I have decided to post below and bad draft of the Love and Go. It began as a short story but morphed into something of a novella. There are continuity errors and the like. But I don’t care to fix them. the corrected version is much longer and more detailed. I cut down on the men being really gay. Added more backstory. Gave Luke more depth. Paul changed to a Chinese pro. And he had bit more back story. Actually a lot more. and the character exposition needed more depth than the surface treatment of old chasing the young. So here you see the evolution of a story before your eyes. Anyway now I have posted it, I see the merit of keeping this to a short story format instead of a novel form.
Love and Go
They met over a game of go, over games lost and won, over a glass of bloody mary’s disguised as tomato juice. Paul was 6-dan ranked, a man for whom anything was possible, a god of mind and body. Luke was another, a boy not yet a man for whom love deemed unfit and fortune had deemed irredeemable. Like all things Luke was a beginniner in life and it seemed in all things. And when Luke walked to the dark-hued coffeshop, encountering the white and black stones of the game, it seemed life had found something of worth in his lanky frame and lackluster eyes.
“It is called Go,” Paul said as his eyes streamed down the looseness of Luke’s shirt. Somewhere in there was a young and hopefully a hard body. Paul sought to fit something usable in the face in hidden in the mass of curls. Luke looked blandly straight.
Go it was called. The white and black stones on a 19 x 19 grid. It would have recalled some Othello or Parcheesi. Luke looked up to Paul and told himself to smile, look firm, be approachable. It was difficult to meet the gaze of a man, especially a man beamed self-confidence and status as easily as he spun the glass of ice tea.
“How does one play?”
“The aim is to get as much territory as possible…”
One could capture a stone but the capturing was not the essence. Paul sought to emphasize this point. Capturing was just a strategy. In that moment, Paul had deemed, like most men of strong confidence, this Luke was not worth capturing. So he went on to explain rules of collecting territory. What was territory? How did you know it was secure territory? And then live and dead groups. To the ultimate rule, a group need two eyes to live. What were two eyes.
The night had the humdrum of the other players slapping stones on the board, the tickle of stone against wood, the croon in the adjacent of room of professionals who deigned to give music in the little café, the women speaking of the great make-up hunt. Luke was entranced.
He came every week. Playing against other beginners, wasting the time of strong players, being childishly eager for a lesson. Hurry and lose a 1000 games went the adage. 1000 games he lost over the internet game rooms, seeking men of god like strength. And when Paul he saw Paul he again. He looked like a puppy, saying play with me, play me.
Paul mentally peeled off the patches of facial, the drooping eyes, the yet another elegant shirt. How cute. However much he thought there was someone cute and gullible across from him, it did not stop from flouncing the eager puppy at a nine stone game—a massacre of dead groups and failed invasions.
“You have been practicing a lot?” Paul asked the downed Luke.
“I suppose a I need a teacher at this point.”
“I could be your teacher, if you like…”
Luke happily sifted the stones on the board. “Yes.”
“You have get rid of that ridiculous shirt. And other such ridiculous shirt.”
Luke frowned in hurry but soon fell into a knowing smile. “And?”
Paul leaned back in his chair, felt the burn of a carbon at the back of his throat. “You would do everything I tell you to, wouldn’t you?”
How quickly go lessons devolved into life lessons. A proper haircut. A good seat. How you carry yourself. Paul felt himself a father he never knew he was capable of being. Luke took all the admonitions, pocketed them as he would another advice from another magazine. He lost the need for father figures soon after his father left her mother when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. But still he could feel that Paul was trying to make into someone he could want. There was no harm in being wanted. It was rather easy being wanted. Paul could do the wanting, he can blithely be the wanted. And he would get a lessons in how to take over the world as it were. To feel something he could control, to feel like without enough effort and industry on his part he could affect something other the capricious winds inside of him.
