New Year’s Day is here. Time to make the list of things to accomplish in the next twelve months, but also to look back on the past, and not just one year. This is a time when romance springs to mind, as in romantic partners. Romantic partners of the past. If you are single, as I am, that is.

Hopefully, if you are in a relationship, you are not strolling down the speckled path, littered with phone numbers and photos of your ex beaus. Hopefully, if you are in a relationship, you will train your focus sharply on that list of things to accomplish. Summer vacation plans. Renovating the living room. That sort of thing.

For those of us who are still single, single still, then this is indeed a time for reflection. Recollection. Perhaps without those phone numbers still in your phone, or you might be tempted to dial up an old flame, and that can be a disappointing affair.

The past few days I’ve found myself thinking of Ian. He doesn’t qualify as an ex, or as a boyfriend. We were both too young, at the time. Not for this time, in which gay teens are happy and proud and not hesitant at all to express who they are and who they find attractive.

In that other time, where neither Ian nor I felt comfortable being gay, and would not admit that to anyone for years to come, we might as well have been too young.

He was probably a year or two older than I was. With a killer grin. I’d always loved that expression, and boy did he ever own it. Pure mischief in that smile. A crooked grin that crept across his face without showing any teeth. That smirk, when it was directed at me, especially when it was already in place by the time I noticed him watching me, well.. it just made me weak in the knees.

There he’d be, sitting across the room, kind of sprawled, really. Legs spread. One arm on the back of the couch. Looking at me with that expression on his face. How long was he staring at me like that?  How I would have loved to nestle up next to him and pretend his arm was around me.

His hair was never not disheveled. It naturally looked messy. Dark and longish and always falling in his eyes, which were also dark. Long lashes. Dark shadow on his chin. He was rarely clean shaven, and I think even if he had shaved in the morning, it didn’t last. His stubble was stubborn.

Then there were the ripped jeans. Faded blue, torn in all the right places. Worn at the knee and the seat. His butt was remarkable. Big and round and if you didn’t see his whole body, if you were just looking at his butt, you might think he was chubby. He wasn’t chubby. He had a nice build, but his butt had an extra curve. It was beautiful, and while we stood next to each other in the back of the truck, loading and unloading the things we were being paid minimum wage to load and unload on our teenage minimum wage job, I would sometimes brush against that beautiful curve while he was bending over in front of me.

Not on purpose, on my part, was it on purpose on his? Either way, I was secretly glad, and wished I could do it on purpose. Not just brush against him, but give him a good slap. Playful, flirtatious. Man, what if he reacted with that smirk? Turned around after feeling my hand there, grinning that killer grin? I half believed he wanted me to, or he wouldn’t be bending over like that, knowing what he looked like in those worn in all the right places faded jeans.

The job ended, and I went away to college. He stayed home. A couple of years later, I was out with some friends at one of those clubby restaurants. Friday night hang out places for clean cut people who don’t go to bars. The kind of place where you order potato skins and garden burgers and molten lava chocolate cake.

There he was. With his friends, and he’d been drinking. His eyes locked on mine, and he flashed me the grin. When he came and sat next to me, I had the impression there was a parallel life we both were leading, and in that life we were boyfriends. He knew it, I knew it. He seemed more comfortable crossing that parallel than I was, and that was both exciting and scary.

We didn’t say much, not with words, but was there ever a conversation going on between our legs. He was pure arousal. Grinning at me. Wanting me. If only I had the tools to make that happen, or trusted his set of tools, but I had neither the words nor the courage, and besides, I was with friends.

So we sat and chatted about nothing. It was both pleasure and pain. A big boost to my ego, knowing he wanted me as much as I wanted him, but it was crushing to realize that our romance was going to stay in that other life we might have lead.

Just the bittersweet memory to pick up and caress at the end of one year and the start of the next.


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