Places: London, SWI
By John Yager
Some time ago I posted a series of four very short pieces under the collective title Seasons.
Many readers have since written to ask if I would do further such little vignettes. What follows is one such piece, part of a series titled Places, based on my own memories of some of my favorite cities and locations around the world.
Andrew, thank you again for so much help, for good advice, for proofing and editing and, most of all, for making me look so much better than I am.
This work is copyrighted © by the author, 2003 and may not be reproduced in any form without specific written permission from the author. It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.
The fog had moved in, curling over the window, making little arabesques on the dingy glass. He walked back into the drawing room and put his big hand on my left shoulder. I continued to stand there, not turning, but I did move my own right hand, placing it over his.
"It's getting cold."
"Yes," I agreed, not used to London winters.
"I'll light the fire." He moved away from me. "I really didn't expect you to come."
"Oh? Why not?"
"I don't know, I guess I don't have much confidence."
"Are you new to this?"
"Yes, it's my first time."
He was older than me by ten or twelve
years, mature at thirty-five, afraid of being rejected.
"You're a great looking man."
"Thank you," he said with a chuckle. "I felt like you could have had any man in the pub."
"Well, it was you who asked me if I'd like to come home with you."
"Yes, for a drink."
"That's what you said."
He rose from lighting the gas fire and turned to look at me. "It sounded like a very hackneyed line."
"It worked," I grinned.
"Speaking of drinks," he said, gesturing toward the two heavy cut glass tumblers on a silver tray. He'd put them on the low table in front of the sofa.
I sat in the center of the sofa and reached for one of the glasses, knowing he'd have to sit near me, if he chose to sit on the sofa, that is.
"Well," he said, smiling, turning to face me, only inches away, "here's to new friendships."
"Yes," I smiled back, letting my hand graze his as our glasses touched. He was new to the game and I'd try to help.
"Your first time."
"Since school. Years ago." He paused, looking ill at ease. "I was married, you see."
"Oh, that explains it," I smiled. "How long?"
"Two." I sipped my drink, straight whiskey, Scotch, neat, no ice. "What about you?"
"Married? Never, but I'm only twenty-two." I set my glass back on the tray and turned to face him. "In the pub, did you know I was American."
"I didn't until you spoke."
"So you thought you were getting an English guy."
"Yes, actually, but I don't mind at all."
"Good," I grinned, reaching out to run my fingers along the curve of his jaw.
"This is very awkward."
"Not really," I smiled. "I suppose you want to go to bed."
"Desperately, but I don't know how to ask."
"You made a good start, asking me home for a drink."
"Where's your bed?"
"Now? Just like that?"
We didn't finish our drinks.