|Me with some of the cast of Naked Boys Singing circa 2004|
I found this photo about a month ago. At the time it was taken, I was working at a Sports PT clinic. I was young, taut, virile... One of the patients at the clinic was a dancer and actor in musical theater.
I started writing my novel, Letters to My Former Self, in 2005. Churned out 20 chapters in 5 - 6 months. One character in the novel is based on the patient/friend who gave me tickets to see him in the play Naked Boys Singing. At the time he may have been the only hetero cast member. I remember watching to see if any penises would perk up. And the eye contact we made. This was the first time we'd seen each other outside of the clinic.
I read the scene of Morgan and Jeremy Collingsworth's "first" date recently. Why "first"? Well after Morgan attended Naked Boys Singing she went to dinner with Jeremy. It was a casual dinner of buffalo burgers and milkshakes. They debated over whether that was a date and Jeremy asked Morgan what her "perfect date" would consist of. Fast forward to Morgan waiting on the corner of 50th and Eighth for their first (second) date when she gets a call from Jeremy that he'll be late but that she could come to his place, in Inwood.
Here's an excerpt from Chapter Fourteen, Letters to My Former Self:
I climbed the stairs to his fourth floor apartment, 4G. I still had slight doubts about his story, but I would find out soon enough what he was up to.I knocked on his door, and heard some movement on the other side. Jeremy opened the door, fully dressed. He was wearing a black, fitted V-neck top with jeans and leather slides. He stepped aside and motioned for me to come in. “Welcome to Sugar.” Jeremy smiled. His apartment was candlelit and the air was sweet.I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There were candles everywhere. “Sugar?” I had an incredulous smile on my face.“Sugar, the dessert bar.”“Oh my god,” I said in a half-whisper. I couldn’t believe he remembered.“Would you like to sit at the bar,” he pointed to the bar that separated his kitchen from the living room, “or at a booth?” That was a window seat.“Booth.”He nodded and closed the door behind him. I walked across the living room to the window seat. He followed. I took a seat and looked out the window. He had a pretty nice view. It overlooked
, and then Inwood Park behind that. New Jersey“Jeremy, this…” I didn’t know what to say. I just shook my head.“What would you like to eat?” he asked.“What’s on the menu?”“Brownies, mini cheesecakes, but they’re not heavy. They’re the French style so they’re lighter. I also have some fruit tarts, sorbet and cookies.”I didn’t respond. I was too busy studying at him, wondering where he came from and what he was doing. I guess I deserved someone good after that last fiasco.“Hey, don’t worry, I actually do have real food here. You know, we don’t have to eat desserts all night.”I leaned over and sniffed his shirt. “That’s a nice fabric softener you used.”“I had to think of something to get you up here. I wanted this to be a surprise.”“Well, I'm surprised…” I looked around the apartment again. He really put a lot of effort into decorating, making it look like a dessert lounge. Under the costume his apartment was wearing, I could tell that he had a well-kept bachelor pad.“Oh, let me take your jacket for you,” he said standing.I stood and took off my jacket. He took it from me and went to the front closet. I turned and looked out the window. I quickly entered one of my “window gazes”. I saw a man exit the park with his dog. They waited for a car to pass before they crossed the street in the middle.“Mimosa?” I turned and saw he was holding two champagne flutes. I took the one from his left hand.“I haven’t eaten yet. Are you trying to get me drunk?” I teased.Jeremy smiled coyly and sipped his drink without answering.“Well can I get something to coat my belly before you pump me full of champagne?”Jeremy went to the kitchen and brought out a plate with cheese and grapes for us to snack on. It went well with the drink and conversation. We were both so high energy when we were around each other, engaged in stimulating conversation, we went through that food pretty quickly.He said he had some more for us to snack on. I followed him to the kitchen and took a seat at the bar. He removed a tray of shrimp wrapped in bacon out of the oven. Each one had a toothpick sticking out of it for easier devouring.“These are really good…” I said with a mouthful of shrimp. I was getting too comfortable. I was forgetting my manners!“Thank you.”For the first time we didn’t have much to say. We just ate and drank. We were hungrier than we realized. We both reached for the last swine-entwined shrimp on the tray. There was a brief stare down before we engaged in a swordfight with our toothpicks. It was no fun (I lost). He taunted me with the hors d’oeurve before stuffing it in his mouth and chewing it enthusiastically. He swallowed, took a sip of his mimosa and let out a burp. He was getting comfortable too.“Oops, sorry about that.” Jeremy said.“Just means you’re satisfied.” I smiled at him.“Not completely satisfied…” We let that comment hang in the air. We both knew the underlying meaning of that statement. Jeremy came around to my side of the bar. He eyed my glass. “You need a refill,” he said. He poured some more mimosa into my glass. He put his hand out and I took it. “Come…” he said. I hopped off the bar stool and he led me back to the window seat. “Sorry we won’t be going out tonight.”
* * *
I considered using an excerpt from their date for a Valentine's Day magazine submission. But it was too "sweet" and "flirty" for the "hot and heavy" that was sought.
In many ways, life as imitated art. Yet "Jeremy" and I have never been in Las Vegas at the same time only to miss each other by seconds.
As I continue the rewrite-editing process of Letters to my Former Self, it'll be interesting how else my life will imitate the art I created many years ago.