Message from John Carter

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

At the Gym (Part 3)

Around nine o'clock we made our way out to the parking lot.  As we stepped outside, he stripped off his sweat-drenched T and let the night air dry his chest.  He shook his head and sweat flipped off like a wet dog.  I wasn't sure where things were going, or even if they were going anywhere, but I followed along with him to his car.  Instead of climbing inside, he leaned against the door and looked at me.

His smile was over-whelming, mainly because it conveyed so much and so little.  He looked satisfied, a little tired, but also sort of interested.  The way he met my eyes...I couldn't tell if he was saying he wanted more or if he was just worn out. 

"So..." He spoke first, and he hesitated over the word.  "...are we going to wrestle again...sometime?"

"Absolutely," I answered, perhaps a little too enthusiastically.

He just laughed.

After a few heart-beats, I added, "So, when do you want to get together?"

He looked off toward the gym and seemed to ponder this deeply, then he turned back to me and said, "Let's not wrestle here.  Let's wrestle at my place."  My heart leaped.  Then he added, "But not tonight.  I can't...not tonight.  But maybe later this week?"

We traded phone numbers and shook hands.  On the way home, I was flying.  Not only was I flushed with that feeling of having wrestled -- of having accomplished something, of having struggled and fought against another human being -- I was also flushed with desire.  I liked him.  Wanted him.  I couldn't wait to hear from him.

Of course, I'm old enough that I had gotten a hold on myself by next morning.  I knew there was a good chance that I would not hear from him again.  What might have seemed like a good idea the night before may have faded by now, so I looked myself in the mirror and steeled myself for the possibility of a big let down.  I wanted him to call.  I wanted to see him again.  I definitely wanted to wrestle him again.  But I'd seen the mark on his finger where he'd removed his wedding ring the night before.  So I knew that there was a really good chance that I would never see, let alone wrestle, him again.

And, over the next few days, my doubts and fears were justified.  I did not hear from him.  Sure I could have called him, but he asked me not to.  He specifically said, "Let me call you."  So, I did not call him.  And I waited.  And I waited.

Then, about three weeks later, on a Friday night, he called.  He asked if I could come over to his place the following day.  I tried to act casual (the fact that my smart phone had displayed his name when he called gave me a chance to collect myself).  But I agreed to come over.  As I pressed END on my phone, I almost jumped for joy.  I was going over to his house to wrestle.

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