Thursday, June 7, 2012
Mark went to class but all he could think about was the fight with Scott and his date with Tristan. He had known it was wrong even before it happened but he couldn’t, he didn’t want to stop himself and now there was this feeling that haunted him.
It felt like it had been in nearly equal parts. Something good couldn’t happen without something bad happening. Was it a punishment? He wasn’t sure. Was it God? He wasn’t sure if it was a good omen or a bad one.
No it must have been something else, wasted energy. It was a simple mistake brought on by not sleeping, he thought. A simple mistake that could end in lots of trouble if his coach found out.
He had been in one other fight in his life with a boy after school and they had become friends afterwards, two warriors that had tested their physical abilities. They were hanging out at a baseball field dugout then and it just happened. They kicked and punched, slammed each other against brick walls and concrete floors until they gave up and retreated to their own corners and somewhere, somehow in that moment of recuperation they began to kid each other, laughter turned into more jokes. They were best friends for a year or so through school but then they drifted apart.
But this was different. This could go several different ways based on who said what and when. He thought one of his roommates, or even Scott, would try to contact him on his phone, but they didn’t. The day just slipped by as he barely paid attention in each class, enough so he didn’t look bored or preoccupied, so he wouldn’t be called upon.
After class he picked up snacks at a student store and headed off to a secluded area where he doubted anyone would be then he made his way back to the dorm room not knowing what to expect as he walked through the door he was tense with anticipation. His limbs felt loose but his spine, his hands and feet felt solid and heavy. His face felt warm and he worried that he was blushing.
The place was quiet. He looked down the hallway to their rooms for indication of life but he didn’t see any. He walked to the living room and saw that no one was in the kitchen. Then he looked to the television and saw that it was cracked in a radiating pattern from the center and had a note attached. It was actually neat to see. He had never thought about how a screen like that would break in the way that it did. He stepped to it and took off the note.
You owe me a TV - Scott
He thought about it for a minute then shrugged his shoulders and went to the kitchen. He didn’t feel relief but a little better. He still wasn’t sure about how it was going to go down, how he would have to make amends but at least it felt like it was going to stay between them. Good, he thought.
He took out a loaf of bread and made himself a sandwich with some turkey in the refrigerator and as he was putting the lunch meat away his phone rang. He thought about Scott and he dreaded looking at the phone to see who it was. He thought about letting it go to voicemail but decided against it and pulled the phone from his pocket. It was Tristan. He smiled then answered the phone.
“Hello,” he said. He placed the bread the cupboard.
“Hey,” Tristan replied. “How are you?”
“Good,” Mark said. Then he looked to the television, okay I lied, he thought.
“I know you’re supposed to wait before you call but since we already have a second date scheduled I figured it couldn’t hurt.”
“Yeah, no problem,” Mark said. He picked up his sandwich in his free hand and walked into the living room past the furniture and to the window. There was little to see outside, just more housing, but it was dark out and the street lights had already lit up.
“I’m still thinking about where to go for our second date,” Tristan said, “but I figured I’d call to say hello.”
The front door of the dorm apartment opened and Mark turned to see his dorm mates enter with bags of groceries in their hands. They were loud and joking with each other. Scott was behind the others and when they saw each other Scott smiled then followed the others into the kitchen. Mark walked to his room, quickly but not in a hurry, as if he was just trying to keep his phone call private. He closed his bedroom door behind him.
“Sorry, my roommates just got back.”
“No problem,” Tristan said.
“You ever have to worry about that?”
“No, I uh, live alone,” Tristan said.
“That must be nice,” Mark added, “You probably get plenty of time to study.”
“Definitely,” Tristan replied. “So, I was thinking about this time going to a movie.”
“I don’t know. There isn’t much out there. What kind do you like?”
“I’m not very big for romance. I guess I like action films.”
“What about science fiction?”
“It depends.” Mark locked to door handle then went to his desk and started his computer. “I can go online right now and check it out.”
“What about art films?”
“Maybe, I don’t know. A good one I guess.”
“I’ll look,” Tristan said. “Besides it’s my turn to impress you.”
The thought of switching how the dates went each night. Did that only happen with two guys? He was barely sure what straight people did based on television programs he had seen.
“I’ve never done this before,” he said. He heard noise in the hallway and for a brief moment he worried someone could be listening at the door but then he thought about that there wasn’t much to hear, not if he was careful. “It’s...”
“It’s new to me too.”
Mark smiled at the thought. Did straight people go through this much? Queer as Folk was different, there wasn’t much dating.
“How has your day been?” Tristan asked.
“Uh,” Mark said as he thought about the television and his dorm mates, “fine.”
“You probably have a lot of homework,” Tristan said.
“You too,” Mark added.
There was an uncomfortable silence. Mark tried to think of things to say, questions to ask, but nothing came to his mind.
“Well, okay, I’ll look for some places to go.”
“Sounds good,” Mark said.
“I uh, have to get off the phone now, but uh, I’ll call you tomorrow about the time.”
“Why don’t we just meet outside your place at six-thirty?” He suddenly felt regret for what he had just asked because setting the time just might have been another reason to call back and for them to talk. He wanted to talk to Tristan again, desperately, about everything and anything though nothing came to mind. There was a fear there. He wasn’t sure what he was afraid of but he could feel it.
“Yeah, no problem, I guess I’ll see you then,” Tristan said.
“See you then,” Mark replied.
Tristan disconnected the line and Mark closed his phone. He suddenly felt worried about what he had said. Was it enough to be bothersome? He liked Tristan, he barely knew him but he liked him. He thought about looking him up on the social network sites to try and start a new conversation but then he worried that would be too much like a stalker. He knew he needed to distract himself. He opened a game of Solitaire and started some music playing. He was plenty distracted when there was a knock on the door and he jumped from his chair.