I stood outside his hotel room and for a moment I hesitated.
He’d asked me to stay and so I had. But I’d woken early as I usually do and I hadn’t wanted to wake him. So I’d gathered my things and I’d snuck out… but I’d also taken the hotel room key-card. I thought about going to the gym but it would have taken to long to go there on the tram and then come back again before Scott woke up.
I know there’s a time limit on how long he’ll do this with me. And sometimes I think if I just avoid him maybe I’ll pause the timer and I can save some of him for later. But does it work that way, really? Maybe I should take as much of him as I can while it’s on offer.
So I was back, coffee in hand. But I still hesitated outside the door. I could still leave. Leave the key-card at the desk or slip it under the door or just take it with me. He’d just assume he’d lost it.
Instead, I walked in and Scott looked up from the bed and he looked so surprised and pleased that I wanted to kiss him. And I could. So I did.
“I didn’t want to wake you up,” I told him, “But I bought you breakfast,” and I handed him his coffee and unloaded pastries from my backpack.
He sat back “a meal and a show!” he grinned.
I didn’t know what he meant by that.
“I just assumed you were going to take off all of your clothes,” he smirked at me, mouth full of croissant.
So I started to do that.
“Oh my god, you’re so fucking hot,” he said as I took off my shirt.
“Alan Sebastian,” I corrected him.
He threw his empty coffee cup across the room, missing the bin entirely and wiped crumbs from his mouth.
“I’m finished, I’m finished,” he said, reaching for me.
“I’m not,” I told him.
And now I’m taking off the rest of my clothes as slowly as I can. I can’t look at him while I do it but I can feel his eyes on me and it’s almost painful in the way it always sort of hurts when people look right at me even if I’m not looking right back at them. I feel our time together ticking away from me. This, as always, could be the last time.
And this, as always could be the last time.
But eventually we need to check out of the hotel. There are still a few hours until he needs to leave for his flight so we just walk around together. And he tells me the entire plot of a book I’ve actually already read but he’s so enthusiastic about it that I let him tell me even though I actually already know.
Soon – too soon – it’s time for him to go and I walk with him to Southern Cross. Scott still calls it Spencer Street Station even though he’s not from Melbourne and, by rights, shouldn’t be used to calling it that. Most people seem to get annoyed when I correct them about it. Scott doesn’t do that. He thanks me when I remind him that they changed the name.
He doesn’t hold my hand as we walk to the station – he doesn’t touch me. I don’t expect him to, not in public. There’s a lump in my chest as the Skybus pulls in.
He’s in the queue for the bus and he keeps looking at me and I keep looking him, dragging out the ending. I don’t want us to stop. I’ve been avoiding this goodbye for more than four and a half years because I’ve been tricking myself somehow into thinking that if I never say goodbye to him it will never have to end. And now the timer is ticking down and when he’s gone, he’ll really be gone from me and I’ll keep seeing him because he’s the father of my nephew but that’s all he’ll ever be, forever out of my reach.
And then he’s running back to me as the last few people trickle onto the bus and he throws his arms around me and he kisses me fiercely, hand on my neck and fingers in my hair.
“Please come home and visit,” he says, “please please please.”
And I don’t say anything but I hold his face in my hands and wish I could hold on to him, and this moment, for longer.
“Goodbye,” he says. And I wish it felt more final, somehow.