I sit up in bed, look at the open window with the white frames and dark curtains. The sunlight is slowly crawling in and defeating the comfort of the night we spent together. I can hear people walking along the busy street in the city centre of Vienna. They are going to work, running errands or brining their children to school. I am here with him in bed again, thinking, time stood still. But the more noises I hear coming from the street I feel like I should join them. To resume my life outside this bed, outside, where it hurts less, where it feels less real but where I also feel more like myself. I want to join the busy nobodies on the streets and go home. I look over to him. He is half awake, half asleep, lying on his stomach, the light coming from the open window touches his muscular back gently. It appears almost golden. His short black curly hair looks messy now after a night of sleep and passionate love making. He is so beautiful. I touch his back gently, I try to, like the sunlight and say, ‘I think I should go home.’
He turns around sleepily and looks at me. With his strong hands he tries to pull me closer, but I pull away and jump out of the bed. I am looking for my jeans. That’s what we do. That’s what we have been doing for over a year. Every time he wants to be closer, I draw back into myself because when I try to be closer too, he distances himself. An eternal cycle like the sun rising and then again fading away. I can’t remember who started it. But somehow, we are within this cycle now.
‘We could sleep a little longer and then I could make us breakfast?’ He suggests.
We could do that. Again, he shows some effort, some interest, after we got so close again and then his affection would eventually fade. Maybe after breakfast, like the sunlight from the window would fade and the shadows of the other houses would get longer. And then the dim light of the day would take the golden light of the morning away.
‘I am sorry.’ I lie.
‘I got so much stuff for uni to do.’ I lie again.
This time he would not make me feel something, or at least, I would not show it, so he could distance himself again when it would please him. But this time, I am surprised because he genuinely looks sad that I want to leave. For one moment, I hesitate and wonder if the two of us still have a chance. The light from the window glitters onto his face and makes his brown eyes appear kind and warm. Like chocolate, sweet and wonderful. I want to go back to bed with him. Getting lost within our senses where neither light nor shadow could touch us. But then, it must have been a cloud blocking out the sun, the light fades, and the moment is gone. I get dressed, thank him for the night, look at the window one last time and then close the door behind me.
Looking back years later, I always think how immature I had been and how insecure I had felt about the entire situation. Back then I was 21 and he was 27. It was one of those burning relationships. We were never together as a couple but we both knew that we could have been. When we were together, it was passionate, filled with closeness and warmth. However, I or he, eventually always closed up. We always bottled up our feelings before it could evolve into much more. Why did we do that? I do wonder. Was it because of what we thought about each other? What we could be? What each of us thought about ourselves when the other one was not there. Or were we simply distracted by all the choices that were given to us as gay men in a cosmopolitan city in 2016? Could it develop into more today or tomorrow if we both realised, we were more mature now? Or was it something entirely different? Something we both wanted but did not know how to get it. Like sunlight coming in from the window, touching skin when eyes are closed and then, when you are just able to appreciate the warmth, it fades again and you try to bring it back but you don’t know how. Would I want to try to bring it back again?
I don’t know and then again, I think, maybe. But after five years of going back and forth I really was not in the mood to find out anymore. I did not want to give the light another chance to shine through the window.