Lake Ontario - Adam Barrett
I met a boy on the beach today who was a kind of older doppelgänger of Him. Same size, same hair, same dumb little glasses. He was with a friend of mine and I was all alone so I asked if I could join them, and we all sat around their tiny fire stark naked in the dwindling sun, talking about nothing, and everything, and flirting in the way gay men do that means nothing; we went swimming in the frigid water, and he went under with a calm-and-carefulness, and I went in with fear-and-then-abandon.
Waiting for the boat home he asked, "how do you feel about physical contact? Can I put my arm around you?" And I flustered and let him, because nobody has asked in a while. And we waited and the first boat never came, so our bodies got a little closer, and by the time the ferry finally came we were wrapped around each other, and by the time we were on the mainland we couldn't help but kiss. And kiss. And kiss. And we kissed there in the middle of the crowds of people swarming around us, like our kiss was a boulder in a river of long weekend revellers, and it felt like I was kissing a better version of the man who broke my heart. A version who could listen to me talk about my heartbreak there on the beach, and match it with a kiss that tasted like a promise. And when we tore each other away he said, "I don't do computer stuff, so we will just find each other on the beach again soon." And we rode off in opposite directions with the faint taste of promise and Burt's Bees lip balm in our mouths.
And so maybe putting my body in that water was a kind of baptism. And maybe that's all I needed, on the two month anniversary of my heart breaking into a million pieces: A baptism, and the taste of a promise. I'd forgotten how sweet it was, and how good it feels to wash away your sins.