• Mathura Hawley

lock

Updated: Aug 2, 2021


The chain, which I turn around so the lock is hidden in the back, is the missing link that I need for who I want to be tonight, which is friendly with a question mark. "

I walk to the back of the gear store on the corner of Arenas and buy a heavy chain, pay for it and pull back the curtain of the dressing room. It is my last night in Palm Springs and it is Gay Pride Weekend, which I haven’t celebrated anywhere in many years. I have black shorts stretched barely over my big legs and an open, short-sleeved chambray shirt and NY Yankees hat, a temptation to fuck with me for anyone with a little spirit. The chain, which I turn around so the lock is hidden in the back, is the missing link that I need for who I want to be tonight, which is friendly with a question mark. I walk down Arenas like I don’t give a shit, then back up, smiling at anyone who smiles first. I buy two charity margaritas and down them quickly, and they kick in about the time two beautiful, sculpted boys from LA who are in their underwear, and way out of my league, wink at me and woof. It reminds me that most everyone is here to have a great time, and the insecure snottiness of Portland has worn me down. I walk up to them and they put their arms around me and kiss my cheek and I take one of the gorgeous faces in my hands and look into his 20-something eyes. “Thank you,” I tell him and he pushes his forehead against mine. “Woof, Daddy,” the other one says, and smiles at me. I make my way through the crowd, from bar to bar. I dance with a sweet boy from Mexico who giggles and then kisses me passionately as his friends clap for us. Drinks are bought for me. My chest is rubbed more times than I remember. The hot young barback at the Eagle asks my name and then we hide on the back patio and make out against the concrete wall while the packed crowd passes by us. I have six numbers on my phone that were not there three hours ago. I walk back down Arenas and sit on the curb near the stage. There are tears in my eyes. I make myself breathe. Could it be that, after all the heartache and doubt, after all the recovering-from and been-throughs, that it is possible I am actually the man that these guys see. That this character isn’t a character at all, but a part of me that’s been put away. I feel in my pocket for the tiny key to the locked chain and I squeeze it tightly between my fingers, just so I know it’s there.


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