In Michigan, the old rest stop I used to visit was on a distant stretch of freeway, some thirty-five miles away from my home. It was a tiny hut with restrooms and a vending machine. At night or before dawn when it was cruisiest, it was a tiny oasis of light in a vast dome of darkness, far enough from the safety of home to be something reached for only on occasion, or when opportunity drew me to that area of the city.
The cruisy rest stop here is maybe three miles from home, on a noisy stretch of I-95. It has its own McDonald's, an ice cream store, a gift shop, and a pizza counter. It's bright, colorful, and brazen. Sometimes at night, dozens upon dozens of trucks park there to sleep overnight. When I drive back from the bar, sometimes the big tractor-trailers will be lined up on the highway's shoulder for hundreds of feet before and after the exit, their generators lighting up the cabs. The rear parking lot will be clogged, the McDonald's bright and glaring. But the car lot is usually quiet, and empty.
I'd known about this particular rest stop for months, but I'd never visited; it seemed too easy, too accessible. I'd read about it on one of the cruising sites and heard about it from a reader who'd visited it on his trips through the area. Saturday night, though, I had nothing better to do, and had to visit the supermarket anyway. So I stopped.
The truck half of the parking lot wasn't full when I pulled off the exit at seven-thirty. The car lot was even more empty. As suggested by the cruising site, I pulled to the last line of parking spaces for cars, the furthest away from the McDonald's, the closest to the exit. At the Michigan rest stop, the men cruising for sex tended to stay in their cars and park in the spots far away from the facilities themselves—this place sounded as if it operated on a similar policy.
I didn't have to wait long. Within two minutes of turning off my ignition, a truck pulled up to the right of me. An older guy sat in the driver's seat. He was bearded, and gray; his face was lean and handsome. He nodded at me, as if greeting a fellow wayfarer in passing. I slowly nodded back. My hand drifted to my crotch, where my cock hardened.
His neck craned as he looked over and into my car. Through my shorts I outlined the long, long bulge stretching up from between my legs in the direction of my left hipbone. His eyes flicked to mine, and then back down to my crotch. He licked his lips, but I could tell it was more subconscious reaction than a come-on. Finally he looked in my eyes again, and let loose with a genuine grin. He had to have been at least sixty, but as I said, he was a handsome man—a leaner Sean Connery, back in his Indiana Jones days, perhaps. I worry that mentioning he had a mischievous twinkle in his eye would make him sound too much like Santa Claus, but there it is.
I got out of the car, locked it, and stretched my legs. And by stretched my legs, I mean I walked around the car and peeked in his window. "How’s it going?" I asked.
"Great," he said, smiling back. He looked as if he wanted to ruffle my head. "What do you need tonight?"
"A little fun," I replied.
"You like to get sucked?" he asked. I nodded. "You like to fuck?" he asked, hopeful. I nodded again. "Look, I live right off the next exit," he told me. "Quiet place. Just you and me. Want to go?"
Of course I did.
His home was one of those older houses in the area built shortly after the last world war, a rambling old Cape Cod with creaky floors and the original kitchen. It smelled like an old schoolhouse—of dry rot and years and years of dust. The kitchen table was crowded with old radios from the nineteen-fifties and sixties; one whole wall had been ripped of its plaster and exposed, as if under renovation. "Let's go upstairs," he suggested, nervously, once I'd pulled the back door shut behind me.
He led me through the living room, where on the coffee table, chairs, and sofa were piled high boxes and boxes. Most of them, I noticed, were of old Barbies. Oh great, I thought to myself. I've picked up a Barbie queen. Because I have known many gay men who are avid and unapologetic collectors of the dolls and every iteration of their clothing and special releases. These boxes were as old as my childhood, though. I could tell by the lettering. There were other dolls as well, out of their boxes and stacked haphazardly on top of each other.
We'd reached the top of the stairs and the bedroom door when suddenly my host turned around. "Hang on," he said, sidling past. "Go on in and get comfortable."
I went into the bedroom and removed my shoes and my shorts, and hopped up onto the bed. The bedroom was in similar disarray. One of the closets lay open, its contents of clothing and old suitcases vomited all over one side of the room. I didn't really pay them much attention, though, as I listened to the man turn on his stereo downstairs. From below came the dulcet tones of Richard Marx. From Richard Marx's first album, in fact, which I easily recognized from too many repetitions at one of my fuckbuddies' apartments when I was working on a masters degree, lo these many years ago. A moment later, my host reappeared in the doorway. He leaned against it, looking sexy. "I thought it might enhance the mood," he stated, and then he began a slow strip-tease, beginning with his shirt.
I haven't made love to Richard Marx since about 1988, and the mood his voice created was really one more of wanting to pop the collar of my polo shirt and going all Miami Vice with a sleazy sports coat with the sleeves hoisted up to my elbows, but I didn't crack a grin. "Looked like you were a big boy when you were showing off in the parking lot," he said. I nodded, and fondled the bulge that was growing again in my shorts. "You go to that rest stop often?"
"My first time," I said. I was suddenly aware of how lame that sounded. "Really. My first time. I just moved here a couple of months ago."
