Man Who Loves Stars is yet another musician (he does not play the guitar). When I see him in the restaurant, his face lights up, he stands to greet me, he has lost weight. When he hugs me, the solidness of his body is a wall of comfort, much like Fucked-Up Guy, only not, well, fucked-up. This is not a date, another friend is here, Man Who Loves Stars has had the foresight to warn me there will not be private time tonight, and the class to buy my dinner anyway. It’s a pub, London food, which is to say curry. I ask the waiter to surprise me, not fish. The food comes, there is some kind of meat and some sort of gravy and I think vegetables or at least something else that is not meat, but I am not tasting food, only nearness and our knees rubbing under the table. I want to make this man happy, I want to see the light in his face when he sees my naked body and yet it is a calm, certain want, an expectation of what will happen at an unrushed, un-urgent time to come.
There are two stolen moments when our friend is at the bar. First, he says:
“Is there anything else you’d like to tell me about your life right now?”
I am washed with a wave of awe, that this boy, this man, has the interest and caring to ask this. I can’t think of anything better, and short enough to fit in the time span, so I tell him my price has gone up. He is genuinely delighted on my behalf.
The second time, we lean into each other, our knees joined by my hand, and he reaches his soft, strong hand for mine. I babble something about my marriage going well, but mostly what I want to say is, do you have any idea, any idea at all, how safe you make me feel? How comfortable I am with you? Instead, I scoot my chair around and he rubs my back through the next topic of conversation, his hands sliding into my hair, along my neck. He will never grasp the roots and pull. And that is one hundred kinds of okay with me.