The Lonely People Are Getting Lonelier
Eliot scrolls down the Craiglist personals looking for instant company. Each ad reads as an index of lonely fantasies, open invites closed in a system: men seek real men, men seek straight men, tops seek bottoms seek tops, dads seek sons. They don't know Eliot, but maybe they seek him, too.
Eliot finds a match and drives, heart convulsing, into the empty dark. He is 17, maybe the best thing going for him. His parents don't know where he is, but then, they never do.
He meets his man at his front door, a red-faced and softly featured Santa. "Come in," he says, already putting an arm around his new companion.
The two dwell uncertainly in the man's bedroom, until Eliot asks, "What do you want me to do?"
"You can take off your clothes now," the man says, and Eliot obliges, and goes to the bed, and feels bony and cold.
The man does his thing and Eliot stares at the ceiling. After a while the pudgy guy finishes, and nestles his hairy and stunted body against Eliot's. He kisses his boy on the lips. "Have you done this before? You're more comfortable than most guys. A lot of inexperienced guys tense up, they won't kiss." Eliot doesn't reply.
The man ushers his encounter out of his house and says he will call soon. Eliot nods and drives home.
On his way Eliot looks at the passing city cut into a glowing grid. He wonders how it's possible to feel so alone in such a big city and thinks about all the other people calling out into the dark. He thinks of all the collisions between people craving contact, and thinking of all this, he only feels lonelier.