Twenty Years Until Yes

June, 1984. Austin, TX.

³You'd've hated the reception,² James told me. ³They had a band. Middle-aged guys in tuxes playing 'standards'.² I could hear his contempt on my behalf. ³Not a new wave haircut in sight. The bride and groom's first dance was a waltz.²

³Gag me,² I said. ³But at least it wasn't a string quartet. And I thought you liked standards. That's Tony Bennett, right?²

³Yeah, but not in the company of four hundred of my parents' and my sister's closest friends. My mom kept throwing me at girls all night. 'She's pretty, so's she, what about her, I know she's single, ask her to dance....'² He did a pretty good sarcastic impression of his mom's nagging. ³I think one of the ushers was coming on to me. One of Ted's friends. I'm pretty sure he's got a girlfriend. God, I miss you so much.²

James had been dreading his sister Charlie's wedding for months. He'd gone home to Connecticut for a long weekend, without me, to pretend to be the straight single brother of the bride. Or rather, he'd gone without me so his family could pretend he was the straight single brother of the bride.

³I miss you too,² I told him now. ³I wish I could've come - you shouldn't have to suffer your family by yourself.² I conveniently ignored the fact that I hadn't been invited because his family didn't want to have to suffer me. His invitation had come addressed to just ³James Wells², not even ³James Wells and Guest².

³My mom would've had a heart attack. Charlie would've had an epic fit, and you know how she can throw a tantrum.² He sounded a little sad, and really tired.

³James? You ok? Did she say something? Was she a bitch?² I'd never met his sister, but from what James had told me, it wasn't unreasonable to assume she'd turned into Bridezilla. ³Was it your mom?²

³It's always my mom. Charlie wasn't any more of a bitch than usual. She's the bride, she's entitled.² He sighed. ³I wish you were here, Jack. I want to hold you and kiss you and touch you and, god, I want to fuck you. That's what you do at weddings, isn't it, you fuck inappropriate people. If I was straight I'd nail a bridesmaid. Maybe I should've gone after that usher.²

I knew he wasn't serious - James was very proper for twenty-five, much too aware of propriety and social etiquette to have a one-night stand at his sister's wedding, even with a girl - but it stung a little that he'd even mention it.

³No, no,² he went on, ³I have you, why do I care. He's just some WASP in a suit. You're... you're you. I wish you could crawl through the phone line and be here with me. I have this big bed and no one to share it with. I'd kiss your mouth and your neck and your chest and your stomach and I'd do that thing with my tongue that you like - ³

³James....² It was suddenly harder to breathe, and my room felt warmer.


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