Ping! Adam, who I’d been talking to on Atraf, said he’d be coming over at 4.30. He sweetly sent me texts to let me know he was on his way; I’m leaving work. I’m getting in my car. I’m parking. I was waiting at my gate as a tall, oh, Jesus, handsome man strolled up, smoking a skinny joint. Mid thirties, big eyes, his skin was the colour of lavender honey. Unusually for Israel, this Land of Blutos, he had no beard, no stubble, no hairy chest. He handed me the joint and we smoked and chatted for a couple of minutes. He said, Let’s go in, so in we went.
We had the loveliest time. After, while we were slippery with sweat, he told me, of course, that he is married. They always wait until after to tell me this, Adam is the fourth in a row. It is irksome. I’m not looking to get married, I’m not really the marrying kind, but I don’t like it. His husband didn’t enjoy sex/was having a baby/liked younger men/had played around. Something. He was especially unhappy about the last of those. Anyway, Adam said he was leaving him, as if my heart wasn’t beating fast enough.
I asked about the tattoo on his calf, of a growling wolf. It’s a coyote, he corrected me. His English was excellent. He taught me the Hebrew for ice, kerach. I don’t think any word is more useful to me here.
Later, after showers, he gave me a lift to Nordau and Diezengoff, where I was meeting Nathan, Rufina and Alberto. When we got there, he pulled the car over and we kissed. Two men doing this in public isn’t so usual, for all of Tel Aviv’s freedoms. We were going to meet again. I skipped to the bar.
I had a nice evening. We teased each other and laughed a lot. The waitress was lovely, brought us a round of shots, bathtub arak, it tasted like, on the house. Nathan drank them all and wanted to leave a 40% tip. Rufina told me, I don’t know why, that she has Skype sex with her Russian husband, who is working in Kazakhstan. Last week she told me that Israeli condoms were too small for him.
I took the cherut home and started tidying up. I looked for the box of condoms I’d bought that afternoon – expensive, 69nis – but couldn’t find it. I watched Rear Window, but fell asleep half way through.
In the morning I looked again. I looked behind things and under things, but nope, no box of condoms. I had a thought: Where is my Israeli chequebook? I couldn’t find that, either. I went through everything, twice. Adam must have taken them, there was no other explanation, trousered the chequebook with the box of condoms. I decided to tell the bank, but, of course, it’s closed on Friday.
Nathan, who had a hangover, met me at the café on the corner of Frischman and Ben Yehuda. He, of course, thinks the worst, and wants me to call the police. What would I say? A handsome man had it away with my condoms? Puh-lease.
I texted Adam. I tried to be light, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough… Have you hidden the condoms, or maybe taken them? If he admitted to it, surely he’d be guilty of taking my chequebook. He replied, and he wasn’t happy. I didn’t take the box. It isn’t very nice of you to think I did.
It was all a mystery. Worse! He was probably right, I’m not a nice man.
I went home and made my bed and there it was, the missing box, sitting on the floor, not a care in the world. I have no idea why I hadn’t seen it before, or why I thought Adam would have taken it. My life is like a fever dream, sometimes. I think this means I must have put my chequebook somewhere safe, where I’ll never find it again. I sent Adam a message: Found them! Sorry! and put on Carry On Constable. You may think I’m inventing watching these films for comic effect, but they are, genuinely, the films I saw on those nights. Perhaps they added to my paranoia.
When I woke the next morning, I could tell from the milky grey light that it was before six. I opened the big window in the living room to let in some air. I close it at night because of the million mosquitos wanting to eat me, or whatever it is mosquitoes do. It was already warm, but, because it’s Saturday, at least the builders in the next building aren’t working and traffic is quiet.
There are two texts from Adam. The first says: You are too stupid, and the second, crushingly: I don’t like your vibe. I can’t argue with the first part, and he seemed to like my vibe thirty six hours earlier. It’s all a bit unnecessary, but, honestly, maybe it’s better to learn these things about someone sooner. I texted back: Suppose a shag is out of the question, but he didn’t reply, so I suppose it was.
Today’s word: roshem –impression – רושם