This is from my M/M anti-Valentine’s story which was published in February 2014 by MLR Press. Please see the book’s page on this site for more info.
The train to the Museum of Fine Arts was crowded, as most green line trains tended to be. He and Myles had to stand, closer together than Dyer was comfortable with. He preferred not having anyone in his space, even someone he was starting to like. But he pretended it didn’t bother him.
Despite his effort, Myles asked, “Is anything wrong?”
“Just the crowd.” Dyer forced a smile. “It’s cool. I’ll be glad when we get there and I don’t feel like a sardine.”
“I hear you.” Myles glanced out the window. “We don’t have to go to the museum. If you’d rather get off at the next stop we can grab lunch or something.”
“No, it’s fine.” Dyer didn’t want Myles to change plans on his account. It was enough that Myles had chosen to include him.
“If you’re sure.”
“Yeah, it’s all good.” Dyer took a breath and moved his feet a little further apart to steady himself. “So you go to the museum a lot?”
“Sometimes. It gives me something to do, and it’s so huge you can never see the whole thing in one day.” Myles shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I’m a geek at heart. I enjoy the exhibits.”
“I don’t think that makes you a geek,” Dyer said. “It’s a better way to spend time than sitting around staring at the TV. At least in a museum you might learn something.”
“In theory. In reality, I just stare at the naked guys in the pictures.”
Myles said it in a perfectly bland, matter-of-fact tone accompanied by no expression at all on his face, and it struck Dyer as completely hilarious. He laughed so hard everyone around them turned to stare at him, and he didn’t even care.
This was definitely a better way to spend his day than going home and crashing on the couch.
“So what’s up with your anti-Valentine’s deal?” Myles asked when Dyer calmed down. “I told you my sob story. Did you have a bad break-up too?”
“No. Nothing like that.” The question sobered Dyer immediately. He considered brushing it off. He didn’t want to discuss his whole crappy life on the train surrounded by other people.
On the other hand, something about Myles made him think the guy might understand. Myles didn’t have a family, from what he’d said earlier. He probably hadn’t been through the same kind of shit Dyer had, but he’d been through something. And those eyes of Myles’s made Dyer think the guy would be supportive no matter what he said.
He lowered his voice as much as he could and still be heard over the noise of the train and other passengers. “Valentine’s Day fifteen years ago, my father put me in the hospital. And I almost died.”
He held his breath. It was the most he’d told anyone besides his foster family and therapists, and he didn’t know how Myles would take it.
He’d never worried about most people’s opinions, but he cared about Myles’s reaction. The guy had exchanged small talk with him many times and had always seemed interested in what Dyer had to say. Now they were becoming… friends? At least. Maybe more. Dyer wasn’t sure, but it certainly seemed to be heading that way.
He didn’t want to screw it up. And he didn’t want to hear pity. So he stood there forcing himself to look at Myles and waited for an answer.