I hear an alarm go off in the next room. I roll over and look at my phone. 7:30AM on Saturday morning.
A few minutes later, just as I'm about to fall back asleep,
"Hey, you ready to hit the water?"
It's my brother, Sam.
We're going surfing.
The waves suck, I suck, and the water is freezing, but it's a blast anyways.
* * *
I look over at Jake discreetly. He adjusts his red snapback, glances across the table at our beer pong opponents, and then at me.
"You got this."
I drain last cup.
* * *
It's Sunday night. My brother and his girlfriend are lying in bed. I had been up visiting them at their little cottage on Cape Cod for the weekend.
I walk into their bedroom and flop down on my stomach between them. It's a large bed.
"Hey brotheh," Sam says while smirking.
"Hey Sam-eh," I mumble, still face down.
"So what happened with my bro Jake last night? You were getting 'mixed vibes', eh?"
I smile and try to recall what had happened and what we had talked about.
"Yeah I don't know, I was just drunk and misinterpreting shit I think."
My brother's girlfriend, Audrey, chimes in: "I'm sorry I said anything to him! Sam, you were giving your brother terrible advice last night."
"What? Was I...?"
"Yes! You told him that he should have sex with one of those girls after him."
"Oh right. Yeah, well, technically I said he should do them a favor because they were really gunning for him. But I was just joking, mostly."
The memories of this are a bit hazy but I chuckle to myself and roll over.
"Yeah a couple of those chicks were following me around."
"But so what happened with Jake?" Sam asked, still smirking.
"Yeah I didn't think he went that way."
"You'd be surprised," I said flatly.
Sam paused for a moment. "Anyways, my bad. Just wanted to see you to get some—from whoever."
"I appreciate the support."
"How are the guys in general, anyways?"
Sam had asked me this question the last time I had seen him, but it still tripped me a little. The only other person that I really had regular conversations like this with was my roommate, and even he was less actively inquisitive.
"Eh, it's going alright. Hard to find what I'm looking for."
My brother laughed. "Yeah, you hate feminine gay dudes huh?"
"Nah I don't hate them. I used to hold them responsible for why I couldn't be open about this shit, but now I'm fine with them. Everyone should do their own thing—just not my type."
"Yeah you're into bro-y type guys huh?"
I chuckle. "Sort of."
"You clearly are. Jake's a bro and you were into him"
"He's masculine and confident."
"Whatever. So are you seeing anyone right now? How do you meet guys?"
I paused again, slightly shocked by how genuinely curious Sam was. He notices this.
"What? We haven't talked about this shit for like ten years, so I'm just making up for lost time."
"Well I'm on Tinder."
Sam and Audrey both respond nearly in unison, "Really?"
"I thought that was for straight people," said Sam.
"It is. It's also for non heteros though too."
"Non heteros," he laughed, "I like that. But wait—let me see these dudes."
You'd think I wouldn't be surprised at this point, but I still was.
"Come on. Who cares? Just show me these bros—or bros you've been seeing."
So I did. I proceeded to show him a small selection of the dudes I had seen in the past, accompanied by brief back stories.
"This guy is a fucking stud!" he exclaimed. "This dude is gay?" Here referring to Conor.
We continued to look through pictures of dudes together. Aldo got a "Really, him?" while a somewhat-current hook-up buddy got the seal of approval.
"Sam, you're being kind of shallow about this," his extremely beautiful girlfriend interjected.
"What? He's a fucking stud himself so he might as well date an attractive dude, right?"
* * *
In the car on the way to the airport I rehash the weekend again in my mind: the frigid water, the warm sand, Jake's blond scruffy beard and red hat, and looking at Tinder bros with Sam.
My brother is clearly also thinking about the past few days.
"So did you have a good time this weekend?" Sam asks.
"Yeah, for sure. Great time."
"Good. I really like it when you come up to visit. And I'm glad that we can talk now. I'm glad to have my brother back and that you can be real with me."
I laugh a little, but feel exactly the same.
"Yeah, me too."
Well almost real. When I said nothing had happened with Jake that was almost true.