The prelude to this short story begins at this post:
Gillie did not look like a gifted artist and illustrator. Infantry men were not known to use the left sides of their minds during the Cold War. He wore military issue ‘birth control’ glasses that were as thick as a slice of bread. His vision was so poor that he risked military discharge for being visually handicapped. He wasn’t wearing glasses in the club on the night I met him. I wasn’t initially attracted to him because inside the club, under the neon lights and disco balls, the green contact lenses seemed a bit extreme– so gay, I thought. Clark Kent and Gillie D. Wells, Jr. are the only two men to have walked the planet who looked handsome in black, rectangular glasses, such as those the military issued to its service men in the late 1980’s.
He took me back to his barracks in Steinbach on Sunday morning, following a night we spent together in a hotel located on post at Division Headquarters in downtown Frankfurt. With the dollar losing its purchasing power, it was expensive to rent a room in a guesthouse in Germany. As service men, we were entitled to a huge discount at a four- star hotel the military operated for dignitaries and officials traveling in and out of Frankfurt. For just $60 a night, guests with military identification relaxed in the comforts of plush white cotton towels and 600 count white sheets.
I knew we were falling in love. We didn’t want to say good-bye so soon on Sunday morning and go back to our green uniforms and military duties. The sex was so good. We made it for at least five hours and would have continued at it if the other guys from the club were not sharing the same hotel room with us.
“I’m taking a taxi back to base. I wish you would come with me,” he casually asked as he packed a few of his things inside an overnight travel bag. I was disappointed that he did not bring out the handcuffs I saw in his bag.
I had things to do. I had not even unpacked after re-arriving back in Deutschland at my new duty station, but I took him up on the offer. No one had ever made me feel such release. I had enough cash to take a taxi back to post. At least I wouldn’t have to try to figure out the train maps back to Hanau.
He introduced me to two white service men who shared his barracks room as we walked to a far wall near a window where his bunk was located. He pulled a Canson Esquisse sketch pad from under the mattress of his bed and showed me his drawings. I was floored. The details of his sketches were intense. They were cartoon strips, as one may see in a newspaper, but done in exquisite detail. Science fiction at its best. Without reading the captions he had written, the story had been told. The drawings spoke for themselves.
I felt guilty for assuming he was a grunt with no artistic merit. When he told me he was infantry I thought I had a dumb stupid straight-like guy who I could easily mold. But Gillie was incredibly gifted.
“I love to sketch. This is a story about a female super hero with the power of mind control,” he explained. I carefully peeled each piece of linen-like paper and adored the mediaeval theme which graced the pages.
“I like to take photographs too. There is a dark room here on base that I use. Here are my cameras,” he said while pulling a large black bag from his wall locker.
I wanted to tell him about me, about my writing, but it didn’t seem important at the time. He was so far out of my league. It wouldn’t have mattered what foolish words stumbled out of my red, worn out lips. Why was he showing me so much about himself, I wondered at first, but moments later realized that he was perfect and incredibly sexy out of his contact lenses. I wanted to kiss him again, right there, in front of the men who shared his barracks room. Finally I could see his golden brown eyes through the magnification of his Army glasses. I almost melted. The eyes are windows to the soul.
I felt a glow all around me and the moment seemed as if it were predestined. Had I met this man in a previous life? The stories he had created– his art– it was shocking. I looked just like the character of a knight that was sketched within his art. The drawings were created before meeting me at the C-5 Disco. He realized I saw the connection. I felt like he was God who spoke the name of Adam in the Garden of Eden and I was Eve, a rib. I remained silent and didn’t say much. I just took it all in. To be in the presence of such a master. My head was still spinning from a night of heavy lovemaking. There was no misinterpreting what was in his sketches though– those lips and the gap in the teeth which existed behind– the ones that could be seen only when the character smiled. I think I did when I saw the connection from his cartoon strips.
“I want to be with you again,” he said, as if we had done something sinisterly evil, yet worth doing again. I sensed his fear that he may never see me again, so I agreed to pose for a photograph on his Army bunk.
“I have a girlfriend,” I explained to him. I did. I wasn’t lying. Her name– Lisa Payne. She was a girl I met on my first tour of duty. The Black girl with a Bronx attitude was still in Germany and couldn’t wait to see me again. I told him about her to make him jealous and I know how appealing it is for gay guys to be with a man who is also with women. I needed Gillie to fall in love with me so I told him that she was my girlfriend…