Originally published in our August 2015 newsletter
Michael’s late. John suspects that has less to do with train issues and more with Michael having not quite adjusted back to city life and schedules after a summer in the woods with a summerstock company. Or maybe he’s just not a punctual person when it comes to anything except work. Either way, John is amused and endeared, and watches the entrance to the restaurant as best he can from the table he’s gotten in the corner.
It takes John a moment to recognize Michael when he finally does arrive. Back at camp, with the brief exception of a date at a shitty gay bar in Richmond, Michael had worn shorts, baggy t-shirts, and had been barefoot more often than not. But the young man who’s just breezed in is strikingly city and stylish, in tight jeans, knee-high boots, and a fabulous shirt. He’s even got a gauzy scarf draped around his neck.
It takes Michael a moment to spot him, until John raises a hand and waves from the table, and then his face lights up and he strides across the room to him.
“Hi,” Michael says, not quite shyly, but not with his usually fluidity either. It all feels a little awkward, and as much as John wants to take Michael on a real date and knows that meeting for the first time in the city on neutral territory is the wiser option, he wishes he had just asked Michael to come over to his apartment.
“Hi. Did you find the place alright?”
“Uh-huh. Sorry I’m late.” Michael puts a hand on his shoulder and bends down to kiss John briefly before sliding into his seat.
John means to ask Michael how he is, but he’s distracted by the way Michael’s looking at him — head tilted and brow slightly furrowed, like he’s trying to work something out.
“…What?” John asks carefully.
“What happened to your beard?”