Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lost Boys

Spencer lets himself into my house at about eight at night, while I’m pulling plates from the dishwasher and storing them in their cupboards. He’s carrying a bag with his late dinner in one hand, and a small bag of laundry from the gym and studio in the other. He’s too burdened to offer me more than a quick kiss in passing as he steers himself in the direction of the dining room table. Once he’s free, he shimmies out of his coat and takes a look in the den.

When he looks at the bundle of leopard-spotted fleece balled up in a corner of the sofa, he stops and instantly assesses the situation. His head tilts. He lets out a soft sigh, suspended somewhere between amusement and sympathy. “Your Snuggie is out,” he says. “Oh dear. It’s been that kind of day, has it?”

It’s no secret that I’ve spent the last five months feeling lost. Like a small craft with a cut line, there are days I feel adrift with no course, no one at the tiller. Some days I approach my temporary bachelorhood with a sense of adventure and excitement. Others—well. All I want to do is hide beneath the comforting folds of my leopard-print Snuggie and wish the world would go away. (Shut up. I love my Snuggie.)

“It might have been,” I admit.

His shoulder slump as he looks at me. He wears the kind of expression that could make a man melt. What am I going to do with you? it reads. At the same time, it’s nothing but unalloyed affection, and the desire to make things better. He doesn’t have to ask me to explain myself. He doesn’t have to hear the words. He knows how I’m feeling, just at the sight of that hideous long-armed blanket monstrosity. When he steps forward in my direction, arms outstretched, I know it’s to give me comfort.

He wraps me in hug so strong that I can’t breathe. I feel my spine stretch, and then my feet leave the floor. Spencer lifts all six feet and three inches of me into the air as easily as if I’m one of the tiny dancers with whom he shares the stage. I laugh and protest wildly, afraid I’ll break his back. When finally he sets me down, it’s gently, so that my feet don’t so much strike the ground as approach it, caress it, and lovingly press into it, as gravity once more gives me weight.

“Turn around,” he says. He pushes me down over the kitchen counter. His hips connect with my ass. At the same time, his fingers surround my neck. Their tips dig into the muscle there, squeezing and releasing. They travel from neck to shoulders, to the round pads where my arms join. They dig beneath my shoulder blades and down my spine, teasing out and for the moment banishing the aches.

“Oh, god,” I say, giving in to his hands. I love to be touched. I love it more than fucking, sometimes. “You don’t have to—”

But he shushes me, and continues. Beneath his breath I hear the faintest of hums as he strokes and squeezes my back, soothing me with his talented, strong hands.

It’s a rare treat that continues later in the evening. When he joins me in bed, moist and warm from the shower, he spoons behind me. His pubic hairs tickle against my ass as gently he forces me to hug my pillow, and his fingers roam over my bare skin. In the darkness he silently performs his skillful ministrations, kneading at me, relaxing me in a way that few men ever try. It lasts for long, blissful moments as the both of us drowsily fall toward our slumbers, with the slow and lazy arc of a last autumn leaf descending from an empty branch.

The last thing I see before I close my eyes is the night sky through my open window. I don't notice the limbs of the tree overhanging the house, or the power lines, or the other rooftops on my quiet street. Only points of light in an indigo sky. Stars upon stars, a panorama assembled, over time unimaginable, just for the two of us. For this moment. I wish his touch, this fading kitten’s-paw sensation of his hands at the base of my spine, could be as infinite as the stars' numbers.

Spencer's breath deepens and he sleeps at last.

When we’re in the darkness together, Spencer and I, I feel like we’re two lost boys in the wood, with leaves as our blanket and only our two bodies for warmth. On the nights he spends here, we fall asleep clinging to each other. Tonight, he comforts me. He gives me an anchor when I’m adrift in the darkness, a place to moor myself, for a time.

What comfort do I give him? Some nights, it’s tough to imagine. It's not enough. But he’s here. For his hand on my waist, the rise and fall of his chest, the soft breath on my neck, this lost boy is grateful.


  1. (Shut up. I love my Snuggie.)

    And I love you, and for now, I think, this is enough. It amazes me how easily you can make me envy your life. :)

  2. Thanks, Writer.

    If you found something in that tale of woe to envy, maybe I envy you!

  3. Rob - I'm reading this walking out of the office into a cold night and all I feel is warmth - for Spencer, for that damn snuggie but overwhelmingly warmth and affection for you - you maybe thousands of miles away from Belfast but your language and words are so achingly beautiful that I feel I can touch them and by extension, you. Whenever you are having a 'snuggie' day remember you make the world more than a little bit warmer (hotter!) for an awful lot of people and we love you for it. Ian in Northern Ireland

  4. Rob, this intimate relationship you have with Spencer in which body massages and spooning and snuggling bring you closer does speak of a rare and special love you have for one another. If you are two boys in the woods, you are also erotically connected men, like the Greek warrior lovers who slept together wrapped in one another's arms and defending one another against the internal demons, not the external ones. You take one another away from loneliness and confusion and doubt and all the worries about job and home and money and family that are vexing you. What you have with him is beautiful and you capture it so well. You are truly tender lovers and that side of passion is so important. How we envy you!!!

