“We’re friends,” Dale says. His friends laugh at the obviousness of this statement. “What!?” cries Dale. “We are!”
“Yes, we are, Dale,” says Rodrigo. “We. Are. Friends,” agrees Tommy in a robot voice. “Good friends,” says Efram. They all burst into laughter at an inside joke.
Seniors in college, this gaggle of guys met last year when they were all studying abroad in Spain. And how was that trip. “Spectacular,” Rodrigo opines, rolling the r. “Increible,” says Dale. “Fabuloso,” Tommy adds. “Just simply amazingly, fantastically, life-changingly the best,” Efram hyperbolizes. His friends smile and jostle him. “Efram met a guy,” Rodrigo says simply.
The only thing is, he didn’t actually meet the guy, Efram explains wistfully. “We were in Madrid, in Chueca, which is known as their big gay district, and we were at this crazy party at one of the clubs. There were tons of hot guys – we were literally up all night.” The other guys giggle.
Tommy picks up the story from here. “By dawn we were totally partied-out and dead on our feet, which felt like big blocks of lead after hours of dancing.” He clomps around like his feet are dead weight, alternating winces and drunken smiles, reenacting the moment. His friends chuckle and nod. “So we sat down at a table in the Plaza to rest and recap. And that,” he pauses for dramatic effect, “is when Efram saw him.”
Dreamy-eyed Efram nods and smiles. “He wasn’t even part of the whole club scene. He was working at one of the cafes, setting up the tables for the morning (we really had danced the night away). Here we were all sweaty and aching and exhausted, and he came in like a breath of fresh air. He was dark with blue eyes, and he looked at us and he smiled.” His friends elbow him: “He looked at YOU, muchacho!” Efram smiles, his eyes downcast.
“I wish I had gotten his number, or introduced myself, or something. It was one of those love-at-first-sight moments, and I couldn’t do much of anything but stare.” His friends nod seriously, sympathetic. “I have to get back there,” says Efram.
“Yeah, you do,” his friends concur.