If beauty is an undeclared promise of happiness, then it's a promise which can't be kept: that's what I think when I see him, for the second or third time after some years. I'm not speaking of an objective kind of beauty, as if I were trying to establish the very canon of beauty itself. The latter is more a promise of suffering, I think, as it's cold and distant and hovers almost unhumanly in the air when it descends among us. No, I'm speaking of the beauty each of us finds in his or her own personal inventory of beauty made flesh. What is the link between the beauty of a boy and my desire? That's the question I ask myself after seeing him again. For sure, he's the perfect boy. If I had to give a description of how a boy should look, I shouldn't waste my time and I'd better take a picture of him and show it around. That's what I mean, you see, I would say over and over again. Fair hair, smooth white complexion, black thick plastic spectacles, distant white teeth, an almost unperceivable lisping when speaking, in a slight sing-a-song tone, firm buttocks drawing the lines of his light cotton trousers, hard biceps betraying that he's not indifferent to his looks. But is there actually a connection between him, his beauty and my desire? When I stumble into such beauty, I feel paralysed and it's as if the frail link between that beauty and my receding desire is being definitely torn. What I see exceeds my grasp - even the thought that I might attempt a grasp at all. The link is missing and my mind goes blank. I wouldn't even dare to express my desire, which has vanished into utter nothingness after being overwhelmed by what I have seen. I have learned to give up, to stop before moving, to refrain from moving, and this hasn't happened only because I am afraid of being rejected, but also because I know that if I tried to pick up this beauty and transform it into some sexual act, even if I only tried to brush the lines of his perfect body with the tips of my fingers, it would mean to translate my desire into flesh and force that beautiful boy to do something which he can't do. I would force him to keep that undeclared promise of happiness, a promise he has never made and he has nothing to do with. I know what would follow then: disappointment, bitterness, frustration. Beauty is there to be admired, I say to myself, but my mind is split. I experience the usual schizophrenia when I'm faced with this perfect and absolute beauty and I have to admit that it won't have any effect on the hard reality outside my mind. There goes, inside my brain, the line of a Leonard Cohen song: "For you've touched her perfect body with your mind", but the reverse won't happen. (Of course beauty is to be interpreted in an absolute and personal way at the same time. There are many beautiful boys, but I'm now speaking of the ones who leave me breathless and on the verge of tears, because they reveal the whole range of impossibilities they stand for). When somebody else, as if reading my mind, asks me if there is anybody I like, I smile and answer in a low voice that I have learned not to look at the boys I like too much. It's hot outdoors, it's almost a stuffy summer day. People are smoking and suddenly I see that he lights a cigarette too and starts smoking. I watch the tip of his cigarette glowing in the dark, I watch his perfect fingers, the way his nails are cut, the veins on the back of his hand. So much beauty. Then I smile and shiver, because I have found the excuse not to love him, so I say to myself: "A smoker. He isn't really worth the effort". The fox can go back indoors and mark one more perfunctory sacrifice in his personal record.