A fifth-grade bully, a blossoming romance, a late-night crash
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I am a thirty-eight-year-old heterosexual white male. I am divorced, with three children. I live in Cleveland, where I work as an adjuster for the Provident Insurance Company, with offices on the top floor of the Amnesco Building, an eighty-eight-story, glass-and-steel skyscraper. Right now it is eight-fifteen in the morning. I am on my way up to the office, alone in the elevator. It stops at the second floor. The door opens, and who should get on but Jesus.
I mean, he really looks to me like Jesus. I admit I’m far from an expert on what Jesus is supposed to look like. I’m not really even a Christian, but this guy looks to me like Jesus, you know what I mean? He’s wearing a loincloth, for God’s sake, and a crown of thorns! Jesus!
So he comes in, and the doors slide closed. Then he looks at me. I mean, can you imagine this? He’s looking right at me, right in my eyes. In my head I’m saying, Is this really Jesus, or what? I mean, I don’t know what to believe here. I’m asking myself this kind of stuff, and all the time I’m also wondering if he knows these questions are going through my head. And I’m sort of ashamed, in case he knows. I mean, if it’s really Jesus, then he must know what I’m thinking, right? Am I right? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know what Jesus is supposed to know. How should I know?
So anyway, here we are in this elevator, just the two of us. The elevator is one of those that goes whoosh! really fast, maybe two hundred miles an hour or something like that, and quiet, too. And you know what he does? He smiles at me. I mean, he’s looking right in my eyes, and then he smiles at me, for God’s sake. I can see his teeth, even a little bit of his tongue and everything. I mean, he’s looking right at me, and then he smiles at me. There’s no one here but him and me, and all he’s wearing is a damn loincloth! Can you imagine this?
Now my hands are beginning to sweat, the palms of my hands are kind of wet and clammy. So I put them in my pockets. I try staring at the lit numbers on the wall. We should be almost at the top by now. I mean, we’ve been going up for a long while, but I see we are only just passing the third floor. I mean, this is a big skyscraper, and we are just going by the third floor, even though I can feel we are going whoosh!
Every time I look in his eyes it’s like smash, it’s too hard for me to keep looking, my head turns away. I can’t keep my eyes there. I mean, I’m suddenly looking at the floor or at the wall or down at my feet. I try to look in his eyes, but my eyes move away. Now I’m looking at his chest, it’s easier. But all of a sudden, it’s not so easy. There’s hair on his chest, light brown, very soft-looking hair, not a lot but it’s a little thicker around the nipples, and what gets me are these nipples — so pink and fresh and full, I can’t tear my eyes away from these nipples. My God, what’s the matter with me?
My mouth is dry as a desert, and I can feel my heart thumping and banging in my chest. At last I force my eyes away and move my gaze up. And there’s that smile, and those eyes of his looking at me. God, those eyes. What is it with those eyes? It’s not as if they’re saying anything, there’s no message there. They are just looking, just plain and simple. He’s seeing me, do you know what I mean? It’s as if this guy has nothing in his mind, or like he has no mind at all, he’s just plain looking at me, you know? He just is what he is, there’s nothing else there. And let me tell you, I can’t stand that.
So pow! my eyes jump away from his again, but now I’m scared to look back at his chest, so instead I’m looking down at his feet, and suddenly I’m down on my knees, down on the floor of this elevator on my knees, and I want to touch his feet. My God, I want to touch his feet with my face, touch my cheeks to the smooth skin of his feet. I shake my head hard, I’m trying to get rid of this craziness. I mean, this is really sick, isn’t it? I’m thinking this is really disgusting, what am I doing?
I look up, and suddenly I notice on his thigh, high on the inside of his thigh, there’s a tattoo! Yes, it’s a faint, light bluish tattoo, it’s a little heart tattooed there, maybe about the size of my thumb. I am so relieved, I think, oh yes, this can’t be Jesus. Jesus doesn’t have a tattoo. Right? I think I see something written on this heart tattoo. I can’t make it out, I move a little closer, and bang! suddenly explosions are happening all through my body and bright red and orange lights are going off in my head: it’s my name written there, my name written in this little heart. And there are little hairs there, soft, silky-looking, light brown hairs right next to the heart, they push out from the edge of the loincloth, just inches from my face. I can’t breathe, I want to touch them, I want to kiss them, for God’s sake.
I can’t believe what’s happening here, I mean, what is this? My face is hot with this desire. Oh my God, what’s happening to me, I feel like a bomb is going off in me, a great, hot nuclear bomb, and I look up — he’s still just looking at me, that simple smile. My eyes meet his, and somehow this time I manage to just let us look at each other. I feel a rush of warmth envelop me, my entire body suddenly bathed in it, like all my muscles letting go at once, and I sag back onto the floor of the elevator. It’s a red, soft carpet, and my hands and face sink into it. I can’t tell you how good it feels. It’s so simple.
I’m just lying here on the floor. It’s impossible to tell if it’s almost forever or no time at all. Now my eyes wander over to the wall. I see the numbers flashing by. I get caught up in their drama, the lights, the motion. Suddenly it’s like a race, there go the thirties, the forties, fifties, sixties. It’s all happening too quickly. I don’t want it to go by so fast, no, Jesus, no.
But now I lay my head back down on the floor. Yes, on the thick, lush carpet. Yes. I open my ears and I can hear the elevator. Oh, yes. It’s going whooosh. Just whooosh.