How I Live Now

Day 33

(This is the first draft; expect some problems)

I have written many adventure books with LGBTQ+ characters. Visit my website to browse my full bibliography. You can also sign up for my mailing list to ensure you don't miss any fun future updates. 

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Day #33


I never expected Matias to turn up at my job today, asking and begging for me to come along with him on some wild adventure. If it was earlier in the day, I might not have been able to sneak out. However, something tells me he timed my departure. There was still about an hour left for the day, and I felt tired and irritable with the horrible sweat I worked up.


At first, I told Matias that I couldn't go along with him, and I thought that ought to have been enough. Instead, Matias went outside and sat on a bench in the galley, sulking. Occasionally he'd grin coyly. It was adorable. It's funny how he can do that: act like he doesn't care, but deep down, he does. I was assigned to returns again. So, I had a clear view of the hallway. All his teasing and playful antics made focusing a problematic chore. I smiled out at him, breaking my composure as I served some old woman when Matias pulled weird faces. The lady peered over her shoulder, wondering what on earth was so funny. The woman saw Matias, and when she turned back to me, she smiled. It made me feel so… obviously gay. I stood there after the customer left, trying to play hard.


It might have worked since Matias started doing backflips and handstands on the seat outside to raise a reaction. Halfway through a botched handstand, Matias came down, his legs hitting the floor. When he got up, some middle-aged guy walked by, and he waved at him awkwardly. The guy shook his head in disproval, then continued on his journey. I chose not to tease him any further. Plus, with my heart running rampant and my chest feeling a little tight, I just couldn't. Collecting my belongings from the locker room, I headed out to Matias. He was sitting on the seat when I approached him.


“Wanna hang out for a bit?” Matias stated.


"You already asked that…." I added.


"Well, I'm asking again," Matias offered.


You should have seen me; I probably looked like one of those pufferfish who are ready to blow. Yet, I'd explode from happiness and not… eh… poison… I think.


“And what do we do?” I said.


Matias took a moment. The stupid grin disappeared from his face.


"Well… I've got to do something for Salvatore. There's no rush, but we can chill now… or afterwards… or whatever," Matias added.


I giggled. Somehow, I felt that Matias was feeling a little… shy. Not to mention, the trinket of information about Salvatore got me psyched. So there I was, wondering what that bastard was making my cutie pie do. I just had to ask… didn't I?


“So, what you got planned?” I asked.


“Oh, just some small job. You in?” Matias asked, his head cocking to the side.


I gave a weary look, feeling unsure if he meant the shady line of work or me actually hanging out with him for the afternoon. Matias climbed to his feet, sensing I'd come with him either way. Matias wasn’t wrong either; it didn't take much convincing on my end.


“The job or… going with you?” I asked.


Matias gave a coy smile, “Oh, just with me, not the other thing. We can stop by the park. Do you like ducks?”


“Ducks?” I said, with my throat feeling dry.


Matias grinned, then said, “Yeah… I… I mean, we can get some stuff and feed them.”


I thought a second, I'd never actually fed ducks. Usually, it's something most fathers do with their children, but for me, it seemed like the custom was bringing a bottle from the fridge before I got whopped.


“Alright…” I murmured.


We exited the mall, walking casually to the parking lot, apparently in no rush. We strolled across the sun-scorched tarmac, past the lines of many faded vacant parking spaces and to a bus stop. Matias didn't have his scooter, and it somewhat surprised me. He usually went everywhere with it, and it made me curious as to where it snuck off to hide.


“Where’s your scooter?” I added.


The two of us sat, slouching on the angled bench under the shelter, letting it protect us from the sun. It was hot today… I got some sunburn on my arm, face and neck. No harm, though. It will only turn to a nice tan. But anyway… I had asked about Matias scooter, and he turned to me, those lush green eyes peering at me.


“Ah, it's at home. Decided to walk for a change,” Matias said.


I chuckled. It seemed so… false… Matias seemed… well, not useless, but lazy. No… that's not the word I'm looking to describe this development. Matias just seems unburdened, he wouldn't let something stress him out unintentionally, and if there was a way to make life easier, he'd find it. Walking seems petty, especially when you can use a scooter, expend less energy and go further. That's it… Matias finds the easy solution to all the mundane problems. So, I knew I'd have a witty response when I came back to his reply.


"So… You mean to try out the peasant transport," I said.


Matias giggled, then said, "Exactly."


Sigh… Just recalling that interaction made my tummy flutter. I swear those bloody butterflies, or what have you, need a better job. We sat for a moment in silence. Matias was scraping his sneaker back and forth on the concrete.


“You eat?” Matias broached.


I smirked, "You and food…." I added.


We both chuckled, feeling equally awkward, but obviously enjoying the company. When we calmed down, Matias cleared his throat and pondered a second.


