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**"I want to be with you forever."**
**"Really? You're not just saying that?"**
**"Of course not... I really do want to be with you. I love you, Jon."**
"I love you too, Tracy. Very much."
"Hey J! What invisible friend are you talking to this time? Hey, that code is all wrong. Why are you writing in Basic?"
Jon jumped up in his chair. "I'm not writing in..." He looked at the computer screen. "Holy shit, I've been writing in Basic since I came into work..."
Jon's coworker, Sean, walked into the cubicle and bent down to look at the monitor. "Man, you really screwed up this time. You haven't done this since a month ago. Are you having girlfriend problems or something?"
Jon blushed slightly, and nodded. Not girlfriend problems exactly, but something in that nature. He didn't tell anyone at work that he was gay, because most of his coworkers were male and had a thing for making fun of homosexuals.
"What did you do?"
"Well, uh, we got into an argument, and um, she walked out on me."
Sean straightened up. "I see. You wanna grab a beer after work and talk about it?"
"I hate beer."
"I know what you meant. I guess so. I don't have anything better to do."
"Except to re-write all that Basic... and it's crappy Basic too. You're our resident nerd, Jon! We need you!" Sean walked out of the cubicle and back to his own.
Jon stared at the computer screen. He had written out his relationship with Tracy in Japanese in Basic. He was just daydreaming for half the day, thinking about their first sexual encounter. This wasn't really the kind of thing to think about at work. It wasn't so much the actual process as it was what happened afterward. The two of them were in bed, talking about nothing at all. It moved him, because he felt so connected to Tracy then. They could have stayed there in each others arms for all eternity.
They didn't, as things wore on. There were always minor squabbles, but nothing that couldn't be resolved after a good night's sleep. Until that one day Tracy abruptly told Jon that he wanted out. The relationship was too long, Jon was too distant, living together was a mistake, he was unsatisfied with their sex life. Perhaps it was too long. They had been friend for six months before Tracy realized that Jon was gay.
It happened at a movie theater. They were watching a new foreign film that Jon thought would be interesting to see. It was a particularly dramatic scene. Tracy wanted to cry, and held on to Jon's hand. Jon rubbed his hand softly with his thumb. Tracy looked over at Jon, and he whispered to him not to cry, that it didn't suit such a cheerful boy. Jon kissed his hand gently, and Tracy looked away, slightly embarrassed.
Thinking about the past wasn't going to help Jon do his work, though. He had to do it, not that he wanted to. There were so many gamers depending on him. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, what Jon did now would be inconsequential. However, as inconsequential as it seemed, he also needed to eat and pay rent, and one could not do those things lawfully without having a source of income. He sighed and scrolled to the middle and began half a day's worth of code.
Usually writing code was fun, which is why he enjoyed his job immensely. Today it seemed tedious, and (dare he think it) boring. He didn't want to do this. He wanted to go home and sleep. Tracy would get mad at him if he did, so he began to work quickly and efficiently.
He felt much better after re-writing many functions and getting them to work. It was strangely satisfying. Not completely, but it was enough incentive for him to finish his work for the day. Time flew by and before he knew it, it was time to go home.
"So you actually worked today."
Jon fell off his chair. "Dammit, I told you to cut that crap out! Scaring the shit out of me... what the fuck is that?!"
"Whoa, ease off there, Geekboy. I didn't mean anything. I bet that girl of yours drove the proverbial stick up your ass." Sean backed away from Jon's cubicle and into the hall.
It wasn't quite a stick that Tracy had in Jon's posterior. "Yeah." He wanted to laugh, but no one would get it.
"So, do you still want to go get a few drinks?"
Jon shrugged. "I guess." He followed Sean to the parking lot.
"J, are you stalking me?" Sean chuckled.
"No... I was hoping you'd give me a ride. I don't have a car anymore, Tracy took it." Jon sighed, hating the bus ride here. At least it wasn't the subway; it reminded him of his lover.
"Oh, I see. What a bitch, taking your car and everything. Well, follow me, then." The two of them walked to Sean's car and got in.
Jon looked out the window, watching the scenery pass by. Downtown was hopelessly ugly and depressing. Not as depressing as downtown Tokyo, but for an American city it was too much so. The trees were scrawny and malnourished. The sky seemed more polluted. The buildings were monotone to the point of looking greyscale. Even the pavement, though going fifty miles an hour past him, seemed dirty. He had never really payed attention because he was always too focused on his work. Now he was the passenger on a road he had been on many times before. But he had never really felt what was going on. Yes, he went off the deep end when Tracy left the first time, but it wasn't the act of leaving. It was everything. His relationship with his parents was sour, his colleagues thought he was heterosexual, the stock market was down as well as anything money-related, and Tracy was flirting with every guy he could find, just to piss him off. And yet, when he came back, nothing was resolved, really. It seemed there was no resolution. Jon could not understand any of it.
"Wake up, J. We're here." Jon opened the car door and followed Sean into the bar.
The bar was moderately crowded, populated with mostly business people. A lawyer here and there, a banker, and techies. Jon smelled the cigarette smoke and a thought of his father passed briefly through his head. The two of them sat down at the bar, on brownish stools.
"So Jon," Sean began, "tell me about this girl."
Jon took a breath. "I don't know where to start."
"I don't care, start at the end." Sean waved to the bartender.
"Well, she left me. We yelled at each other. She was in a bad mood. I fixed soup. I put her in the bedroom. We came home."
"Draft please," Sean told the bartender. "Ok, hold on. I didn't mean to literally start at the end..."
"It felt better." Jon took a napkin and began folding it. The bartender handed Sean his beer.
"Basically she's PMSing on you. If she comes back in another month, she didn't mean it. But if she doesn't, it's serious this time." He drank a little beer and kept on. "I think she's just in it for the sex. She's probably moving on." He laughed. "This chick sounds even worse than I am. I'll take her!"
Jon shot him a look. "I'll beat your skull in."
He held his arms up in defense. "I'm just playin'! I don't need your girlfriend!"
The bartender placed a pint of beer in front of Jon.
"I didn't ask for it..." He pushed it aside.
"The lady over there sent it." The bartender pointed to a table toward the wall. A young woman waved at Jon. He felt both flattered and uncomfortable.
"Looks like your girl troubles are over, Jon! She's hot, man! Go say hi!" Sean made a shooing gesture with his hands and took a gulp of beer. Jon shrugged and made his way over to the table.
"So, uh, did you send over the drink?" Jon scratched his head in nervousness.
The woman smiled. "I sure did! Are you single?"
Jon cleared his throat. "Well... um... you see, I swing the other way."
She kept a smile on her face, but looked confused at the same time. "What do you mean?"
"Um, I pitch for the same team."
She giggled. "A sports guy! Wow, you must be buff!"
Jon frowned. "No, I mean I'm gay."
"So am I! I'm glad to see that everyone is so happy today." She grinned.
Jon felt like cursing. Instead, he sighed and walked to the very back of the bar at a lone booth. Sean and the woman looked at him, then looked at each other, shrugging.
"This is going to be a long, long, long month," Jon muttered to himself.