Posts Tagged ayawaska

A Night at the Opera

After what I deemed somewhat of a failure night, Smile‘s birthday gathering, I wasn’t exactly feeling positive (I’m told by some readers they were depressed after yesterday’s post as well). However, I wasn’t giving up or accepting defeat. I chalked it up to an off nights.

Ayawaska Root

For the rest of the week, I didn’t reach out to him. I wanted to see if he’d reach out to me. Surprisingly enough, Smiles texted Friday afternoon. Maybe my friends were right. Maybe I was right to lay low and let him come to me. I hadn’t sent a message or made a phone call since I left him Wednesday night. He wrote, “How’s your Friday going?” I told him it was going well and inquired about his cleanse. We texted a bit before I jumped on the opportunity to confirm our plans to go to the Metropolitan Opera that Saturday.

I wrote, “Looking forward to seeing you tom night btw! Call me when you get a free minute so we can discuss details before you go comatose on me…”

He immediately called to clarify. We discussed the timing of his Ayawaska ceremony and the timing of the opera.

I remembered from our conversation earlier in the week, tickets were to Barber Saville. I went online and did some research. I’d never been to the opera before, so I didn’t want to look like a schmuck. In doing my research, I realized his timing of the show was off. “Is this Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Metropolitan Opera? If so, it looks like it’s at 1:00 tom…” I texted him.

I received a troubling response: “What. OMG! EEK! Let me look…” “Houston, we may have a problem!” I responded, “I gathered.”

He eventually called me back to offer a few possible solutions. He didn’t think he was going to be able to make the opera by 1:00 after being up all night, so the first was to give me the tickets, and I take someone else. The next was he gives the tickets to a friend if I don’t want them. I said, “Well obviously my first choice is to go with you. You don’t think you’re going to be able to make it?” He paused a moment, and responded, “Let me make a few phone calls to see how I’m going to be after this. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be wide awake and energized.” He hung up.

After about a half hour, he called back. He talked to someone who’d done it before, and they told him they weren’t sure how he’d feel afterwards, but it was quite possible he would be alert and want to go. They told him not to cancel his plans. So, our new plan was no plan. We were going to play it by ear.

That night around 8:00 I sent him a text saying, “Have fun tonight, and be safe ;).” I got a response at 4:16am. “Home safe. Should be good tomorrow. Home at 4am. Call you about 11.” It was a very happy text message to wake up to. I was thrilled. After thinking we wouldn’t get to go, I once again got excited about the date. No man has ever taken me to the opera before.

At 11:00, he called, and we discussed attire. We thought about grabbing brunch for a hot second until we realized we’d be late if we did. I came into the city, and we hopped on the subway up to Lincoln Center. We first grabbed the tickets, and then, instead of brunch, we settled on coffee at Starbucks.

We made our way back to the opera house and found our seats. We had great orchestra seats, but to get to them, this involved sneaking past a full row of elderly folks. As Smiles was passing one elderly fellow who didn’t stand for him to pass, the man got overly excited about someone passing in front of him and began to make a fuss asking Smiles to wait for him to stand. In the meantime, the elderly man began to have a coughing fit followed by apologizes for the next ten minutes. I was thrilled there was at least one seat between myself and this man. That is, until the show was about to begin, and he wanted a better view and scooted over – still coughing, still apologizing.

He wasn’t even there after a few minutes in my mind. I started to chat with Smiles. He was talking about a work project and the subject of his mother came up. Mid-story about her, he stopped and said, “Well, you’ll see if you ever get to meet her.” I was back on track! The fact that he was even entertaining the idea of me ever meeting his mother thrilled me! I was on cloud nine.

On top of that, he reached out his hand as the show began to hold mine. The birthday party night was well behind me. I now had a clear signal he was indeed interested in me. I could have melted into a puddle right there (it’s the little things for me obviously).

When intermission came, I had no idea everyone leaves the theater. We went outside and grabbed water at a nearby cafe. It was a gorgeous day, so we sat in the sun a minute commenting on all passersby. When it was time, we went back into the theater and watched the remainder of the opera. I was elated. It was a good show. I would definitely go back again, but it’s more of a once a year thing, whereas Broadway is a few times a year thing. But, that wasn’t even what was making me so happy. I had a permanent smile.

