Dear Smiler

By Alan Semrow


It was just last night. And you should know how many times its rung through me. Sitting with you at that bar—we kept our conversation. You said your things and I said mine. And it mattered, because my face was flushing and Jennifer turned up next to us on her birthday to buy a shot of Fireball and tell us about the woes of her life. We said cheers to her. And I think we also hugged her goodbye.

You showed up wearing that green hoodie and those holey jeans, serving to say that you were a laid-back kind of guy. That this was just hanging out, that this was just whatever. You smelled good, but it was a casual smell—like the green hoodie had been worn multiple times since its last washing. It was clear you weren’t resting your life on this—you were here to see what happened. But there wasn’t really any reason why we wouldn’t hit it off. Which I think it’s fair to say we did.

Leaving the last bar, it was all my doing—we locked arms and just walked. I didn’t know where to exactly (or if what was running through your head was the same thing running through mine)—all I knew was that I needed to be home at a certain point and that if I saw your cute face laugh one more time, I might just fall right over.

We kissed. I let you take your time with that—lips lingering over lips. I licked, just so we could be like Elio and Oliver. And then we met, right there on the bed, falling into each other. We had sex. A kind of sex, where I did (or attempted to do) things I wouldn’t normally. I took you.

We showered afterwards and, the whole time, I drew my hands across that hairy chest and watched that shiny, smiley face as it made me feel like everything I said was hilarious (or plain ridiculous), even if it really wasn’t.

That night, you slept in my spot. And I let you, because I gave a shit about you. Your alarm rang at five in the morning and I cursed your name. You shut it off and muttered, “That can wait.”

I threw my body around yours to feel your heat. My hand, around the hairy chest, it met you and what did you do? You touched it. You grabbed it, for the rest of the morning, until 6:15 when my phone alarm rang and I mumbled the directions for making that thing shut the fuck up.

I got up from the bed—the room was destroyed. Condoms. Articles of clothing. Shoes. I asked if you liked coffee. Then I made some, after you explained that it was too early for coffee.

You, world traveler, you’d seen a lot. And there were a lot more questions I had. Being with you yesterday. This morning. It made look again at the power of potential.

We lay together in bed. I sipped at my little coffee. The mug, from Stella, labelled “Let That Shit Go.” I kissed your face. I kissed it again and sat on the bed, with my hand on you, to just let you know that I felt a real fondness for you—for the way you talked to me, the way you held me arm-in-arm all that way home, how you laughed when I said all the wrong things. You made me nervous.

You had a conference call at 7:00. It felt like a Saturday—which, if it had been, I would have at least inferred that I wanted you to stay with me all day long. But I couldn’t. I let you go, because I had to. At the door, I kissed you three times. You said, “I’ll see you soon,” which didn’t sound as much a promise, as a question mark.

I didn’t know. Do you?

On the way to work this morning, Sheryl Crow’s self-titled album played over my car stereo. “Home” came on and my eyes did that thing they’ve done plenty of times before. I started laughing as the eyes started welling, like that scene in Unfaithful when Diane Lane is on the train and all giddy about the sex she’d just had with the exotic hottie.

I got to work and my coworkers treated me just as they had the day before. They were too good, as I was still in the process of loosening up, letting the real me shine. If only they knew—if only these walls could really speak.

Parts of me are unsure of whether it all will happen again (I never know), but you gave me enough of a reaction—a real craving to have you next to me. I’ve smelled you all day long, Smiler. And I suppose, that’s enough. To say we had our time, regardless.