(damaged boys) 14

(damaged boys) 14: towson melancholy
There were five of them in the row of townhouses, and underneath the sheen of public normalcy and personal success lived the gaping damage within.
Towson melancholy
Maybe it wasn’t the best idea he’d ever had, but it was something he felt he needed to do, and this, quite honestly, was his best opportunity. It had been months since he’d seen Adam, months since he’d set foot in Baltimore. The fact is, and few people ever knew, Ben did go back. Once.

He remembered the constant partying of the holiday season…from Thanksgiving through the New Year, Ben had been invited to no fewer than twelve parties, and he planned on going to every last one of them. Now in his final year at university, he was immersed in his senior thesis and completing his required coursework. There was little time to come home and visit with friends and family. This three-week respite in his studies was a welcome break from the tedium of his college routine. Although, he’d remembered when it was all fun and new and even the smallest thing was exciting. Eventually, these things wear off, and they become uninteresting and, once again, unextraordinary.
But visiting home afforded a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and catch-up with old friends and acquaintances. He arrived at Phillip’s a few minutes before the party was scheduled to begin. They worked in tandem, readying the house for guests…spending some treasured time alone…before the impending circus. Phillip liked to mix large numbers of his friends from wildly different circles, so his events were always interesting.
Aaron was a dental student from Toronto, visiting several teaching hospitals in the area where he might wish to continue his studies. He’d been introduced to Phillip through mutual friends, and promptly invited to the party.
There was always an air of expectation at holiday gatherings…the mystery of strangers and the sense of possibility. Aaron was the most gregarious of all the new people; the fresh faces with stories unknown. Ben found himself immediately attracted to his energy, silly and erratic. Short and shiny, with an impish grin, Aaron had charmed half the room within the first five minutes.
Later, during a raucous game of Truth or Dare, Aaron was dared to kiss someone in the room…and he’d singled-out Ben. He marched directly across the living room and planted the most delicious kiss on Ben’s lips. It was playful and sweet and reminded him immediately of Adam.
Aaron was a totally different animal…he was Canadian. Most remarkably, he was a good twelve inches shorter than Ben and had a generally agreeable demeanor. There were no stormy mood swings or bitter debates. There, of course, was not the love, either.
But, Aaron would do…for now. It was that excitement that surrounds the newness of it all…the kisses, the words…the discovery about the other person.
Aaron stayed for three days before returning to Tufts in Boston, but not before making plans to spend a weekend together in Baltimore. Baltimore. Besides the obvious pathos, it was an easy flight from both cities, with low fares. Ben told himself this was why they needed to meet in Baltimore. And he’d believed it. That is, until he landed at Baltimore Washington International, before he commenced a sustained series of flashbacks, returning him to a city rife with pain and sex and the last bits of his broken heart.
How odd, he thought, to be here with absolutely no intention of seeing Adam…without Adam even knowing he was there.
Aaron and Ben stayed at a hotel in Towson, just outside the city. Towson was a familiar place…a place Ben had frequented on each of his trips. Ben took Aaron to the Japanese restaurant where he and Adam shared their last meal. They walked and Aaron talked. Ben disintegrated into past conversations, keeping his eyes open for glimpses of Adam, for any shards of what once was…for molecules of the past.
When Aaron and Ben fucked, Ben imagined Adam…somewhere in the same city making love to someone else. Adam, already having moved on to a new chapter, a new person. Did he ever think back and remember? Why was he stuck in this never ending loop? It was a maze, and at every turn, a glimpse of Adam rounding another corner ahead. This was madness.
In the morning, as Ben kissed Aaron goodbye, he apologized silently. Apologized for not really being there. For not showing up, for being collapsed to completely into the shadows of his former life. But, it would be silly to try and explain all of this to Aaron.
Aaron flew back to Boston none the wiser, and Ben flew home…both with very different memories of the same weekend. Both with hopes for each other, and Ben with an endless, hollow loneliness.

Dec 13, 2005 By Todd 1 Comment