Sunday, July 4, 2010
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner
Any night, you go to a gay bar and there the older men sit, all jutting, sharp elbows and legs crossed, perched on bar stools, alone.
His name is Vasco, late fifties, sauve as a cocktail no one knows. "Talk to me," he begs. "I am so lonely, empty."
You try and reassure him with platitudes that he won't understand. He blames the Church, in all (Catholic) seriousness and he talks, on and on about his mother, as if we don't have one and will never understand. "I am rich," he says, like it helps. He's more drunk than anything else, a filthy, decaying inebriation.
We duck and weave, but it's true NO ONE talks to him and perhaps we are the first in a long while. He clings to us. It's embarrassing. At some point, a banality I dug up from the self-help recesses of my mind inspires him to rage. He spits in drunken fury, profanities like tar, and then just as fast, he is sobbing on Lennie's shoulder, great wracking convulsions of loneliness and incomprehension of how gay became apparently so... nice for those younger than he.
We eventually shake him off, and before I leave the bar, I see Vasco again, swaying on a drunken ship of sorts. He has an impish smile, as if he's enjoying himself there - just for a moment.