Afterwards, we decided to grab early dinner. We crossed the street to hit up a sushi restaurant, only to find it closed. We settled on Cafe Fiorello’s next door. When the waitress approached, Smiles asked her what her name is and began chatting her up. This is something I noticed he does everywhere we go. I find it very attractive. However, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was flirting with her (he did used to date women as well). She was eating it up. Neither was a bad thing. I wasn’t off-put at all.

We shared a nice half bottle of white wine and ordered our food. When the waitress returned to tell me they no longer had any lamb in the restaurant, I ordered my second choice. Smiles cut in and said, “You should inform the maître d’ we are outraged there is no lamb, and he should give us another half bottle of wine.” She replied, “Since you guys are so great, I’ll see what I can do.” After she left, I commented on how I was impressed by his effort.

When she came back to check on us, she said, “He said no to the bottle of wine, but I’m there’s something I can do for you instead.” He again thanked her with his charming smile. I said, “We’ll prob get a free desert or something.” He noted, “Oh, we’ll get something. You’ll learn I don’t give up. This is fun for me.”

Shortly thereafter, she returned with two glasses of champagne for us. I was duly impressed. He was a smooth talker. He really worked his magic. With that, we cheers to actually making it to the opera.

We were our waitress’ last table, so we closed our check so she could cut out. “You guys are my favorite table of the day. I love you guys!” she exclaimed. Although he argued against it, I picked up the tab since he provided the opera tickets. As I forced my card into the waitresses hand and told her to scram before he could get his out, he appreciated the gesture. As we were finishing our champagne, Smiles pulled out his phone and was looking for something. I asked him what he was trying to find. He noted there was a store in the neighborhood he wanted to stop in. I asked which because I was decently familiar with the neighborhood. He wouldn’t tell me. It was a big secret. I love surprises, so I didn’t push the issue.

We began to walk up the street. I had no idea what was coming next or where we were headed since he was being secretive, but I had a feeling I was going to like it. But, that’s another post for another day…

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Birthday Smiles

I’m not gonna lie. I was nervous. I don’t get nervous very often, but I wasn’t quite sure the situation I was walking into.

Smiles had his birthday at The Jimmy, a rooftop bar at the James Hotel in lower New York City. As nervous as I was, I set no expectations going in. I didn’t want to concoct all these crazy scenarios in my head, only to not see them play out.

The morning of his birthday party, I put A LOT of thought into what I was going to wear. I care about what I look like on a daily basis, but there was so much more going on here. I was nine years his junior, which meant many of his friends would also be a fair amount older than I am. I wanted to make sure I didn’t look like “who brought the child.” I tried on numerous permutations of clothing until I finally settled on one I felt comfortable with. I even consulted with my female roommate who works in the fashion industry. I wanted to look mature and smart, but I also didn’t want to look like I was trying too hard. (I’d like anyone to argue against me that I don’t over-think things too much).

I finished work that day at 5:00. Smiles and I had tentative plans to grab dinner before his party if I got out of work at a decent hour. When that time came, he was unable to keep those plans. He had a lot of things he still needed to do before the party, so he told me we would grab dinner with one or two others following the birthday gathering. I found something to snack on, and when the time came, I leisurely walked downtown to the hotel.

I had never been to there before. When I arrived I had no idea where I was going, which only heightened my anxiety. Finally I reached the rooftop bar and was able to find Smiles standing out on the deck by the pool. I walked up to him and was welcomed by an embrace, no kiss. Still early in our “relationship,” and not fully knowing the situation I was walking into, I didn’t initiate a kiss myself.

After a minute of small talk, I walked to the bar to grab an adult beverage for myself and a soda water for Smiles. I learned the night before he was not going to be able to participate in the libations due to the cleanse he was going through for his Ayawaska ceremony.

When I returned, he had a glass of champagne, which he felt obligated to sip since someone purchased it for him. I held on to his soda water for him until he needed it. He began introducing me to the friends he was speaking to at the time. He simply introduced me by my name, or a few times, “This is my friend,” and then my name. I had no expectations, but I was curious how I would be introduced. Certainly not boyfriend, but maybe as the guy he’s been seeing? No dice.

Early in the night, Smiles introduced me to one of his friends. This guy was younger than the majority of the crowd, and I made him buddy for the night. We hit it off and shared similar senses of humor. I knew Smiles would be preoccupied all night with his guests, so I prepared myself to be more social than I normally am. I didn’t want to be a wallflower or that creepy guy that lurks around and talks to no one. I was happy to have found someone to pal around with for the night.

