A knock on the window in the middle of the night

Originally published on June 6, 2007.

Actually, it was a knock on the wrong window; but I heard it anyway. You have one guess as to who it was.

Arssi and I had just gone to bed about ten minutes before. I was lying in bed, unable to sleep, thinking about Marek.

The last few days, not only have I had trouble sleeping, trouble eating, but also trouble drinking. If you can believe it. A low, troubling level of anxiety that I can only shake when I’m writing.

Arssi (who had moved in as I had promised him weeks before) and I had both heard the noise but couldn’t figure out what it was. Of course, I jumped to the conclusion I preferred. I rolled out of bed and walked around to the other bedroom, where I opened the curtains.

There was Marek.

I wasn’t surprised. No other boy knows where I live yet. I realized I’d been waiting for that knock for days.

He gestured for me to open the window and I did. He told me he wanted his pants. I knew that I could be an asshole and just hand his clothes to him through the window but I wanted to know if this visit was an excuse to see me or not.

I gestured for him to come around and I would let him in. Somehow he got in the building without my help, which disturbs me, and when he came in, I was happy to see that he was not in thug-boy mode. In private with me he’d never been like that, except that day I told him to leave, when he pulled it over his head like a hood.

I would describe his mood this night as tentative and nervous. Thankfully, it didn’t look like he was high. He did look exhausted, though.

He stood shuffling in the kitchen while I went to get his khakis. He set down a plastic bag of some sort. He looked expectant. I gave him his pants but then asked him if he wanted some tea. He said, in typical Marek-fashion, It doesn’t matter, um, ok.

Arssi had gotten up by this time and they began conversing across from each other on our two sofas. Marek immediately assumed nonchalance, inflected with cocky self-assurance. He only assumed that posture as he saw Arssi emerge from behind the bedroom curtains in his underwear. Marek then stopped looking directly at me, only speaking to Arssi, but shooting me glances when he thought I didn’t notice,

Along with telling Arssi about his thieving adventures over the last few days, the two of them also got into several arguments, not all of which I could follow. But the gist was: He claimed he had come back 4 days ago but that I had not answered his knocks. Given that he had knocked on the wrong window tonight I thought it was at least plausible that he’d come but I hadn’t heard him. I had only waited for him for an hour and 15 minutes — I just can’t handle waiting for people — but on the other hand, boys in this scene are always late. They don’t have watches, normally, and they’ve usually sold their phones for cash.

He said he’d come back three times. I said nothing. I was trying to be a tough guy: Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen. That’s worked to a certain extent with Marek but not believing a story I can’t confirm or deny is beyond mean.

I told him, regardless of what had happened, I was sorry I had missed him. He also insisted he’d knocked the night before, around 7. We had definitely been out by then. Then he began teasing me and Arssi for being in the same bed. He asked me if Arssi and I were married and if he came back who would be sleeping with me. I told him that he, Marek, would be sleeping with me.

Proč ja?” he wanted to know. Why me?

Proto I love you.”

He laughed and shook his head at that. “No, no, no,” he insisted. He said that if he came back he would sleep in the other room. I asked him why and he just said, because.

So we went back and forth for awhile. His constant banter and smile were strained and shaded with anger. But he wasn’t leaving. Yet when Arssi asked him if he wanted to sleep in the flat he said, no, why, that he was going to get up at 4 to go steal chocolate bars from Tesco, so there was no point in sleeping.

I asked him how much money he made in one day and he exaggerated 2 to 3 thousand crowns. But he had no money on him then, of course, and no cigarettes. He told me that he liked his life now, of always having money and always being out in the world and on his own. Judging by the way he scrutinized my reaction to this news — I tried to remain expressionless — I didn’t believe him for a minute.

Eventually, Arssi said it was time for me and Marek to talk seriously and he left us alone, retiring to the second bedroom. Marek jabbered a bit, basically going over, again, his shady activities in the last few days. But he wanted to know what I’d been doing and what I was doing with Arssi. He’d seen me, Arssi and my American buddy Craig, who has been visiting Prague, all of us together in the Kavarna. Earlier, Arssi had seen Marek come up the stairs, look around and then go back down. I hadn’t turned around.

Later he’d come up and sat with a friend, across from us but still behind my back. I had to look but only for a few seconds. There had been no eye contact but he had noticed everything. He wanted to know why we had left just as he came in and sat down. I told him it was because we were finished with our beers. He scoffed.

Honestly, it was both that and because my nerves couldn’t take being in the same room with him and not speaking to him. It’s what had kept me out of the station for the past couple days and what had prevented me from seeking him out. I’d been terrified of rejection, as I always am. But I’d thought he had deliberately not come back, that he’d made a choice. I didn’t want to torture myself by having it confirmed.

Now here he was on the sofa in front of me asking if he could take a shower. I’d not invited him to sleep a second time but he had assumed it. He sauntered off to the shower and came out shirtless, grinning. (Later when I went to the toilet I saw that he’d put all his filthy clothing in the washer. So he was planning on staying at least as long as it took to wash and dry his clothes.)

Co, skin?” he teased. “Co? Fighting?”

We sat a while smoking and speaking about something other than what was on our minds. Arssi came out of the other bedroom and said if we we were not going to talk about anything important then we should just go to bed. So we did.

The talk continued. He asked me why Arssi had said that the flat was only for Arssi, not for him. I said I don’t know, but it was not true. Would I go with biznis boys if he, Marek, weren’t there? I said yes, probably. He wanted to know if Arssi and I had had sex. I lied at first but he chuckled and asked me why I was not telling the truth. Maybe Arssi told him? It’s useless to hide much from this boy. He’s far too smart and far too verbal.

We talked about Christmas Eve and agreed we’d had fun. Because of the sex, he wanted to know? Not just the sex, the whole evening, you and me together. I told him that my last Christmas had been miserable so that this year was quite a gift. He put his arms around me and bumped my forehead, breathing into my mouth; I kissed his forehead. We laid like that for awhile, whispering. He reached up and stroked the arm that was wrapped around his neck.

He fell asleep like that and when his breathing slowed down I withdrew and turned my back to him, onto my favored side. He shifted as well and turned the other way and put his butt up against mine — a sign I’d gotten used to that usually meant he was ready to have sex. I felt him pull his underwear down and then spread his cheeks and grind them against my ass. Then he bumped me a couple times.

“Wrestling, skin?”

I had to laugh.

I wasn’t ready for sex with him and I wanted him to be sure of myself and of him again before we resumed the physical part of our relationship. So I just turned around and spooned for awhile. I did not reach for his dick as I usually would have. We eventually both slept.

He’s still with me, but occasionally I catch some resentment and plenty of the usual teasing but also more affection in bed than I’m used to. I’ll have to deal with the resentment. I deserve it. As for the teasing: Last night in bed he rubbed my cheek and told me he knew why I had shaved.

Proto ja!” he claimed. Because of me!

He was right. Although he’d stroked my scratchy cheeks all night along when he was speeding, normally he doesn’t like my scruff. That morning I’d shaved it off for him.

Ty mluviš; ja delam,” I said.

You speak; I do.
“Ok, mam hlad. Please sendvič.”

OK, I’m hungry. Please make me a sandwich.

That cracked us both up and he jumped on top of me before I could go make one. I did, though, eventually.

I’m not going to teach him the meaning of the English compound adjective, “dick-whipped.” I’m sure he’s got a pretty good grasp of that concept already.

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