Her fingers stretch across miles. And this fellow I know, we will call him Johnny, quivers. He shakes and he chatters and he looks so pale to me, like he's about to lose his lunch. What ails ye so, Brother? and Yes, I said it just like that, hoping for a bit of levity, maybe hoping to break the taut stretch of her that I too could feel. She had arrived, and I now caught his case of the nerves.
Johnny had said all of the things you would expect: he is happy, excited, thrilled, turned-on. She has come for him and I believe he feels these things. But he is now two or three shades paler, the look of after the lunch has been thrown, after the dry heaves, after the exhaustion of it all and the body slumps, slackens into unnatural contortions, the blood retreated into the heart. Watching his lips move under these circumstances reminds me of the ventriloquist's dummy, how the lips are always larger and active, the head and body unnaturally proportioned, decidedly phony. And as I feed him words, provocative? stunning? alluring? mesmerizing? his lips chatter as if those words originated in his brain not mine, whilst the rest of him remains but a puddle of expulsion.
My phone rings, louder and more urgent than its setting. It is M. She doesn't have my number but I am not surprised. I expected she would have demands of me, the next, the one over, the plus one. She wants a description of Johnny so that she might prepare. Who would know better than I? He is tall, pale, two ten or so. Write it all down, she says. Make it appealing. Make it palatable. Make it plausible. I can do that. Give me a day. Give me him. I want Johnny.
Some men feel uncomfortable looking too closely at other men, describing them in any meaningful way. I would suppose because some account of their erotic nature must be given in any honest assessment and, for me at least, I do not wish to feel in any way connected to another man's sexuality. But I have showered next to Johnny at the gym, conversed naturally with him while he towel dried his genitals. I have spread suntan lotion on his back at the beach and at the swimming pool and thought nothing about it. I have always viewed him as if he were an extension of me: I watch me towel dry my genitalia; I apply lotion to my back. We have been this way, at least from my perspective (and should Johnny ever come up from under M I will have to inquire into his perspective) for as long as I can remember. And now that I consider it, I wish for no change. And I feel intruded upon by M. What does Johnny feel?
You will notice his eyes first. I could not tell you the color but they house the evidence of the spirit, the brain (his lovely brain!), and they peer and they stare, but also they laugh. While his lips remain closed, perhaps even twisted into what would seem a scowl, watch the eyes - as I said, they laugh, they sometimes almost strain with mirth. And when you speak he will train those eyes upon you as if he would climb into your skull, or snuggle inside your chest cavity, beside your beating heart, share the breathes of your lungs. If you contain but a spark of interest he will not be satisfied until he has penetrated you. Repeatedly, if you are interesting. (Note: the retreat will also be found in the eyes, should it come to that.)
The rest of the face and head is nondescript. Full head of hair clipped and goatee trimmed - yawn. The occasional grin. The neck is interesting, but only if you take note of the scar where they slit his throat. If he tilts his head back it presents, otherwise you have to seek it out. Ugly thing, really. Of course go lower and now you'll really find ugly. A veritable battlefield. Shoulder scars from multiple tears and incisions. Chest cavity opened and closed. Abdomen scars, knife and bullet wounds. Plus the muscle atrophy and the extra layer around the midsection from lazy overeating after the most recent procedures that immobilized Johnny for several months. Suffice to say it's better for all involved if he keeps on his shirt.
I will take the time I would have used to describe his lower half to comment on his scars. He has more than those already mentioned - they are literally all over. Ankle, knee, thigh, perineum, forearm, wrist, eyebrow, chin, scalp - too many on the scalp to detail. Like railroad tracks is how Johnny describes it. He has been shot and stabbed and cut and dashed with a brick, twice. He has been opened and closed, multiple times, and yet he reaches towards you, dear M, as he has reached towards me. And I him, and do forgive me if the description I have detailed is not entirely accurate (you will know for yourself soon enough) as some of it may belong to me instead of him. I can not be entirely sure without him beside me to note and compare. But you will see for yourself soon enough. You will see then.