Then the question I was dreading all night came up. My buddy asked me, “So how do you know [Smiles]?” I simply replied, “Recent friends.” We both smiled big, and he looked at me with a perplexed look. “That’s all I’m going to get?” he asked. I took a second, cocked my head to the side as I thought about it, and simply replied, “Yup.”

I then turned the question on him. Apparently they met on Fire Island and were just casual friends now. I wasn’t sure of the timing of this, but my instincts told me they hooked up at one point. To any normal guy, these things don’t pop in their head, but Smiles and I did meet on Grindr.

As more friends of the younger sect (all probably about five years older than me still) started showing up, my buddy and I began chatting with them. The question came up many more times asking how I knew Smiles. When others answered, there were a few “mutual friends,” but there was also a, “the old school way — Craigslist.” My brain was in motion. In my mind, my stock plummeted right then and there. Obviously he was still close with these guys if they were coming to his birthday party. Was he still seeing any of them. We were by no means exclusive. But, seeing these guys in person made me uncomfortable. However, I soldiered on.

It had been a while since I saw Smiles, so I circled back to him. He was starving. I offered to grab him something to eat just as he was simultaneously asking me to (keeping in mind his special dietary needs on top of the new ones for the cleanse). He pointed out “his” waitress for the night. He handed me his credit card, and I ordered him some tuna tartar tacos. When they arrived, he scarfed them down as to not miss a minute of his party. I was happy I was the one to which he turned to take care of him. He enjoyed them so much, he went back for seconds.

When I returned to my conversation circle, my buddy had departed. I was very disappointed because I wasn’t thrilled with anyone that was left. However, I continued to make small talk for the remainder of the night.

The time came to grab dinner. Smiles gathered a small group of about seven of us. We walked across the street to Cafe Noir and grabbed a table. Smiles sat at the head of the table, and I made sure I snagged the chair to his right.

The whole time at the restaurant, Smiles felt a little distant. I began to read far too much into that. I wondered if he was doing that because someone else would be offended if they saw him being affectionate towards me. Was there another “me” at the table? I was shocked I got an invite to his birthday gathering so early on. Who’s to say there wasn’t someone else in the exact same position?

I had my hand casually under the table and was rubbing his knee periodically. I wanted to see how he’d react. Nothing. I was a little hurt and confused.

I wanted to make a good impression on his friends in front of him. I was able to contribute greatly to the conversation over dinner. I attentively watch the news and stay up on current events, so I was actually the local authority on the topic of conversation. I wanted to prove to him I could hold my own.

When dinner ended, we walked outside in a large group. Many of his friends were going to smoke and invited him to join. He declined (the cleanse) and said he was going home. They also specifically asked me if I would come, but I too declined. I was hoping I was going home with Smiles. We split from the group and walked towards his place.

We weren’t a block away before he said, “Do you mind if I throw you in a cab instead of walking you up to the PATH since I don’t have a jacket and I’m freezing?” Apparently I would not be going home with him that night. I assumed he would invite me back to his place considering it was 1:30am. I even brought a spare shirt to work that morning for the following day should I be spending the night in the city. That wasn’t going to be the case.

At that point, I said goodbye to him on the street and began my trek up to the PATH. I was dreading my commute home since everything runs on a sparse schedule at that hour of the morning.

It also turned into a very long solemn walk because I was very disappointed with how the night played out. I felt so far away from him. A few nights prior, I thought I made so much excellent headway with him when I got an invite, but after the event, I had a very different picture in my head.

I tried not to let it get to me, but I can’t lie. It ate away at me for the rest of the night and into the next few days. I’m sure the fact that I had about six Johnnie Walkers didn’t help. At dinner the night before, he casually mentioned taking me to the opera that Saturday, so it was planned I’d see him again, and soon. But, it was mentioned so flippantly, I wasn’t sure I was officially invited. So many crazy ideas were floating through my head.

I was trying to follow friends’ advice to make myself a little less available to him. I was told I should make him seek me out, instead of the usual me seeking him out.

With that, I attempted to go about the rest of my week without driving myself insane, but that wasn’t going to be easy…

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Dinner and a Stroll Along the River

Following my great date with Smiles, I couldn’t get enough. I relished every phone call, every text, every moment I spent with him. I suppose you could say, I was gaga.

