The music at Berlin nightclub is always louder on Saturdays. The sound mixes well with vodka and Redbull to help the body get a little more buzzed.
In this dark, cavernous place the disco lights are more like spotlights, and as I slowly scan across the dancefloor, body upon body upon another, I spot him—dark features, a light jacket, a clear drink and standing by the ATM. The only thing menacing about this stranger is his 11 o’clock shadow. Otherwise, he looks like a good boy who’d never kiss on the first date.
But the way I catch him looking at me tells me he’d kiss me tonight.
I tell my friends, my partners in crime, that I need to use the restroom, then make my way through the dancefloor, grasping onto strange shoulders, careful not to have any drinks spill on my jeans. I’m not sure what I’m going to say to this guy once I get to him, but I keep on going.
“Hey,” I say certainly not loud enough.
“Hi,” he responds and smiles, waiting for my brilliant second liner.
“Uh… are you a Scorpio?” “What?” “Zodiac sign. Scorpio. My horoscope today said I would meet a Scorpio…”
“I’m a Cancer.”
“Right, my horoscope said I would meet a Scorpio, but that it wouldn’t work out. A very handsome Cancer, on the other hand…”
“Haha, what about the handsome Cancer?”
“He would ask to buy me a drink and we would hit it off right away.”
“Oh really? And do you find that your horoscope is usually right?”
“Most of the time? No. But I believe in free will more than in destiny.”
“Good policy ’cause I’m afraid your horoscope is wrong yet again. I’m a Capricorn…”
“And a liar.”
“What are you drinking?”
After two drinks, we start dancing. He is about an inch taller than me with droopy gray eyes and a lazy smile. He tells me he’s 26, graduated from the University of Michigan and now works at a consulting firm downtown. It’s his first time coming to Berlin, and he has ditched his friends at another bar.
A remix of “Through a Keyhole” by Walter Meego comes on and I start kissing him, moving my lips and tongue to the rhythm of the pulsating beats.
By this time, my partners in crime are nowhere to be found, surely they’ve disbanded by now, and I have no desire to go find them. Guys are always more comfortable asking me to come over if they think I’ve been deserted by my friends.
We leave the club and get into a cab heading towards his apartment in River North. On the way there, we share a Parliament and continue gently making out in the back seat. He stops for a minute. It’s starting to rain, but he rolls down the window anyway to clear the cigarette smoke. He then looks at me and says, “By the way, I’m straight.”
“By the way,” as if it’s just some sidenote to the situation. I look at him and then out the window. No, not out the window, but at the window, at the rain droplets. I can either tell Straight Guy that there’s nothing straight about making out with another man and that he is delusional. That his friends probably know. That he is using me just as as he has used his girlfriends in the past. I can tell the cab driver to stop, kiss Straight Guy good night, get out the cab, find the nearest L stop and go home.
Or I can just sit there in silence and keep looking at the rain droplets accumulating on the window.
The next morning, Straight Guy wakes up early and goes to get bagels from across the street. He comes back and turns on the TV in the living room to CNN. I walk over to him wearing last night’s clothes, lean on him slightly and take a sip of his orange juice.
I didn’t bring up his confession that night before, not when he took off my belt and pushed me on to his bed, not when I ran my hands across his bare shoulder blades, not when he pinned me down and kissed my chin. And I certainly wasn’t going to bring it up now. Or ever.
For one minute I let myself get caught up in the moment: the good boy with the lazy smile making breakfast while watching the morning news. A moment he would never recognize, a moment I’m ready to own.