The best part of Swedish summers is the blue-gold sunsets that linger late into the night. Our flat has a terrace and a set of outdoor furniture because we’re ysggies: young, suburban gays. We sit out there sharing a Sommersby, soaking in the lazy twilight glow and gossiping about our friends or the neighbors. Sometimes we dream.
I let my eyes unfocus and my mind’s eye recalled one of my favorite memories. It’s a shallow one. It’s a deep one. I’m checking out my upper body in the mirror at the gym after a workout. My shoulders and back look amazing: taut and defined. The scars snaking across my chest have begun to fade and I admire how they show off my life. A guy with scars like that has lived.
“This time next year, I’m going to have amazing muscles again.” I said aloud to myself. But he was also listening. “I mean, I’m always gonna be skinny, but I’m going to have some nice definition going on up here.” I waved my hand over my shoulders. “I’m going to have a nice triangle shape leading down to a tiny hard ass in skinny jeans.” I looked over to him to share a grin. To share the excitement of the future.
”Don’t change too fast, Shmoo.” Apprehension filled his eyes. Tender apprehension.
I don’t remember when he started calling me Shmoo.
His Shmoo has skinny arms, a round belly, wide hips, a baby face and thick mat of straw blond hair. He loves his Shmoo.
I squeezed his hand and let the grin soften to a reassuring smile: “Don’t worry, Merp. The changes won’t happen overnight. And I’ll still be your Shmoo.”
He nodded and took a deep breath.
“Your muscle Shmoo. Your Mushmool? Your Shmuscle? Shmooscle?” I teased. Anything to lift the weight off the corners of his mouth.
He gave me one of those looks and got up to go inside.
“What?” I called after him. “You don’t want a Shmooscle? What about a Strussel? Those are sweet!”
A quiet chuckle wafted out the door, over the terrace and up to welcome the stars.