That Winter's Day
I was surprised when I went to that art gallery to see the show, to see this other boy there. He was my age, and he had longish dark hair. He seemed to notice me as well, and the two of us started talking.
We both seemed to like the same art. We spent the next two hours walking around, looking at the paintings, and somehow just enjoying each other’s company. It was neat. There did, however, seem to be something more about our being together.
It was like there was a sense of mutual attraction. And it was like we both knew this, even if neither us wanted to actually say as much. I mean, how could you? You couldn’t just tell another boy that, not without taking the chance of looking like you were absolutely gay or something.
Straight boys did not do that. And yet … and yet, there was that shared sense of attraction between us. Then we both left the gallery and started walking towards the park. We walked along side by side through the park. Which, with bad weather and cold, were deserted.
Everything was silent and we could hear our feet crunching very softly on the snow. For a while neither of us said anything, we just walked along with our hands stuffed into our pockets, the two us mostly looking down.
Yet, we were together, and we continued to be this boy-closeness, and an awareness of that. I knew that I wasn’t the only one, that he was feeling it, too. I could tell somehow. It was just the way that he acted. It was like we both wanted there to be more somehow. Some acknowledgement of this fact.
I felt silly, I had never felt an attraction toward another boy. I told myself that it was just my imagination. Why I would be imagining that, I didn’t know. Yet, it was interesting and compelling, really. I wondered if he is gay, or if he was like me.
Just as surprised by this unexpected moment of male-chemistry. I suspected that he was like me, which was why he as basically as shy as I was. After all, boys did not go round having feelings like that toward other boys. Or at least I thought that they didn’t or shouldn’t or something like that. Of course it occurred to me that maybe I was wrong. Certainly how I felt was telling me that perhaps I was. Still, I felt self-conscious about this.
We reached the other side of the silent park. Across the street was the bus stop.
“There should be a bus coming along in a few minutes,” I said.
“Yeah,” he agreed.
We sort of both just stood there.
“It was a great art show,” I said, not knowing what else to say.
“Yeah. It was,” he said.
We looked at each other.
Somehow we managed to take our hands out of our pockets. Instead of doing something like shaking hands, we took each other’s hand. We looked at one another and were aware of the feelings. Very slowly, cautiously, really, we both leaned forward. Then our lips touched. We were kissing.
We both allowed the contact to be quite full and felt the softness of each other’s lips pressing warmly. It was such an incredible thing for us to be doing, and yet, at the same time, it was so nice and so ordinary. We stood there expressing our feelings for a number of uncounted long seconds until we both finally slowly drew back.
We looked at each other wordlessly. It seemed that everything had been said.
I saw the bus coming down the street, just having turned the corner.
“I’d … I’d better go,” I said.
“Yeah,” was all he said.
We looked into each other’s eyes one last time. Then I turned and started to jog across the slick, snowy street, waving at the bus, and it slowed at the stop. The door opened, pulling back, and just before I got on I saw him standing there watching. I waved. He waved back. And then I climbed onboard. I found a seat and settled in for the ride back home.
The bus’s heater was on and it became warm. I sat there enjoying this, and I was thinking. I had just kissed another boy. I could hardly believe that I had actually done that. I had kissed another boy. We had barely known each other, and we had managed to do that together. I felt the warm feelings that it stirred inside of me, warmer than the bus’s heater.
I wanted to get off of the bus and go back to the park, but already a number of blocks had passed and it was too far away and I knew that it would be silly to do that.
I went back to the art show a week later, but I did not see him there. I was disappointed. A few weeks after that I went back there and another art show had been set up, and I still didn’t see him.
Four months went by, and I decided to go to the gallery. The weather was now very warm, and I wore shorts and a pair of flip-flops, and it was hard to believe that it had ever been so cold as to sting one’s face and hands. I still did not see him, and I knew that I probably never would see the boy that I had kissed on that very cold winter’s day again.