Life is cruel. Yet, once in a while you meet someone who is kind and that makes it all better.
Early morning in Tucson. I sat in the park adjacent to the library puffing on a borrowed cigarette. The bums and tramps and haggish alcoholics were out in full force. They waited like I waited. Every morning exactly at 8:30am, an Asian man arrives and doles out fresh donuts and delicious hot coffee free and gratis. Really...it is worth the wait.
As I sat watching that freak show, a shadow came across me. Looking up, it was a ruggedly handsome, blond boy. His tight, boxer physique was silhouetted by the glaring and yellow early morning sun.
"Hey, homie, you spare a cigarette?" He asked in a course voice dripping with a hard urban accent.
I stated that I did not but offered him a couple of puffs off of my own. I sat up straight to get a better look at him. He was young, late twenties, but I saw the worry lines and mysterious addictions have aged his face. A face that I was certain was once boyish and fresh. His stocky frame was a mass of prison and street tattoos. Blue eyes emitted warmth and compassion from an otherwise sad and grimacing face.
He grabbed the cigarette and took a couple of puffs, said thank you, and handed it back.
"What's your name?" I asked.
"They call me Shy." He croaked.
"Shy? Really? Is that what it says on your birth certificate?"
He laughed, "No. It's Kyle."
Kyle. How Anglo. It has been so fucking long since I heard a name that wasn't Gomez, or Rodriquez, or Lopez, or didn't end in a goddamn 'ez'. I commented on his name and he stated that he was full Irish. He pulled up a right sleeve and brandished an amateurish tattoo stating the fact that he was Irish. Well, there was a green clover embroidered in there somewhere. From his mannerisms he screamed of musty truck stop bathrooms and cheap, bed-bug infested flop houses, and dingy, back-alley grottoes. He was a poster boy for a legion of American male youths who were raised in the system and knew of nothing else. A hustler and a thief, a rentboy, and a breaker of old queens hearts. I really liked him from that moment on.
We hit it off quite well. Spent the entire day yapping and joking and confiding each others secrets. We spoke of my writing, his recent break up with a girl, my past trips to Mexico, his boxing classes, my love of travel, his passion for poetry, my homosexuality...Oops. Wait. Did I just tell him that? I did. Why not. Get it out in the open.
He confessed with a straight face, like a little boy who knew he had done something wrong, but at the same time wanted to come across apathetic about it, "That's cool. I don't care. I had dudes suck my dick before."
As we ate lunch at a sidewalk cafe, he mentioned that he had no place to stay. As a fact, he strongly needed to take a bus out to a nearby Indian Reservation to retrieve his personal items.
"What were you doing on an Indian reservation?" I asked.
He took a deep breath and stated that he was shacking up with "some old gay guy". Yet, the old queen was horribly jealous. He - as many shitty faggots do - went out of his way to break up Kyle and his girlfriend so as to have Kyle all to himself, slowly feeding off his youth like a spider in a trap. Through an intricate web of lies and deception, the old queen did succeed. Kyle left after the fact that he couldn't put up with any more of the old queens shit and continuously demanding sexual acts.
I agreed to go with him to the reservation. After I paid for lunch, we hopped on a city bus and traveled the 9 miles out of town. I sat silently watching the shrubs and pipe organ cactus pass until we entered the San Xavier Reservation. Departing the bus we clomped the mile to this old queens trailer. Two white boys out in the middle of an Indian reservation...no, nothing suspicious about that. Several Native Americans did give us a scowling look, other than that we both walked unmolested and unscalped.
The trailer sat in a yard congested with dying bushes and discarded junk. As we approached the door, that crazy bitch flung open the screen and tossed Kyle's bag at him. The blue duffel landing loudly at his feet.
"I told you I don't want your mooching ass around here no more! You goddamn gay-for-pay son of a bitch!" His scrawny, bird-like face turned towards me. His pony-tail tossed like a serpent. "And who is that? Your new cum dumpster?! That bitch gonna take care of you now?"
I stood there silent as the dried up, old queen ranted. Kyle grabbed his bag and mumbled, "Let's go. Fuck this faggot." We walked away as the old queen howled obscenities under that unrelenting Arizona sun.
As we waited for the bus, I inquired, "Well, Kyle. I stay at a hotel for the moment. My apartment through housing won't be available until the 3rd of next month, but you're welcome to crash at my place."
Of course he accepted. Once back at my room, he unpacked and asked if he could take a shower. I lay on the bed, smoking a cigarette, watching some damn stupid talk show as plumes of steam issued from the bathroom while Kyle showered.
As I smashed the stub of my cigarette out into the ashtray, I heard Kyle turn the water off and dry himself. He then walked out of the bathroom completely naked and stood at the foot of the bed.
I lit another smoke and grinned, "Well..."
"I want to show my appreciation of you letting me stay here." He said in the most masculine of looks.
I gazed at his torso. The tattoos. The hairless body. The blond trail leading from his belly button to a flaccid, circumcised penis. Those muscular legs. Those abs. All were burned into my retina in a flashbulb of certainty.
After we both came from sixty-nining with one another, he said it was too hot in the room. I laughed and quipped it was his fault. Kyle mentioned that he suddenly became inspired to write some verse and asked if I didn't mind joining him out by the hotel's pool. We dressed, sat and drank sodas as Kyle scribbled class conscious pornographic prose into his ratty book.
I sat smoking a cigarette and thought, this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship...