Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Student Invites Me to Share His Bunk Bed

Jamaica, New York, February 2000

In the spring of 2000, I was living in the East Village,  taking classes at Setaukt University (two hours away) and teaching as an adjunct at Hofstra University (1 1/2 hours away), which took a little logistic planning.  Sometimes I spent the night with Yuri or a date to avoid going all the way back into Manhattan.

 That Thursday was one of my long days: up at 6, classes at LIU, teaching at LIU, gym, an hour train trip from LIU to Hofstra, teaching a three hour night class, and then an 1 1/2 hour train trip back to Manhattan.,

 By the time I got on the campus shuttle to the Hofstra train station at 9:30 pm, I was exhausted, and not looking forward to the next 1 1/2 hours.

Standing on the platform on a cold, snowy February night didn't help matters.

I wanted to doze or read.  I was in no mood for cruising or small talk.

No matter how cute the guy was.


So when Mason got on the train with me, I was not pleased.   He was one of the nondescript students in my introductory class last semester: a freshman, tall and thin, pale, with thick brown hair, glasses, a sharp nose, a weak chin, and acne.  Sort of cute, in a fresh-faced innocent way, but nothing spectacular.

He plopped down across from me and didn't say anything.  I saw a sizeable basket that I hadn't noticed in class.  Bratwurst, at least.

"Hi, Mason!" I said with my best smile.

"Hi, Mr. Davis," he said politely.  "Where you headed?"

"Penn Station.  "You?"

"Hey, me too!  I'm going to meet some friends at the Tunnel.  I've never been there before." 

A mixed gay-straight club on 12th Avenue, a few blocks from Penn Station.  Could Mason be gay?

He moved over next to me and started describing the club and his friends.  A few follow-up questions should reveal if Mason was gay or not.

But I didn't get anywhere.  Mason may be gay, but he wasn't open about it, and he wasn't cruising me.  I was too tired to press the issue, basket or not.

Another hour, with a change of trains at Jamaica Station and a short subway ride, and I'd be home in the East Village, where there were plenty of open, active gay guys around, most with sizeable baskets.

As we chatted, I found myself ignoring Mason to gaze out the window at the thick-falling snow.  It was coming down hard.  I wasn't worrried - trains can plow through anything.

At a little after 10:30, we stopped at Jamaica Station to catch the train to Penn.  Usually it was a five minute wait, or less.  But tonight, as we stood shivering on the platform for five, ten, fifteen minutes...

Could we have missed it?  It only came once an hour after 10:00 pm.

And the snow kept falling.

Just my luck.  Waiting on a freezing train station platform in the middle of the night with a nondescript, straight student.  

"Screw this!" Mason said suddenly.  "I'll go to the Tunnel some other time.  I'm getting a taxi, and going home."

"Ok, see you later."

He started to walk away.  Then he turned, saw me alone on the platform, shivering in the cold, and called "Hey, would you like to come home with me tonight?  Mom and Dad won't mind,  You can sleep in the guest room."

Suddenly Manhattan seemed an eternity away, and a warm bed in Mason's house sounded like a godsend.  

We got into a taxi and chugged about two miles through the snow to a duplex on 126th Street.  Mason paid, and led me through the front porch, instructing me to take off my snow-covered shoes at the door.

Mom and Dad were sitting on separate chairs in the tiny, old-fashioned living room, watching the 11:00 news on tv.

"I thought you were going into the City?"  Dad said, ignoring me.

"Snow is too bad out there -- we're almost snowed in."  He took my arm -- the first time we actually touched.  "This is my old professor, Mr. Davis -- I ran into him on the train, and I promised him Calvin's old room, if that's ok."

"Well -- it would be, ordinarily," Mom said, "But Aunt Joy's in there tonight, remember?"

"Oh, yeah."

I started to panic.  Another taxi ride back to the freezing cold train platform, for a train that came once an hour, maybe not at all..."I can sleep on the couch, no problem..." I began.

"How about I just put you up in my room?" Mason said.  "Don't worry, I don't snore."

I tried to remember the last time I shared someone's bed who wasn't a sex partner.  Not since I was a kid...or would he be a sex partner after all?

I wondered if Mason had planned all of this in advance.  A random encounter on the train -- the night his brother's room is occupied -- but how could he arrange for the snow, and the train that didn't come?  No, of course not...I was just goofy with fatigue.

"Sure, that will be fine."

Mason led me upstairs, past two bedrooms -- one with the door closed, presumably where Aunt Joy was sleeping -- and to the third.  Small, bookshelves, desk, dresser, posters, baseball mitt, dormer window looking down on the street.  And bunk beds.

"Um...would you like the top or bottom?" Mason asked.

I was too tired to answer.  "Be right back, got to go to the bathroom."  I found my toiletry kit in my knapsack and headed down the hall to brush my teeth.  When I returned, Mason was lying in the bottom bunk, shirtless, reading a book by a desk lamp.

"Hi, I thought I'd give you the top, since you're..." Mason began.  He didn't have time to say anything else.  "F* climbing," I thought, tearing off my shirt and pants and pushing into bed next to him.  "Scoot over, I don't do tops.  You like cuddling, right?"

"Sure."  He turned off the light and scooted down and held me.  Suddenly he was kissing my chest.

We didn't do much that night, but in the morning I found my way around Mason's firm, smooth physique and  uncut Bratwurst+.  I went down on him, and finished with interfemoral, with a lot of kissing afterwards, before his Mom called us "sleepyheads" and roused us to make the train back to Hofstra.

We ended up dating on and off for about six months, including "sharing" with Yuri and a weekend in Manhattan.

 I still sort of felt that Mason planned the whole thing.

See also: The Man in Black on Christopher Street.

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