“If you had to choose,” I say,
“Blur’s ‘Girls and Boys’ or Pulp’s ‘Common People’?”
but Common People is a good song too.”
He is nervous. We are walking the dark, empty streets of my home town, Birtley. It is colder than it ever gets in Hong Kong, past eleven, and I can’t see his profile. I know him, but he knows me more.
He knows I am a genius. Perhaps this is why he is so nervous. I am younger and I am a genius, and he is quite a bit older than me, dark and unformed and building his courage like the cowardly lion.
I guess he wants to know what it feels like to fuck a genius.
I am not afraid of older men. We discuss the merits of Pulp vs Blur some more but it is empty, a string bridge we tiptoe, slung across the void. It is a prelude to the main feature, which is –
will this bearded, semi-genius find it in him to pursue me? My mind blazes. It is a static roar between us and the cold.
He has read enough of my work to know that he will be immortalised. Whatever happens, I will write this up for the world to see. Even if it did not happen. They don’t know, do they?
I am highlighted, glowing and orange and waiting beneath the streetlight, expectant but trying not to push. He is rubbing his stubbled chin and not meeting my eye. He has been careful not to touch me all night, even though I have been curling and uncurling my fingers, to make a point.
He is a four letter word with an uncertain face. Even now, with my eyes half closed and hair knotted around gentle fingers, I cannot remember if he is bearded or clean shaven. A big man, or a small man? Growl-voiced and deep, Australia behind every word, or soft-spoken, velvet persuasion?
He cuts me off, into black.