Monday, November 24, 2008
Red Brick Alley
Red Brick Alley
I found Jacob standing on the same block of Main Street where I met him in October. I yelled "Jake" out of the car window, and he smiled and waited for me to park the car.
We walked towards the Chenango River, and he told me that he might have found some construction work in Syracuse. He was trying to figure out the best way to get up there, and we talked about the Greyhound bus.
He said he liked the picture of him that I had sent to his email address and he put it up on his MySpace page. I told him some of my friends had seen his photo and said he was gorgeous, and one of them said he could be a Calvin Klein model. He laughed and mentioned an experience with the Chippendales.
I asked him about girlfriends, and he said there was someone he liked. He was planning to help her move out of her apartment later that morning and was waiting for her phone call.
He said there was someone else who liked him, and she had a lot of money, more than $300,000. He seemed to be mulling it over, but said he had been in these kinds of relationships before, and they never last. I said I thought it was probably best to follow his heart.
We talked about New York again, and I told him how much the city made me miss things like trees and clean air, and he said he would miss that too. He told me he loved to walk, and every day, he walked miles up and down Main Street.
I asked Jacob where he got his tattoos, and he said he got some of them done in a shop, and the ones on his chest were done in jail. He lifted his shirt to show me the tattoos on his chest, and I asked if I could take pictures of them. I asked why he had spent time in jail, and he said he had been in and out of jail since he was fifteen for small things like driving without a license, and I didn't press him for more information.
We walked into a red brick alley near Main Street, and he took off his shirt. We barely spoke while I took pictures of him. At one point, I said, "You remind me of a famous German painter, Egon Schiele, with your hair sticking up like that," and I don't think he knew who I was talking about, but it felt like a compliment, and he smiled.
When we left the alley, I said I'd give him a ride to the library where he was planning to meet up with his girlfriend. I felt just slightly awkward in the car, and asked him questions to fill the silence.
I fumbled with the radio.
"What kind of music do you like?" (I hate that question).
"I like everything. Rock, country, whatever." (I probably would have said the same thing).
"Do you play any instruments?"
"No, some of my friends are in bands."
We got to the library, and he opened the door of the car. He said, "Stay in touch," and I said I would.
During the next two days, I saw Jacob on Main Street several times standing with groups of guys. He acknowledged me, but I felt like we were keeping something between us.
Tomorrow morning, I am leaving to spend Thanksgiving with my girlfriend and her relatives and to drive the wintery streets of Binghamton again.