By the time we reached town, the friendly traffic cop had gone off duty. And evidently the place didn’t need a second shift. When we reached the plaza, the kids were still on duty. Eager to rewash my van. Until they saw the officers. Arkin woke first, as we parked. He looked around, squinted, slowly smiled, remembering familiar land, then shook the detectives. They groaned in mumbled Spanish, then lumbered out the doors. “Tomorrow, we try again,” Arkin told us, happily. I looked at Mark. In disbelief. He shook his head. “Not with us, I’m afraid,” he told Arkin. Arkin seemed disappointed. “No?” he tried to ask me. “We have other places to go,” I apologized. “And you?” Arkin asked Mark. “We’re together.” Arkin slowly nodded, seeming to consider. The detectives were unloading the rifles. “These things are hard to work out,” Arkin went on, I supposed talking about the investigation. “But I know where you live. I have your addresses. When I find something, I write.” “Bueno,” I said. And we shook hands. And Mark shook Arkin’s hand. And we each shook each of the detectives hands. The kids, still hoping to wash my car, just waited. Moments later, Arkin led his lost patrol up the city hall steps. And I realized I had no idea where Mark and I were going. “Wait!” I shouted. “We need a hotel!” Arkin quickly turned. Though the officers continued into the building. “I know a place!” he said, grinning. “Best in town! Excelente!” He quickly found a notepad in his shirt pocket and scribbled a map on a page. When he handed it to me, he said, “And tell them who sent you. They will make you happy. Muy content.” We went over the directions, determined not to get lost. As we drove off, Arkin watched from the steps. Then he barked at the kids, who scrambled. “There’s part of me that can’t wait for a shower,” Mark admitted. “I’m sure they have hot water.” “Enough to share?” The map was easy to follow. Easier than navigating some of the narrow streets. Filled with people and pets. “That looks like the place,” Mark finally said. A hotel every bit as big and American as the one in Guaymas. But I didn’t care. As I parked, a boy came out for our luggage. “We should have bought something in town,” I suggested. “I’m not planning to wear a lot tonight.” “And tomorrow?” We waved the boy off, tossing an older guy my keys. In the lobby, Mark smiled at me. “If it really embarrasses you, I’ll go back downtown and buy luggage.” I looked at him. “I really need that shower.” He laughed. At the desk, the clerk regarded us strangely. She was neatly dressed, and Mark and I looked like hell. Then Mark clicked his American Express card on the counter. “Desea un cuarto,” he said. “¿Dos quartos?” she asked. “Un,” Mark said, holding up one finger. “Para una noche o dos.” “O tres,” I added. The clerk said, “Excuse, señores, pero hablo Inglés.” So we switched to English. Though we didn’t have much more to say. Mark did add, “Con una cama grande.” Then he smiled at the woman. “That just sounds better in Spanish.” A boy quickly led us to a room with a big bed. I tipped him. For much more than he had to do. As the door closed, Mark and I just looked at each other. He reached for me. His hand went under my shirt and rested on my chest. “I’ve wanted to do that for so long.” I could have said, It’s only been four days. But his hand felt so nice. We kissed. We did that for a very long time. Standing there, holding each other. Then Mark toppled us onto the bed. “You’re very good,” he acknowledged. “Ain’t been almost married for six years for nothing.” We laughed. And that was maybe the first time I’d laughed about Chris. “That shower?” Mark asked me eventually. It waited. And we didn’t need clothes any time soon. At some point, I whispered, “I honestly don’t know where this is heading." And Mark simply laughed and told me, “That’s all right. We’ve got all summer.”
Starting in two days, Tuesday, and posting every other day till shortly before Christmas, a story about gay dating: GWM.
Harry Sussman is a perfectly nice guy in his early 30s. He's a successful architect who lives in western Massachusetts. He's intelligent. He's stable. He's reasonably good-looking. He just wants to meet a nice guy to marry. Now how hard can that be?
Be warned: where there's dating among men, there are guys with their clothes off. But this isn't porn. It's closer to comedy of manners. Or comedy of no manners.