Lo Fidelity

I'm on the bus back home from Chicago, listening to Al Green moan on the tape you told me to buy. It's 1989. I'm 19 years old. You're 32.

In 1983, I'd been away from home for the first time, in a summer program at Northwestern. You were one of the grad students who lived in our dorms, watched over us, and told me what records to buy. We'd talked on the phone a few times a year since then (bands; your religious family; bands).

I hadn't seen you again until this weekend. You met me at the bus depot and took me record shopping right away. ("I remember you looking through the bins six years ago. You were so cute!") Your apartment had a huge Raymond Pettibon poster by the spiral staircase. Your bed was by the window. I'd expected to stay on the couch. I'd expected a couch, too. ("Not bad for 32, huh?" you said, tossing your bra onto a stack of LPs.)

You talked about bands constantly, even while you held me down on the mattress and moaned instructions. (For a moment, I thought "Three Fingers" was the band you'd seen at the Metro last week.) Now I get it, I thought: There's a big difference between willingness and desire. This is your show, and I don't mind at all.

Glorious with sweat, watched over by a crucifix and a Jesus Urge Superstar poster, you bore down on me and whispered "God—I’ve wanted to do this ever since I met you." Since I was 13 and you were 26, I thought but didn't say, not nearly as creeped out as I thought I'd be.

 
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