I wish I could meet Aomame right now, Tengo started thinking again. Even if she turned out to be disappointed in him or he was a little disappointed in her, he didn’t care. He wanted to see her in any case. All he wanted was to find out what kind of life she had led since then, what kind of place she was in now, what kinds of things gave her joy, and what kinds of things made her sad. No matter how much the two of them had changed, or whether all possibility of their getting together had already been lost this in no way altered the fact that they had exchanged something important in that empty elementary school classroom so long ago. (363)
“I did have one person I fell in love with,” Aomame said. “It happened when I was ten. I held his hand.” (190)
“What I want is for the two of us to meet somewhere by chance one day, like, passing on the street, or getting on the same bus.” (190)
For years I haven’t thought of Bill. I fell in love with him when I was 17 in my senior year of high school. One day he showed up at Yesterday’s, the coffee shop in Redondo Beach I hung out at. There he was a skinny proto Burning Man electro hippie queer who loved wearing glitter. He had the svelte skinny almost heroin chic body that got me hard back then, which still does to some extent.
Being an asshole, I couldn’t say anything to him. He was in love with this straight raver boy Carlos anyhow. I was just a nerd goth geek whose only vices were cigarettes and coffee at that point. I didn’t party, haven’t done any drugs at that point. Hell, I still had a 10 p.m. curfew for another few months until I turned 18. Even worse I was a queerby having just come out a year before. I didn’t know what I was into sexually.
We became friends. He confided in me how at a rave in a warehouse in Compton while both were on E, he and Carlos spent what seemed like hours huddled by the speakers as they were making out. I felt the stabs of millions of razor blades repeatedly puncturing my heart each time he professed his love for Carlos. So I kept my mouth shut.
I left for UC Santa Barbara in 1997 and didn’t see him again until 2000. I had a bad night at the James Joyce on State Street. I didn’t really want to be there, but the thought of being alone was even more horrifying. For several years I was afraid to be by myself. We got back to our home base at Java Jones in Isla Vista, and this backpacker who had clearly hitchhiked walked towards us as we tried to stay warm under the heaters.
The hitchhiker looked familiar. He asked me for a light, and I realized it was Bill. We went back to my place and made out on the couch where I told him I had a crush on him back at Yesterday’s. My hands groped his body as we listened to Bjork’s Selmasongs tongues intertwining. He felt perfect right there, and I wanted it to last forever. Unfortunately fatigue set in, and we called it a night.
He crashed the weekend before he headed back to Redondo. I chose to believe he was a nomad, that he was his own man, that in him not laughing at me when I told him I loved him that the feeling was reciprocated just a little.
But I know that he probably made out with me as a means of survival, just a place to crash until he can recover from whatever it was he just left from and plan his next move. I haven’t seen or heard of him since.
I haven’t thought about Bill for years until reading this book. There.