4AM. Your breath fogs up in the still air as you follow this stranger home. Up dark and quiet sloping streets that make every streetlamp seem a precious star.
He shows you his home and the accumulated stories and artifacts of a lifetime. Portraits of a celebrity you don't know. Souvenirs from places you've never been. Before he offers you a little of what he's on. You politely refuse. You're here for the company, not the high.
He shares the last story, what brings him to this intersection with you at 3AM. The mid-life crisis at the peak of his career that saps the wind that once propelled his sails, and left him adrift.
These moments seem unreal, playing to porn in the background, smell of a bad trip in the air. You begin to fall asleep in his couch. And to his credit, he doesn't push the reason he invited you here. Maybe he knows you're here for the solace of his company too.
1AM. Absent lovers, you immerse yourself in the crowd. Resenting loneliness, you replace the kiss of a lover with the embrace of friends. Barhopping in this foreign city, chasing heat and noise and rhythm.
You speak of imagined futures and lifetimes with your mate. Philosophy and politics, the sexiest of conversation topics. He's not your lover, not even gay, but he'll do.
Until he doesn't. Because solidarity's so hard to find in this straight world, where boys and girls need only the smallest drink to start kissing and thrusting your loneliness back in your face. They're just as desperate as you are.
And when your mate starts making out with a girl, the heat and noise and rhythm recedes.
So you flee onto cold streets, the beginning of tears welling in your eyes though you don't even know why.
Absent solidarity, you chase phantom strangers on Grindr. Until you find him: the fella who lives in Norreborro.
7AM. He wakes you from your snooze on his couch. Another guest is coming, and you'd best be on your way if you don't wanna join in.
And so, two strangers part at that dreamlike intersection of their lives. Never to meet again.
A bus ride later, you stumble back into the room. Past the mate passed out in the toilet, past the mates cuddling under blankets, you fall into an hour's sleep before the sun rises, loneliness temporarily sated.