Tuesday arrived, and that meant back to work after the holiday weekend. It’s always harder to get back into the groove when you’ve been away from the office for some time. Everything takes just a little bit more effort.
That morning, CK and I woke, and although we didn’t have sex, we certainly fooled around a bit. After showering together to conserve water 😉 we got out the door at a decent hour for once. This is quite an occasion for us. It’s normally tough balancing our responsibilities and our libidos, but at times, we manage to master the scale.
We both needed a bit of help getting through the day, so a Starbucks pit stop on the way to the office was essential. We hopped in the long line waiting to order a caffeinated beverages. I would have taken mine intravenously through a central line at the door if given the option. Alas, we filled the time with chatter amongst the two of us. That is, until one of my coworkers walked by.
This wasn’t just any coworker. This was a coworker I’d been on many pitches with. She is one of the biggest names in my agency, running a global piece of business across multiple agencies. Over time, she’d grown to be a fan of mine, but not without hiccups first. Days earlier, her husband entered the hospital with heart issues. This was the first time seeing her since we heard of the incident, so I wanted to giver her space. Anyway, enough back story.
She passed me with two coffees in hand, and we said hi to each other. She sat right next to where CK and I were standing in line. When her son came and joined her at the counter, she took a second to introduce me to him. We shook hands, and they went back to enjoying their morning. In the five seconds for all this to transpire, I panicked.
I am not “out” at work. A few coworkers know I’m gay, and I assume most/the rest suspect. But, in that moment, I didn’t know how to handle the introduction of CK. He was standing right next to me, and in my panic, I acted like he didn’t exist. I failed to mention him at all.
I didn’t want to say, “Oh hi! And this is my friend, [CK].” If he’d done that to me, I would have been quite offended. We were much more than friends. This was the man I was in love with, not simply a friend.
On the other hand, I didn’t want to say boyfriend. I didn’t think that was the moment I came out to her. When the time came for me to be courageous and stand up as who I am, I was a coward.
I try to be strong and proud of who I am, but sometimes I really disappoint myself. I have tried to keep some separation between my personal and work life, but standing there with CK next to me, I should have stood proud. It didn’t matter what I said. She knew who he was in the end anyway.
CK was very upset. We’d had a discussion about my poor introduction skills over the weekend, and then I pulled that stunt. I knew instantly he was upset, and I knew I failed. I started to talk to him about it, but I could tell he was fuming. We talked about it for the rest of the time we were in Starbucks, with the exception of the moments we stood in silence because of the tension. As we walked to the subway/my office, the conversation continued as I explained what happened and how I panicked. I also explained that I wasn’t making excuses for myself, and this was something I needed to get over. I am going to be gay for the rest of my life.
In the end, he understood and accepted my apology. I asked for his patience. I have only been out for two years. He, on the other hand, has many more years on me being openly gay. I even went as far as to publicly chastise myself in Twitter that day to show him how sorry I was. Earlier in the weekend, we discussed opening our relationship up publicly to Twitter. I’d admired how @AustinWilde and @AnthyRomero send each other messages and love across Twitter. I wanted to share that with CK. We started sending each other messages publicly expressing our love for each other. When he sent out the message, “@Onegayatatime baby, i love you,” I melted a bit. As a joke, I responded, “Who is this?” He didn’t appreciate the humor, and immediately deleted the tweet. From the other room, I discovered this and asked him about it. He was angry, and I began to cry. That message meant the world to me. It was the first time he expressed his love for me in a public forum, and it was gone. Or at least I thought so. I did, however, manage to save it by screen-grabbing my phone before it was gone forever. We both took a step back and realized what happened and how much we loved each other and moved on.
That day, CK met my old coworker who left to go work at his agency. After meeting him, she reached out to me to tell me how cute he is. I was thrilled. She’d heard me talk about him quite a bit when I first met him, and now she finally got to meet him. After messing up the morning, failing to share my joy and the love of my life with a current coworker, at least I could share it with a previous one.
That night, we discussed going to an event together, but in the end we didn’t go — I think possibly out of anger for the morning. We spent the night apart. I filled my free time with a late night run. As I ran along the waterfront in Hoboken, I wondered what he was up to in the city. Any time we were separated, I wondered what he was doing with a twinge of suspicion. It was hard not to. Guys in my past treated me poorly, so my self-esteem was very low. The thought of me not being enough for him was not so far-fetched, however, I just left these at suspicions. I never acted on them or accused him of anything. They were simply figments of my imagination…
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My time in San Francisco ended. I was thrilled I finally got to meet the online friend I’d shared so much of my life with over the past two years. We grew much closer in the little time I spent with him. I was already looking forward to the next time I would get to see him.
Early Saturday morning, I made my way to the airport. I was off to Chicago to finish out my week-long work trip. I’ve actually begun to look forward to these plane trips. It’s one of the few times I can sit and concentrate on writing blog entries without any distractions.
