This Time I Need a Soldier

The first guy I ever took home happened the summer I turned 19. I was living in New York for the first time and going out every night to the grungy, dark bars in the East Village. I decide that the best way to celebrate Pride that summer was by, no, not going to catch the parade through the crowded streets of Chelsea, but at a boy club the night before. Oh yes, the gay dance den.

That night at the basement bar Mr. Black (on Bleecker and Broadway before it got shut down), I remember seeing some of the most beautiful boys I have ever laid eyes on. I knew as soon as I walked down the stairs into the loud dungeon that it was going to be a Redbull night.

As I make my way to the center of the dancefloor, right underneath the discoball is where you’ll usually find me, I keep bumping into all types of guys: LES hip, Brooklyn chic, Euro suave, rowdy i-banker boys, prep school boys and well-bred American boys. The one thing they all have in common is that they are stunningly confident. Pride, indeed.

Beyond the slow grooving and touching that’s happening right in front of me on the dancefloor, I can see him walking in the front door: tall, cream-colored lips, well-built, faded t-shirt and a green baseball cap. I pretend not to notice him but rather inconspicuously move throughout the dancefloor just to get closer. I remember exactly how it felt the moment he grabbed my hips and shoved his chest on my back. Underneath the discoball he confessed that he has recently been in the Army, served in Iraq for two year, had been kicked out. In his case, you didn’t have to ask and tell. His actions spoke louder than words.

After I’m done with my drink, all I want to do is throw Toy Soldier down on the nearest solid surface, but I’m having too much fun on Pride Eve with my friends so I decide to wait it out a little longer. We end up leaving the club right at dawn. I’ve never seen New York cleaner or quieter. He suggests we go to his hotel room in Gramercy. Toy Soldier is from out of town, upstate New York, going to school there, came down to the city with a couple of friends on a roadtrip for Pride weekend. So even though he is sharing a room with a friend, he insists we go to the hotel.

But in his dizzy state he doesn’t remember which hotel he is staying in, and having already lost his wallet and phone (before he met me), he has no way of contacting his friends. He did have his credit card, so after hitting the ATM at some random 24-hr. deli, we circle around midtown in a cab until he comes across familiar territory.

After 40 minutes, he finds his hotel. When we arrive at the lobby, I see a group of guys waiting around, tired and perhaps mildly irritated. These are his friends, I soon discover, and they’re getting ready to go back home. But apparently, they’ve encountered some complications: Toy Soldier has lost his wallet and his phone, another friend got a ticket for parking illegally, another one is not answering his phone and has the only key to one of the rooms and they are running short on cash to pay for the room service. And all this time, while they debate and discuss ways of trying a find a way out of their messy situation, to get away from the troubles of the big city and back to simple days of upstate, I’m just standing there—that guy—a random acquaintance with nothing to contribute to the conversation, just wanting some sexy time alone with their friend. This is how a random hook-up at The Real World house must feel like.

It doesn’t catch me by surprise when his friends raise some serious objections to Toy Soldier and I sharing a few moments alone upstairs. So back into another cab and to my place, we went. The sun is the brightest mid-morning and just at eye-level shining above the East River and making the financial district glimmer.

When we get to my apartment near Wall Street, the doorman doesn’t care enough to have me sign my “guest” in. And as soon as the elevator doors close, I slam my “guest” up against the wall and start making out with him, putting my tongue deep in his mouth while catching my reflection on the clean metallic mirror. His baseball cap falls off as he grabs my butt and then reaches up to place his arms all the way around my ribs. I feel the pressure rising as we escalate fast from floor to floor.

Finally the 28th floor, bing!

“We’re here,” I say catching my breath. I walk out casually and grab his belt to guide him to my door. Inside the apartment it’s cold, and my roommate isn’t home. I look around the kitchen, then ask him if he wants something to eat.

“Oh my god,” he lets out. “I’m starving!”

I make him waffles, and I have a bowl of Cheerios.

We finish and I toss the dishes in the sink. Immediately after, he grabs my shirt and pulls me into my bedroom, puts his big hands on my shoulders and presses. I peck him and then kiss him with my mouth open. His lips taste like syrup.

Oscar Raymundo
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