“Just checking is all… making sure you don’t starve on me,” Matias quipped.


“You can’t help but not make conversation,” I added.


Matias grinned, and we turned to separate tasks. I peered out across the road, counting the number of cars that passed by. Matias, he remained silent for about a minute then started to click with his tongue. It made me realize how Matias couldn't sit still for long periods without doing anything. But, the clicking gesture began to agitate me after a minute, so I glanced across at him with a reprimanding smile.


“Sorry, am I being annoying?” Matias asked innocently.


Grrr… He can be so annoying and cute all at the same time. Oddly, I like that he drives me crazy with this little mindless chatter when we’ve got these little pockets of time. Finally, Matias stopped making the noise, and eventually, the bus drove up and eased to a stop at the curb. Hopping onto the bus, we took our seats midway down the coach, with Matias taking the window and me plopping down in the chair by the aisle. I considered playing some game with Matias to get him to shut up and enjoy the solitude. Yet, I couldn't say that… he's too nice, and that's just not me. But it didn't take long for him to start back into a conversation. He can never shut up; he just loves talking. Maybe it's just who he is… he can't stop making conversation. Talking to people is a sure-fire way to impress them, but for me… it's listening. Eventually, Matias began pointing out insignificant commodities of everyday life, and I couldn't have been more bored until he got to the fire hydrant.


“See that fire hydrant,” Matias asked, tapping his finger on the window.


Shifting in the seat, I leaned across to peer out. We were undeniably close. Every time we are within kissing distance, I feel like my heart wants to explode. I feel like he wants to make a move… and I want him to. Though, how come neither of us has made the dull-witted advance. More than ever, I seem to be wrestling with the idiotic proverbial of love. I've always assumed that I am wiser than people say. Just, of late, I actually feel dumber… if that's how you are supposed to say it.


"That one…" I said, pointing out a yellow fire hydrant as it zoomed by.


“Yeah… one time me & Brock…." Matias began.


Collapsing back in the ill padded seat, I peered over at Matias, feeling unsure. This Brock guy… I thought… was it… Matias's ex? He must have seen how dour I got. The smile he conjured up disappeared, and he gave me a soft pat on the shoulder.


“An old friend,” Matias said.


I was relieved. I wouldn't be jealous if he had a boyfriend before me. Though the fantasy of being each other's first love is appealing. I'm hoping he's my first love and vice versa.


“We set it off and drenched some guy issuing a parking ticket to an unpaid car,” Matias continued.


The premise of the story piqued my interest, so I HAD to know what happened. Was the guy a cop? I pondered. I'm starting to grasp how Matias ended up with connections in the underworld. Living outside the constructs of the law seems to motivate him. Simultaneously he is incredibly pleasant to hard-working people and the needy. Does that mean I am needy? Hmm…


I said, "Really? What happened?"


Matias’s face lit up; recalling from the past experience, he said, "We ran… I hopped down off the sidewalk onto the road abruptly. Sprained my ankle, limped away for a block or two until we got rid of him."


I thought about the soreness he would have had to endure. That said, the mental image of a feral childlike version of Matias crossed my mind. It made me feel merry listening to the buffoonery.


“Must have been painful?” I said.


Matias bunched up his shoulders, "Yeah, but not as painful as that guy flying across the street from the water pressure.”


Matias smirked from the insidious notion of the poor man getting hurt, and somehow, the effect rubbed off on me. Matias made me grin too. That boy is making me do things I wouldn't normally do. But, then again, I've done a lot of shit in the past month I wouldn't usually carry out.


“Oh… this is our stop,” Matias rebuked, standing up to pull the cord for the bell.


I stood, and the bus pulled into the sidewalk. We raced for the door, jumped off on the path and started walking toward a crosswalk. We passed some handicapped kid with a seeing-eyed dog then made our way to a small corner store. We were still in the city, but not quite in the suburbs. It was a nice change of pace to see all the little bodegas, boutiques, cafes and elementary schools with little playgrounds out-front. In the corner store on the intersection, we bought some pop and Whoppers. The candy was gone by the time we got to the park. The municipal park was called Kirke Park. I remember looking up at the sign of the rec area when I passed under that large folly arch onto the grounds. Trees crowded either side of the footpath, and running alongside the walkway, there was a cycling lane. People were jogging and walking on the track, but there were no riders on bicycles.


We followed the curving and winding road, then slipped off onto a bridleway, and it eventually opened out onto a pond. We brought bread from the store so we could feed the ducks. We were the only people at the shorefront, and it was nice to have the place to ourselves. Some family were having a picnic on the other side of the duck pond. We divided the bread between us, tossed it out at the ducks, and they liked our treat. There were signs up saying, "Don't Feed Wildlife." We ignored it.


