2 cigarettes

Oh, Daddy!

His name was Devin, and he lived across the street in an expensive apartment, that, I found out later, he shared with an older guy who had a job. Which Devin didn’t.

Devin was 32, about five-ten, with short cropped hair, almond-shaped eyes, dark lashes, and smooth, hairless, tanned skin. He also had two of the cutest little dogs on the block. The first time I saw him, I was walking my little terrier, Sasha. Devin was wearing a white t-shirt and torn jeans. Very sexy, I thought. I felt an immediate, keen attraction to him.

I should have kept walking. But no, I chatted him up, and while the dogs sniffed and romped around with each other, I thought that’s exactly what I wanted to do with Devin. But I wasn’t sure he was gay.

Turns out, he was. A few weeks later, while the dogs sniffed and romped, he brought up the White Party in Palm Springs (Big Clue). Then I found out about his “roommate,” his time in the military, his broken-home upbringing, his Mormon roots. My heart went out to this guy who was adrift and angry and full of self-doubt. Deep down I knew this was not going to end well, but I couldn’t help myself.

And I wondered how much Devin was going to cost me.

Next thing I knew, we were in the hot tub at my place, then in my bed, and well, you can fill in the blanks.

Devin was a smoker, tobacco and weed. Sometimes he sold weed to the musicians and actors and porn stars who lived in his building. He told me this as we sat on my little patio late at night. Now I had hardly touched a cigarette or a joint in almost 25 years, but…. Do I have to tell you where this is going?

So we’d sit on the patio, smoking Parliaments or Marlboros, sharing hits off his pipe, and drinking vodka, while the dogs romped. He’d told me what he wanted to do in his life—to help people, maybe go off to the East Coast and rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. He thought the world was unjust and that he had to do something to change that. What, exactly, he wasn’t sure.

Sometimes, he cried when we talked, and I didn’t know how to comfort him. So I’d tell him how confused and unhappy I was in my thirties, and that things would surely get better in his life. He was needy, self-destructive even, and I so wanted to make it better for him. I believed in him.

The sex was occasional—and if not fantastic, then damn good. He was quite passive, and he called me Daddy, which made me laugh, because I’m as far from a “daddy” as you can get. I’m short, not in great shape, not what you’d call masculine. Mostly, I don’t have a big bank account.

Devin tapped something in me beyond sexual desire. Call it a latent paternal longing. Or maybe it was just a giddy, 60-something foolishness or neediness? Or both? (Not to mention the haze of marijuana and alcohol.) Whatever it was, I felt a genuine affection for the kid. I even thought that by listening to him and offering advice I might have a positive influence on him.

One night he announced he was leaving the next day for the Florida Keys to live on a boat and work as a deckhand on fishing trips for tourists. He seemed happy, and I hoped I’d had a hand in setting him on this new course. Then he asked me if I could help him out with some money to buy a motorbike so he would have transportation around the islands. He had already picked one out from an online ad. The next day, he left Los Angeles with a few hundred of my cash and a carton of Parliaments I bought for him at the 7-11 around the corner.

A text from Devin arrived about a week later telling me he’d made it to the Keys and had bought the motorbike. He was making some money and life was good. A new start, I thought..

And that’s the last I heard from him.

I hope he’s well, not in jail, or living on the streets. I hope he’s charting a new course in life and discovering his own talents and abilities. Most of all, I hope that Devin learns to believe in himself.

Oh, and yes, I hope too that maybe he’ll remember this Daddy who believed in him.

by Stephen Dolainski

0 Posted on July 22, 2013 by Stephen Dolainski · 2 comments

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  1. Mr. B
    - Reply

    Well, well, Mr. D…now your return to smoking is all clear to me. Ah, youth! So your out a few hundred bucks, a carton of cigs and most likely a lot of vodka; you only go round once in life with someone half your age, right?

    “Need a lift?”

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