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I'm twenty. Twenty, gay, out and proud. I'm dressed to kill and looking for thrills. Single and ready to mingle, grooving and moving in the middle of the dancefloor, surrounded by thumping bass and flashing light.

I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

These tight white jeans and this shiny lycra shirt. They looked so good in the bedroom mirror. Now they feel like I'm just desperate for someone to notice me.

One, two, step, shake. Bend, flex, turn. I'm trying really hard to look like I'm not trying - and it's not working. I've just started and I feel like giving up.

"Hey, nice moves. Not see you here before."

For a long time I can't think of anything at all to say. Then...


"Great threads too."

He's either spent hours to look like he hasn't bothered...or he hasn't bothered. But then, he doesn't need to. Plain white teeshirt, battered jeans, trainers. He looks good.

"Thanks again. I'm a bit new to all this."

He smiles, eyes crinkling. "You're doing fine. I'm Tim, and I'm pretty new myself."

He likes me. I want him. I want him and he likes me. I can't believe it. I don't believe it.

"I.... Um. Do you want a drink?"

I'm forty and respectable. How did that happen? I'm dressed like my dad making polite chit-chat at a fucking cocktail party.

The hostess is flitting around like a butterfly, frantically introducing us all to each other. She grabs my arm and pulls me to the center of the room, leaving me with a paunchy stranger in a bad sports jacket.

For a few seconds we awkwardly avoid looking at each other. Then he suddenly focuses.


A different silence. Then a third. "Tim? Is that you?"

"James, yes. How long has it been?"

"Must be...fifteen years."

Fifteen years since you said you hated me. And I shouted back that I didn't care. I still think about that night. Think about it all the time.

"So. So. How are you?"

"Oh, fine. I'm with that one over there - nearly three years now. You?"

"I'm with someone too. We're thinking of adopting a child. We're very happy together."

"Oh that's good. I'm happy for you."

"Things seem to have turned out pretty well for both of us."


How did I get to be sixty? When did I start being bald and boring? When did I lose it...whatever "it" was...if I ever really had it?

I shuffle along the middle of the pavement, lost in thought, and it's some time before I realise someone's tugging at my elbow.

"Excuse me but...it isJames isn't it?", he says hesitantly. "I'm Tim - do you remember me?"

"Tim? Of course I do. It must have been...I don't know how long. How are you?"

"Oh, same-old same-old."

"Yeah, nothing changes."

"Are you still with...what was his name?"

"No, we split up a few years ago. Still good friends though. And you, you we going to adopt weren't you?"

"Oh yes - we never got 'round to it. We spent a long time not getting 'round to things. Eventually we didn't get 'round to having a life together."

He smiles, the creases on his liverspotted face deepening. I find myself smiling back.

"A bit like me and you then."

"I suppose it was. Why did we split up? I can't even remember now."

I think for a while, and we stand in silence.

"No. Neither can I."

For a long time, I can't think of anything to say. Then...

"Um. Do you want a drink?"

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Wow. A story that's both depressing and uplifting at the same time. Good story. I really like it. It's the kind of story that will keep rattling around in my head. Good job, Kapitano!

I guess it's life, right? I hope Doug and I will be able to do better.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I think I have done all that. And this wonderful story brings back so many memories even though the details are different. Yet so much is familiar...

Great story and I like the style with which it is told.


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There but for the grace of <deity of choice> go us all. Very nicely written, Kapitano, but I didn't like it - the subject matter being way too worrying. :icon_geek:

Post lots more, please. Light and frothy has my vote! :sad:


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I didn't see this story as altogether pessimistic. There's a message in there - it's never too late to try again! How optimistic is that?!

A thoughtful pensive story, very neatly structured and bittersweet in its punch. I loved it. Thank you for writing it!

Speaking as one racing headlong towards sixty, I have to see it as optimistic, don't I?!

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