Finally, swans flocked over to see what food was on offer, then they ruined it for everybody by getting territorial. At the time, we found it funny, getting chased by swans, clutching onto the loaf of bread so they wouldn't take off with it. That only served to anger them further, so Matias chucked the bread pan out into the middle of the lawn. The ducks and swans left us alone afterwards. If someone wandered up, they would have figured we were bystanders. Not that we showed some heart and fed the ducklings and cygnets. So, we retreated while laughing and took refuge on a local bench. We watched the creatures pick apart the plastic wrap around the bread and make off back to the water. They were no longer fighting over who got what. Perhaps they just didn’t like humans all that much. Serves us right for thinking that we could do something nice for the bloody ungrateful morons. Grrr…


We sat on the wrought iron bench, the bars dug into my back, making the seat feel undoubtedly uncomfortable. However, watching the large birds tackle each other for the bread made the experience enjoyable. Things got quiet for a while when Matias chose to stop talking and observe the wildlife. Things even got silent once the ducks and swans waddled off back into the reeds, and it felt genuinely bizarre.


“You interested in tagging along on the job?” Matias asked.


Peering over, I was sceptical about what sort of duty he’d been assigned to do.


“What’s the job?” I asked.


Matias grinned, giving off that hazardous coy belief that we’d be justifiable newcomers to some poor struggling fools wrong decision.


“Nothing dangerous, I wouldn’t put you in danger,” Matias said.


Again, he had that smooth charm turned on, and he’d manage to say all the right things to get me to budge.


“Then why so secretive?” I added.


Matias baulked, performing his motif with a great passion for the theatrics. Then, with shallow eyes, soft dimples and a grin so broad, it could permanently slice into his skin, he waved his hand.


“You sure ask a lot of questions,” Matias said.


“You avoid a lot of questions,” I shot back.


Matias grew solemn, followed by a smirk.


“Think of it as remodelling,” Matias quipped.


I was still in awe about that entire conversation. Of course, I can't be sure if the discussion even happened at all, but I was quick on the tongue with my response.


"Vandalism?" I shot back.


“I prefer interior decorating,” Matias added.


I’ve no idea what inspired me to agree to his lawlessness. Though seeing him the other night when that man approached us, it was sexy. Flawed for all the wrong reasons, my brain thought it was neat to tag along with a boy who knew who he is, even if it meant getting into trouble. I was still unhappy about the presumption of what could happen, but curiosity voted against me.


"Fine…" I whined. "If it gets hairy, though, I'm out."


The excitement on Matias's face showed all his emotions. That boy didn't even wait for a second after I agreed. He just shot up from the chair, ready to take off into the thick corpse of bushes. It was almost like he knew I'd agree without having to wait for a reply. Matias knows me better than I know myself, and that's scary. When Matias saw that I wasn't already halfway to the street, he sat back down on the bench. I peered across, my heart stooped in my chest. I knew where this craze was all heading, and I felt powerless to resist its magnetic pull.


“You wanna go now?” I asked.


Edging forward on the bench with the excitement of a four-year-old, Matias smiled.


“Can we?” He asked, more like pleaded.


Rolling my eyes, I nodded and not long afterwards, we were on the way back to the bus stop. The bus ride was short, I thought it would have given me some time to politely back out of that entire situation, but we were walking in no time to the destination. There was this small alleyway along the road where Matias stopped. He went down the laneway, telling me to stay put, and then he remerged with a bat. All the talking centred around the impending task ahead. All the way from the bus stop to the store, I felt like my stomach would drop out from underneath me. There was a sentiment in my bone that something would go wrong. The splurge I felt surfaced in my throat and groin when we got to the designated area. It was as if I wanted to pee, but I didn't. I threw up a little bit following the reflux.


Matias deadpanned to me and said, “Do you want to help?”


Solemnly I added, "I'm okay…."


I wasn't pleased that Matias kept trying to get me involved somehow. Somehow, me rejecting his proposal every time seemed to hurt him, and he'd be left pondering for a second before setting off to carry on with his day.


“Salvatore might be impressed,” Matias said.


“I’m okay,” I gravelly added, my face dawned with a scowl.


“Alright,” Matias murmured as he backed away.


“Stay here…” Matias said.


“Not going anywhere,” I rebuked.


