Even his name was reminiscent of my past- of feuds that burned and still glow quietly. It means “god of the sun.”
We rode the train halfway across town. He sat next to me and never asked for my number. I laughed quietly as I waved, stepping off the train to his tortured expression of shyness. I realized later that he had gone 10 stops past where he needed to go.
A friend whispered to me with that mischievous glint in her eye that she had passed my number along to him.
Your room was equipped with only the following: a mattress on the ground piled with mismatched blankets, thick and dark curtains drawn at a weak attempt to ward off the light and noise from the streets, and books tastefully stacked all around the room. Which really are the only requisite things that I look for in a man’s room, obviously.
You’d labor over the kitchen counter to serve us caipirinhas that were sticky with sweetness and too much cachaça, and I’d flip through the books that you had carelessly left on the tiny dining table as you ran to Duane Reade to buy too-expensive limes. You’d quiz me on the concoctions- on whether the batches were too sour or too sweet- with all the seriousness and exactness of the mathematician that you are. I love men who measure things, because I measure nothing and spend my life on estimations instead. Which is why I constantly find myself trying to correct my errors in calculation.
That night we snuck a shitty bottle of red wine and two mugs up to the rooftop that said “entry prohibited” – the rooftop that creaked with our steps and stained our clothes black.
You ran downstairs to get an old towel for us to sit on.
I scooted towards the edge and swung my legs off the side of the roof while staring at the lights of the Empire State Building, looming large enough to reach out and put in the palms of my hands.
You are wary of heights so you sat awkwardly a foot away from me, eyes kind of yearning for the bravery to get closer. I threatened you with that silly habit of attempting yoga poses in precarious places – and you dove for me in panic, almost pushing us both off into the middle of Macdougal Street’s revelry. We laughed while you placed my head on your lap to kiss me in such a casual manner that I almost believed you were cunning enough to have planned it. You continued kissing me beyond the relief of not falling- over and over, as if to desperately forget your fear of heights by falling in other ways. You fumbled with the rubberband and couldn’t stop touching my hair in that way that said you’d waited months to do just that.
Later, on the mattress in your room filled with books, I leaned back across your pillow with my hair twisted back up and watched the orange of the streetlights filter across my legs.
Secretly, you watched me with equations in your eyes, god of the night.
Secretly, I smiled back with the solutions in mine.