1. teach me
2. show me
The neon green lights shining right outside his hotel room window gives his shirtless body the same soft glow I imagine he has all year round when he’s in Miami. I take off my jacket and shoes and join him in bed, caressing his chest and pecking him gently on his neck and jaw.
“I’m waiting for you to show me how much you like me,” he whispers, as I reach over and pin one of his arms down on the pillow. I smile, and we start kissing.
Chico Boricuo has a subtle accent. Not a Puerto Rican accent; he didn’t get it from his parents. He got it growing up and going out in Miami. It’s a cocktail of Latin intonations, all blending smoothly under the Florida sun. His skin tastes like coconut, but I’m pretty sure it’s his cologne. No wonder he chose to stay at “The Tropicana Hotel,” he informs me immediately after insisting on paying for my second vodka tonic at the Café.
That’s where our night started, where we first met, at the Thursday night gay Latin extravaganza: Pan Dulce. Chico Boricuo was standing right in front of me at the bar as I waited to order my first vodka tonic. He was there by himself… which is usually a pretty big turn-off, but his baby brown eyes and dimples exposed him as nontoxic, a far cry from my well-documented attraction to cocky crooks, bad boys and un-dateable delinquents. Chico Boricuo looked straight out of one of Johnny Diaz’s novels: warm smile that lit up his entire face, dark chocolate chest hair inching out from his tight forest green v-neck and about 27 or 28.
I turned around to ask my girl friend what she’s drinking, but instead of giving me a response, she widened her eyes as she motioned repeatedly with her chin towards the Chico.
“I’m not exactly sure what you’re plotting,” I tried to set her straight, “but let me tell you right now: it’s not gonna happen.”
Two drinks with a squirt of confidence later, and it looks like it’s definitely gonna happen. Chico Boricuo and I are talking intimately up against the windows that look out towards the twin gas stations on Castro.
“I don’t know where the Tropicana Hotel is,” I resume the conversation we started earlier as I check a text I’ve just received from my girl friend saying she’s found a cab home.
“It’s in the Mission. My brother picked it out for us.” Chico Boricuo and his brother are visiting San Francisco for the week. Every six months, his brother, who a few years ago moved to Panama, has to return to the States to fulfill his Visa obligations. But instead of going back home to Miami every time, his brother chooses and pays to meet up with his brother at a different destination. Earlier this year, it was Denver. This time, it’s San Francisco. And the Boricuo brothers are leaving tomorrow.
After we finish our drinks, he was drinking a Manhattan by the way, I grab his hand, and lead him towards the recently-remodeled dancefloor. But apparently, his Latin hips are unable to shake it to Kelly Clarkson, so he just stands in front of me, como un pez fuera del agua.
“How can you dance to this?” He asks me seconds before the chorus to “Since U Been Gone” is about to blast through the entire club.
“Just jump!” I shout. And he does. And I join. And Kelly belts. And we smile.
He gets a call from his brother, who has been hanging out right by their hotel in the Mission all night.
“My brother, he’s bored. Wants us to meet up for a drink or something.”
“Alright… let’s go!”
“You want to come? And meet my brother? Won’t that be a little weird for you?”
“Not, unless it’s not weird for you. C’mon, this is your last night seeing your brother. I want to meet him.”
We leave and meet up with his brother outside of the Make Out Room. They give each other a sturdy hug, and then I get introduced as a friend, but his brother, who is older, can read between the smiles. The three of us then head into a really tiny hookah bar across the street. It has a sign saying, “Members Only,” but we just walk in, and I order a hookah for us.
“So my brother wanted to see if we could go find an after hours place tonight,” Chico Boricuo says to me before taking a deep drag off a rose-flavored hookah.
At this point, I’m playing the part of local nightlife connoisseur, even though I’ve only lived in San Francisco for, like, six weeks. I walk around the hookah bar, mindlessly starting conversations with the strangers lounging on the couches and laying on the cushions, trying to get the insider information. But they’re all drained from partying, or foreign, or underage. So I give up, but not without a consolation prize.
“Ok, so… it’s really hard to find an after hours here, especially on a Thursday night,” and then I think of a place that might work: “Unless we want to dance like zombies until 8 a.m.,” but then I reconsider. “Never mind, we’re not going to the End-Up,” I start rambling. “But I did meet this really cool girl from Italia. Her name is Valentina, and she gave me a leftover blunt.”
Chico Boricuo’s brother is talking to some of the underage girls, and they totally love his luscious Latin look, so we step outside and light the joint.
“I had a lot of fun hanging out with you tonight,” Chico Boricuo says. His feelings start pouring out like Pina Colada, thick and refreshing, just sweet enough for my taste. “First, when you got me dancing at the club,” he starts recollects after his first hit. “I’ve never danced like that before! And my brother, he loves you by the way. The way you just go up and start talking to everybody, like it’s no big deal. And you always find a way to get what you want,” he says lifting up the blunt and passing it over to me.
I take a small hit. Inhale, exhale just long enough to think of a response, but all I can come up with is, “I really liked hanging out with you too.” But I guess that’s good enough. He pulls me in closer, and we start making out up against a fence on 22nd Street.
After a few minutes, I pull back, but keep my arms wrapped around his lower torso. “I can’t really show you here… show you how much I like you.”
The next thing he says to me, we’re in his hotel room. He’s lying warm and shirtless on the cool, clean, white sheets, and he says:
“I’m waiting for you to show me how much you like me.”
I kiss him, and take off his boxers and let him take off mine. And we fool around for hours, naked and drenched in the neon hues that are radiating from outside the hotel room window.
But I don’t show him how much I like him. Because to do so, I’d have to show him everything: me dancing alone in my room to Kelly Clarkson, making a fool out of myself just to make friends. I would have to show him how jealous and territorial I can get and the humiliating ways I have failed trying to be fabulous. I would have to show him all of that. I would have to show him this blog.
And we only have one night at the Tropicana. Because when morning comes, no matter what happens between us, underneath the sheets, he still has a flight to catch.
The truth is, I don’t always get what I want. In fact, I rarely do. And it seems that the guys closest to my heart are the ones already halfway on to somewhere else. And it sometimes feels like self-sabotage. Like I push myself to fall for these men who are miles and miles away. Keeping everyone, including myself, at a safe distance.
Because I’m not ready to show you how much I like you. Because there’s too much of me to show.