The card I pull out says “Finish.”
The next card reads, “Answered.”
Disappointment, I don’t know where this is going to lead. I have been thinking about him for a week. The phone rings and it is him. He asks me to “rescue him from his friend”. He says he had no idea Ice was a gay club.
“The rule is, Ric, that if a guy friend asks you to go to West Hollywood with him, he’s probably gay and in love with you.” I don’t know if it is a compulsion but I end up going anyway. I step in and there he is at the door, that familiar musk in his hair and clothes as we hug.
“I gotta do my laundry,” he says, sniffing himself self-consciously.
“Why did you hide from me? Or does your gay friend not want you spending time with me?” I ask, feigned nonchalance, light smile, a walking cliché.
The friend returns and his face chars over quickly, he knows I am not some random girl that just showed up.
“I hope he doesn’t act like he’s your father the whole night,” I whisper into Ric’s ear.
He chuckles. “Jeremy’s a nice guy.”
He takes my hand, into the heart of the party, male strippers on the podium paying penance for the sins of the father. To my childish delight, he kisses me.
We break away for a breath.
“Don’t disappear on me again,” I say.
“You taste like ginger,” he fidgets with his baseball hat, “I like ginger.”
“Oh really?” I answer, coquettish, nonchalant, coy, desperate, our primitive mating rituals masked as sophisticated games of chess. We feel justified for the excuses we come up with, and we act like this is a new phenomenon that is only happening to us for the first time, every single time.
His pheromones purr through my haze of vodka and house music, and I do not allow myself to perish. I value safety now, not just the rush of a ten minute encounter.
“I am in no condition to drive,” he murmurs. “But it doesn’t need to end.”
Before I know it we are running, running to the car, running from the gay men hollering at us, running away with our sordid existence we call Los Angeles, where at any given moment, everyone is under the influence of any given thing.
His eyes are Indian algae and Aryan stone, and when we swim together with my legs wrapped around him I can feel his gypsy blood, I can hear the voices, generations of nomads making their way through the Middle East, the Bosphorus, Western Europe and Norway. My boots are still on, it is winter. The air is the bittersour of cayenne, and when it starts to rain, it is as if we are back in the womb.
“I wonder if men would feel as insulted as women if they knew they were just another notch on the bedpost. Or if a man knew he was a trophy boyfriend.”
The smoke filters over his thin sinewy frame as we share a cigarette. It is a breakthrough, epiphanic in fact that I do not want to settle. The vision of this half Viking nordic, half Indian gypsy descendant laying on my bed may serve to help my poetry, and nothing more. His mind is as empty as his moronic youth, and it is a world without wisdom.
If it is American to be excessive and chase after instant self-gratification, then as well as is everything that is a deviation of the plan. We come here from somewhere else and become exactly what we want to be. No is a word we hardly take for an answer, and logic is lack of reasoning.
Such a beautiful boy, who holds the promise of being a friend until you sleep with him, and then he turns into walking melancholy. And utter bullshit he wears for his collar. The fervor is momentary, the implications limitless as I sit here trying to make history, a new story, and a blank page.
© Alicia Khoo
Los Angeles, Nov 2008
Flash Cards for a Writer and a Winter in Los Angeles
An Atlas of Consonance