Me: Oh Jesus…
Me: Nothing. I just… Hi.
(a long pause)
Him: So, what’s up?
Me: I’m just on a walk.
Him: Cold day for a walk.
Me: Well, I like walking in the cold.
Him: Is that so?
Me: That is so.
(a long pause)
Me: No. It isn’t so.
Me: It’s not what you think.
Him: What do I think?
Me: I think you think that I’m here to… hang around in the park.
Him: Hang around?
Me: Stop. You know.
(he glances at his crotch)
Him: Maybe I do.
Me: Don’t do that. I’m here to write about this.
Him: Are you serious? What do you mean?
Me: I’m covering The Ramble for a lifestyle piece I’m working on.
Me: Yeah. Really.
Him: Awman. I gotta leave.
Me: No, wait. I’d like to ask you some questions, if you don’t mind.
Him: I don’t know.
Me: Come on.
(long pause. i glance at his crotch.)
Him: Okay. But you can’t identify me.
Me: You haven’t introduced yourself.
Him: Good point.
Me: What’s your name? Just kidding. What do you do for work?
Him: I’m a prep cook at a restaurant.
Me: What type of restaurant?
Him: A hotel.
Him: Shut up, I’m not… Only a few of my friends even know I’m gay.
Me: Is that important to you? That you pass for straight?
Him: I guess so… I guess. I don’t like it when people think I look like a sissy.
Him: I’m not ashamed of being gay. But I don’t want everyone to know about it. I don’t want to have to shout about it.
Me: Okay. How often do you come here for sex?
Him: I don’t know. Once a week. Sometimes twice?
Me: So the majority of your sex life happens out here, in the wild?
Him: Well, in the summer time, sure. In the winter… sometimes I go home with somebody.
Him: Is that weird? I think it’s thrilling. Like hunting…
Me: Do you think it’s weird?
Him: No, but I can tell you do.
Me: No. I don’t. I don’t think it’s weird at all. But I do think there might be a connection between your self-consciousness about people knowing you’re gay, and you conducting your sex life anonymously. I mean… Don’t you think?
Him: No. I don’t think about it that much. It’s such a small part of who I am.
Him: Yeah. Really.
Me: Well… Sounds like you’re really good at compartmentalizing.
Me: So… more power to you, I guess.
Him: Hey. You’re a decent guy.
Him: Wanna go behind those trees and blow each other?
Me: I do not. Thanks for chatting though. I have to leave.
Him: Don’t identify me.
Me: I don’t know who you are. You never said.
Him: Fair enough. Jerk.