When Siegbert pops the trunk of his convertible open and starts pulling out golf clubs, Shiro bursts into laughter. Birds scatter from the trees surrounding the clearing.
Siegbert freezes with a hand still curled around one of the clubs, the confusion on his face masked by his purple aviators. “May I be let in on the joke?”
“Oh, buddy. You’re too much.” The car sinks when Shiro leans against it, and he gives his boyfriend—his fiancé—a playful swat. “I thought we were coming out here to play disc golf. Throwing frisbees into hoopy-cage things? Running around in the grass? We don’t need golf clubs.”
“Ah. I—um.” There’s a lot of athletic equipment in Siegbert’s car, but he is certain that hoopy-cage things are either missing or unaccounted for. Whatever they are. His stomach aches with guilt as he fishes out some frisbees. “I misunderstood. I thought we were going to play both frisbee and golf. Please forgive me.”
Shiro pats him on the back, extra firm. “Aww, come on now. It’s okay. We’re here to have fun, right? So let’s have some fun! I’ll show you how to play if you want or we can do something else.” He meets Siegbert with a surprise kiss when Siegbert pulls his head out of the trunk. “Your call.”
Siegbert giggles, but his face turns serious again. “I don’t think I have the correct equipment for disc golf. I apologize again for the misunderstanding.”
“Don’t worry about it! We just need these frisbees,” says Shiro, banging one against his side. He points out at the field, draping his arm around Siegbert’s neck. Their faces touch. “See that thingy waaaay over there?”
What appears to be a metal post with chains hanging off of it is in the far distance. Siegbert nods. “Yes. I see it.” It then clicks in Siegbert’s mind: that’s the hoopy-cage thing.
“We’re gonna throw frisbees into that target, and there’s nine of them. That’s pretty much it. I mean, there’s rules and stuff, but we don’t need any of that, right?” asks Shiro. “And if you don’t like it, we can do something else.”
“Sounds simple enough. Is that really all we need?”
“Uh-huh. It takes a bit of practice, but you’ll get the hang of it. I know you will.”
Smiling, Siegbert tugs his collar down and gently closes the trunk of his car. Shiro always says that he dresses like a Republican father, but he’s never been quite sure what that means. “Thank you. I hope I don’t disappoint you.”
Out in the field, Shiro’s exuberant smile simmers into calm. “What’s wrong?” he asks, giving Siegbert a nudge.
“What’s the matter? You have that look on your face like you wanna say something.”
“I wasn’t aware that was a look.” Pursing his lips, Siegbert holds his frisbee tighter, turning it in his hands. “I’ve… never thrown a frisbee before. I don’t know how.”
“Really? Huh. Come here.” They stop, and Shiro poses Siegbert’s arms like a mannequin into the proper position, causing his heart to skip a few beats at the sudden touch. “Just do that… and then… WOOSH!!! Throw it flat, and follow through. Got it?”
“Yes. I think so. May I see a demonstration?”
Demonstrations are Shiro’s specialty, so something sparks in his eyes. Shiro snatches the frisbee and bounds forward. “Position… just like that. And—HAAUGHH!!!”
Shiro launches the frisbee with all his might, and they watch it soar steady through the air, making a clean, long arch downwards. It crashes into a tree near the target, bouncing from the impact.
“Just like that! You gotta follow through. It’s hard to get it steady when you’re first learning, but I know you can do it. You’ve definitely got the arm strength, Arnold Schwarzenegger.”
That boosts Siegbert’s confidence. “Alright. I’m going to try, then.”
“Yeah! You’ve got this!”
Frowning in concentration, Siegbert tries to imitate precisely what Shiro did. He throws the frisbee with a soft, “haaughh!!”, and makes sure to follow through. The frisbee wobbles and takes a sharp turn to their right, crashing into the gravel of the parking area.
“That was awesome! First try!” Shiro roars, giving Siegbert a high five that he was only half-prepared for. “Try again, buddy.”
“This time aim for the target.”
Siegbert mumbles, “That’s where I was aiming before,” but his voice is too low to hear. Shiro clasps his shoulder and hands him another frisbee.
