Normally, after returning from any trips, what I feel is usually a combination of nostalgia, excitement for the stories needed to be told and a sense of relief now that things have gone smoothly and I’m home safely. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the trips, or maybe just coincidence, but it was all about helplessness for all that I did so far in April.
Alan flew all the way from his place, abandoning his work which doesn’t help him earn much, putting a one week Laos trip with me ahead of a coming-home trip to see his grandfather one last time. And I failed him by losing my entire money and passport right before the assigned date that we’d both been looking forward to.
Alan initiated our relationship status talk by gently caressing my head while we were sleeping in a dim lighted corner inside a bar owned by my friend’s family. “We could still be friends, with benefits,” he said. But I failed him again by saying a flowery “no”.
My excuse: I’ve always felt like we’ve developed something much more worthwhile from that new year hookup, something much more stable that I’d never had before: a gay friendship. Our life patterns are basically shared without any filters to each other everyday. And sex would might as well bring an end to such relationship or, even worse, cause someone disdain in the end. “
How many people have you been with since I left?” Alan turned to me unexpectedly, while I was clumsily browsing through my music library on the moving bus taking us to my favorite place in the whole country where my very initial ideas of romance started to take forms years ago.
Then, we began recalling our conversations in the past 2 months, finger counting the flesh and bones that I have tasted. “
15 or 16 is the final answer.” “
And how many people did you feel good having sex with?”
“2. Jorge, on those first few days, and David.” “
Well, that’s a low ratio then,” Alan said while turning away from me, eyes aimlessly glaring with a slight sense of sympathy.
And then today, when we finally got back home, bad news regarding the foreseen-able family loss made its way to Alan. All I could do was saying sorry, patting his back and waiting for any verbal signs coming from his thin lips, those lips that I associate with the color purple since the very first encounter. And at that moment, I felt like I was failing him all over again. That brokenness was right in front of me, asking for just one touch to get healed, and yet I couldn’t do it.
Today is full moon. And just exactly one month ago, I was walking with Jorge around Mawlaymine.
“You know what, the 15th day in lunar calendar is full moon. But I always think the moon on the16th is, well, fuller, or in your words, more full,” I broke our overwhelming silence that was starting to take over our coexistence completely by acting knowledgeable.
“This is nonsense. Full moon is full moon. There’s no such thing as ‘fuller moon’.”
How typical of Jorge, rejecting my every single idea in his unbreakable world.
“But it is indeed fuller…”
And then the silence once again took its toll again. I gave up. I’d done my best.
Today is also Ben’s birthday – the fact that went through my head while I was driving Alan around searching for accomondation that fit our budget. I sent Ben a birthday wish via social media. What else could I do?