Of course, we’d found much more to talk about than work. Then I’d let him see me home, that was my first mistake. We’d reached the door to my apartment and although it was late evening, the town lights had lit up the whole scene around us.
“Joshua.” I said, admiring his finely formed facial structure, responsible for a pair of prominent, killer cheekbones.
“Joshua, you-know I’ve had a great day, a great evening…” As I said those words, with the crashed intonation at the end of the sentence, I stood stock-still staring at Joshua, wondering. Did he fear what was coming next? Could I detect an outward appearance suggesting anticipatory dejection? I decided it best to press on. “A really, really great, fun time with you, Joshua. However, I am not the person you probably think I am, or perhaps had hoped me to be.” Still, his precise demeanour I could not decipher.
“You mean, you’re not actually gay, are you Jakob?”
Reading his expression in the light of the streetlamps, I came to understand Joshua as being a little ahead of me in the plot. This realisation left me somewhat taken aback, feeling foolish and naïve.
“How did you know?” I spluttered, “What we did together earlier, under the altar table in the church. This, followed by the restaurant meal afterwards and then the cocktails and dancing in that flashy, basement bar.” I quickly regathered my thoughts together. “When did you know? How exactly, did you work it out?”
Joshua appeared distracted by another thought. He looked up and down the wide, tree-lined boulevard, eyeing several taxicabs coasting at slow speeds. One stopped nearby, dropped off several passengers, each one showing signs of excitable inebriation.
“When I received your message through the app. requesting we meet at St Hugh’s, I didn’t expect us to have sex there.” Joshua grinned, showing his straightened, whitened teeth. “I loved the impulsivity, your sensitivity, the gentleness of your caresses. Throughout dinner, I loved our conversation topics. You are intelligent, artistic, observant.” Joshua paused to stroke the side of my face with the back of his finger. “You’ve got a crazy streak too,” he laughed, “okay – let’s say experimental. I liked how you let me choose all the cocktails this evening, but you can’t dance and this pink wig you’re wearing, the lime green lipstick, the fur coat.”
“What?” I said, in a bemused fashion.
“Look, Jakob, most gay men aren’t like this. You’ve adopted a caricature of what you think gay men are like and I don’t know anyone within my social circle, who remotely resembles how you’ve presented yourself to me, today.”
“So,” I felt emotional, “why did you go with me?”
Joshua raised his arm upwards and waved his hand at the nearby, now empty taxi. “I felt sorry for you Jakob. I gave you what I thought you needed. Entertainment, excitement, fulfilment and a need in you, to know something of what it is like to be gay.” The engine of the taxi purred, as it waited at the kerbside.
“Joshua!” I blurted out as he turned to leave. “Don’t go. Come stay the night.” I looked Joshua in the eye and moved in to kiss him. “I want you to stay, I hate sleeping alone.” I said.
The Ekphrasis Series