In the morning, the sun beats through the huge glass door of the mansion office, exposing Parker and me on a hardwood floor, lost in a pile of blankets, sheets, and pillows, the aftermath of a tug of war to keep warm.

The other fraternity brothers bustle in the other room, packing frantically for flights and road trips home, piecing the mansion back together after the weekend’s raucous bachelor party. I bury myself under our covers, shielding myself from the sun, the boys, the reminder that my unexpected two-night fling was coming to a close. It is a fruitless attempt at escape.

I overhear the guys outside, rock-scissors-papering their way to a decision: who’s getting Parker out of the office to make sure he catches his plane? One of them had entered mistakenly in the night. When the door opened, he found us frozen, pretending to be asleep, but betrayed by the obvious—no one falls asleep directly on top of each other. We heard his shock, a surprised “ummmm, go to bed,” and the quick shut of the door. Now they debated who would lay eyes on the assumedly post-sodomic moment: dear God, not me.

Someone mans up and leads a pack to fetch Parker. Underneath the covers, I imagine them standing at the door, silently ooh-ing and aah-ing at us, looking down at our makeshift bed as if we were a freak show at the circus: “And in this ring, ladies and gentlemen, we have what looks like a normal morning-after … but look: it’s two men!” We were an unlikely byproduct of this hypermasculine event, and they couldn’t, despite their machismo, look away. All of us wondered, through the nuances of our individual subject positions, if this had actually happened.

Parker leaves the room quickly. With my flight still hours away, I stretch, my body flattening some of the sheets while pushing away the others. I blink my way into the sun, take a breath, and confront an inevitable end-of-hook-up question: What kind of hook-up was this? And what type of closure does that entail?

I have no ready answers to either question. I exit the office. I find my bag by the entrance of the mansion. I begin packing, and out of the corner of my eye, I see Parker following his ride to the airport, approaching the door. We stand side by side without acknowledging each other: I, intent on my packing, he, checking messages on his iPhone. I want to say something: nice meeting you, have a good flight, let’s stay in touch, SOMETHING. But he is out the door and gone. And I continue to pack the weekend away.

+++

On the long flight to San Francisco, I settle: I will not communicate with him. No emails. No phone calls. Our awkward, unacknowledged goodbye provides proof enough that this weekend was merely fun. I remind myself that not every successful flirtatious or sexual encounter can (or should) turn into something more substantial. I tell myself I need to absorb the excitement of the bachelor party’s shenanigans and learn to move on, that someday I will have an opportunity to pursue a fruitful relationship under less sexualized—and heterosexualized—circumstances. I have never been one to stray from more conventional dating models anyway. I am old-fashioned. I date. I wait. This fleeting, drunken weekend fling was not meant to be anything more than what it was. I will be fine. I will look back at this weekend and laugh. If anything, I’ll see him at the wedding and maybe there’ll be more fun there. But otherwise, I decide that there is nothing more to think or say about Parker. Done. Gone. Filed away into my memories.

Until he emails me. I arrive at my apartment, sit down at my couch to catch up on the weekend’s piling email, and find a short note from him:

I just wanted to say bye since I didn't get to at the house.

And in fifteen words or less, he manages to keep me from shutting the door. His email revives what my heart—but not head—cling to: the na├»ve belief that anything can happen.

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