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He was gamin. He was an exchange student from Paris. His hair was night dark. His face was shaped like a fox’s. A box of summer in it. Bright black eyes that looked perpetually startled, as though he were a boy who knew Christmas lights were tomorrow, and they would always be for him, without the resonant arrogance, without the resident precipitation that he might have had; a turning, a sweet touch of shoulder bare; a suggestion of shadow when his narrow chin lent downward; a surreptitious smile that always seemed to extend a bit of uncertainty; somehow, he know everything was his; at the same time, not being sure of it. Elegance. Eloquence. A slow deer like walking, his slim body cross campus.

A serious boy. Not used to life, though he had lived 19 years of it. Someone who carried his stars in his heart and would not let the secrets out; for he seemed to have many secrets; he seemed an illusion that was most real; especially on this cold winter’s night, as we lay together in our dorm room. As he had his arm, long and particular, draped over my shoulders, and I, his. I, the same, and never the same. Trying to capture him on the film of my mind. Trying to see the touch of my fingers down his thin small boxy cheeks, touching the tip of his perfect nose; pale, his flesh, and rose, his lips, and he giggled, and he said French love words I on purpose did not understand, for I wanted him to be everything and everyone in the world. I did not want to know too much. Then I would lose everything.

I wanted him to have carried the City of Lights all this distance to Far America with him. His hair was a dark birds nest now, for we had finished for a time, making love, in my small bed, with the winter wind howling outside, and the heat in our room far too hot and not under our control. I touched his shoulder bones.

I touched the nape of his neck, and felt the hollow where the Adams’ apple was not; and I amazed at him, and rejoiced at him; I thought he was not totally human; that the way he hunched his shoulders a bit when he walked or when he was reading or studying was his way of hiding out from some federal agencies, the MIBs maybe, after him, searching for this ethereal feather of love that held supine now and giggled as I blew breathe hot on his neck, and he turned his head to me, without turning neck or body; as I looked into his eyes; in which there seemed to be whole worlds; whole galaxies; whole civilizations that were done in miniature; that were done with the sharp precision of the soap texture and the warm texture and the sharp edges of the framework under his neck; of the edge of his shoulders; of his back bone; of his knee caps; of his fox face.

And yet, soft, all soft, and he put a finger to his lips and smiled and broke a million hearts at that very instant, that did not know why they were broken, only that they were; and only he and I could ever tell them; but they would not believe.

We entangled each other.

We were each other’s late winter’s majesties, and when he talked, he had Colette in his voice, and he had Rousseau in his eyes; this roundabout boy who encircled my chest and back as we lay now facing each other; I imagined seeing him on his bicycle riding down the streets of early morning Blue Paris, going after some just baked bread loaves, to put in his satchel, and the streets wet with the morning mist, or the night’s rain, all cottony and fresh and new and springy and vibrant, and a long deep breath from his just long enough nose, and his hands on the bike handles, shanty town izle sure and swift, and guiding, with his sandals on the pedals.

He, seeing in his wonder of eyes all the details of swift panorama, the hovels, the hotels, the cafes, the tables, the stalls, the streets, the early passers by, for his eyes needed to take in the world, and thus saw a vast vista of it when others’ eyes did not, because he drank the world in; he was a living proof that miracles can occur, and the sidewalk peddlers shouted out his name, Emil, Emil, and there was his waving at them with grace and ease and a total lack of hubris.

As he the boy become young man; he the man who was with me as he touched little nights in me; as he touched little words and phrases that sounded like earth being conquered by little angels on the wing straight from Easter clouds lambent above; as he pushed into my chest his hands and pulled himself away, as if on a trapeze; and he dangled and I loved him; and the serious smile of his made me smile back, and made my smile feel bumpkinesque, as his hands were pure and firm and pale and I put my too large hands on the top of his head, to his warm nest of bunched hair, to his warm nest of head and face; then I kissed his lips, and drank of him; for the world was a celebration; for the world was an indentation before him, before we were locked into having the same room; before the doubt and the fear and the secret imaginings, thus caught, like love birds at rest and play, and no longer alone.

As I held Paris inside him, as I walked to the book stalls on the sidewalks, as I had a sidewalk painter draw my love’s face, and carried it in the pocket of my shirt forever and a day, changing it to each shirt pocket, every single morning, making the shirts one, making him one, and me one, and all the fevers and all the nights when I thought he was sick and weeping in his bed, behind the desk divider, and he came to me this night and he held me and we traced our history on each other’s bodies, for we had been lovers for four months.

There was a treasure in his long bony pale nippled chest, that I played my hands on, and touched so felicitously, that I touched his chest and worshipped him as he lay now on his back, and ruffled his hands through my too long brown hair, as I put my head to his naked chest, and he whispered words of love in French; he once asked me, didn’t I want to know what he said at these times, when he spoke to me, and I said, no, Emil, no, for that would spoil it, for you are a surprise, and I never want to know the entirety of the surprise, for I could not bear it if I did, and he raised my head, and I looked into his very serious, very black eyed face, and his hair mussed to the edge of his eyes; his eyebrows cocked as in a quiz, as if he were studying me, as hard as I was studying him, and he lay on top of me, and we rolled about as best we could in my narrow dorm bed, and I held him and I felt him and I marveled at a sequence of events that could have come together to make him, and could have then come to make him mine.

For even naked, he looked proper; for even the first time for both of us, he looked as though he were the master, a kindly one, a patient one, and he led me as I led him and he was not clumsy as I; as he improved on me and taught me that Paris nights were soft even when cold and the snow fell at winter times, and there was a quiet snow fall of lowing of songs off in a distance; the Right Bank or the Left; this avenue shape island izle or that; a quoissant or just a cup of coffee in the morning, as the sun broke through the lattice windows and the world was alive with beggars and street merchants, and it was as though the whole world were perched on forever, and he could fly, if he wanted to, there naked, in his room in Paris, unashamed, aware, turning, and profound.