So off came the shaggy hair and the useless beard, the off-color clothes from the goodwill, the annoying but soothing habit of chewing his nail, his tendency to look away from people’s eyes. Came a new Luke who insisted of playing with finger, chewed his lips which all the made such a grateful Adonis to Paul.
They both simultaneously began to wonder about their predicaments, when had wanting become the wanted and when had the wanted become wanting. Luke could not easily dismiss the feel of tubby fingers against his as they cleared up the game stones into their respective stone bowls. He waited for something more for the man to take his prize. After all it was all a game and they both had roles to play. Whilst Paul was wracked with the doubt he imposed his middled-person on this young man like a thief musing over what to steal. What a shame that he condescended to this. But there was the pride of it. What many men would give for his position to have someone like this. It was natural to for all, especially men to seek, reclaim and conquer youth. How much he would enjoy conquering the anticipating lips of his.Responsibility was for another year or two hence. The time was for the bold and the victor, or so he thought before silliness of it assert itself in his eyes. It was natural thing for the youth to flee the rank and the fetid and the hardening mould of adulthood.
“You need thickness to attack,” Paul said despondently as he build a long row of black stones on the board. “And then as you attack, you drive the enemy to into the your wall. The enemy can’t do anything. No life here with all that thickness.”
Luke’s mind play a variations of white stones forced to live under the overpowering watch of the black wall.
Paul tossed his stones on the board. “Have to learn to love the thickness,” Paul said even more tiredly. “Be more aggressive. Of course being more agressives means you have to be confident in your reading ability.”
“Love thickness…”Luke said mutely.
Paul laughed finally and he leaned into Luke who even leaned closer to him. “You would love mine?” He proceeded to fondle Luke’s crotch with no hint of shame. It firmed up nicely without hesitation. “You have done this before?”
“would you like it better if I said no?”
Paul helped him out his jeans, smiling lightly all the same. “No. It means I can do anything and everything I want to do you.”
Luke thought him a bit greedy for a man who wasn’t that big. Paul found his boy the perfect blend of submission and gratitude, something suitatble and utterly moldable for his desire. All the same, they left that night changed forever.
But one always feels like they can hold back dam. They can bridge the amazon. They can scale Everest when they look about their shortcomings before they enter danger. So Paul thought he was control of his little lad. And Luke thought he was in control of his ‘big’ daddy. No need for messy heart tangles. Just sex and go.
So it was sex after a lesson on Saturdays presumably because luke lost a game. Or even when Luke won a game, he was eager bare his chest and point his hardening nipples. “Little slut you,”Paul would say as he crawled off the table and bend over the yielding Luke.
“There is going a game between Cho hyun hun and Lee Sedol this week,” Luke said. “Broadcast liv eon the kiseido server.”
“It’s been awhile since I have watched pro-games.” Paul sat back against the count, looked forgettable over the line of Luke’s spine. The boy had been perfect and he could something crawl again in his pubic hair. “You should shave your balls.”Luke
Luke popped away from Paul and hurriedly wore his clothes. “sorry but hair is meant to down there. It keeps things comfortable and warm, not mention non-irritable.”
Paul felt an inkling of insecurity. The man had no reason to come to his house. Not money, not some deep devotion. Just youthful curiosity. And when time is right, youthful curiosity will find another man. And probably not another middle-aged podgy fellow.
“Perhaps you should move in with me.”
“Why would I do that?” Luke began separating tones on the go board and putting them away into their bowls.
“Free rent. Good food. My big dick 24 hours a day.”
“Ah,” luke mouthed. “I prefer sleeping singly in my bed, sorry.” And he left, sure of plans for the Saturday after next. As he left, Paul felt youth slipping away from him. Youth certainly belong to no one.
ON the day of the pro game,(it was a Friday evening) Luke had the contrivance of a thought to seeing Paul. It was a unusual thought because they so rarely contacted each other outside of their rendezvous. He tried to phoning him but to no avail, and so he decided brightly to drop by for a surprise visit.
