'd feel more comfortable in the space; it was worth it. A few days later he told me he had covered every wall and the ceiling with tin foil. He said it looked really cool. It is, as far as I know, the only mark I left on his life.

So isn't it funny that the other day on the bus we sat side by side and didn't look at each other, didn't acknowledge each other's presence? I didn't ask him if he had carried the tin foil theme through subsequent habitats, and he didn't chide me for vanishing from his life without a goodbye or explanation.

Posted by jason at October 2, 2024 12:34 PM

That, my friend who I've never met, was a great post. Perfection.

Posted by: Mighty at October 2, 2024 08:58 PM

Gone on IRC in the past few years? It's amazing the sorts of people that are left there and the random fucked up teenagers that find it still. I think it's really neat in a scary, back-alley sort of way.

Posted by: Addymal at October 7, 2024 08:29 PM

you know, i would've said hi. after all, he was sitting right next to you. but then again, i love torturing myself like that, so you might feel different.

Posted by: aklw at October 11, 2024 11:47 PM