"Definitely not your first time doing this though," he said, leaning down as he switched off the light. His beard raked against the inside of my legs. I gasped to feel his mouth on my meat, through the fabric of my shorts. "Oh yeah. Definitely not."
I let him pull off my underwear and push up my T-shirt. His lips and tongue nudged against my nuts, making me sigh. Slowly he sucked my cock—the way I like it, too, as if he was there for the sucking, not in order to make me nut as quickly as possible. His head moved up and down the shaft slowly, sensuously. Occasionally he hummed and grunted to himself, or he would take a break to breath. During these times he would lift my legs and rub his hands over them, letting their fur riffle across his skin as his fingers moved. Then he would return to my dick again, and my balls, and the insides of my legs, pleasuring himself even as he pleasured me.
"I never took a dick as big as yours," he said, finally, looking up at me through the light spilling in from the hallway. "I swear it. But I'd like to try. Would that be okay with you?"
"Yeah," I whispered. "That'd be fine."
I don't know if he was lying or not about his experience, but entering him was fairly easy. His hole glided open with a great deal of pressure and a moderate amount of lube. I paused twice to let him accommodate my size, and then on the third attempt managed to drive the rest home. He knew automatically when I'd reached bottom, and panted and gasped with the effort of it. "Drop it in Timmy," he panted out. The words sounded strained, as if they came from someplace deep inside where they'd not been aired for a long time. "Come on, sailor," he growled, beginning to slam back on my meat when I fucked him a little harder. "Knock up Timmy's cunt. Drop them seeds in Timmy. Knock him up!"
I admit I blinked a few times. I assumed he was Timmy.
"Knock it up!" he barked. "Timmy needs that seed!" His riding became more aggressive; he almost knocked me backwards. I had to push his entire body forward and kneel on the bed in order to keep up with his bucking. "Drop that load in Timmy. Give it to me! Give it!"
I hadn't been fucking more than two or three minutes when, amidst these cries and demands, Timmy's body started to buckle and shake. My dick popped out when he came, squeezed out when he clamped down hard with his ass muscles. I saw his hand clutch for his dick, though I was pretty sure he hadn't been stroking it while I was in there. A single shot of semen flew out of the tip and onto the bedspread as he yelled and shook with a violent orgasm.
I stood there for a moment while he buried his head in the sheets, still groaning. Then once he was silent, I asked quietly, "Where's your bathroom?"
He came into the bathroom and sat on the tub to watch me wash up in his sink. "Did you come?" I told him I hadn't. "Sorry . . . did you want to come?"
"I'm good," I told him, with a smile.
"I meant it when I said I haven't had a dick your size ever," he said. I was washing the dick off at the time, using soap and a lot of hot water. He stared at it. "I haven't even had anyone back here in a long time. Four years." When I turned in search of a hand towel, I realized he wasn't looking at my dick so much, as into space. There was a vacant expression on his face. Abstracted. Very far away. "Four years ago was when my wife died," he said. "She was a very sick woman. I nursed her for a long time, but in the end, there really wasn't anything to be done. You know?"
I stood there with the towel in my hand, naked from the waist down, leaning against the cold porcelain of the sink, while Richard Marx still played downstairs. "I'm sorry," I said.
"Yeah. Well." His lips disappeared as he sucked them in to moisten them up. "It's taken me this long to start to get over it. You don't ever want to lose anyone that close to you. Not after years and years. It's like losing his huge . . . chunk of yourself." His hand reached up and clutched each other, shaking. "I hope it never happens to you."
"Me too," I said. I folded the towel and left it on the sink, then walked back into the bedroom, hoping it didn't seem as if I was trying to avoid his talking.
"All this was hers," he said, gesturing to the piles of clothing and suitcases on the room's far side. I saw now that there indeed women's things. "And the dolls downstairs. She collected. Hoarded," he said, with an unexpected flash of humor. "Same thing, for her. I finally got a professional organizer in this month to help me get rid of all this stuff on eBay, see if it's worth anything. See?" He showed me the open closet, in which hung a neat row of men's pants and shirts. "I'm carving out a space for myself here, little by little. Getting my life back. Carving out a space for myself. In my own home."
At that moment, it seemed like the saddest image in the entire world. I said so.
"Oh." He cleared his throat. "It's not so bad. Today a closet. Tomorrow a corner, then another corner. Pretty soon an entire room." The man swallowed so deeply I could see his Adam's apple bob. "It'll come," he said. There was hope in his voice that hardened into resolution. "It'll come."
I believed him.
This is what I've learned after enjoying sex with strangers for the better part of my life, now: every man has a story to tell about himself. He might utter it in those quiet moments when the heaving and panting has ceased. He might speak it wordlessly, through the way his eyes keep resolutely shut and through the language of his body, or it may come through in his dirty talk, or the shy reserve that keeps him from removing his clothes. Listening to those stories honors them. Those stories are what connect us; they're the words we whisper in the dark when we think no one's whispering, but when we hope we're being heard.
But it takes getting out from behind the computer, or from behind the desk or the cash register or the gloryhole or from in front of the television to hear them. It takes a resolve to stop looking at the world from behind the blinds, getting out there, opening up, and listening.