The garage was a canopy of shining cars. The BMW’s the lexus, the Mercedes. He decided to park his shabby ford on the street. And he stood hesitanly by the gate. It was threshold, dropping unannounced on his lover cum teacher. Then he spotted Paul sauntering down the street barefoot on the pavement. Luke scrambled for his car.
“Luke?” Another man was walking with him. Luke looked embarrassed.
“A nice little tart, isn’t he?” Said the visitor.
Luke blushed furiously, seemingly understanding what sort milieu he was in. “See you tomorrow for our game.”
But the visitor had quickly held onto his arm. “Are you hungry?”
“No.” Luke wondered if it was rude to brush the man off, especially under Paul’s rascally scowl.
“Sure you are, darling. Paul has prepared us a feast.” And off Luke was dragged into the jaws of the house and into a faggy dinner party.
Luke didn’t look the part. He had on baseball shirt and jeans—attires that Paul had thoroughly disapproved. And he was overlooking sports jackets, balding heads, and polite conversations on heteroscadicity.
He was given a glass of wine and he could mumbled “I am not old enough drink.” At which the guest looked at Paul jealously. “Jeez, I only turned twenty on a few days ago.”
“Really?” Paul said. “When?”
“I did not know that.”
“I don’t know when your birthday is either.”
“That’s besides the point.”
Luke took the wine again. Noted that he had never been a wine fan. “Now you know.”
The entire conversation had witnessed with fascination of a tennis-watcher audience. And then shiny top man named Raoul offered. “Who would have thought, a man who refuses free alcohol. Have these young’uns actually become more conservative?”
And the grateful row ensued about the old days, the liquor like rain from heaven, the firm buttocks, ( they did say buttocks). Luke began a feel strange alienation from the men. Fascination with the same gender was not enough to build a bonding moment. Luke was itching to leave. But Paul came by his side, confidently possessive as he stroked his shoulder.
“I’d have to get you a present,” he said like apology.
At which there came the calls to explain themselves. And Luke waved his hands energetically, “we’re just go partners.”
“Darling, that’s an excuse I’ve never heard before,” said Henry.
“True that—” But Paul had snatched up his face for a kiss. And that was when Luke felt it. He was trophy, a thing to be paraded, a spoil to be conquered. Where was his boon in all this? There was nothing exactly noteworthy bout being the toy of a older man with glassy eyes. But this was part of being the wanted, the sheer contrivance of it.
Luke continued restlessly through the evening. The guests did not understand his plan to transfer to a four year college and go to medical school. They called. “A complicated way to success.” They did not much think the runt of anybody could be that devious. And so one by one the guest left and Paul had taken to ordering him to do petty kitchen duty. “Do get the glass for me dear?” Orders were billet-doux. Slights were kisses. And he gulped everything to down with an resolve to remain cold.
Sounding more drunk, Paul tickled his fat fingers under Luke’s tshirt. “I’m glad you came over tonight.”
Luke cramped with suddenness of the realization of the portent. He was being dragged into an something he had no control over. Now it would be a one way arrow from stormy love and bestackled breakup. Take the plunge, accept the knife, go forward into seemingly mandatory rite of passage of an older love.
“The pro game must still be going.” Luke said unsuccessfully to hands exploring his glowing rear end.
“That’s for tomorrow.”
Tomorrow never came. Luke could be seen tiptoeing out of the house at 3 am and speeding for the cold security of his lonely bed.
Paul awoke to the emptiness beside him and felt a pain wracked through his head. He remembered how much Luke seemed to be the only thing in the room. How he very much wanted to proclaim him his. Also he remembered Luke biting his lip through entire affair.Bitting his lip taken overbiting the nails. Luke barely spoke coherently with his friends. Clearly he man did not want to be there. And why did he show up?