Is Smiles the greatest guy out there? Is he the best guy out there for me? Who knows. I don’t know him well enough to make that assumption. However, my appetite was wet, and I wasn’t satiated. He is a really great guy, and possess a lot of the qualities I seek in a man. I was cautiously optimistic — Fingers crossed.

After our last date, I texted, “Had a great time last night btw :)” He responded, “Me too!” That being said, I asked him out once again. The following day, I said, “So… When do I get to see you again?” He proposed Tuesday night. I was a little surprised. I was waiting to hear Wednesday night, since he invited me to his birthday that night. I was thrilled he was interested in seeing me two days in-a-row. I was just hoping he would confirm for me once again he wanted me at his birthday celebration and wasn’t having second thoughts.

I had been apartment hunting, so when I found one, I sent him a picture. That was followed shortly after by a sexy picture of me I took last summer on vacation in California (you’ll recognize part of the picture in my Gravatar on the right). I thought I’d spice things up a little, especially since I promised him I would send the picture. He responded, “That’s way better than an apt pic!” I said, “I thought you’d appreciate…” However, he didn’t believe me when I told him I took the picture with the timer on the camera. He thought someone else took it until I went on to explain the entire situation. “You’re committed to this, huh? LOL. Good for you. Strong work,” he said.

When Tuesday arrived, I asked him if we were still on for that evening. He responded, “Yep. Barring a trip to the hospital for stitches after I punch my computer for not working and wasting my time today.” At the end of the day, he added, “I’ve calmed a bit, looking forward to seeing you. What time are you off? You don’t happen to have running shoes with you? I feel like I need a run, LOL.” After discussing my lack of running equipment, we decided on dinner at his favorite restaurant, Extra Virgin.

We grabbed a table outside the restaurant. It was that time of year right before it’s not too cold to sit outside, but it’s also not quite warm enough to be completely comfortable. We ordered our food and immediately dove into conversation. We talked about our days and what was new in our lives.

He told me he and a friend were going to a shaman to try Ayawaska (a Peruvian root similar to Peyote) for the first time. He explained the setting in a yoga studio and how it works. I was fascinated. I’m certainly not the type to be open to drug abuse, but recreationally or experimentally, I have an open mind, especially if it happens under close supervision. The point was to relax and open you mind. Many people use it to communicate with God/the spirits in a trippy way. There was slight reservation/worry in the back of my mind regarding the whole thing, but he is an adult. I knew he’d be safe.

We ate our meals (I don’t recommend the chicken pot pie at Extra Virgin, but everything else I’ve had is spectacular) and continued our conversation.

Smiles likes to order deserts when we go out. Going out to dinner is already putting a dent in my wallet that normally isn’t there. I cook in my apartment far more often than I dine out. Since I started seeing him, I was going out a lot more often for dinner. Not only that, it wasn’t exactly helping my waistline. It’s amazing how easy it is to put on pounds when you aren’t afraid of people seeing you in a bathing suit anymore.

Instead of getting desert, he suggested we go to this tea shop, McNulty’s and then grab desert elsewhere. He was looking for a specific tea, so I called the shop to make sure they were still open.

After the tea shop, we hit up a gelato place, L’Arte De Gelato. We took out gelato and walked down Christopher Street to the pier. We had a nice stroll along the pier holding hands. I pointed out a few things on the Jersey side, such as the pier I normally hit up in the summer looking back the other way. We chatted a bit at the end of the pier. I was hoping maybe for a little make out session or some hugging, but I didn’t get the feeling he was interested in that. I don’t think he noticed, but when I went to reach for his hand, that’s the exact moment he lifted it from the railing and turned around to head back to the Christopher Street PATH station. I wondered in the back of my head why he never invited me to come back to his apartment, especially since I knew we were in the neighborhood. But, I also know I needed to take it a little slower. I had a tendency to rush things, and I needed to break that habit.

When we reached the PATH station, we hugged, and I gave him a kiss goodnight. I was happy to get to see him again, and I was cautiously looking forward to his birthday the following night. It was an awkward challenge for me, but I knew I was up for it. Birthdays are always interesting situations, especially when you’re the new addition to the crowd, but something told me I’d be alright.

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