How Would I Tell You?

How would I tell you? Without running you off that is. Without the polite severing of what little contact we have of late?

How would  I tell you how golden you were to me, years ago, before life and time and gravity happened to both of us?  How golden and perfect in your mesh shirts and gym shorts on game day, your soft fleece gym shorts, which made me wonder what a hard leg muscle would feel like through them. You were the pinnacle of clean and good and strong and juicy and desireable. You were everything that was held up to me as admirable, utterly admirable, and utterly different from me. You had sunshine in your hair and playing on your face, no matter what you did or said. You weren’t the best looking guy around, but you were the best looking guy I knew. I was a secret fan; you could do no wrong, I was always silently on your side.

You always had the seasonal sports equipment at hand, a lacrosse stick, a football, a catcher’s mitt, a basket ball. I could tell the time of year by the bouncing or twirling or the thwack of ball on leather coming from you. I could hear and see all this from my room, as I stood, wedged between my nightstand and bed to get a better look, through the shutters so you would not look up and see me looking from up there, so you wouldn’t see my need from up there. How well I could hide it.

I hid it when you walked by, in your tank tops, with little strands of your underarm hair poking out, so I imagined other hair in other areas. I hid it when you wore that one pair of pants you had, pale blue corduroys that were perhaps a little too tight in the crotch (or just tight enough). I hid it when you spoke, your lips moving in your characteristic way, so alluring, so that I wanted to feel them kiss me. I was good at hiding. I still am.

I didn’t love you because I never really knew you, but I was always grateful to you. You treated me, if not precisely well, then with less contempt than other people did. You were nearly avuncular with me, at times, and I often think if I had been less terrified of slipping up, we could have been friends. You could have taught me sports – I was always expected to know sports without ever being told how to do sports. You said you would get me on the field of play and for you I’d have risked being beaned or knocked down or squashed or winded. Just for once to be nearly your equal. I know we would never be other than friends, but friends would have been nice. I certainly have always wished you well. Once you came to my room in my parent’s house, to show me some record album or other, and for me, it was like a short marriage of fifteen minutes’ duration, we were together, partially domestic, in the same room together, breathing the same air, but I didn’t get you a drink. I’d have spilled it.

I never got to see you come into real manhood. I think perhaps I’d have hidden myself from you, or gone blind, by one means or another.

Years later, I tried to track you down, but you were gone. I did find out that you lived in a Midwestern state. Then, just the other day, over the net, I came into contact with you. And I was so happy. You actually wrote me back. And I was terse with you – still hiding. Mustn’t let you think I’m a stalker. You’re older now, as we all are, but I still see the young man who was so beautiful and so handsome and so golden in the lines of your lips and the shape of your cheeks. And I see your pictures of your pretty wife and lovely daughter. And I have a handsome husband, whom I love, whom I know, whom I cherish.  And I don’t want anything different – my life is complete and happy.

But I wonder if you’d ever like to know how much you walked in the light in my eyes. Would you feel stalked or flattered? I won’t risk the one to get the other. And these feelings will subside, I know. But I still wonder, if I were to, how would I tell you? And would you understand?

I’ll put this out on the internet, where you might find it. That’s all I can do.


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4 responses to “How Would I Tell You?

  1. Oh, Paul. This is so beautifully written. It brought back all sorts of hidden crushes and desires from back in the day. I am sitting here now with an ineffable sense of longing and a bittersweet ache in my chest. He was lucky to have been that for you, even if he never knows.

  2. Keith

    I was remembering one or two guys from HS that I had similar thoughts about. Funny how I could think such things and still deny the truth to muself.

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