#168 Room on a High Floor

by Michael Rourke

Long before the coming of age came an irrational yearning for America and its blatantly false promises. In the face of tender parental resistance, I begged that they nurture this desire. Scotland seemed irrelevant—its tolerance so far from ripening in a complete absence of warmth.

A teaching post at a children’s summer camp on the blue, wide, silky waters of the Chesapeake Bay beckoned. Freedom and self-discovery was immediately embraced. The journey from boy to man drew me to him—his handsome smile and deep, brown Tennessee eyes. He lifted my heart. I felt the thrill. I ignored the sickening reality that it could end.

Flimsy, fluttering airmail letters addressed to my mother now addressed my father too. The boy’s name was Will, I told them. His strength fuelled my confidence. I craved what he would be.

Weeks passed and I feared the worst. My departure date approaching, I requested that their credit reserve a hotel room in the city—a humiliating dependency given their lack of acknowledgement. They confirmed.

Now roaring, soaring buildings rose like cliffs above a deep mist. We marvelled at the fantastic enormity of it, feeling insignificant but bursting with electric dreams. Kissing in doorways, windswept laughter, hoods pulled over smiling rain-covered faces. We saw our city from all four sides.

“Mr. Henderson sent credit card details”, she said. I recognised my father’s handwriting: “My son’s first visit to the city. Room on a high floor please. Possible additional guest—welcome him”.


Anonymous said...

OH. OH, oh, oh. I love this.

Anonymous said...

Reads like a song, passion meets empathy, love matches love, wonderful awakening.

Anonymous said...

This story encapsulates the sudden realisation that exists in so many coming out stories - but this is different - it doesn't describe to commitment to realisation and the acceptance. It captures the realisation that those people you fear are in your life are ALREADY with you. They already support you. You just didn't know it.