What happened was this: I went to a poetry reading. Uh huh. Dangerous waters for a writer! LOL There was this guy named Owen and his first poem had a bunch of mixed images. An ode to a urinal, I think. But then he mentioned Western Union.
In my mind, Western Union is one of the American images that immediately conjures up so much. It’s a short hand for desperation, lack of funds, a lackluster state of being. My brain latched onto that, said, “there’s a story there.” And here it is:
By Eva Lefoy
Eric watched the guy shuffle toward the desk and immediately found himself sympathetic. Between his bed-mussed hair, his baggy out-of-date jeans and his shy, downcast eyes, the guy’s whole demeanor begged for help. A lot of customers were the same way. So why did this guy stand out? “Western Union?”
The guy nodded. “Sending or receiving?”
“ID?” Eric watched as he dug out a skinny wallet and took out the card. There weren’t many cards to choose from. It was practically empty. But though poor the guy was cute, tempting.
“Here you go.”
“Andrew? Andrew Anderson?” The guy nodded. Well that’s an easy name to remember. He checked the computer. Andrew Anderson had $370 coming. Though he could see the address on the ID, he slid the paperwork across to him anyway. “Fill this out, and I’ll get your payment started.”
Andrew nodded and biting his lip, filled in the blanks. Once or twice he raised his head, just for a second and Eric felt his gaze linger. Gay. Andrew was definitely gay.
Eric stifled his ecstatic smile and flashed him a look or two as he completed the funds transfer. The money had come from Arizona. A grandparent maybe? Wasn’t all that unusual. People got money from relatives all the time. And Andrew sure looked as though he needed it. Poor guy.
“Here you go.” Andrew pushed the form across the desk.
“Great. Almost done.” He took the form, brushing his fingers against Andrew’s. The soft touch heightened his senses, sparked his desire. Touching the rest of Andrew would be a pleasure, if he’d let him.
Andrew lowered his head and gave a shy smile. While he waited for his money he shifted from his left foot to his right looking awkward and nervous and seriously huggable. Eric knew he should leave the guy well enough alone, but some perceived weakness or tenderness in Andrew urged him closer. Maybe for a hookup. That’s all. Yeah.
He counted out the cash and handed it across the counter. “Here’s your money.”
“Thanks.” Andrew turned to leave.
“What are you doing later?”
When Andrew turned back toward him, his eyes were wide, like he hadn’t been asked the question in a very long time. “Um, nothing. I just…”
“We could get together for a little while. I have your address. I could drop by.”
An unnamed cloud passed over Andrew’s face. Was he ashamed of his living quarters or was there another reason why he feared company? Eric couldn’t pick it out. But he wasn’t interested in his homemaking skills. They could always go to the park.
Andrew ran his hand through his mop of dark hair. He answered while gazing at the floor. “Um, okay.”
Eric took the small opening and cinched the deal. “Good. See you later.”
Without another word, Andrew walked toward the pharmacy, money in hand. Eric watched him go, some of his excitement waning. Was he a druggie? Oh great. Should have left him alone you dumbass.
Andrew opened the front door to the smell of death, the same staleness that greeted him every time. God, he was tired of it. The ongoing battle of keeping Simon alive taxed his limits. But it couldn’t be much longer. Months maybe? Weeks? Not much time left. The thought made him sad all over again. A sucker punch to the gut.
What the hell had that guy at the store been flirting with him for? Was he crazy? No guy had even looked at him in four years, since Simon got sick. And he’d been too petrified he’d gotten the disease too to go after anyone. Maybe when the guy got here he’d tell him to leave.
“Hey, ho.” He announced his arrival and put the meds on the counter. Simon needed to take them right away so he fixed him a cup of tea and opened the bottle. He took both into the dark bedroom where Simon sat propped up on pillows.
“Hey. How’d it go?”
“Money arrived. Got your meds.” Thanks God Western Union had been open on Fourth of July. He set the tea down and handed the pill to Simon. One more pill. One more day. Repetitive actions that made his life seem a blur.
“God bless Aunt Margaret. She’s a saint.”
She was the only relative of Simon’s who’d stood by him though he was dying from a “gay” disease. Without her help, he never would have made it this long.
“Totally.” Andrew sat on the bed next to him, exhausted. He’d never imagined going to the store could be so draining. But the act of getting dressed and going out of the house – leaving Simon all alone – put worries on him that made his shoes heavy. He squeezed Simon’s hand, than brushed the damp hair off his forehead. “Get some rest.”
“You too. You look like hell.”
He nodded, too tired to argue.
“You’re still cute though.”
Andrew laughed and gave Simon a peck on the cheek. “I’ll be in the living room if you need anything.” He left Simon to his slumbers-the pill made him sleepy- and went to the couch. He closed his eyes, floating in drowsiness. When a knock sounded at the door, it startled him from full sleep. He opened it to find the Western Union guy.
“It’s me, Eric. Can I come in?”
He opened the door and stepped back into the shabby apartment. Eric followed, right on his heels, too close. His cock stirred in his pants, a sensation so unfamiliar he wanted to weep. Eric pressed against his back, one hand curling around Andrew’s erection, hardening it, lengthening it. The squeeze felt good, so, so good. He tipped his head back onto Eric’s shoulder and quietly moaned.
“You like that?” Eric slipped his hands under the waistband and underwear, grasping Andrew’s cock with his firm hand. There was enough liquid in his pants to do the job. He gave Andrew’s cock a few short strokes while rubbing his own into Andrew’s ass crack.
He should tell him his former lover was sick. That he feared he carried the disease too, even though his tests were clear. But god, the man’s powerful grip had him halfway to heaven. The next time his fingers caressed the tight bundle of nerves at his bulb, his balls tingled. “Eric, I’m going to come.”
“Fuck you’re so hot.” The husky words sent his orgasm rattling from the base of his cock upward like a truck and tractor barreling down the highway with no brakes. Urgent need split him apart. He tried to hold back his cry but only muffled it. From the bedroom came Simon’s concerned call.
“Andrew, are you all right in there?”
Eric’s hand stopped. He backed away, confusion on his face.
“It’s all right.” He grabbed a paper towel and mopped up his boxers.
“I didn’t know you…”
“It’s not what you think…”
“I’ll be right there.” He hollered at the bedroom, his gaze on Eric. He didn’t want him to leave but the guy already had his hand on the doorknob. “Look, I’ll explain later, okay?”
“Yeah.” Eric nodded and left.
He sat on the bed by Simon, his heart heavy. When he glanced up at Simon, his eyes were laughing.
“So, you finally got a piece did you? About damn time.”
He waved his hand. “It was just a hookup.” Probably all it would ever be, too. “Some guy at the Western Union counter.”
“Well hell, go get ‘em tiger. I keep telling you to find someone else. You can’t spend your whole life taking care of me.”
Drained by his release, tired of bearing the weight of the world, he laid next to Simon and put his head on his shoulder. The older man had always been a comfort to him. “It feels weird. I love you, Simon.”
“I love you too. And Andrew? I know this will be over soon, so thank you. For everything.”
For the first time in a long while, Andrew let himself cry.
Thanks for visiting! Other stops on the tour include: