From The Sex Issue
“He does men.” Syson said as he tapped Medius’s shoulder.
“No surprises, his looks tell it all”, Medius said. Jim, oblivious of Medius’s and Syson’s banter was involved in a different conversation. He threw his arms in the air as he spoke. When he laughed, his pitch reverberated with a wave that seemed to sweep his entire body off the seat like a nylon blouse hanging onto a drying line being blown here and there by a weak wind.
Medius wished she could hear the entire argument Jim was making. She could only catch a few words. Values, Utility, Originality, Difference, Exclusivity, a few more words, as Jim sometimes spoke a bit loudly; the breeze at The Lawns blowing the words in Medius’s way.
“Let’s go’, Syson was almost barking. As the two left, Medius could not forget the man who did fellow men, as she had been told – the man whose discussions had sounded and looked as emotional as profound. A spark of curiosity in her chest had lit a fire of interest and she thought that this man could be worth nothing. Something special about a person being different, unavailable, was gnawing adventurously at her.
Jim wore trousers like any other man. Normal shirts. His voice was softer than a typical masculine voice. His voice was weak without the movement of his arms and eyes, or so it seemed, for he never talked only with his voice. But he could communicate with his walk. He could indeed compete at a beauty pageant.
“The hearts have their own language,” Jim and Medius were flirting on Facebook. How witty. Cheeky. What an addictive flirt. Every line from Jim seemed loaded with testosterone. She did not know how exactly to react. Was he being real? How could he desire a woman as his lines suggested? He was being a flirt, an addictive and addicted one. That was all, she told herself, but found that she needed his attention more and more. Whenever the chat-window blinked with his presence, her heart skipped a beat, a ray of anxiety scurrying through her body.
“How about an evening at the Lawns by ourselves?” There was no will to resist. Why resist? Syson, her boyfriend, would have no problem with it because Jim apparently did men. No possessive boyfriend would mind such a harmless male friend around their partner. But risk-taking was not Medius’ art. She would not tell Syson in case his legendary insecurity had no boundary.
Out they went. Not once. The company was mutually rewarding. Great conversations, touches here and there, warm and long hugs, harmless pecks and lots of sweet nothings. Then one evening was swallowed by the night and The Lawns extended into his flat. The evening ended in the morning. He kissed her out of her sleep, and she woke to the reality of being naked in his bed.
As the reality sank, her mind became pregnant with a certain question. The question had always been there, always in the background. As he thrust his energies in her that night, the question had temporarily ebbed away. The question now returned from its hiatus with gusto. ‘Are you gay?’ She rehearsed the question several times in her head, wondering whether the three words were not rude. How else could she ask without sounding stupid? She was becoming pensive. Was he reading the question from her puzzled face? He kissed her on the lips and she felt embarrassed that he had. Courage eluded her.
That night repeated itself several times. Every innocent meeting for a drink always ended in the bed; and the morning after, she could not muster the courage to ask. Courage returned when Syson accused her of cheating after finding a suspicious message from Jim in her phone. ‘He is gay’, she said as she combed all her remaining belongings from his house.
Photo: Dennis Crabtree