The idea that I was in LA for work completely faded from my mind, as did the trysts I’d met since my arrival. After meeting The Navigator, I was on cloud 9 since we hung out on the beach. He was an amazing guy, and I knew if we lived in the same city, we’d be dating.
Before going to bed, we exchanged a few messages around 2:00am. “Hiya handsome. Sorry for texting you so late. Just wanted to say hello,” he texted. I texted back, “Miss you lots. Can’t wait to see you again!” I didn’t care if I was being a bit aggressive; I was being honest. I had nothing to lose here, and I needed to get back to being more honest with myself and the guys I date.
The next morning, I woke up to my early alarm alone in my bed and immediately missed his presence. I quickly looked to my phone to see if I had a message. I did! “The pix of you on the hike turned out great! You look so handsome!” The previous night, we became Facebook friends. This wasn’t the text I was looking for, but it still made me happy.
I had a plan to go for a run that morning, and should I still have the energy, I would take a dip in the pool. I’d gone to the weight room and the pool the night before from 10:30-11:30. Even with all the guys I was spending time with, I was finding time for myself. I needed to get myself in line on this trip as well. I’d been floundering for far too long.
When I finished my run, I checked my phone, and I still didn’t have a message from The Navigator. I decided to take a dip in the hot tub to relax my muscles and take my mind off the excitement I anticipated all day. Finally, my phone lit up: “Morning! We have a call out for the next shift, so if there are no volunteers we draw straws. Keep your fingers crossed for me pal!”
My heart sank. There was no possibility he wouldn’t be joining me on the PCH until now. Now, I had to prepare myself for the idea this drive would be solo. If you recall, I HATE being alone. I don’t do well alone. I get depressed. This was one of the fears I had booking this trip, but I wanted to force myself to get used to it if I had to. I quickly responded, “Tell your boy to take one for the team. You have a hot date Fingers crossed.”
I hopped out of the hot tub and made my way back to my room to shower and get ready for my road trip. I tried not to think about an empty passenger seat until I got another text: “:( Looks like there may be a surgery… If the owner approves the estimate, then it’s no longer a choice. I’m [Dr.’s] surgery tech. Still a slim chance “
I was now facing the fact I would be driving alone. It was supposed to be a nice day, so I convinced myself I would be fine. It was going to be an exciting drive up the coast. I was going to go all the way up to Santa Barbara and check things out along the way. I still wanted to see him, so I asked, “What time would you be done ish?”
He didn’t answer me immediately. After I packed my bags, I got another text: “I’m gonna stop dragging my heels. Everyone is looking to me. UGH!!! It’s another full shift, but then I have the next day and a half off. So, I’ll be off at 5:30.” I could accept that, but I asked, “Can I see you then?” He immediately responded, “I’ll hurry home as soon as I can… yes!”
I told him I was packing up the car and about to hit the road. “I’ll aim to be back in the area around 5:30. Let me know closer to then what’s up… Maybe we’ll just meet somewhere since I don’t have to come back to the hotel. Sad I’m not spending the day with you, but I understand completely… Looking forward to this evening!” I added. With that, I hopped in the car and made my way to Porto’s Bakery for an amazing Cuban Medianoche sandwich that was incredibly difficult to eat in the car, a chocolate croissant and an iced mocha latte. If you even happen to be in Glendale, check this place out. It’s amazing!
I drove all the way up the coast taking in all the sights. At one point, Highway 1 cuts inland. I wasn’t paying attention, and I ended up in the middle of the orange groves and strawberry patches. I watched the motorcycle gangs as I passed them with envy. I would have killed to have my motorcycle out there. I get out of the care until I reached Santa Barbara. I pulled up to the beach and stood up for the first time in a few hours. I stretched out and broke out my camera to snap some pictures. It was a gorgeous area, and all I could think about was living there. I could move to LA, marry an amazing man, and we could retire to Santa Barbara. That’s when my thoughts jumped right back to The Navigator.
“Santa Barbara misses you,” I texted him. I was still disappointed he wasn’t with me, but I wasn’t going to let it ruin my drive. I had a sick convertible, no real timetable, and the freedom to do whatever I wanted. The ride up did allow me some clarity. I cleared my head of all the thoughts of the past. Everything was forward-looking.
After I had my fill of Santa Barbara, I made my way inland to Ojai. I’d always wanted to check it out since I seen Brothers and Sisters. The family business was there and it always looked gorgeous on-screen. I climbed up one side of winding mountains and down the other. I pulled off the side of the road a few times to take in the beauty of it all and snap some pictures for posterity.
