I have just realized that I have completely stopped writing during the month of lockdown, or during the quarantine, which is the word I prefer.
Probably a mix of reasons, but I am sure that everything has already been said by everybody about being stuck at home, the perception of time, the blurring of all activities into endless days. I really behave, no sport, no sex, no rules breaking. I surely got time to think about experiences that mattered a lot in my life.
There is a moment in my life which seems I cannot forget and that somehow that I feel attached to. I wonder why it is so clear in my mind, why it gives me emotions so strong even now, even, 20 years later it feels like yesterday and I know that this feeling is not going to leave. There is no sex in this story, no fucking, orgies, new positions, fetishisms. So, don’t bother reading if you want to have a look into someone else’s life. This post is for me and for the guy who would never know it.
About twenty years ago I used to spend summers in Italy, on the Adriatic costs. I had a group of friends who drove around, who introduced me to their friends, who lived a young and free gay life. I never had fun with any of them: we entered quickly into the friendship zone and honestly speaking I was really a coy guy who didn’t know how to approach a guy. We used to go dancing every Saturday night in this disco, quite big, with indoor and outdoor dancefloors, with a pool, a dark area and everything that you need in a gay place. Packed with people, mostly Italians but also tourists, tanned, beautiful, lively, extroverted. I looked and flirted with many, but fell in love deeply and helplessly with one.
What I remember is: he was taller than me, I would say 1.90cm, light brown hair, a clean face – like everybody else back in the ’90s – not particularly toned, an open smile, strong legs. I danced a lot and spent all the nights with a friend, another handsome guy, more skinny, dark hair and eyes, a bit shorter.
I never saw any of them two flirting or kissing with anybody, and I had an eye on them, oh yes I had.
How do you pick someone out of five hundred people and stay loyal to him even if nothing happens? Probably you must be in your early twenties, or he must be very special, or in some way, which your subconscious know, he reciprocated and kept your fire alive. I spent most of my nights looking at him, watching him dancing, getting close to it until my heart beat was so fast that I couldn’t dance any more. I waited at the bar counter until he arrived too and listened to what he ordered and watched him in the mirror. I also remember that sometimes he had white trousers, which were quite in vogue, there, at the time. I wondered and wondered if he and his friend were a couple, a shy couple who didn’t kiss in front of other people: back then, even in a gay club, gay people were slightly discreet in their physical expressions, or at least this is what I remember. I never ever thought about having a threesome with them, at the time it was hard for me to have just sex and the very idea never crossed my mind. And then I wanted him, just him, in a way that I have experienced few times in my life. Probably luckily so.
One night I asked a friend of mine if he knew them and this is what he told me: not personally, but they had some friends in common, they were from Ancona, just friends, but the boy I like was engaged with someone older than him, they said a doctor and they said that generally he was only into daddies.
This is all I know still today. I never said hi to him, never had the courage to introduce myself, I never asked anybody else more information, I just kept spending the time thinking about him, then hoping to meet him when we were in the car going to the club, then watching him because he was always there.
I believe that he watched me back. So many years have passed. I may had watched back because I was staring, because he was curious, because he was flattered by my attention, because he liked me and wished I would say something because he couldn’t. Or I never watched back, everything is in my mind.
I feel lucky that I met him, because he took my heart, without even touching it, and made it big and full. He made me experience the loneliness on the dancefloor with the idea that if you can’t have that one in you life, you will stay alone forever. It ended obviously as suddenly as it had begun. I stopped going on the cost, I lost contact with all of them, more people came into my life, and with them new love. I regret that I never say hi. If I could come back, I would go dancing next to him, that I would say something funny or at least friendly and then I would accept the consequences. Even the consequence of knowing that he was never watching me.
The honest truth that I have learnt during this latest months of quarantine, is that I do not wish to go back in time and change it and do things in a different way, because I am happy with my life as it is. I wish I could meet him now, the adult I am and the adult he has become, watch him again in the eyes, say my name and confess now that then I was in love with him, thank him for the music that filled my body when we were in the same place, because we should always welcome love in whatever form it arrives and the love giver whatever his intentions.
When I say so, I imagine that he smiles.