He felt the stupidity of it explode in his mind and he could only answer with remonstrations, “stupid, stupid old man.” He wasn’t not old. He was middle-aged, he asserted. 40 years and 7 months. This was proud middle-age. The prime of his life when he would collecting the fruits of labor. Enjoying his spoils. In other cultures, he would be a respected personage. He was no one important to the little runt, was he? Stupid, stupid middle-aged man.
He went through the motions of cleaning up and still expecting that Luke would show and ring his door.Then he got a text message informing him that Luke would be absent. Then he felt his heart sink.
He counted the hours till next Saturday. Luke showed obviously not wide-eyed or concerned. He was full of go curiosities. Paul fell even deeper in a unease. He presented him a his present. “There a book of Shusaku’s games. Read and study those, you will get strong.” Luke pecked him on the cheek.
They looked over a Shusaku game. Paul was mostly quiet. He let Luke read moronically from the book as he traced the line of beauty over his forehead.
“how does this joseki go,” Luke asked as he placing a white stone unsurely on the board.
Paul mechanically replayed the standing sequence of an opening. And then he tossed the stone on the board. “I don’t think we should see each other any more.”
Luke replayed the joseki, absentmindedly. “Why?”
“You know why.”
“Because I do not want to be your boyfriend?”
Paul sighed dolorously. “It is unseemingly to entertain the company of a young man.”
“Now you complain. Not when you’re cock-deep in my arse.”
“Don’t be crass, darling.”
“Darling I care more about your go tutelage than your old cock.”
“You are afraid of being hurt. I remember you were a man hiding from the world. I brought you into it. I have less patience with that faux innocence now.”
“I just want you to teach me go.”
“If it bothers you that much. I’d pay for professional go-lessons.”
Luke took the book and went off. “I don’t need you take care of me.”
You are just some useless twink.”
Luke tossed the book on the go board. “Thanks for the present.”
Luke felt a the weight of wanting, the appeal of bliss in the surrender, but no. He had awoken wiser and harder.
The months rolled by. They both appeared to have forgotten each other. Luke attended the go club assiduously as if to assert that he had gotten over Paul. Paul himself did not return. Luke bought himself the shusaku book and studied it. He played played. And playing got boring and he had rendez-vous he met at community college, he still not stop comparing their restles adolescent mininstrations with the deftness of more adult hands. That thought he chucked off to his desire for certainty and security. Why rush for some old lout when one can feel and explore together with youth?
Six months has passed and Luke found himself at a go party. He had won a hard game again a compeer when Paul took over the seat of the loser.
“You’ve gotten a lot stronger,” he said.
Luke blushed, realizing that he had not been aware of the geezer watching him the entire time. “thanks.”
Paul began putting away the stones until the board was clear. “How many stones you want?”
“How many should I take?”
“four seems respectable.”
“I’ll take five.” Luke laid out five stones in a quincunx pattern on the board. He bowed his head before Paul. “Oneigaishimasu.”
The game was something Luke thought would be simple. He was assiduous about gaining territory, following of Shusaku tight style. Then it became loose. A big looking territory, looked down right terrifying. He felt had to invade and make it small. Which lead into a harrowing fight. He depended on the drill of sunlight to deepen his concentration.
He wiped his brow and looked back Paul. The man was hardly moved. He placed lightly, smiling as if he enjoyed the torture. He counted and recounted. He couldn’t tell who was ahead. Everything secure piece of territory was beginning to look like something shreddable.
In a frazzled glee, he killed Pauls’s group. He thought earned 15 points in that transaction.
“No worries,” paul said as he placed a trouble stone that attempted to inroad in what he thought was secure territory. “I’m entirely willing to lose an arm, if it means gaining the enemy’s hand…and arse.”
“Hopeful, are we?” Luke answered.
“Only a fool connects against a peep.”
Luke spotted the remains of that troublesome move. It had been to turn his one eye into a false eye. “Only a fool doesn’t answer a peep.” He said as he spotted life.
“Like I said, losing an arm and more.”
