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"Kiss of love without end"

By Matthew Link

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One moonlit night in Ghana, I visited an outdoor dance recital at a village I knew. The dancers came out in a line, plunging their arms to the ground and back up and turning around. A row of young drummers fluctuated beats like a hypnotizing orchestra. The white gauze of the African sky arched high above.
One tall male dancer with long spandex leggings and dreadlocks held under a brightly knitted cap gazed directly at me. He soon walked up to me.
"My name is Savior." I made him repeat his name to make sure I heard right.
"I"m Matt." We snapped two of our fingers together at the end of the handshake, in Ghanaian style.
"What are you doing tomorrow night?" Savior bluntly asked.
"I"m not sure yet."
"You come to my house. I will give you drumming -lessons."
"Uh, okay. That"d be fun." He smiled at me again, the sweat trickling down from under his cap.
The next evening, Savior led me through the dark alleys of his stucco village, past open flames where old women sold tomatoes and chewing sticks, past washing hung up in the dry air, and finally into a small room where he turned on a green overhead light. The soft illumination revealed a Backstreet Boys poster glued to the mud wall.
I sat on the creaky bed. "How old are you, Savior?"
"I am 21. You wait here, okay? I have to go to the shower." I had seen the village toilets and showers before -- I wouldn"t want to feel my way through them in the dark.
Savior returned freshly scrubbed and sat down and looked deep into my eyes. "I think you are a very beautiful man."
"Thank you, that"s nice." It doesn"t take much to butter me up.
Savior quickly went through the "Do you have a girlfriend; do you like girls?" routine and it became very apparent where we were headed.
"Are you a gay?" he asked me, point blank.
I was taken aback by the term and its infinitive -- it seemed so progressive for the setting.
"Yes, I am."
"I am a gay too." He took my hand in his and said, "I want to be your special friend, okay?"
"Okay." I smiled. It was nice to find family even in this deep neck of the woods.
Before things could go any further, Savior"s
friend Alex stopped by. His lovely smile made me involuntarily wish I was his special friend instead of Savior"s. I soon found out Alex had a special friend too -- an older man from England who came to Ghana every so often and evidently helped finance Alex"s life. It was becoming clear to me that was what Savior had in mind, too. It was no surprise, and who could blame him? The price of a coffee back home would buy a day"s food for a family here.
After Alex left, I sat close to Savior and breathed on his long neck. I traced my finger down his leg and I could tell he was aroused. He felt the hard bulge in my pants but kept chatting about something or another. Sex appeared to be a commodity I was expected to finance over the long term with him.
"Max, I may come to America, to New Jersey, later this year. I am invited to teach the drumming there. I can see you there."
We exchanged email addresses, then he planted a simple, dry kiss on my lips. For a microsecond, the magic and endlessness of Africa dwelled there on my lips, like an ancient potion.
I received an email a few weeks later from my Savior. He couldn"t make it to New Jersey after all, but he would still like to see me again some day.
The note was signed simply, "Kiss of Love Without End."




Author Profile:  Matthew Link

Matthew Link has written for numerous magazines and has appeared on many television and radio shows. His documentaries have aired on PBS stations and in international film festivals.


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