View Part 1 of the Dr. Bill story here
I got into the elevator at the Chelsea Medical Centre and pushed “2”. Dr. Bill’s Facebook account had been inactive for three years so I’d contacted a friend of his who had posted on his wall last. He also had lost contact with him but heard that he was practicing at the centre in Chelsea. Dr. Bill’s name wasn’t on any of the plaques outside the building but there was a sports medicine clinic on the second floor, which was his specialty, so I presumed it was his new office.
It was just after three on a Wednesday when I got there but there was no receptionist at the front desk or patients in the seating area. “Hello?” I said. Nobody answered. While I waited by the front desk for someone to return, I started wondering what I was going to say to Dr. Bill when I saw him. It was silly but I wanted to bring up that time that he’d taken me to his cottage upstate. He knew that I’d never been to a cottage before; I joked that I was raised by Super Mario, spending my summers in the basement playing Nintendo so he wanted me experience something new. “Where upstate are we going?” I’d asked.
“Just upstate,” he said with his Jersey accent.
When had we first arrived at the cottage, he cleaned up the kitchen and living room, and then prepared lunch for us, insisting that I relaxed on the sofa with a magazine. He periodically looked over and smiled, asking me if I was having a good time. “This is nice,” I said, but I really wanted to be back in New York, especially since I’d come all the way from Toronto.
In the afternoon we took the paddleboat out onto the lake. I was surprised how liberating it felt to be out on the water, floating out so removed from the world. He also insisted on doing all the rowing, moving his body back and forth with his lats bulging out from the top of his shirt and his triceps flexing. When we got to the middle of the lake he got naked without saying anything, so I did too and he fucked me on the boat with his neighbors off on the distant shoreline, sunbathing. He handled my body with care, entering me slowly and kissing my neck like he was proud of our sex, which was on display for God to see.
We had a great afternoon but when nighttime came, I found the cottage too quiet and felt there was nothing to do. At that point in life I was taking E regularly so obvioulsy the cottage wasn’t enough. We only stayed one night rather two because he could tell that I wasn’t having fun. I was such a silly boy.
As my thoughts drifted, I realized that I’d been standing at the reception desk at the medical centre for at least ten minutes. I looked down the hall to the right. “Hello? Is anybody there?” After some hesitation I slowly made my way down the hall. There were a series of small rooms with medical devices in each: lots of tubes, pumps and dials. I could remember that Dr. Bill had similar ones laying around his condo so I concluded that for sure it was his office. At the very end of the hall I found an office with an oak desk covered in papers. There was a brown wool blazer handing off the chair and a suitcase next to it on the ground. “Dr. Bill?" There was nobody there.
I waited a minute at the doorway hoping he’d just appear, but he didn’t. I couldn’t leave though. I needed to at least apologize. When we’d returned back from his cottage early that one weekend I’d hoped that he wanted to do something fun that night but he just felt like staying in. “Do you mind if I go out partying alone?” I’d asked. I knew he wasn’t okay with me going even though he said he was, but this place that I wanted to go to had the best techno in the city, if not the world.
I got to the club at midnight and scored pills from this one skater guy right away. I did about four pills that night and danced in a dark corner alone until 7A.M. When I finally returned back to Dr. Bill’s place I found him waiting for me in the kitchen. I was still very high. “Who did you sleep with?” he said, trying to remind indifferent. Given my state, I explained as best I could that I’d gone to a straight club and that I didn’t sleep with anybody. “Who did you sleep with?” he repeated. No matter what I said didn't believe me and that was the end of it. After that trip he didn’t return my texts or phone calls.
“Hello?!” I cried one last time. “Is there anybody here?!”
I went back over to the reception desk and took a final look around. I noticed a four-tier cardholder on the side ledge for each of the doctors that worked at the clinic. I picked up one of each but none were his. I could only laugh; he didn’t even work at that clinic; his friend must’ve been mistaken. I knew right then that I’d never find Dr. Bill.
“I’m sorry for leaving you that night,” I said aloud. "I’d make it up to you, I swear. I don’t do drugs and—this is silly.” I sighed and put the cards back into the holder. “I hope you’re okay, Dr. Bill.”
Mike's work has appeared in Instinct, The Gay and Lesbian Review and Daily Xtra. His first novel, Paris Demands, is out now by Lethe Press.
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