A Romantic Player, by Rich Paschall
Let’s face it, Jon was a bit of a player. In fact, he felt he had to be. How else was a poor boy to get by in the world? He had tried to make it in other ways. Now he had to expand his possibilities in any way he could. He was looking for a way up and out and the present circumstance did not provide it.
By the time Jon had reached his late teens, he decided he must move out of the small South American town where poverty was the only way of life. He dreamed of the big city and when he got his chance to join an acrobatic troupe based in one of the largest cities, he was off. High in the tropical mountains was a city of millions of people and Jon would join the many and hope for a better life.
He could not afford a place in the city, actually, so he took a small apartment in a poor suburb. He kept the place neat and clean so that he could enjoy his few possessions in pleasant surroundings. Jon trained and exercised daily for his job. The troupe performed exhibitions and entered competitions. Sometimes there was money, but for some competitions, there was nothing.
With his youthful good looks and confidence, Jon signed up with a modeling agency. There was little placement for fashion models, but with his cute face and athletic body, they were sure they could get Jon into a certain type of modeling and even film career. Jon was stunned at the suggestion and refused the work. The agency encouraged him to come back if he ever changed his mind.
While standing on the roof of his apartment building and looking down on the rooftops and poor people below, Jon got an idea. He had to meet new people. He had a phone and could easily steal WiFi from in his apartment, so he decided to meet people and make friends from other areas, even other countries. Since he thought the United States might be a good place, he decided to try to improve his little English and meet people. Jon charmed his way into many lives under the guise of trying to learn the language. He was really trying to find friends.
When there were some extra pesos in his pocket, Jon went to an area in the city that was frequented by tourists from other parts of the country and as well as “gringos.” Sometimes Jon went alone, sometimes with friends. They would take a small table or sit at the bar in a popular night spot. There the young and handsome men would accept drinks from older men or women tourists. Sometimes they would get an offer to go back to a hotel for the evening. Jon liked the free drinks, but declined the extra opportunity. None of the people were right for him. He did not want a one night stand, no matter what the offer.
While “borrowing” his internet connection from a neighbor, Jon started to become good friends with a few people he met online. One stood out for Jon because he seemed to take a genuine interest in him as a person. Jon talked with George about everything. When chatting online Jon would use a program that would translate messages as they came in. It is true it was not helping Jon learn English, but he did make more friends through faster communication.
George seemed special to Jon. He told him all about the city where he lived. He talked of his job and life. He asked Jon about his life, his job and his interests. No one else wanted to know anything about Jon like George did. Soon Jon wanted to use something other than the language site to communicate.
“Can we use Google or Messenger or something else?” And they did. They followed each other on facebook and called on Messenger.
“Send me the camera, George.”
“What do you mean?’
“I want to see you. I want to see where you live.”
So they made virtual visits until one day things changed. Opportunity for Jon was at hand. George had vacation to use and nowhere to go.
“Come to me, George. I want to see you. Please. I like you so much. Please.”
After a few days of pleading, George was hooked and scheduled a visit to a continent he never dreamed of travelling to.
When George arrived as promised, Jon did not seem to notice, or at least not to care, that George was much older. They went around town like tourists and had a good time seeing the sites by themselves one night, and with some of Jon’s friends the next. They were both pleased with the country, the city and with themselves.
Jon took advantage of the situation by offering to cook their meals rather than go to expensive restaurants. Of course, they had to go to the markets where Jon made sure to get extra dry goods and fresh meats to last past George’s visit. It was OK with George, even though he paid for it all. He recognized what Jon was doing, but buying extra food for Jon was certainly cheaper than eating out every meal. It was a win-win according to George.
When the brief visit was over, and George was at the airport, Jon cornered him down a hall way and told him that he loved him and thanked him for coming. Then Jon looked around to be sure no one was watching before kissing him. George was more than a bit surprised.
The next day Jon met with a favorite girl friend, Vanessa. She asked Jon about the visit of the stranger from America.
“He is very nice,” Jon told her. “I think I will marry him.”
Vanessa looked at him as if she did not understand at first. Finally she spoke.
Related: For George’s side of the story, see “I Love You (No You Don’t)”