The boys had a couple of stops left so I got to talk to Luis for a little while. He asked me where I was from. I told him I was from Los Angeles and that I was from-from El Salvador. Bobby Lee interjected by rubbing his hand in front of Luis’ chest:
“He’s ricaaaaan,” in a sing-songy voice.
Luis giggled coyly and held Bobby Lee’s arm. It was a beautiful interplay between a lion and his meat. I was disgusted and entranced. Luis asked me what brought me to New York, and I told him it was my uncle, my uncle who didn’t give two shits about me after my mother, sister, and grandma died in a car accident. Bobby Lee’s eyes widened in shock. It occurred to me then that I had never told Bobby Lee about my family, and he’d never asked.
“That’s rough man. Father’s ain’t good for shit, ya know,” Luis said.
Bobby Lee reached his stop, and told Luis, who nodded solemnly, remembering his duties as Bobby Lee’s slab of meat. Mario followed them out of the door, and Bobby Lee said, “Adios muchachos.”
Jason just looked at them leave, having remained immobile in his little corner of the subway train the whole time. Finally, as the train doors closed and the train pulled from the station, Jason moved from his corner and sat right next to me. He pulled out a kleenex from his pocket and let it fall from his fingertips and onto my lap. I smiled, of course he carried kleenex, he probably used them to prop open doors in public restrooms or hold onto subway poles when we weren’t around. I used his kleenex to wipe some of the excess lube off my face. Jason carried himself like a duke, or some important dignitary, it was annoying but also a great part of his charm. I noticed the troubled look on his face.
“You alright?” I said.
“Yeah. He’s doing it just to get to me,” Jason said.
‘He’ must’ve been Bobby Lee, and ‘it’ was most likely those two boys. As far removed from us as Jason wanted to pretend he was, I knew that he couldn’t deny his connection to Bobby Lee. They’d been together for awhile, even lived together, and now—though they were just friends—there was still that intense need for each to be the center of the other’s universe. That night was more than just a regular night for Bobby Lee, it was his emancipation, and Jason was just starting to realize it. I wanted to ask Jason if I had been his emancipation from Bobby Lee, but I knew that I had been, and I knew that Jason’s escorting and his popularity at clubs was much more than just a way to pay the rent, it was a long way to break up with a person.
“I got a long way to go home, you should come by,” Jason said.
The force of this suggestion caught me so off guard that I was sure Jason noticed, but he didn’t care, in fact he just looked into my eyes unflinching, challenging. I was too drunk to fight his advance, too smitten to find the strength to push him away.
“Sure,” I said as my heart leapt into my throat again.
This boy lived so far deep in Brooklyn that I thought we were going to leave the train to the sight of dawn. As we traveled I grew more and more impatient and Jason grew more and more cold, distant, as if he couldn’t really stand the sight of me. We didn’t talk for several stops into Brooklyn, until we hit his stop and he announced “we’re here” and leapt out of his seat.