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Bad Romance

 

When my mother called to tell me that my grandmother died, I didn’t cry.
It is pretty common knowledge that I am emotionally stoic. In fact, only a few close friends have ever had the unfortunate experience of actually seeing me cry. These emotional outbreaks were always fueled by an excess of alcohol, and it is for that reason that I don’t use Red Bull as a mixer. Sometimes it’s just better to pass out.

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When my mother called to tell me that my grandmother died, I didn’t cry. It is pretty common knowledge that I am emotionally stoic. In fact, only a few close friends have ever had the unfortunate experience of actually seeing me cry. These emotional outbreaks were always fueled by an excess of alcohol, and it is for that reason that I don’t use Red Bull as a mixer. Sometimes it’s just better to pass out.

While I was upset about the loss of my grandmother, during the week I spent in my small hometown in rural Alabama the most powerful emotion I encountered was boredom. By the end of my first day I found myself desperately missing the creature comforts of Tampa. Any other Wednesday, I would be at Streetcar Charlie’s eating fifty-cent wings and drinking dollar drafts, but there I was, sitting alone in a tacky hotel room, flipping through the 17 channels available on basic cable and perusing the only 5 local profiles on Adam4Adam.

I was mildly preoccupied with a Family Guy rerun when I heard a familiar ring and was pleasantly surprised by a message from an adorable boy. Maybe the night was looking up after all. We agreed to meet. I was stunned to see that he was even cuter in person. His wavy hair curled around the edges of his young face. His full, dark pink lips were so beautiful that my lips found my way to them in no time. Our mouths explored every inch of one another, only temporarily prolonging what proved to be amazing sex. Then, in a very un-trickly manner, he laid his head on my chest while I played with his hair.

The scene was foreign to me. I’m not new to the concept of a hook-up, but as a rule, want the guy gone before I get the condom off. This guy, however, was sweet. His face was delicate, his eyes were soulful, and I could almost taste every word he spoke with a sweet, thick-as-molasses accent. The following night was every bit as wonderful.

The third day, however, I didn’t hear from him. I had been blown off. I tried to convince myself it was no big deal; that I was only bothered because I was trapped in a small town with no entertainment, but the truth was I kind of missed him.

My last night in Alabama, my entire family decided go out to dinner. When the server approached our table, my mouth went dry. It was him! I was simultaneously embarrassed and amused. I felt my face flush. I was sure everyone could read my expression and knew I had been tricking with the waiter while home for my grandmother’s funeral. I tried to act casual, to avoid eye-contact, but eventually he caught my gaze and gave me a flirtatious grin.

That evening he was back at my hotel, apologetic for not being able to meet the night before. How could I be upset? It was our last night together, and with that Southern drawl, anything he said would have been reason enough to forgive. As I walked him to the door for the last time, he asked if he could have something to remember me by. I gave him one last, long kiss and slid the “Do Not Disturb” tag into his pocket. In retrospect, the gift was cheap and tawdry, but our brief romance, spawned by a funeral, carried out in a cheap hotel, seemingly tasteless, was paradoxically sweet and indefinable anyway. Bad had never felt so good.


 

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