It was so easy now, not like it may have been for boys and young men decades earlier. These days, all you had to do was grab your phone, download an app, put up a picture and voila. That was it. Thousands of men available, just by touching a few commands, just by responding to a message or sending one.
Of course the images were laughable. Most tried too hard to get noticed so they uploaded pictures where their bodies were shown in full exposure. Many were taken at the gym or in a bathroom.
Our guy, he just took a selfie on the street and that was it.
For the last six months, he had intercourse with several men. Sometimes even two on the same day. Always in their homes, their workplaces or sometimes in cars or parks. He didn't really thought much of it, not before or during the moment. It was the aftermath that hunted him.
Curiously, it wasn't the unprotected sex that bothered him. Most guys used condoms so he didn't gave it much thought. What pierced through his head was that emptiness he felt during the process. He had sex to pass time, to forget, to feel liked for at least a second. He wasn't keen on finding love or looking for it. He just needed someone's touch sometimes, and to feel needed or wanted. That was his turn on.
But it all disappeared pretty fast after it had all ended. Most guys rushed him out of their homes and it was understandable: many had couples and were even married, to women. He had even known some of them had children.
The truth was that he felt numb, sometimes during sex but always after it. He didn't really care for anything. He was desperate to feel something but many times couldn't. Physical arousal was rapidly meaningless, empty and hollow.
One day, going to meet a guy, he realized he had lost his cellphone. He had no idea if he had lost it or if he had been the victim of theft. Anyhow, he didn't have the exact address of where he was going as it was noted on a message the guy had sent. He waited until he saw a familiar sight and waited for the bus to stop.
It wasn't a pretty neighborhood but he kind of knew all about it. He had been raised in a house not very far from there but hadn't visited in years. His family had sold the house more than twenty years ago and there were things he didn't remember.
He decided to walk around a bit, eat something and then go back to his house. All the houses looked as if they hadn't been cleaned for years and there was a lot of garbage on the side of the road. It was sad, to be honest, to see how a place could just freeze in time, in such a negative way. It had never been a nice place but it was sad anyway.
The boy saw an internet café and was tempted to go inside but something came over him. It was maybe better to spend the day without any electronic devices, specially not the kind that may make him go to a place he now had no intention of going.
He did enter a Chinese restaurant and asked for the menu of the day, which had lots of rice, soup, a drink and a dessert. All of it for a good price. He was glad to be the kind of person that never left the house without money. He didn't have much, but enough for the meal he craved.
As he ate, he detailed every corner of the restaurant: red and gold veils all over, dragon statues that looked like made of gold but obviously weren't, a Buddha figurine and a one of those white cats that greets people with a paw. It was nice and almost empty. Lunch time had passed so only two tables were occupied. The other one was taken by a young Chinese girl doing her homework or so it seemed.
As the boy finished the soup, a man came from the kitchen and started arguing with the girl, in Chinese. It had always fascinated him how, as different as languages may be, we all have the same facial expressions, body language and reactions.
The man went back inside and the girl continued with her work, typing on a calculator and writing in a small notebook.
- Is the business good? - he said.
She raised her head an looked at him, a bit confused.
- Sorry... The rice is really good.
She then smiled and said the recipe had been brought from China by her grandmother and it had been in her family for years. He asked if she was doing homework but, as it happens, she was doing the numbers for the restaurant. Her father had entrusted her with this responsibility a few months ago but now thought it may be too much for her to handle.
The boy said he was good with numbers so he could help if she needed to. She hesitated, so he took a bite of a spring roll. But then the girl stood up and took her things to his table. She explained what was troubling her and in a matter of minutes, the boy had cleared the issue easily.
As he finished lunch, he helped her get everything in order. The father came back and was surprised to see his daughter talking to a client. The boy thanked the man for his food and asked for the bill. The man did not say a thing to his daughter.
The boy then wrote his email in the girl's notebook and told her to remember him if she needed help again. She said she had actually been looking for a tutor, as she needed to improve her grades to one day be able to handle every single aspect of the restaurant.
The man brought the bill and he was introduced by his daughter. The boy thanked him again with a handshake and told him he was going to tutor his daughter, as he realized she was eager to have the best Chinese restaurant in town.
The man seemed very happy, shaking the boy's hand and smiling. After he left, the girl and the boy talked about the business and not much about each other. He then saw what time it was on a clock in the wall and decided to leave. They bid farewell and, some time after, he was on the bus en route to his home, to his family. And for days, he didn't even thought of getting a new cellphone. He finally did in order to be in contact with his friends and family, all the people he had banished of his life and was now getting to know again, feeling them closer.