14 Lovers: 10 : Nathaniel Winkle 1972 – 1980

Winkle, never Nathan, or Nate, or even Neil, but Winkle had a habit of playing his cello with the balcony window open. A romantic, Winkle liked to imagine that as he played in that shitty, one room apartment, someone, out there, would hear him. So Winkle sat, cello between his legs like a shield, playing to his small and rusted balcony, a fixture that was really just a glorified fire escape, and not even very glorified at that. Winkle would face the balcony that opened to the the brick wall of the building next door and imagine that someone, out there, would hear him and understand.

Winkle had long ago understood that with his condition, his unfortunate plague, as his mother said, of sexuality, that he would never have love. And indeed, were he to find someone else, a deviant like himself, that person, that creature would be more likely to kill him than to love him. That was what he saw in movies, what his family told him, what the priests said. People like him couldn’t be loved. Just a fact. A dirty fact, like all the others.

Winkle, in a new city, couldn’t go out and meet anyone and wasn’t good enough, not nearly, to join any of the orchestras. He was just good enough to think that maybe, playing on his balcony on a spring night, someone might hear him and fall in love. It was the dream of a boy who had lived in his dreams.

For Winkle, what was the point of facing reality? Reality was a disease. Reality was a bore. Reality was loneliness. Reality was, that he was a man who worked at a drugstore and played his cello at night with his window open, dreaming.

So Winkle dreamed. Winkle dreamed that a man would crawl though his window one night, a handsome man with lots of money. Winkle dreamed that when this man came, he wouldn’t be afraid. He would lean his head into the man’s hand and the man would stroke his face and speak softly. The man would be tall and lean with long dark hair. The man would want him, and show him how to be wanted.Winkle dreamed of becoming a lover.

Winkle dreamed that the man would take him out of that dreary one room apartment to a mansion close to the city. Winkle would go to shows and sip wine, holding hands with his lover. Winkle dreamed that they would be rich, that he would play before hundreds of people, that he would be toasted, that he would be loved.

Winkle dreamed, never waking, that he would live forever, drinking in the fruit of the world.