Saying goodbye to Igor

Originally published on August 28, 2006.

It was harder than I thought it would be.

Especially considering I found out he was going to work in Germany only a couple hours before he left. Especially considering I’ve tried hard not to make or feel any serious attachments to the station rent boys. I mean, what is the point, really, when everything about a station boy is transient and unstable and contingent upon self-interest: their presence, their money, their friendships, their reliability and loyalty.

Yet I can’t help having favorites and trusting some above others. I have just enough naivete left to believe that every once in a while, some boy will feel the same about me.

Igor is one of those boys and I’m not even sure why. We’ve only had biznis once, fun if rushed sex in the toilet at Rudolfa, and we haven’t exactly spent a lot of time together. Still, he never fails to speak with me or buy me a beer when he has money. The external signs of our friendship are superficially male and physical but seem to mask a real fondness: in lieu of a greeting he comes up behind me and puts me in a head lock or slaps my butt. (And oh, there’s that gift of the knife which has helped me both slice onions and mock-threaten some coked-up gypsy whore who wouldn’t leave me alone the day.)

Igor doesn’t do this with any of the other punters or pimps. He has no trouble talking about the biznis he’s doing with men, doesn’t mind getting teased about anal sex and is always the boy we can rely on to shrug and say, “No problem,” to a client’s requests. It wasn’t Igor who backed out of the boy-boy sex scenario we had cooked up with twinky, gay Laco, who wouldn’t bottom.

Igor said he could fuck or get fucked it didn’t matter. Yet he’s the butchest, straightest rent boy I know at the station. His attitude may have something to do with the fact that at 25 he’s a little older than most. It may have something to do with the fact that he’s Slovak and not Czech. It’s axiomatic by now among station punters that Slovaks biznis boys are easy — easy to get along with, eager to say yes — and in that, Igor is typically Slovak. But it’s better to say, I think, that’s he’s just typically Igor, and that I’ve only begun getting to know and appreciate his personality.

Tonight while drinking and playing billiards with him and watching as his best friend Joseph’s eyes teared up whenever Igor wasn’t looking, I knew that if someone could inspire loyalty and affection in situations like the station’s then he was surely a man of quality. And Joseph clearly loves and depends on Igor and Igor’s leaving was the hardest on him.

Igor made me promise to look after Joseph and assured me that after weeks of talking about it, he was finally ready to bottom. I told him I’d believe it when I saw it but that I’d help him get biznis if I could. Joseph is even older than Igor but he definitely has his fans among punters who prefer men to boys. If I had to describe him, I’d say he’s the 27-year-old Slovak grandson of Sam Shepherd on one side and Vigo Mortensen on the other.

After a few beers at one of the station’s herna bars I was ready to take Igor in the toilet for a goodbye blow job. Hearing this, Joseph said sure, he needs the money. Igor turned bright red, but threw his head back in one of his typically silent, open-mouthed laughs and said, “Maybe no money, Riki,” and slapped me on the knee, pausing to squeeze a tickle out of it.

Later, on the station platforms, I slapped a hard farewell into the big hand Igor offered me as he leaned out the train window. I thought how silly it was to feel sad about some station boy leaving for better work in another country. He was, after all, maybe making a better life for himself and I, after all, had only known him for a few months. Still, I’ll miss him and regret not taking the opportunity to fuck that butch little ass. Joseph’s back heaved as he tried not to sob.

Still, we say at least once a day around here, with sadness, fatalistically

[Wow, fuck, I just got an SMS from Igor as I was typing this. Unfortunately, I can’t make sense of it other than some good news for Joseph and that Igor will call us later in the day when he gets his own phone.]

but maybe with some self-interested hope: He’ll be back.

They all come back.

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