Matias left my side, peered both ways when crossing the street and walked to the adjacent sidewalk. Stopping outside of the store, shy of the storefront windows, Matias pulled on a balaclava. I read the windows of the shop. It appeared to be a bakery. My eyes then flickered back to Matias, who gripped the bat tightly in his hands, walked up the window and took a swing at it. The glass exploded and collapsed inward in large chunks the way regular glass does. Matias took another smack at it, caving the second part of the windowpane and slowly working his way up the sidewalk. The amount of noise the demolition was making made me feel apprehensive about alerting other people nearby. Matias moved up to the front door, struck the entrance and the glass shattered into a million pieces. My first thought when I saw him swing that baseball bat was, "HOLY SHIT!" Now at the end of it all, I’m not sure what I believe anymore. Seeing him go inside that store, harass that poor shopkeeper made me think of when Matias came to my apartment with Tiny. It sorta… scared me, to be frank.


"SALVATORE WANTS HIS MONEY," Matias screamed from inside.


Standing on the sidewalk, looking up and down the street, I hoped that police wouldn't roll by. Matias looked crazy, but I didn't want him to get caught all the same. It was like when dad got angry. I kept licking my lips. I probably looked like one of those dogs that gets something stuck on their nose. Then, as I stood watching for what felt like an eternity, a middle-aged woman ran from the store and fled the scene. I didn't blame her; I overheard all the carnage from the far side of the street. Though as quick as it happened, it ended and when I peered up from the ground. Partly from shame for agreeing to come along to see this happen, Matias was running back to me.


"COME ON, GO… Move…" Matias yelled, waving his hand.


He didn't sound scared, but it almost felt like he enjoyed all that mayhem. We ran for blocks. I’m unsure of how many, but we eventually cut through some back streets. That's when Matias ditched the baseball bat in a dumpster. We resurfaced from the back alley by the local train station, descended the steps to the platform and hopped on the first train out of there. We flopped down in seats, leaning against the window wall, gulping from excitement and disbelief of what happened. Somehow, again, the lure of the chase excited me. We caught our breath while chuckling and giggling to each other with the nervousness in the air.


“That was…” I began.


“Wild???” Matias said.


My mind searched for the word I wanted to say. Yet, I drew a blank, so with a sigh, I grinned.


“Different,” I said.


Matias chuckled. Hearing him be so free, my heart tickled, and I let loose some giggling.


“Why’d you run?” I asked.


It had dawned on me, Matias made himself out to be this fearless guy. Though if Matias was as courageous as he said he was… why did he run? Matias caught hold of his excitement, sat up and licked his lips. It was sexy.


"Well, I wasn't waiting for the shotgun party if that's what you thought…." Matias added.


My eyes narrowed. It seemed more serious than I first imagined.


“He had a gun?” I said.


“Nope…” Matias said.


“Though it wouldn’t be the first time,” Matias continued.


It made me think of the situation, Matias with his hands up, begging for his life with a gun pointed at him, telling the person not to pull the trigger. It didn't make sense how such a nice person could just fall into this life. Of course, Matias wasn't like the rest of them when he is with me, but what I saw earlier makes me question it.


“So, you’ve extorted someone who pulled a gun?” I asked.


“Just once… Not taking any risks,” Matias added.


“What happened,” I asked.


The train had left the station minutes earlier. We zoomed out of a tunnel and saw some of the streets down below. Everybody looked so busy, living their lives, unburned to notice the train pass by. Matias sat up straight in the chair, no longer leaning against the window. I did the same, crossing a leg, hitching my left limb on the top of my right.


“To the guy with the gun or the one who didn’t have one?” Matias asked.


“Both…” I said.


Matias half-heartedly smiled and said, "The unarmed guy ended up at the doc. You know the underground kind. Drug dealer: he's buried in St. Helen's cemetery."


“Jesus…” I murmured.


Matias grinned, "Last I heard was he's dead. It would be funny to see him walking around town."


“That’s terrible,” I quipped, but somehow the inappropriateness of the conclusion made me smile.


“I know,” Matias said with a nervous giggle.


We didn't say much after that, but it made me think that Matias might have chosen this life. Or maybe both… perhaps he got messed up in it and decided to stay. I'm not blaming him for his wrongdoing, but it sucks that the baker from earlier had to suffer. I hope they have insurance to cover the damages. Not long after we stopped talking, we called it a day. I got off the train a block from Doug's place. Matias waved from the window of the train as it drove off, and I walked home alone. I can understand why Amy wouldn't want him walking home alone from school… or any place. The subway tunnels were enough to spook me. Plus, you never know what type of loons are on the street. People like Matias, for one.


I'm going to crawl of this bed now, get something to nibble on. I'm feeling peckish, and I'm up early for work. Let's hope that the bakery can rebuild… and that they can forgive Matias. Deep down, he is a good person. He's just… impressionable. And now I'm not sure if I should get caught up with a loose cannon.


Talk soon,





(This is the first draft; expect some problems)

I have written many adventure books with LGBTQ+ characters. Visit my website to browse my full bibliography. You can also sign up for my mailing list to ensure you don't miss any fun future updates. 

View Website