And His Eyes Be as Blue as the Sea Ch. 01
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And he came my way near Christmas Day. I was the last teacher in the building, and the day was overcast, cold, and gray. I sat at my desk, looking at a book I meant to finish over Christmas, which had always been an empty time for me. Books filled me up. They were my friends. I came here three years ago. I taught English Comp. I was surprised every year at how poorly students with excellent grades from high school and fine ACT scores did even in their sophomore year. I was alone. I was like no one else in the world, so it seemed. I was ashamed and at odds with myself. Sometimes I woke in the middle of the night in a sweat even when the room was cold, for I loved cold weather and winter, the urgency of the season, the no-nonsense aspect of it, and I would be sweating profusely, and filled with fear that police were to break down my door at any moment. That they were there in their swirling strobe light cars and were walking up to my door and I always waited with fearful breath and pounding heart. Talk all you want about gay lib. That was not how it was ’round these parts.
I thought of Alton often. He was in my first period class every weekday. I thought of his blue eyes that I felt I could almost fall into and swim away to a secret place, a bay of tranquility, I would even endure eternal summer if he were beside me, and we would swim naked and bold as brass, for he was the color of brass and I was the color of winter. He had long hair still and was a boy with clever and mischievous eyes. He smiled little crinkles at the end of his lips, and he had a voice that was Northern that lilted over the Southern accents here. I masturbated to him at night a lot. I had a picture of him from the university newspaper I would look at. And feel guilty for. I wished someone would spend Christmas with me. I used to believe how sad those men and women who would hire escorts just to be with them, just to talk with them, or pretend a relationship with, not even sex, just someone to be their momentary dream.
I no longer scoff at that. I think it’s the only way to survive for certain people. Alton had a girlfriend. Her name was Jo. They walked down the corridors and sat in the lunchroom and the student union TV room, and shopped at the University bookstore often, always together, holding hands many times, laughing together. She was a somewhat stocky girl with a milky freckled face and hair of brown tied back tightly. She was different from tall, lanky Alton. They would put their hand in each other’s back jeans pocket, like most of the other students here, a fad of the times. It hurt me to see this. Sometimes I went home and sat for hours in the dark when seeing them. Or when they were in a school play and had a scene when they passionately kissed, I thought I would die. I would never have gone to see the play, had I known.
And there was a knock at the door of the classroom. I startled, jumped a bit, and said come in, knowing somehow it was Alton, because güvenilir canlı bahis siteleri a man has paid his dues often enough, a man has said to himself some people deserve to be alone, some people are happier that way, and there is sunbeam in the doorway of a cloudy day, and I said to him, without looking, as he had opened the door, come on in Alton. I felt all the cuts of the years on me. He stood by the desk scarred and wounded and he somehow scarred and wounded. It came to me like that. He was wounded. He was scarred. The smile came at a price. The predicament would one day overwhelm him, and I remembered Von Aschenbach’s premonition about Tadzio, how it made the man secretly happy, and to pull myself from my favorite movie and one of my favorite novellas, I looked up at Alton, quickly. For if I had been slower in doing so, I might never have looked at all.
I’m in trouble, he told me. His voice broke a bit. He was more than scarred. He was scared. I told him to sit down. He took his usual chair, the one in front and center. He looked down at his reindeer patterned sweater, plucked an invisible piece of lint from the left knee of his jeans, adjusted his booted feet a bit, and continued to look down. It seemed, after he said it so haltingly, that Jo had found him with another guy, that they had experimented a bit, nothing really, a mutual jerk off, and Alton blue eyes hiding and Alton bronze skin, how?, in winter?, because the winters were usually mild or warm here, blushing a bit. His long gold hair hiding part of his face, upper quadrant.
He told me she thought he hated her, that she thought he was making fun of her, and he tried to kiss her, but she backed away. He said she made him feel he was—unclean and wrong and diseased. I put my elbows on my desk of dark brown, put my chin in my hands, cupped, and looked down at the desk. My heart quickened. He wants me. God. So ridiculous. He wants me. Absurd fool man. Absurd lonelies can do that to a person, and one learns somehow, with some equanimity to live in the absurd. I found myself telling him it was just something guys sometimes do and Jo should give him another chance since this was just recently and you and he were drunk and went back to your dorm and masturbated. But, said Alton, in a voice that sounded so youngly hoarse, I liked it, I really liked it. I liked the feel of it, the way it happened, how he touched me, how I touched him, how we knew exactly what turned on the both of us.
