(c) Robert Vaughan
I was sipping a Dos Equis at Life Café. It was summer, and the heat radiated from the sidewalks. Even so, I enjoyed the patio, watching mothers’ pushing strollers into Tompkins Square Park, skateboarders blur by, squirrels foraging in the oaks that lined 10th Street. My androgynous waiter delivered my nachos.
“A nice spicy dish on a hot day,” he said, a British accent.
“I’m Seymour,” he said. He tucked a long, thick strand of hair behind his ear.
“Evan,” I said. “I’ve seen you before.” The café was one of my watering holes. I was a hair and makeup artist. I popped into Life Café because it was close to Stuyvesant Town. My best pal, Trudy offered her place when I was booted from my sub-let. Trudy already had a room-mate, so I temporarily crashed on her foldout living room couch.
Turns out he was English. Seymour lived way west on 14th street. He told me his last name was Freeshow, and I couldn’t stop laughing.
“Don’t you get it?” I finally said.
“It’s not that funny. It’s my name.”
That was the first time we kissed. We were walking his two humungous mastiffs that weekend. Folks parted like the Red Sea. We stopped at the mighty Hudson, churning a rubbish gray. Jersey loomed, a mirage of buildings, beige breathing outlines. I looked at Seymour. He wore a pale blue tank, and camouflage shorts. He smelled of peaches and bicycle grease. His physical beauty burst from every pore. It felt time slowed down, like I’d never seen him before.
He turned to me, like a long movie close-up. Who cares who kissed who first, but there were fireworks. Right there on the West Side Highway. No one gave a rat’s ass except us: one of the things I love about New York. Okay, his dogs were a little jealous.
The next weekend, Seymour (now “Simo,” as his English mates called him) and I drove upstate to Woodstock. We hiked in the mountains. I took him to Omega Institute near charming Rhinebeck. We shared a hammock, snuggling and exploring, then napped. We ate a delicious vegetarian dinner. That night, returning back to Manhattan, I asked him to stay overnight. He said “yes” before I’d finished.
It’s always odd to sleep with a new boyfriend. I’m not a great sleeper. But add to that mix Trudy’s foldout couch, and her room-mate, plus Trudy’s two cats that became a little nutty around 4 a.m.
There was lots of tossing, turning. Finally, by the first glimmers of sunrise, I was dreaming. But no, Simo was going to town under the sheets. Waves of pleasure rolled through me. I grabbed my pillow to muffle my moans and closed my eyes. I was so ecstatic, I almost didn’t hear Trudy shuffle past on her way to the kitchen. My mouth dropped open as I pulled away from Simo. We were busted.
“Wish it were me,” Trudy said.
Robert Vaughan leads writing roundtables at Redbird- Redoak Writing. His flash fiction, “10,000 Dollar Pyramid” was a finalist in the Micro-Fiction Awards 2012. He is senior flash fiction editor at JMWW,and Lost in Thought magazines. His book, Flash Fiction Fridays, is at Amazon. His poetry chapbook, Microtones, is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press.