Peter doesn’t like to drive fast, I notice sitting in the passenger seat of his old Toyota. I don’t get it. He can just pump the gas, trust himself with the steering wheel a little more and zoom past at magnificent speeds. But Peter follows the speed limit and knows his way exactly to my house…. my parents’ house.
Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” comes on the radio right as he’s about to turn on my street. I turn it down. Peter turns to me a little unsure of what to say, so he thanks me for hanging out with him tonight. As if it were such a hassle on my part. I like hanging out with Peter. He’s bubbly but not bursting. Sweet but not syrupy. I know I should just say goodbye and call it a night. That’s what we strive to be: platonic friends who end the night with an awkward hug and a smile.
But I can’t do that with Peter. Maybe it’s the several drinks I had earlier at the bar or maybe it’s the trashy pop playing on the radio or maybe it’s that I love being in a beat up car with a gorgeous boy. It makes me never want to call it a night.
“You’re going to hate me for saying this,” and I can’t believe I’m actually saying it. “But I really want to kiss you right now.”
And here we go again.
“I’m not getting out of your car until you make out with me.”
17 Months Earlier
You could say that what Peter and I had was special. The minute we got introduced by mutual friends, we hit it off. And yes, I thought he was attractive. But I also thought he was straight.
It started the moment he discreetly placed his hand on my knee while we were watching Halloween at a friend’s movie night.
A week later he came over to my parents’ house, and I remember him telling me how hard his heart was pounding as he laid in my bed next to me. We listened to Coldplay’s XY album on repeat and made out mid-afternoon while my younger brother watched The Incredibles in the family room.
That whole summer, we continued our secret affair. It was really exciting at first, sneaking off together after hanging out at the bars and stealing kisses when we thought no one was looking.
The secrecy was arousing. We were like magnets, and the more time we spent together in public not getting on top of each other made our private attraction much more passionate. We had great chemistry under the covers and up against walls and on my living room floor.
At the end of the summer however, as I was getting ready to go back to college, something changed for Peter. I started to get the hint that he was growing more cautious about our indiscretions seeing the light. He was straight, after all. For me, all of this was an enthralling game. For him, it was top secret.
But we kept hooking up, rumbling on every flat surface whenever we got the chance (or carefully contrived a chance). Afterwards, he’d just turn to me and like a friend, confessed to me how he’d regret what had just happened. How he’d been regretting it this whole time and wished he could stop. It wasn’t what he did, who he was, he’d say.
And I, like a good friend, tried to console him every time, regardless of how degraded it’d made me feel. I knew I was better than some dirty little secret. So in order to cope, I made him the game just like he’d made me the mistake.
Seducing Peter then became (and even now continues to be) a challenging trudge up a foggy mountain. But I know that, if I want to, I will eventually get to the top.
17 Months Later
“Fine, Peter. I understand. Just look me in the eye and tell me that you don’t want to kiss me cause you don’t find me attractive…”
“You know that’s not it.”
“Tell me that I’m still not the best kisser you’ve ever had. Tell me, c’mon. And I will get out of your car.”
“I want to kiss you, but we can’t keep doing this. I don’t want to keep doing this. Why do you have to make it so hard? I just want us to be friends! Is that so hard to understand?”
“You and I will never be just friends, Peter.”
“Fine then. Let’s just get this over with.”
“No. Not if you’re going to be so cold about it.” And then I realize that I’m coming off kind of foolish. So I let it go. Game over. “This is silly of me. Let’s forget about it, ok? Goodbye.” But right as I’m about to open the passenger door of his Toyota, Peter grabs my arm, pulls me in closer and we start to make out.
I climb on top of him and pull back his seat so that he’s resting almost completely horizontal. He’s trying to mouth the words, “stop, stop” to pretend like he’s not enjoying any of this, like I’m crossing all boundaries, but I’m suffocating him with kisses. He’s kissing back.
I get off and sit back down in the passenger seat. Now I’m ready to call it a night.
“I hate myself for not having the strength just now to get you off me.”
“I hate you for not knowing what you want. Seriously, Peter? Grow up.”