I found myself getting an erection, as I listened. I looked out the windows in the back of the room. It had started to snow. I loved snow. It was beautiful and cold and like the sky falling, as Scout observed in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and I thought, he’s vulnerable now, he is needy now, and then I couldn’t believe I had thought such a thing. No. I lost my hard on quickly in my shame. I said, just give it time, just let her get used to it, and whatever you decide, you’re your own free güvenilir illegal bahis siteleri agent, and no one has the right to tell you what to do and with whom. I said it like a teacher tells a class what a story means, or what a mathematical construct is. I said it coldly, bloodlessly. Not unkindly, but just rotely. I was protecting him from me. I was thinking how wonderful this is—I can go home in the snow, and I can masturbate about pretend with Alton, for that was all I had ever done all my life. Pretend. I had seldom touched another human being in my life. This was a lucky day for me. Shameful as it was. This was lucky because I got to this part of the world finally and that was for me a gift. I was using his sadness to build up private secret forever and a day scenarios in my head.
He called my name. I looked to him and away from the snow windows. I was thinking of running through the snow with him, that beautiful music from that lousy film “Love Story” playing in my head and the lyrics of the theme song of it. I saw him as an interloper now. He had left a shadow here for me to play with, with guilty hands and by myself. He had given me a proscenium arch to act out a Christmas world with him. He was asking for help. I heard him as though his voice were coming from down deep in a well. The word kept coming over and over and gradually penetrated my mind, the thought I hope Jo never comes back to you and I hope the guy you jacked with rejects you as a freak and you have to come to me and I get to say, I get to say, because I love you more dearly than I’ve ever loved anyone in my life, I find you beautiful as the sun, I find your lips so infinitely kissable, I dream of you and want you, and he was saying the words now I had wanted to hear so long, he was actually, my bronzed God From the Sea Alton Floyd was saying the words, can I stay with you for a while? I then heard him say that he couldn’t go to his parents’ because they were in the middle of a messy divorce, and he couldn’t stay with Jo and her parents as had been one time planned.
I felt winter in my heart and I danced in my head and I looked at him and smiled and he sort of smiled back, and I thought of my coming to his bed in my guest room or his coming to my bed one night and the climbing in and the holding together and my sharing with him some momentary joys that he would soon forget, but that would keep me alive for so many years and I asked, you can stay in the dorm, can’t you? Some other students are. And the smile tentatively painfully sadly painted that said I am asking you of all people god I am asking you, that smile even was wiped away and he nodded yes, so I told him, that would probably be best. And inside I was cheered, so horribly, so emptily, so painfully-this is your big chance, don’t blow it, I thought, blowing it. I was finally one up on someone. I finally had the upper hand. He asked, then in quick desperation, could I come see you, maybe spend güvenilir bahis şirketleri Christmas Day with you or something? And I said, my private eagerness overwhelmed by my outward and totally real irritation with him for giving me a chance at a dream that would not happen anyway, I would just wind up making a grasping fool of myself, I said to him in bored tones, no, I don’t think so; I will be busy over the holidays.
Then I stood up. And he jumped up and put his hands in his heavy jacket pockets and walked out of the room like a machine quickly out of synch. I stood at my desk. I had won. I would imagine him by the Christmas tree tonight in my home and we would lie there and be naked and we would make love and he would take me and I would take him and it would be wonderful, all I would ever need, thank you Alton and Jo, a million times thank you thank you…I started gathering my books together, especially the heavy long involved one I was to read over my empty Christmas. I got my coat. I wondered if Alton was waiting outside the door to ask again, and I might say yes this time, and have the truly most horrible Christmas of my life, being so awkward, being so scared, being around him surely it would make me totally impotent, how could it not? When I wanted him so much. It would turn out he was not waiting outside my door or in the corridor or at the exit door or at any of the windows to the outside I passed by. I put my coat and gloves on and prepared briskly to leave darkness here for two weeks. I turned off the lights. The day was early dark now. I closed the door, said good night to the janitor I passed by in the hall.
I kept hoping all the way to my car Alton would be there. I kept hoping I could at least give him a lift somewhere. When I got home, I waited all the time those two weeks for him to call me or to drop by anyway. I jacked off twice that night. And every holiday afternoon I did it again. I thought, he’s sick and with a cold and wishes he were with me. I thought he misses me and wishes to call, and hopes I will call him, and he feels close to me being away from me, this way, that we ever could have been together, even having sex, and I felt warm and cozy in front of my wall heater, drinking my boiled custard, reading my book. I kept the phone close to me at all times. I listened especially hard for the doorbell to ring. Sometimes it didn’t work. So I listened even harder for the knock on the door that never came.
I sat by the phone ready to call him, I guessed he was at his dorm, unless he had patched things up with Jo—no I would not think of that; I did not want to know if he had. So I saw no one. I saw the holiday in by myself and out by myself. I finished the book. I watched the obligatory Christmas movies and TV shows and I cried at the end of Christmas night. I had opened the gifts I had bought and wrapped for myself. I had bought one that I decided would rather go to Alton. I had wrapped it as well. And left it under the tree untouched. Never to be given to him.
In short, actually, it was quite the nicest Christmas I had ever had. I was very fortunate. And his eyes be blue as the sea and he was tawny skinned and his hair was brighter spun gold than the sun, and I loved my Alton. Mine. Forever.
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