The Bridge Falls Down

I'm already late for my internship. Again. I'm always late. And I thought that by staying with him downtown I would be able to make it on time. But I'm never on time.

The walls of his apartment are decorated with black and white photographs of bridges. The Brooklyn Bridge. The London Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge. One night I sat in his living room for a whole hour, drinking red wine, as he showed me photos of his trip to New York. He went on one of those helicopters that fly around the city just so that he could get a bird's eye view of the towering bridges. He once told me that if he could do anything in the world, he would build bridges.

I wait 'til the morning to tell him that it isn’t working.

Bridge Builder is successfully settled in Chicago and knows exactly what he wants next. And I'm an impulsive college guy who is never on time. I didn't expect our relationship to endure past the point of casual dating. But after the concert at the House of Blues and the expensive steak dinner and the talk of going to his parents’ lakehouse in Michigan, I got the sense that he wanted more from me. Pretty soon, his calls and e-mails turn into a form of suffocation—a commitment I'm not ready to make. Maybe because he is 28 and I'm 21 or maybe because he has built a life in Chicago and I still want to go to New York.

Or maybe because I enjoy being on my own. Or maybe because I know that he isn’t the bridge that is going to get me to the other side. Not now, anyway.

Before he steps into the shower, Bridge Builder lets me borrow a fresh pair of Hugo Boss briefs. During our last-time-sex session, I didn't even have the chance to take my underwear off before some minor leaking occured. But that leaves me with a pair of soiled Calvin Klein boxers to get rid of before going in to work. Disponsing of the evidence. So I walk out onto his balcony and the crisp Chicago morning air takes all the late-night heat out of me. Out on his balcony on the 42nd floor of his apartment building on Lake Shore Drive overlooking the lake and the loop, I realize that the only bridges in Chicago connect only directly across the river. They don’t lead anywhere—just from one part of the city to another.

I hear him turn off the shower, so I lean over slightly on the railing and toss my boxers out the balcony. I watch them parachute down and land on satellite dish a few stories down, waving in the wind like a triumphant flag, surely disrupting the signal.

I walk back inside. Bridge Builder is standing in the living room wearing just a white towel around his waist and a few drops of water on his shoulders and chest. I kiss him goodbye and tell him that I'll call him later. But he has this look. He knows I'm not going to call. I grab my jacket and walk out the front door.

There are places I still need to go. And I'm not going to get there by sitting here and staring at black and white photographs.