In my sleep, I’m haunted by ghosts.
Sometimes it’s Luciano; he’s come home late after an evening with friends. I hear the door close and I can hear the clang of his belt as the weight of his pockets draws his jeans to the floor; I can feel his shirt being stripped from his torso like cellophane; then our bed tilts like a little rowboat as he lifts the comforter and slides in behind me. “Hijo,” I whisper, “did you have fun with your friends?”
“Si,” Luciano whispers between light kisses on my throat and shoulder, “Si, Papi, but I missed you,” he continues, his kissing becoming more determined.
“I’m asleep,” I whisper while rolling onto my back, feeling his weight rise, then fall atop me. In the darkness, I can feel his humidity, I can feel his breathy stare. “I’m not handsome now,” I whisper. “Jajaja, Papi,” he whispers into my ear, softly purring, “You’re always handsome.”
My hands drift to his strong flanks which remain bathed in cotton, my fingers delve into the fabric, beneath it, finding his strong buttocks. I pull him closer, wanting his entire weight atop me, pushing my breath from my lungs. He lifts himself up from me, then lowers himself into a comfortable position, moving his hips delicately.
We’ve ridden on this train before. It always takes us to some far-flung destination; across valleys and up across mountains; through treacherous, snow drifted passes; then down deep into pastoral valleys.
But this night, this ghostly night, no trip will be taken.
This night, like so many aching nights, my Luciano is only a mirage.