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Patrick's bedroom didn't have much furniture. A low California king-sized mattress framed by dark panels of black walnut and a custom-made black leather headboard; a mirrored nightstand on each side; and a long, slender black walnut table against the opposite wall of the bed topped with a thin, flat-screen television. Any personal traces of him were neatly organized in the dressing room next door, and when he went to bed at night, he could just as well have been sleeping in a hotel room. It didn't even smell like...
Patrick's bedroom didn't have much furniture. A low California king-sized mattress framed by dark panels of black walnut and a custom-made black leather headboard; a mirrored nightstand on each side; and a long, slender black walnut table against the opposite wall of the bed topped with a thin, flat-screen television. Any personal traces of him were neatly organized in the dressing room next door, and when he went to bed at night, he could just as well have been sleeping in a hotel room. It didn't even smell like him. He always thought he smelled like pumpkin pie and used jock straps, but this smell was from his housekeeper, clean but chemical, too perfect.
What made him love a room like this, so cold and barren? Well, there was a wall of glass that overlooked a glossy, built-in swimming pool and not far beyond that, the green, rolling hills of a well-manicured golf course, where strapping young landscapers worked shirtless all summer. When Patrick went to bed every night, he couldn't wait to turn on the lights and strip in front of the glass wall. He could see the reflection of his large chest muscles and his thin waist in the dark glass panels, and he knew anyone lurking outside could see them, too. But more than that, when he woke up in the morning during summer, every now and then, there was a young landscaper pruning a shrub or raking some leaves who could see him naked in bed. He always knew when a guy was watching: they lingered far too long and their movements became slow and disconnected. Patrick would spread his legs, arch his back, and put on a full show. It would have been fine with him if anyone of these young guys had crossed the back lawn, walked through his bedroom door, and forced his face into a pillow. But that never happened.
And that's because all this glass-exposure business was so new to him. Nine months earlier the glass wall would have been covered with cream-colored tailored draperies, all night long. Patrick's ex-lover, whom he'd been with for seven years (forever), said it made him feel uncomfortable. He said sleeping in front of an exposed wall of glass (he never stopped complaining) just wasn't natural, not to mention dangerous.
So every night, Patrick would sigh and close the drapes. He never cared if someone could see inside: he figured that if anyone was bold enough to peek into someone's window, they deserved to see something worthwhile; a naughty little show never hurt anyone. When Patrick and his partner purchased the modern house five years earlier, Patrick couldn't wait to have naughty sex with his lover in front of the glass wall. But that never happened either.
The day after the ex-lover left for good in late August, the first thing Patrick did was rip down (literally) the draperies. When he tore the first panel down with one fist, he heard his ex-lover's limp-wristed voice, "I'm leaving you because I need to find out who I am, I want to travel and learn how to make pumpkin ravioli, and to be with someone who will stay up at night with me to watch the season finale of The Office."
Patrick had no idea he'd been such a bad partner. When he tore down the second and third panels at the same time with both fists, he gritted his teeth when he remembered how many times he'd forced his eyes to remain open while watching The Office so his ex-lover could eat hearts of palm on water crackers and shout time and again, "This show just kills me." Patrick loathed that television show; he had a good reason. On the night of the season finale, he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer. Evidently, his ex-partner didn't understand this. But Patrick didn't think this was a viable reason for a couple to split up. And what kind of asshole breaks off a seven-year relationship to run off and learn how to make pumpkin fucking ravioli?