On our way back from New York, we stop at a travel plaza: a Sinclair station with a giant dinosaur outside. I haven't seen one since I was a kid. It gives me a weird feeling of going into the past, being dislocated in time.
Something important is about to happen.
While Bob is getting gas, I head toward the convenience store. A family is just leaving, walking toward the Subway sandwich place next door.
Mom wears a veil, like the Blessed Virgin in art. I briefly wonder if the family is Amish. Are there Amish people around here?
The teenage son smiles and says "Hi."
I'm so surprised that I stop and stare without responding.
He is wearing an orange t-shirt with a sports team on it and short black pants with a bit of a bulge. He's tall, a little chubby, deeply tanned,with short black hair, dark eyebrows, flawless smooth skin, and square workman's hands. He's holding a cell phone.
The store is huge, selling food, souvenirs, DVDs, auto supplies, even coats and jackets. There's a fountain in the middle.
I pace around, pretending to look at the merchandise. The clerk eyes me suspiciously. I pick up a banana to buy so he won't think I'm shoplifting. My mind is racing.
I should have said "hi" to that boy.
What for? You're cruised by a hundred twinks a day. You should know the difference between a cruise and being friendly. That was just being friendly.
Friendly, at a gas station in rural Illinois?
He's not even hot. Kind of cute, but not beautiful, certainly not the "supreme beauty" that you remember forever. And no athlete...he had a little belly on him!
This is close to where Ryan H., the college track star, lives. Maybe he knows him. That could be my in.
Who says he lives near here? He could be from anywhere.
What were you planning to do? Pick him up in front of his parents? Have sex in the bathroom?
Get his phone number, exchange selfies for six months, and then drive 500 miles back here for a date with him?
No, but...it was rude to just stand there.
It's a gas station in Illinois! He'll get over it!
The full story is on Tales of West Hollywood.