When I arrived down into Ojai proper, I was shocked by how small town it was. I was out in rural farmland. It didn’t quite feel like home because the geography was very different from home, but it was very nice to see this side of the West Coast. I called my parents to tell them I was searching for Nora (a character on Brothers and Sisters), and they both laughed at me. They’d forgotten I was out there for work/vacation, and they expressed their jealousy. I thought about my new friend as well, texting, “Ojai misses you too.” Finally, he responded. I knew he was busy working, so I was surprised to get a response. “What’s Ojai? Pic?” he asked. When I told him, he added, “I miss you ” I was swooning a little bit.
I told him I was on my way back to LA and asked where he worked. He told me the name of the street, and I added, “Maybe I should meet you there. Then I’m not venturing that far from the airport.” He’d forgotten I had to catch a flight. I told him it would just mean more time we would get to spend together.
As I passed through Santa Monica, I reached out to him once again: “What’s the plan Stan? At Venice Beach. Was gonna drive down to Marina Del Ray… Could come out there and let me take you out to dinner.” I waited a long time to hear from him again. I even stopped at a Starbucks so I could park the car and walk around a bit. I ordered a coffee and walked out onto the pier in Venice Beach to take some pictures of the ocean. I still had a lot of time to kill, so I sat in the Starbucks charging my laptop while I wrote a blog entry.
Then I got a text from him I wish I’d never read: “Hey pal. I think I’m gonna have to skip hanging out. I’m exhausted. I just want to sleep. I hate to do that to you. I know you’ve been waiting. I’m not even gonna drive home. Gonna sleep at a coworkers place a couple blocks away. Didn’t really get to sleep before the shifts started. I had an amazing time with you and would love it if we stayed in touch. Hope you have a safe flight home and maybe I can come visit you in Jersey (hint hint) Muah handsome… Thanks for everything ” I was heartbroken. All I could think to respond was, “Wish I at least got to say goodbye.” He quickly shot back, “I know. Me too… I’m just very tired.”
This wasn’t good enough for me. “Let me know if I can at least come and say goodbye. If not, it’s cool…” I sent in an attempt to strike and emotional chord. When I got no response, I called him – No answer.
He texted back, “Still at work. Can text, but not talk. I’ll call you at 5:30 handsome.” I would have to be patient. I know my usual aggressive style, so I tried to curb that bad habit. When the clock reached 5:45, I called him again — No answer. I texted him again, “I have the time to kill. I could come and say bye and you go to sleep. I get it if you’re too tired to hang.” More time passed, and I still didn’t hear from him. I was emotionally beginning to panic. I knew the time to say goodbye was going to come, and I tried to prepare myself for it. But, to not have that at all rocked me a little.
Now, I was grasping at straws. I changed course and sped back to downtown LA. I called him over and over again while I weaved in and out of cars. Maybe if I wasn’t so locked in on one thing, I would have realized I could actually deal with LA traffic with the skills I was exercising.
In a last stitch effort, I texted, “In the middle of LA hoping I can come say goodbye before I go to the airport. Please call.” Silence. He’d gone dark on me. I was so disappointed in him. I thought we shared something special. I wanted him as a friend, and he was abandoning me. I was being very selfish, but so was he. I admitted defeat and gave up:
“Heading to airport. Sorry. I wasn’t trying to make a big deal about it. Just wanted to give a proper goodbye, even if just for two minutes. Get some rest. Def stay in touch. Hope I made a good friend on this trip! You’re a great guy! You have a place to stay any time you want to visit New Jersey/New York! Would love it if you called tomorrow when you wake up! Stay sexy!”
He never called. When I got home, he never Facebook messaged me either. I was very disappointed. I wasn’t giving in that easily though. I texted him days later to see if he’d truly cut me off completely: “Hey stud. How’s it going? Just wanted to say hi.” I was happy to see a response some time later: “Hey Sorry I didn’t say goodbye. I’m not very good at that type of thing. I know it wasn’t very nice. I had a wonderful time with you though. How is everything?”
We continued to text each other periodically over time. He even called me one day, but I missed his call. I hope I have a true friend in him. He really is a great guy, and if I can’t have him as my own, I’ll take him as a friend. I look forward to the day I can see him again. Maybe work will send me out there again. Maybe he’ll come to New Jersey for a visit. Maybe I’ll make a true pleasure trip out there and see him on my own. Who knows???Follow @onegayatatime