They practice on that first target for a while. Every attempt leaves Shiro cheering and hollering like he personally won the Super Bowl. Siegbert takes in his bliss, but can’t help but wonder if Shiro’s voice will be gone tomorrow.
Eventually, they start passing the frisbee to each other. They run around for hours it until they’re tired and lying down on their backs in the freshly-mowed grass, not minding the stains it will leave on their clothes.
Siegbert takes a long drink of water. The cold feels good, so he pours some on his head, too, giving Shiro a splash. Shaking like a dog, Shiro says, “Hey!”
“I’m sorry. You looked hot.”
They stare at each other for a moment. Shiro snickers, rolling onto his stomach to ruffle Siegbert’s sweaty hair. “Damnnn. Smooth. You don’t look half bad yourself, Siegbert. Sexy out of ten, I’d say.”
“Oh—” Siegbert props himself up on his arms fast, face turning red even faster. While he’s looking away, Shiro snatches his water and takes a sip, kissing Siegbert as thanks when he hands it back.
Shiro drops back to the ground, looking at the sky. “I totally beat you in frisbee golf,” he says. “I whooped your ass.”
“You only hit the target once. And—please excuse me, but we didn’t even play the course, so all scoring is void.” Shiro laughs at this, and Siegbert says, “Next time I’ll win.”
“Yeah, right! Is that a challenge?”
“I suppose it is. We’ll have to practice for it.” There’s a slight breeze now, one that makes the day feel even better. “I like it out here. It’ll be fun to come again.”
“Yeah,” says Shiro. “Yeah, let’s do it.”
They stare up at the sky for a while, it’s empty pleasant blue. Warm thoughts about Shiro flutter through Siegbert’s mind.
And for some reason, that’s when his mind decides that it’s an appropriate time to recall the single most embarrassing moment of his adult life. A flush creeps across Siegbert’s cheeks and he squirms into a sitting position. “Um. Shiro.”
“Do you remember when you met my parents?” Shiro sits up for him, but Siegbert can’t look him in the eyes. “My father?”
“Hmmm. Yeah, I think so.”
“Well. The—um. Do you remember the very first thing you told him? Right after you introduced yourself?”
Shiro thinks about it, twirling his fingers through the grass.
“H-he… he asked about our weekend and you—um,” Siegbert lowers his voice even further and mutters, “You told him I was really good at eating hot dogs.”
“Huh? You gotta speak up.”
“Th-that I’m good at eating hot dogs,” Siegbert forces himself to repeat a tiny bit louder. His cheeks feel like ovens, hotter than the sun. “You told him, ‘Man, Siegbert can really eat a dog’.”
“Hey, I don’t sound like that! And I mean, he asked what we did that weekend. That hot dog eating contest was the most interesting thing we did all month. What else was I supposed to tell him?”
“Shiro… he didn’t—think we were talking about beef,” Siegbert stammers, physically covering his face now. “It came across as… y-you know… I told him we were dating… and. Um…”
“Huh?” A lightbulb goes off, and Shiro’s eyes grow wide. “Oh. OH! My god. That’s so… wow. Sorry, man. Never thought about it like that.”
Siegbert laughs with him, a nervous chuckle. “It’s alright, Shiro, really. I just think it’s funny now even though it’s still embarrassing. It doesn’t seem like it, but that was such a long time ago.”
“Yeah, it really was.” Shiro’s booming laugh echoes through the field again. “You’re awfully cute, Siegbert. And hey, I really didn’t mean to embarrass you back then. Sometimes stuff just flies right out of my mouth, you know?”
“I know. I didn’t mean to make you feel bad by sharing that memory.”
“Alright, alright,” Shiro says with a grin. He stands and pulls Siegbert up by the hand. “Enough of the sappy stuff. Let’s get something to eat and go home. You gotta have time to practice if you wanna even think about beating me.”
“You’re going to be the one who needs practice,” says Siegbert, met with a snort from Shiro. While Shiro gathers the frisbees, Siegbert pats his pants to make sure his keys and wallet are still there.
They meet at the car. When Siegbert closes his trunk, Shiro puts his arm around Siegbert’s waist. “Hey, I had a really good time with you today. I always do.”
Something rises in Siegbert’s chest. “Me, too.”