Had they been serious? Brian wondered sitting alone on the park bench, the place where they had met, almost a year ago. It had lasted too long for them not to have been. He was seventeen, Sean thirty-four, a driving instructor. They met each other here in the park the first few times on a Saturday when he wasn’t instructing. They drove and fooled around in the late afternoon, their mutual attraction felt natural and even though they weren’t close, Brian believed that the intimacy between them would grow beyond the confines of a car and that soon they would spend their Friday nights together, Saturday would stretch into Sunday and they would remain inseparable.
Sean after a few weeks arranged for them to meet up once or twice on a weeknight. He would pull up nonchalantly without a word in a dark Mustang convertible, a few blocks away from where Brian lived, roll down his window; engine idling, a sudden smile breaking on his face. He enjoyed driving fast and with his cropped hair and the badges of insignia on his Jean jacket he reminded Brian of a drag car racer. He'd swerve into one of too many empty parking spots in the abandoned parking lot, with a rear view of the grocery store and the row of discount stores in the distance and an ugly brown wall in front of them. The orange glow of a halogen lamp was superimposed over Sean's face, the shadows emphasizing a strong jawline. With his cropped hair and the determination in his grey-eyed glances he seemed fearless. When their eyes met a third time Brian got pulled into his embrace.
It stung thinking about it here in broad daylight with families passing and children playing on the grass. It seemed impossible that they had met at this very spot. His parents too had met in public for the first time one afternoon when his mother lost sight of her date on the crowded sideline of a horse race track. Was it presumptuous of him to have thought it would last? The creeping distance between them was only an initial hurdle, he thought, part of the push and pull dynamic of getting to know Sean.
Despite the regular Sunday drive and the occasional sleepover when the frustrations of Sean's appointments had not spilled over into after hours, he remained as elusive as ever. There was no getting around it being inappropriate for them to be seen as a couple out in the open, he could lose the trust of the parents who's children he instructed. Keeping to schedules, he said required sacrifice. Last minute canceled plans were part of the working life of a driving instructor. Brian understood his high school status could get Sean into trouble and knew his private life was nobody's business but his own. He knew better than to sulk in front of this man who valued his time.
He thought about the one bright Sunday afternoon that they drove with the top off. They were smiling and recounting what each of them had been up to over the weekend. Brian was laughing over some personal remark Sean made when the wind upturned his cap and flung it onto the backseat. Before Brian could loosen his safety belt and grab it, another gust of wind swept up Sean's cap and threw it down in the middle of the road where it flopped again on the tar a few times upon impact.
"My favorite cap!" Sean smirked. "My only cap!"
“Stop! I will get it.” Brian insisted laughing but Sean merely smiled and skipped a yellow light before it turned red.
The exams came and went. He was in his final high school year. Spring was fast approaching and so too his birthday. They would take a getaway weekend to Madison Park beach to celebrate he thought. The time had come, he was sure, for them to catch a glimpse of what life would be like together unrestricted.
Sean was an hour and a half late picking Brian up that evening. It was a weeknight and he explained that there just wasn't enough time for dinner at his place and to drop Brian at home again, and did he mind if they just hung out in the car instead? Sure Brian answered undeterred, he wasn't going to let a hitch like this spoil the plans and by now he was fully aware that Sean had a thing for getting it on in his car, he got a huge thrill from the possibility of getting caught it seemed. He would bring up the weekend getaway afterward, that way there wouldn't be any tension.
He caressed Sean's thigh from the passenger seat. His jeans felt thin and taut. He sat in a vest blowing cigarette smoke out of the car window between stealing long glances at Brian. Didn't his eyes give all the reassurance he needed? They looked at each other undressing again in the quiet night. Sean had his eyes fixed on the young man who was removing his jeans and then his underwear. Brian returned the man's longing gaze and complied when Sean signaled with his head towards the back of the car, his eyes still fixed on Brian's. He waited till the boy had his back turned towards him, elbows resting on top of the headrest of the backseat, his knees parted and pressing into the seat. Sean climbed into the back, hunched over and pulled Brian's waist back, bending his smooth back forward. Brian's head pushed into backrest as Sean penetrated him from behind.
"You're not saying a word." Brian was staring out of the window. This was not the right moment he knew, the right moment would never come he realized. Not when you were just some boy -
“Look at me! Are you angry over dinner, is that what this is about?”
"No, of course, it's not about dinner."
"Would you mind informing me what this is about then?" Sean had raised his voice and was staring at Brian demanding an answer. They're eyes met.
“Nothing Sean! That’s what this is about, isn’t it? Absolutely nothing.”
The car's lights flashed on, the engine started and Sean pulled the gear into reverse. He looked in his rear-view mirror and then at Brian. He pushed down on the accelerator and lifted the brakes. They sped out of the miserable parking lot. Brian listened without interrupting as Sean spewed a defensive litany emphasized by his irate glances. Brian had almost felt sorry for him but as they neared the usual drop off point up the road from where Brian lived, the resentful look on Sean's face had turned to one of pity. Brian never mentioned the celebration plans. The next time he saw Sean and his Ford mustang, was on foot. He appeared as if summoned as Brian walked up the street, not far from the elementary school on the corner. Sean passing, leaned out of the window looking over his shoulder. He didn't stop but merely waved then turned the corner and was gone.