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  • lonely. cold. bored. broke. wandering down the dark street. looking for an interesting distraction from myself. my inability to speak Greek isolates me. this trip is supposed to show me something, some grand conclusions about my life. what will I do after graduation? work, always. move home, probably. graduate school, too late. no one needs to know that I was too scared to go. scared of failure. more scared of success. a month in Greece to sort out my life. no interruptions. I hate it.

    I see him looking at me. a sly smile. he sees my whole body. a sentence as he passes. it's not Greek. I shake my head. “English?” he asks. “American” I say. he's Italian. older than me. maybe early 30s. a business man. he stands too close. nicely dressed. good shoes. “would you like to have a drink”. the distraction I needed. he knows a place up the road. of course he does. we walk. we chat. traveling. Greece. Italy. England. it's always the same. the exchange is expected. nothing too real, too deep. subtle glances. looks through eyelashes. giggles. it seems harder than usual. maybe I'm not in the mood after all. “we could get a bottle of wine. there's a lovely little park up the way”. now you're talking.

    cheap wine. who needs glasses. hand on my knee. over my shoulder. around my waist. here we go. I'll drink a little faster. it's a good thing we got two bottles. I can feel his breath. it's sweet and sticky. thick. panting. hot rolling waves of alcohol and anticipation. soft feathery kisses on my earlobes. not awful. a slippery darting tongue. thank god for the wine. cold fingers on my nipple. damn, not so hard. straddling him on the bench, I can feel his hard cock through his jeans. not bad. both of his hands under my shirt. pull his hair a little. hard kisses. lips sore from biting. a group of people walk by. back to reality. it's still early. “let's finish the wine and go for a walk”. “sure, there's no hurry”. no pressure...I'm impressed. maybe it's because he's older. another reason not to date younger guys.

    more walking. more chatting. something shifts. he's not that interesting anymore. was he ever? he's getting over eager. “there's a hotel on this street”. too bad, his disinterest was somehow more interesting. he steers us toward a hotel. I'm holding his briefcase while he goes in to see about a room. I have to decide now. drop the briefcase. I don't know where I am. running. around the corner. down an alley. waving for a taxi. nobody behind me. hurry, hurry, hurry. I tell the taxi my old hotel address. it seems like I should take some kind of precautions. that's crazy. this is Athens. he can't find me. one more look out the back window. no one there. what just happened? I changed my mind. that's all. I can change my mind.

    I'm safe. a vodka in my hand. lots of people. the hotel lounge doesn't have windows onto the street. even if he could follow my taxi, my old hotel is blocks away. I'm sure I didn't tell him where I'm staying. what am i so worried about?

    that can't be him. it's dark, he won't see me. the staff has him. that's right, no non-guests after 10pm. he's pointing at me. what's he saying to them? no. no. no. “yes, I'll come talk to him”. no. no. no. “the lobby, of course, so sorry”. how did he find me? straighten up. cold eyes. square shoulders. deliberate steps. who the hell does he think he is. “what do you want”. he's so mad, he's shaking. don't get too close. “why did you leave?”. his voice is calm, but his eyes... his jaw tightens. the muscles in his neck are taut. his face is flushed and he's sweating a little. “I just wanted to”. I don't sound very sure of myself. “tell me why you left”. he's raising his voice. step back. watch his hands. I don't know what to say. “I just wanted to go home”. steady, you can do this. “you left me. why'd you leave me, GODDAMN IT?”. go away. please, go away. please... “FUCKING BITCH”. no. no. no. not my face. my brain's rattling loose in my skull. you really do see stars. my cheek is burning. he's gone. searing tears of shame. my head hurts. my eyes hurt. my heart hurts. I want to go home.
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