Luke had to think quietly now. But people gathering around their game, expectant of drama.
“Don’t need to think so hard,” Paul said.
Luke aggressively plunked down a stone. “Pervert.”
“That wasn’t what you growled in my lovely ear.”
Luke shoved the board aside. “I’m done.”
“Are you resigning?” Paul asked.
“And you shut your faggy mouth!”
Paul placed a stone carefully. “Darling, do try harder with the insults.”
“Sure, bean cock.” Luke played without much thinking.
“That’s a good one. Bean-cock.” He slapped another stone. Then Luke did another. The game turned into a blitz of stone clinks.
“Do you pass?” Luke yelled at the simmering Paul.
Paul put his finger to his lips. “Shush. I need to think.” Then Luke found the most profound expression on Paul’s face like he was dreaming. Then he carefully placed a stone in a corner play.”
Luke’s heart exploded when he thought it would be an eye-stealing move. And in next series of plays he saw 10 point territory reduced to 3 points.
Paul smiled. “Now I pass.”
“I pass.” Luke responded defeatedly.
Someone had to do the counting for them. Paul stared at him at all with a inexplicable smile. Luke thought he had lost.
“Jigo.” The scorer declared.
“White wins ties,” Paul said.
“Fuck you.” Luke jumped out of his seat and stomped out the door.
The room was shocked. People leaned over each other, whispering about things they did not know, things they should have known. While Paul looked over the multicolored maps of white and black stones, and sighed. He had been losing. IT was only riling Luke could get him to lose balance and think poorly. But is the twink’s own damn fault if he couldn’t control his emotions. Go was game of emotions. Holding back greed, holding back fear, realizing the rampage when it was time. Seeing through the enemy sloppiness.
But the boy did well on a 5 stone game. That should make him what? 3-dan? In less than a year? How utterly fiercesome Youth was? And captivating. Just then his heart began rend. He had missed Luke’s boyish eagerness. He had come this party because he thought he might see Luke again.
Foolish love was over. He nodded to everybody and said his good bye. He walked out he door feeling, saddened and wiser. It was for the best. Luke would be wiser and harder now, learned a valuable lesson. See himself, he can’t even remember the men he had loved in his twenties. Luke won’t remember him, or the feeling of his warty times, his tired cock, the dazed longing. He won’t even remember him a few years now. See he can’t even remember what he ate for dinner last week.
His gait was sliding aimlessly now as he dropped into the driveway. The cars were line segments of downed jacarandas, ascending up the road. He sighed, dribbled at the sky, feared the shell of his abode. But just as he was to open his car. He saw Luke standing bend over the hood of his car, soaking the sun and the orange-scented breeze, sniffling in arrhythmic accents.
Paul had to run his fingers through that tangle of curls again. He had to pull the red face into his chest. And his legs glissaded the long road. Stopping, weighing, appeals to his respectable stoicism were all for naught.
“You did well,” Paul said. “I was being an arse.”
“I don’t need your gloating.” Luke went past him, but paul pulled back his arm.
“You did well, I mean it. You just got pulled into my rhythm towards the end that’s all.”
Luke broke free and fumbled for keys at the car door.
“Come over,” Paul mumbled.
“What? It isn’t that you really liked me or loved me anyway. And I—” Paul wiped his nose sharply. “You just need a teacher. I will teach you. If you are concerned, we take lessons at a public place.”
“I’ll think about it.” Finally Luke connected key with keyhole.
“Don’t you play me.” Paul walked off, affirmed his fragile stupidity in each mutter.
“We really aren’t right for each other,” Luke said definitely. “Sex may be great, but we have nothing in common.”
“It is enough that we play go,” Paul said.
“We could love each other, but I can—”
“There’s no need for it. Love for the adventuresome, for the brave. I think life so much more peaceful and content, without the strivings for it.”
Luke smiled. “See ya next week.”
The men drove away, defeated and broken, but definitely sure that love was for another day, for another person.