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Then He Kissed Me (Louis Toliver Jr. - Swartz, LA)




I felt so alone in a small city until I met him…(“Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals begins to play).

It was a Saturday night. I peered from the downtown-parking garage to a street full of restaurants and bars filled with self-denial and the denial towards others at its core. I had already figured this out being that I felt smothered by the artificial layers of happiness the small city had offered its citizens. The idea that family was the strongest bond was a joke. Women having affairs at home, while their men had affairs in public bathrooms. No real bond was between her or him or with their children, who were playing videos games to cope. The idea that this small city was a family was a joke.

I wasn’t even accepted in my own family. I was gay and I didn’t want to hide who I was. I was lonely. He was constantly trying to show me he was there for me, but I was always lost in my head with rejection. I could barely enjoy the relationship. I was escaping reality for the night.  Watching everyone…(“Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals fades out slowly).

“What’s wrong?” his voice came from behind me as I was looking over the edge of the parking garage spying on the nightlife. “Why do you always have to wander up here when you’re not having a good time?” I turned around and he stood in front of me. Slightly shorter than me.  Muscular, football-build. Polished brown hair. His calming brown eyes peered into my stormy brown eyes.  Dark jeans. Black t-shirt. It fit tightly around his arms. Chest poked out. The tattoo on his chest of a lion with a fleur-de-lis peeked from the v-neck.

“I was just thinking about how badly I want to get out of this town,” it had suddenly hit me that my father and I had not spoken in six months and we lived in the same house. Tension was all around me.

He put his arms around me pulling me close to him, then he turned and we looked off the parking garage together, “What do you see?” Just the way he touched me was healing.  He was enough to make me feel like he was the definition of “right for me.”

With a sigh as if I had given up, I slightly laughed, “Just routine. Same thing over and over again. Same people. Same choices. Same problems. Same misery.” My father worked in the oil field. Our relationship was like his job. On again. Off again. He was mostly off away in his mind. I was like him. I hated that.

“So, you see all of that?” he turned my head towards his. “So, do you see me?”

“Of, course I do,” I responded slightly mockingly. I didn’t quite understand where he was going with his statement.

“I can’t watch you hating yourself, being stuck in pain,” He held my face looking inside of me as he always did.  He then pointed down to the street, “We don’t have to have them in our lives. None of them.  None of this. No more pretending we can’t love each other in public.” He was fearless, wanting to be the man he was supposed to be.

I saw him.  I knew at that moment he was the one. I knew I was upset I didn’t have the confidence to kiss him in front of the world. I wanted to be the best man I could be for myself and for him. “What can we do about our families?” I wanted him.

"We go somewhere else. If they love us, they will come to us." Then he kissed me. "If they don't, then fuck 'em." He grinned.

I kissed him back. I felt so alone in a small city until I met him. But now, through every small city, we are together…(“Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals begins to play).

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