And with features that said definite; with features that said alliance, that said hands touching as they did that first night when I braved myself to go to his bed in the dark, and found him indeed crying, and I sat on his bed edge, and he turned to me; and he held me, and our hands touched, as though from a million miles and a million lifetimes away; we were safe; and this new world he had come to; that he had been so terribly brave about; that had truthfully hobbled him in panic; relaxed, and his fingers interlocked with mine, and he spoke the first French words I had heard him say; all along it had been English words for him, pronounced with that sweet peach piquant accent that made him sound as though he were precisely advancing vowels and adjectives; said so perfectly; so distinctly; so as if analyzing every syllable, every word, every noun, like my name for instance.

Roaming it round in his mouth with his pink warm tipped tongue, and deciding how he liked those foreign words in that tunnel of teeth; he with the spider crawl to my bed in the nights after that, and jumping on board, his weightless body, and knocking the wind out of me, and we were together, as I touched his penis and he touched mine; and we became hard together, and we learned what the other liked the best, and that was—everything—and I felt the weight of him, the heat of him, as he did of me as well. As we discovered that topography of flesh and bodies is more real than topography of geography of the world.

And it was an akimbo that led us to the offering place of each other. And this early morning as shadows fell in the Parisian world he had brought with him, the paintings, the fresh early morning Cocteau blues and bright greens and reds, the sweets he had eaten with the other children when he was a child, that he always made sure to share with them; the way his hand waved majesty and with precognition on bike rides when it seemed everyone knew him, and he everyone.

How he loved to visit his uncle in the country in summer, where he loved to ride on the back of the field hands’ hay wagon, and at night, to lie on the grass and look up at his own particular starry, starry night.

And see the skies that he stole from up there for his own, as I touched him now, and here was his shoulder and warm, and Clichy, and here was his left buttock so narrow and bony, and this was the Tropic of Capricorn, and here was the center of him, and that was The Thief’s Journal, and here was the Seine as it ripped along under bridges upon which lovers walked and soft music played Charades for them, and for us.

And here was the all of Emil, full and wise and noble and all of himself forevermore, and here was Emil tracing me, and finding in me Western movies, his favorite kind, and horror novels, he loved of all writers, John Saul, the best; his first time with an American hamburger at Wendy’s, spare no expense on our first date, there as he touched to my touchy ticklish stomach, and he was all giggle boxes turned over; and he was room for love; and it was close to Christmas.

It she hulk attorney at law izle was close to the present I was to give him, the complete annotated two-volume set of Baring-Gould’s massively beautiful volumes of all Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. He loved Holmes movies and I had gotten him addicted to the stories. He would read them to me at night in French and I would try to guess which one it was. Of course he would have to tell me and I would try, and fail, to follow along, though I loved Holmes as well, all those foggy London nights, as inside 221B Baker Street, Holmes played his violin and smoked his pipe, as Watson wrote the latest story for the Strand, each knowing their housekeeper would be showing a frazzled Lestrade into their rooms at any minute, and they would be off on another harrowing adventure. Oh you should have seen Emil acting out the characters as he read them. It was so incredibly funny. So frenetic and studious at the same time, he was. And laughing all the way.

And in a few hours, the boy of boxed wonders, this boy of kites flown into skies different than yours or mine, once upon a time, that is, and I, would touch each other and magic scarves would erupt, and priapism would be a world unto a Parisian carnival in the snow and we would ride round each other, on our devices of horses and satyrs and fauns, and we would be dressed for sex, and the music would be Debussy and it would cause sadness in his eyes and we would make love then, getting off the slow and slower merry go round, and I would let him lie atop me for he was by far the lighter, and he would bring his box of face down and he wound annotate me with him, and then we would drift to magic sleep, one of us at least, to wake up on the floor, thanks to that narrow bed.

Then, amazed we were still here, and our ablutions, then we would shower together and soap and I would think him indeed an alien, kneeling to him, Emil, someone that had never ever been before, and as we began again, as we lay in each other’s arms and I said Cherbourg, as he looked at me and smiled, for the first time, a really huge delighted somewhat sweetly sappy smile, for I had said a word in his native language; I had honored him; I had brought home to him, in my poor pronunciation, and he joyed his arms around me and held me tighter than ever before—

–and it was like I had already given him the annotated Holmes; and I saw how I had hurt him all this time by not learning his words and what they taught to me, knowing now that I would study them from now on, and be precise in my hearing and with his much needed help, in the saying of his tongue, though I would be a million miles from the poetry he made of words, in French, and in English; oh take me with you when you go back to your home planet of France; don’t leave me here, without you, for it will be unbearable, and he said Cherbourg and Cherbourg again and laughed and wiggled and pulled my face down to his as we kissed and drank each other, and he held me and I held him and I bent downward to kiss his chest, and then downward further, thinking of that old lovely French film, “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” with the radiant Catherine Deneuve, and the sad, alas, ending, in the impossibly real colors of Paris that only lovers can see, in the sheer joy of romance, in the city of Lights and the city of Love, and as I took Emil in my mouth, I heard him singing softly, the first time I had ever heard him sing, as if Heaven could not be more beautiful; he sang in French, but I knew the words for I knew the melody, from that movie; and I translated the lyrics in my mind as he sang them, between sigh and soft gasp, “If it takes forever, I will wait for you, through a thousand summers I will wait for you..”

And neither of us had to wait any longer. Not any longer.

We were home.

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