  5. There's a "needs / kneads" bon mot just waiting to be played, but I don't feel so playful reading this post. I'm sorry you're blue. I'm glad Spencer is there for you. As hard as it may be for you, let someone else be the one-who-takes-care-of for a change. Allow him to be the comforter, ministrant, cuddler, giver. Let him. Give into it—just as you gave into sleep.

    You get to have a bad day. Or several. It doesn't make you flotsam on the sea of life—it just makes you human.

    (I like Spencer more than ever. The leopard print I'm not so sure of.)

  6. Ian,

    I'm glad you feel the warmth, and the love you're sending my way is palpable. I am grateful for it, and corny as it sounds, actually feel kind of blessed to have readers who give a damn. Thank you.

  7. Jayson,

    We may take each other away from one kind of loneliness and confusion and doubt, but I think we also give each other all kinds of new problems and confusions and fears. I'm not certain we erase those negative things completely; we just overwrite them with new ones.

    So I don't know if there's much to envy, but I am glad you see something there! Thank you, my friend.

  8. Throb,

    It touches me you realize how difficult it is for me to give in like that, and to surrender the role of comforter. Thanks for reading me well.


  9. You deserve some times like that because you give so much to other people. I'm glad that he gave you tenderness when you needed it and you don't have enough times like that. You said that you don't surrender a lot so let him take care of you once in a while because you deserve it my friend. Wish you more times like that.


  10. Yves,

    No, I don't surrender like that very often--or have opportunities to do so. Thanks for thinking I deserve it!

  11. No matter what the content, I always love reading your blog. Having said that, the unabashed affection, and vulnerability, here is amazing, and beautiful. Makes me want to reach out with a huge hug. I'm glad Spencer is there for you.

  12. Rob,

    So much passion and care is there between you and Spencer and it shows through your writing and I can feel it when I read this post.

    Hopefully I can find my comfort through my blankets and such when I get into my own place this month until I find my Spencer to guide me.


  13. I was so touched by this entry that, after reading your blog for months, I finally couldn't resist the urge to comment. The moments you've shared with Spencer have struck a chord with me because, as an entertainer who currently works in the cruise industry, I feel like all of my recent intimate relationships have this feeling that there is an inevitable end date approaching. I've noticed that recently I've started distancing myself to stay protected from difficult goodbyes. When I step back and look at my behavior, I realize that's no way to live. I envy your ability to make the most of these fleeting moments on such an emotional level. Just before I opened up my laptop this evening to read your blog, I had said goodbye to a man I have been fortunate to spend the last couple months getting to know emotionally and physically. In a way, you inspire me to open myself to people, even when there may not be much time to do so. Best wishes, and thank you for your blog!

  14. Bittersweet -- reason has one message, emotion another, and neither errs. You will lose this love, but you've loved no loser.

    Your Spencer has it all -- several forms of intelligence, more than one of beauty. It might be time to remind your controlling side (we all have one) that to get power, we must sometimes give it.

  15. Richard,

    I'm glad you used the V-word, because I thought this post displayed a lot of my vulnerability in a way that few before it have. I was at a low point when I composed it, so that probably had something to do with it.

    Thanks for being a friend.

  16. Vers Raw,

    I wish I could slide into those blankets with you, my man. Thank you.

  17. 2:08 Anonymous,

    Thanks for giving up your comment cherry!

    I've always felt for cruise ship workers (I've been on a few cruises in my time) because of the way they have to be away from loved ones for months at time. It strikes me as a difficult life. Sure, you've got the travel and long furloughs when you're not working, but having to pick up and disappear for weeks upon weeks just seems as if it would be tough to do.

    I'm really touched to be named as an inspiration. Really touched. Best wishes to you, too.

  18. 7:01 Anonymous,

    Spencer has his faults, too. He farts and then laughs hysterically. And good lord, that boy can eat.

    I liked the way you put it, that I'll lose this love, but have loved no loser. That's a phrase worth remembering, and I thank you for it.

  19. It's been long enough ago that I don't feel guilty telling you how beautiful this post is. Truly a lyrical masterpiece.

  20. It is difficult to see what we mean to others, what gifts we bring to them, what comfort. As is clearly the case by his presence and his gifts of comfort to you, Spencer was there because what you gave him was, at the least, enough. I can easily see that it was much more than that.