I awoke in the shivering dawn. That damn electric heater that I had bought decided to call it quits and burn out in the middle of the night. Jumped in the shower - I tell you, hot water is a blessing in these modern and enlightened times - dressed, and walked the few blocks to the Cafe fore a good cup of coffee.
On a bright, cloudless morning, I strutted down the broken, trash littered sidewalks, striding, as I always do like I have a purpose or as someone leaving a hold up. I passed a business which taught English and computer services. Standing outside in the chilled shadows of that mammoth, plate glass building was several students and teachers soliciting passerby with their services. One, a mop-haired young man in a retro, faux-leather pimp coat stopped me with an extended hand. I smiled, shook it. He was tall and held a mane of curly, black locks that cascaded down to slender shoulders. His face was light colored but held distinctive Mexican Indian features.
In broken English he asked, "Do you speak English?"
"Fluently." I croaked. I had to admit, I was somewhat put off by his extreme good looks. And furthermore, I was waiting for a sales pitch.
"Are you visiting from El Paso?" He asked continuing to smile that smile which would melt any heart, cabron.
"No." I said. "Actually, I live here, just three blocks that way." I thumbed behind me towards a row of silent, crumpling skyscrapers that seemed disused for decades.
Our brief discussion was quite pleasant. He related how he would like to talk more in English and had "un milliones de preguntas."
He introduced himself as Johnny - not Juan, you understand, but Johnny - Vargas. I introduced myself and threw caution out asking when he got off work and perhaps we could meet at Cafe Central for coffee and convo. He smiled bigger and agreed. "Okay. At six?"
Shaking hands I continued my trek for breakfast, feeling quite awesome over the impromptu date which I had orchestrated. I had no idea if he was queer or just overtly friendly, but friends right now was in high demand on my end over a pointless lay.
The rest of the day was tranquil. I stayed home and pounded out more pages in a new novel in progress. It is the journey of a homeless queer from El Paso to San Diego and the slice of Americana he finds on his way. I am titling it Hobosexual. It fits.
At five thirty, I made my way to Cafe Central with the usual depression that this Johnny wouldn't even show up. I half expected it and simply sat there listening to two street musicians play JAZZ in the middle of the cafe with their sax and bass guitar. It was wonderful.
At 6:20, Johnny sauntered into the cafe smiling that fucking smile. Damn. His gangly body was so...angular. We said our hello's and I offered coffee. We sat and chatted about a multitude of subjects, he in his broken English and me in my atrocious Spanish. He was quite impressed when I stated that I was a writer.
"Do you have any books here? I'd love to read them!" He said.
"I have copies at my apartment." I said.
"You live near here, si? Let me check them out." He asked.
My stomach was in knots. This is why I adore this culture so much. So friendly. Not mired in suspicion and arrogant distrust like Americans. Still never dropped the queer bomb, so I didn't know where he stood. I was hoping he didn't deteriorate into a hateful macho fuck once I told him. Once home, I'd have to. I mean, how could I discuss the subject matter without revealing the queer angle?
I paid for our drinks and walked with Johnny the few short blocks back to my trap. Once inside, I showed copies of my books. He smiled when I handed him one with PUTA emblazoned across the cover.
"What's this about?" He asked chuckling.
Well...why not? I explained the story and subject with him. He stood there knodding, listening as I gesticualted wildly as only a writer can. "So...you no like the women?" He asked solomnly.
"No, not as much. But, I didn't ask you here to force you into anything you aren't comfortable with." I explained.
"That's okay." He mumbled. "No problema."
I excused myself to take a piss. Offered him a bottle of orange juice in the fridge. In the restroom, I did my business. Took my time. Swishing Listerine around my mouth to get that coffee and cigarette taste out of my mouth. Once I opened the door, I was suprised to find Johnny hudling under my blankets on my bed. His clothes neatly folded on a nearby chair.
"Comfy?" I asked.
He said "Ven con migo." (Come here with me)
I undressed down to my unders and crawled in bed with him. We lay side by side with his arm under my head. His body, though rail thin, was so warm. I imediantly began fantasizing of trailing my hand across his lean copper-colored torso. We talked a bit about his work, how he wanted to get to the States for a better job, a better life. The standard convosation. I was about to roll over and kiss him when I noticed he had fell silent and was fast asleep. I wasn't angry. The boy worked all day. I would be tired, too. I simply snuggled in and embraced him. It was much needed. Human contact. Not virtual. An insidious problem which had plagued me for three years.
Ten o'clock at night and Johnny awoke to urinate. I watched as he creeped across the cold tiles in saggy boxers. When he returned he mentioned he had to leave to go home. (Most likely to his wife. It wouldn't suprise me) He had to work early again the following day and lived far. However, he asked if we could meet Friday night and perhaps go out for drinks. "I know this place that has good cerveza and plays live jazz. Since you like jazz music."
I agreed, got dressed and walked him to the corner. Before he made his way to his bus terminal, we shook hands. I lit a cigarette and watched him briskly dissapear into that Juarez night. I returned home and, inspred, wrote more in my novel before crashing around midnight.