As I boarded the plane, I made my way past first class to my standard seat. I was happy to see it was a newer plane with slightly extended leg room. Being 6’2″, flying has become quite uncomfortable these days. I look forward to the day I get an upgrade, but those days seem to happen about once a year, even with status.
I was also thrilled to find I was sitting next to a very good-looking man with a great body. I could tell this guy was no weekend warrior. He spent a lot of time taking care of himself. I was enamored by his square jaw line and cute dimples. He started chatting me up when they announced the upgrade of six passengers to first class. Since we are both larger gentlemen, we jealously talked about their comfort levels with a certain level of “good for them.” I asked him what he does and learned he was a green beret in the Army Special Forces. I scolded him for not making that known. “If you were in uniform, you’d be first in line to get one of those seats!” He was such a nice guy. “It’s cool. I’m fine here,” he replied nonchalantly. It was such a nice change of pace not having to sit next to someone fat who stole half my seat or who smelled and ruined my entire flight.
Apparently, I wasn’t going to get through very much writing on the plane. So much for no distractions. I asked him if he was headed for business or pleasure. He told me he was flying to Brussels for an internship in defense analysis for the next three months. He told me all about what he does and how much he loves doing it. He also took the time to ask me what I do. I was proud to be sitting next to this man. To me, he was bigger than sitting next to a celebrity. I’ve always had a major soft spot for the military service men and women. Not necessarily in a sexual way. Being in the Navy was my grandfather’s proudest accomplishment. I regularly donate to the USO in his memory partly because I know how much it meant to him, but more so because I know what they have to give up to serve our country. I have friends in the service, so I’ve seen first hand what they sacrifice to keep us safe.
Through chatting with him more, I also learned his girlfriend is also in the Air Force. They were both stationed in California while he was finishing up at the Naval Postgraduate School and got to see each other on the weekends. They had it rough. They got to see each other so rarely, my heart really went out to him. We talked a great deal about his relationship and how they make it work. He realized it wasn’t ideal, but they make it work. I admired his convictions. I asked if she’d be coming to visit him while he was abroad in Belgium, but they have yet to determine if it would be worthwhile since he doesn’t know what his leave will be yet.
The more I talked to him, the more I realized how polite, cute, smart and sexy he is. I wanted to be friends with this guy. I wanted to hit up the bar and buy him a beer. It was completely in a non-sexual way too. Since I was young, I’ve craved to have “the guys.” I’ve never had a group of guys I’ve hung out with regularly. And, I’m not talking about a gaggle of gay men either. I’m talking about a group of men, gay or straight, who hung out all the time and were just real. We could rely on each other to have our backs, no matter what. He seemed like a guy who would fit that mold. He was a genuine good guy. I always try to surround myself with individuals like him, but it’s not easy.
When the flight attendant was coming by handing out drinks and asking for food/snack orders, I wanted to buy him one of my favorite United Tapas snack boxes. Had she not asked him before she asked me, I probably would have done it, however, looking back I’m not disappointed it didn’t work out. It may have made him feel awkward or uncomfortable. I just wanted to show my appreciation first-hand for what he does, however, I didn’t want to do it at the expense of his comfort. He probably had no idea I was gay, but some people are uncomfortable taking handouts. I also loved watching him flirt with the flight attendants. He was quite a smooth operator without being overt or corny.
When the plane landed, he proved once again his gentleman status. He was “Mr. Chivalrous” helping all the women with their bags. I glanced over at his boarding pass for his connecting flight to Brussels and caught a glimpse of his rank, Major and his name. He turned to me just before stepping into the aisle and wished me luck on my pitch.
As we exited the plane, I snapped a picture as he walked away (trying not to be creepy!).
When I got to my hotel, I hopped online to see if I could look him up. I wasn’t going to stalk him. I was just curious to know more about him. I found him on LinkedIn and learned more about his educational/occupational background. It is vastly impressive. I resisted the urge to add him as a connection on there and went about my day.
While I was in Chicago, I planned to visit my friend who moved there a few months prior. I hit him up when I landed because I was going to try to meet him for dinner/drinks that evening instead of dining with my coworkers. He replied telling me he had a fever and wouldn’t be able to make it out while I was in town, and we’d connect at a later date.
This was going to truly be a work trip, so I dove in full force to make sure I delivered.
In only somewhat related news…
A photo I came across in my Facebook feed over the past week makes me smile every time I see it. I dove into researching all about it. I am fascinated by it and love the media attention it is receiving. This shouldn’t be getting media attention. It should simply stand on its own as an amazing display of love and affection. But, until homosexuals are treated as equals, I welcome the attention. I hope it inspires you to be more courageous in your life, as it has inspired me.
If you’d like to read the full story of what is happening in these images, click here.
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