Neverland Smile by Mateo Lynch Gil

 It was a Saturday afternoon. We were exhausted of and from each other. The room was full of anxiety.  I guess it was a normal thing to feel if you were living in a new country, had secretly moved in with your also nineteen year old boyfriend and were supporting both financially with the money your parents sent you to pay for school and cover life expenses for one.

We were both drenched in sweat laying on a mattress with no covers after going through an intense fight that started verbal, turned physical and ended up in a rough passionate love making session.  

Eight months prior, Max and I were having our usual conversation over the phone before going to bed. After being together for almost two years I moved to Mexico to enroll in a music conservatory. That meant we would live in different countries.

Some time had past since we said goodbye to each other laying on my bed, thinking about the million possibilities and things that could happen in four years. The inevitable silence was accompanied by Ryan Adams’s harmonica to the rhythm of “Desire.” We were young, we were in love, and the long distance was killing us.  We needed to come up with good a plan. Coming from a conservative narrow-minded country, we had to keep our relationship as a secret from our families. So “I wanna go visit my boyfriend to Mexico City for the weekend” was out of the question. Besides a weekend, two weeks, or a month were not enough to extinguish the flames of teenage love and boy-to-boy lust among us. We needed much more than that. After discussing it for a couple hours we had a plan.

We created an email account using the name of a real theatre school and sent Max an email congratulating him for winning the lottery of a free scholarship after supposedly applying for it. In desperation to accomplish our mission and just get approval from his German father, we also lied saying the academy had student dorms and housing was included. A month and a few more white lies after, Max was standing in front of my door with a couple suitcases, his dirty blonde hair and eternal Peter Pan “Welcome to Neverland” smile.

The first weeks were all about having sex as if the world was coming to an end and eating as much junk food as our bodies could contain. But after a while reality and the things we never thought about during the creation of our master plan started to sink in. I had to spend a lot of time in school and really commit to it. While Max was at home with nothing, but lots of free time. Adding the fact that we were Mama’s little boys and the day-to-day home activities like cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and grocery shopping were the hardest and most foreign thing for us to do. So after, handling the situation as best as we could, finally push came to shove.

With no energy left from the fighting and what probably looked like a nude wrestle match from our neighbor’s window. We just laid there letting the night’s dark blue light cover our naked bodies. I could hear his breathing decreasing its volume and speed as he fell asleep. I laid awake staring at the endless horizon knowing it was time to abort our mission. Feeling how the heat emanating from my back could set the mattress on fire and my sweaty chest was about to freeze with the cold stream of air coming through the window. I licked my lower lip and tasted the rusty flavor of blood, I wondered if the bleeding was caused by the fighting or the fucking. Max slept profoundly as if avoiding what was coming. I pressed my head against his chest to smell his unforgettable scent. Truth was, genuine love and will weren’t missing, but maturity and experience to do things right were not there yet. There was no way to know at the time that those intense six months had been essential to solidify and immortalize our relationship, even though we didn’t speak for several years after that night.

It’s a Saturday night. We are sharing a double cheese pizza in my little apartment in Williamsburg. Max cries broken-hearted because his boyfriend is leaving to L.A. with another guy. I listen carefully like I should’ve and never did when he was with me. My first impulse when I see him cry is to say something stupid to stop the tears. So, I whine about my life and how I’m getting balder as days pass by and if things keep heading this way my stomach will end up just like my father’s and pretty soon I won’t even be able to see my own dick. I say anything just to make him laugh and see that smile that takes me back in time and makes me feel like no matter how fucked up things are everything will be alright.