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My Homeless Boyfriend
By Jen Sincero

He wanted to smoke when he was done so we headed into the living room and I handed him a coffee mug to use as an ashtray. I never let anyone smoke in my house but since that's where the couch was, which I sat on, and since the couch is a gateway to the bed….I motioned for him to sit too, which he did not. He remained standing and looked out the window, making up voices for the birds hopping around in my driveway. For the first time all day a feeling of dread started to consume me. I'd just spent the entire afternoon inside a cartoon marathon with zero sign from him that my crush was mutual, or even remotely reciprocated. On top of that I began to worry that should he fall out of character and begin to speak like a three dimensional human being, we very possibly could have nothing to talk about. Yes, he was my demented fantasy man, but I knew deep down that I had to have something more to go on than just a nice pair of arms. As much as I fancied myself a frat boy, I couldn't get off on purely objectifying someone - I had to have some connection , no matter how small. And just to add to my fun the guy didn't drink at all, meaning that if I was going to chip through the wall of weirdness, I'd be left up to my own devices to do so. I was suddenly exhausted. I stopped acting like everything he said was hilarious and began to space out. My face was tired from forcing a dopey grin on it all day, and as I rubbed my cheeks I began to question if I wanted him to stick around. Then, with the speed of a guy about to lose a free place to stay, Jack was next to me on the couch.

"This is real nice of you Jen, you're a real nice lady. I'm just a little strapped here at the moment and you're a saint for helping me out." This he said in a gruff whisper, and although he didn't drink or do drugs, he spoke with the shell-shocked distance of someone who used to do it all way too much. He looked deep into my eyes, brushed some hair off my forehead, and something inside of me died for him. I saw before me a sensitive, damaged guy whose only crime was taking a few wrong turns here and there. I realized that while he may have looked like those friends of my brothers, he wasn't one of them at all. They were bullies and Jack was decent, appreciative, and kind, and I was gonna get him back on his feet no matter how much of my own life I had to flush down the toilet to do it.

Jack moved closer to me and put his hand on my thigh. I lifted my mouth up to kiss his but he bent down and started kissing me on the neck instead. I closed my eyes and ran my hand down his strong back, along his muscular arms, and found my way to his huge inner thigh. A pulse shot straight through to my crotch - I'd never felt anything so sexy in my life. I'd always dated poets and artists and other thoughtful types that I could flip over like rag dolls in an arm wrestle, but Jack was all man. His strong hard body had me instantly panting and crazed, yet through my horny fog I somehow managed to keep in sight what was really in front of me. "Let's get in the shower," I whispered in his ear as I stood up and took his hand. He may have been hot, but I was fully aware that my new love didn't quite have the hygiene options afforded to most people.

From that moment on Jack became a kept man and I, the rich, lonely lady who kept him. Everything being relative, this scenario actually wasn't too far off. Considering the sad state of the Albuquerque economy, the fact that my electricity was still on and my car was one of the few in my neighborhood not up on blocks, I was somewhat bourgeois . I was able to cover the three hundred dollar rent and second mouth to feed no sweat, and Jack and I co-existed in clueless dysfunction for about four months. Here's how it went: Jack gave me sex and a project far more interesting than my own life and I gave him sex and a place to live. He was so removed he barely participated in society, and I was so removed I pretended this wolfman was my boyfriend. He wouldn't hold my hand in public, and I tried to make him call me when he felt like spending the night on a bench somewhere rather than come home. We never kissed, we only fucked. He spoke in cartoon, I ignored it.

After a while the charade could go on no longer. As with any horrible drug addiction, my mind continued to rationalize my behavior until my body finally had to step in and put its foot down. My face started breaking out and I developed a backache that forced me to stand in the shape of a U. My skin took on this weird yellow hue and I had a cough that wouldn't go away. Eventually my friends started piping in, because even though Jen wouldn't admit it, Jen wasn't happy with the homeless guy anymore. I got concerned looks and lots of "are you sure everything's ok with you and Jack?" Hunched over with my hand on my back, I'd cough in their faces that I was fine.

Then one day I was in the car with an old friend and we stopped at a red light, right in front of the crosswalk, and who should cross in front of us but my homeless boyfriend. He didn't see us so he just walked on by, and because I was sitting there with someone who knew me so well I was forced to see him through her eyes, rather than my own. And it was as if he was suddenly larger than life, a living breathing projection of my own wilted self-image. My friend was silent, but it was one of those loud, heavy silences that said it all. Jack might as well have been pushing a shopping cart. I suddenly woke up. As with any relationship based on nothing but sex and deeply fucked up psychological issues, once I came to and ended it, my sense of relief was so great it was almost like it never happened at all. I didn't even miss the sex part, which truly amazed me. It's like the whole package got thrown out together: my lust, my denial, my backache, and all I was left with was a fresh, clean breeze and the jumper cables he no longer needed. I never saw Jack again, but I heard he was sponging off the chick who worked at the coffee shop. And I'm pleased to report that I managed to learn from the experience. I'm still hot for scary-looking guys with nice arms, but nowadays unless he can invite me over to his place, kiss me on the mouth, and ask me what I'm reading, I'm not coming out of the garage.

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