It was probably the most genuine, tender interaction between us. We were both in the vicinity of middle age. Our relationship to each other was ambiguous, not or not-yet defined. I was sussing things out you could say. We were in public together, in a social setting with other people. I don’t remember what precipitated it – had anything? – when, without speaking, he suddenly inclined his head my way, almost bowing but not too low. Maybe it was an act of supplication, maybe it was a declaration, I don’t know. Without hesitating I reached out and put my hand on the top of his head and rested it briefly there. I said nothing. To me, the moment was not quite maternal, not quite romantic, but something else or something in between. It felt, despite the eyes on us, private.
He spoiled it not much later, hopping around, bleating, “Touch my head! Rub my head!” while leaning in toward me the way a cat or dog does when it wants to make you pet it. He was clearly playing to the other people present, acting the fool. I had a fair idea this time was going to be used for a joke or punch line. I wouldn’t do it. I paid him no mind.
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