God, I remember everything about that night. You came over to my place in the middle of August and the first thing you told me was how handsome I was. When you smiled at me I knew you could have anything you wanted. I remember it just like it was yesterday.
I’m almost charmed at his memory. What was I wearing? I ask.
You were wearing this blue checked shirt and some dark shorts. Dark green or blue, I think. Sandals. I remember thinking I had to get you into my apartment before someone else saw you and lured you away.
I don’t allow myself to be lured away that easily, I tell him. Where did we do it?
I took you by the hand and I led you to my bedroom. We were hardly in the door when you pushed me down onto the mattress and took my face in your hands and started kissing me. I’d lit candle because I knew you were coming over and the room was full of their scent when you started to undress me.
There’s a detail I’m interested in. Candles? What scent?
I don’t remember. I think they were some kind of sage. Why?
Just curious. So, so curious.
You have the perfect dick, and you let me suck it and get it wet for my hole before you slipped it in. Then you opened me wide with your big, bare monster. I still remember how perfectly you fit in me.
Sage candles? I ask. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled sage candles before.
All I know is that it was a perfect night and I want you back here again. Why are you so hung up on the candles?
The reason I’m so hung up on the candles, I want to tell him, is that I’m trying to grasp onto some god-damned detail, some obscurity, some little foothold, that will REMIND ME WHO THE HELL YOU ARE.
I’ll be the first to be upfront about things: I sleep with a lot of people. I mean, I’m always rolling my eyes when I’m watching television and there’s some swinging bachelor character—a Barney Stinson or a Joey Tribbiani or a Don Draper—who’s supposed to be a sure-fire hit with the ladies, and then the show reveals that the character has slept with some impossible number of different chicks in his lifetime . . . like thirty. I’ll sit there and wonder why, when a squadron of writers are brainstorming around the conference table, they’ve settled on thirty on a number so outlandishly impossible that it seems beyond the reach of most normal red-blooded American men. I mean, Christ, there’ve been many times I’ve gone through more than thirty different guys in a single week. Put me in the middle of a bathhouse or a good sex party, and I’ll make you look like a fucking monk, Barney.
But that given, I still have a tendency to remember the guys I’ve been with. I’m bad with names, but the faces and circumstances I remember with great clarity. And I’m nearly one hundred percent certain I’ve never been with this guy. We’ve talked about it, sure. When I first moved out here he told me several times that we should get together and I told him that sure, we should. And now he’s telling me that we did, that I was great and he loved it, and we should do it again.
So that’s why I’m asking for details. A sight. A smell. What was I wearing? A blue checked shirt? It’s true that I have one, but it appears in one of the photos I include in my sex profiles. Has he picked up on that detail from the profile he’s looked at so many times and simply imagined this night into being? It’s baffling me. Flattering as it is that he thinks I’m the greatest lover in the world—I mean, he’s not wrong or anything, mind you—I’m grinding my teeth trying to figure out if somehow I slept with him and forgot (which I didn’t) or whether he’s mistaken me for someone else. Or whether he’s just batshit crazy. Which is an option.
You just kept looking right into my eyes the entire time you fucked me, telling me how beautiful I was, he’s saying. It really was the most perfect night in my life.
My fingers hesitate over the keys. At long last, reluctantly, they type Thank you. But if I’m being honest, what they really wanted to peck out is What did you say your name was again?
WOOF. Yer hot.
Thanks! I tell the guy, and unlock my photos before I go to look at his profile.
I recognize him instantly. Drew, his name is. I remember him well. It’s not long before he sends me a note back that reads, I know I’m up in Boston but we ain’t that far, we should get together so you can rape me, grrrrr.
We’re fucked before, stud, I tell him. I had a good time in your hole before and I’d like to do it again.
He’s positively quizzical in his reply. We did? When?
Valentine’s Day of 2005, I write back. We were at a fucking and fisting party at my friend Chris’s house. If it sounds unlikely that I’d be able to pull a date like that out of my memory bank when most weeks I’m unable to tell you what day of the week it is, let me defend myself. When I take X-rated photos with a guy or guys, I save them in individual folders. I label those folders with the date and the participants. So for Drew, I have a folder marked 050214 Drew/Tom/Bob/Chris. Because there were several guys at that particular party.
I don’t know anyone named Chris, he writes back.
Yeah, you do. He’s a tall guy. Bearded. Glasses. Good looking. You flew in from Boston to Detroit to spend the weekend with Chris, and he put together a fuck party. We had a good time.
He writes back again. Detroit? I’ve never been to Detroit in my life. Why would I go to Detroit?
Well, I don’t really have an answer to that last question. But this is Drew from Boston, I’m sure of it. Are you sure you don’t remember? You don’t remember there was that weird little bald guy there on meth who couldn’t sit still for more than three seconds at a time? Chris has a dungeon in his basement. He dressed me up in some of his leather gear and I fucked you and then I fisted you in his sling. My name is Rob. I was clean-shaven at the time, but I know we fucked.
Hi, Rob, he writes back. You’re a sexy fucker. My name is Drew.
I know your name is Drew, I pound back, managing not to type it in all capitals. We fucked on Valentine’s Day of 2005. I have photos of you in the sling with your face showing and me fisting you. I’ll send them to you if you want.
When he gives me an email address, I send off a few of the old photos. Then I talk to my friend Chris. “Do you have time to look at a profile?” I ask him.
“Sure,” he says. I hear him cross to his computer. “What’s the name?” He clicks some keys. “Oh wow, that’s Drew. That guy who flew in from Boston to spend a weekend with me a few years back.”
“I KNEW IT!” I shout, exultant.
“Didn’t we have that fuck party for him? And that little crackhead was there?”
“That’s what I’ve been telling him. Are you sure it’s him? He swears up and down that he doesn’t know me, doesn’t have a friend named Chris, never spent the weekend with you, and has never been to Detroit.”
“That’s definitely him,” he says. “Some of those photos are nearly 10 years old. They’re the ones he was using back then.”
I thank him and hang up. Thank god. I thought I was going crazy.
My inbox is tagged with a new message. Hopefully Drew has written back to apologize and say it’s all come back to him now.
I don’t recognize you. We haven’t fucked, he says. But we oughta.
Okay, so you don’t recognize me. But that’s you in the photos! Right? Right? I send back.
His reply arrives much, much later. We should get together sometime. Grrrrrrr.
Grrrrrrr is fucking right.