Posts Tagged effort
Another Fourth of July, and another night of disappointment. I’d gone to bed that night contemplating my relationship. Was I strong enough to continue to deal with this? I looked to the future and ran numerous scenarios in my head. I asked myself, “Is this worth it? Should I get off this train now before it’s a complete train-wreck?”
When we woke in the morning, we discussed what happened the night before. CK apologized. He told me he didn’t know I was so black and white on the issue. That’s when I laid it all out for him. It was not okay nor would it ever be okay. We’d had this discussion before, and I wasn’t going to continue to have it anymore. I made it clear: I wasn’t going to stand by on the issue. He had a choice to make. He took that to heart and told me he would do whatever it takes. “I love you with all my heart, and I will do anything to keep you in my life,” he added.
It appeared we were finally on the same page, and we both went to work. I had a half day at the office, so when I finished, I went home and hit up the gym. I was finally getting back into the swing of things. I’d injured my shoulder lifting in the gym months prior, so it was difficult to motivate myself to continue going when I wasn’t able to lift to my full potential. When I hopped in the pool, I was able to get back into shape with low impact on my shoulder. This was my way to finally get back in shape while my shoulder healed.
When I finished at the gym, I went home and packed a bag to head back into the city. CK, Hip and I were all going to see Scissor Sisters in concert that night. After the argument getting ready for Matinee, I asked CK ahead of time to help me come up with an outfit to wear. I didn’t want this to turn into another fight. It worked out much better this time because I was able to pack my bag with confidence. I wasn’t nearly as self-conscious as I was last time. When I was ready, I hopped on my motorcycle and made my way to Hell’s Kitchen.
When I arrived, CK and Hip were prepping a pitcher with drinks to head to the roof to share a cocktail. They both seemed a little loopy, like they’d been drinking for quite some time. We grabbed the pitcher and made our way upstairs to watch the sunset. Within a half hour, we polished off the entire pitcher. When we ran out, we made our way back downstairs. I was in a drinking mood, so Hip and I ran out to get more libations while CK hopped in the shower. We came back and mixed up another pitcher. I sat on the bed with Hip watching while CK tried on about twenty outfits and permutations of accessories.
As I watched CK while we listened to music, something about him didn’t quite to add up. He wasn’t being himself. I grew suspicious and my attention was hypersensitive. I was noticing everything. Hip put on Cedric Gervais’ Molly. The song continued asking me if I can help her find “Molly,” and I began to wonder if the two of them had already found her. When Hip handed CK something small, and he placed it in a box on his nightstand, I grew even more suspicious. Who knows what it was, but everything wasn’t adding up in my mind. Nothing I saw was concrete. But, I still couldn’t shake the notion something was up. I felt it in my gut. Were promises being broken already?
We continued getting ready for a few hours. This was all new to me. I never went to concerts and got ready with friends. I was just taking it all in. That’s when CK insisted I change my clothes. He wanted me to join in. I told him I was already wearing my outfit, but he wasn’t satisfied. He insisted I try on his jeans instead of my own. He felt they were more suitable, and I was embarrassed. This is exactly what I was trying to avoid. I protested, but he continued to insist I at least try on his jeans. When I couldn’t get them past my thighs I pulled them off and put a stop to the whole conversation. I was already on edge with my suspicions. I insisted I was going to continue to be myself. I had my own individuality, and I didn’t need to compromise that for him. “Are you embarrassed by me? I’m not just some Ken doll you can play dress up with,” I protested. I got dressed again and made my way to the living room. He successfully put me in a bad mood, and I was really tempted to tell him to go without me. I wasn’t looking forward to this concert at all.
I sat in the living room while they continued to get ready in the bedroom. Time was passing quickly, and it was getting later and later. I was continuing to refill my glass while I waited. I figured if I was in a bad mood, at least I could get a little drunk to put me in the proper state of intoxication for a concert. When they finally decided on an outfit and realized it was past time to go, they couldn’t locate the tickets.
I made an effort to look for the tickets with them. CK insisted he left them in a specific spot, but they were no longer there. I remembered seeing them in that spot, so it was obvious someone moved them. After being accused of moving them numerous times by CK, only to respond declaring my innocence, I decided to stop looking. I sat back and watched the frenzy. This was not my problem. I never touched the tickets, let alone having them in my possession. I didn’t even want to go to the concert at this point. First CK was insensitive about my attire, and then he insinuated I lost the tickets he misplaced.
As time passed, CK got more and more agitated to the point he started throwing things around his bedroom. His accusations became more and more pinpointed on Hip and I. He was taking no responsibility for misplacing the tickets that were in his possession. As his frustration level rose, so too did mine. I wasn’t going to stand there and take his verbal abuse when I was 100% sure of my innocence. It was clear he was intoxicated, and I wanted nothing to do with this situation. It was time for me to go home. I began to gather my things to leave when the situation got physical.
When he started to get aggressive, Hip intervened at my request because I wasn’t going to get into a shoving match. I had my fill. I wasn’t going to fight with an irrational man. I was just going to leave.
As I made my way to the door while CK got in my face and shouted hurtful things at me, Hip separated us, pulled me aside and managed to convince me to stay, but after all that, I was done. Against my better judgment, I stayed. I sat on the couch and waited for someone to find the tickets. I was in for a miserable night. Regardless of what was to come, I chalked the night up to a complete failure…
Even though we had no plans, and it was a lazy Saturday, CK and I finally got motivated to make moves. Hip was on his way back to Brooklyn, and I needed to make my way back to my place at some point. I didn’t have anything with me for a Saturday afternoon or Saturday night. I hadn’t been home in a while, and I needed to get my bearings.
We got our act together and finally made our way to Hoboken. We lounged around my apartment for a little while before we were invited to a barbecue at D and K’s. I asked CK if he wanted to hit it up for dinner. Either way, we needed to eat. This would be a cost/time effective way to grab a bite. Of course we took our sweet old time and found time to cuddle and fool around a little. In the end, we wouldn’t have to cook, and I would gather some food from my fridge to take over. I had a few fillet mignons in the freezer, so I grabbed them and we made our way the few blocks.
There was a small crew already gathering. As we entered, we said hello to everyone. I was noticing how welcoming my friends were to CK as well as how integrated CK was in the group. This brought a smile across my face. He wasn’t shy and quiet and huddled in the corner. I didn’t need to hold his hand through every outing. He would strike up his own conversations. He was part of the crew.
We made our way out to the backyard, and everyone helped out in typical fashion. Some people manned the grill, others poured water, others began bringing supplies downstairs, and others over-manned the grill. D always flipped out on the people who insisted on opening the grill lid and flipping things too many times. I learned long ago, when you are at another man’s abode, he is the king of the grill. You do not touch that thing unless you are requested to. I was thrilled to not be manning the grill considering in previous years, all the barbecues were at my apartment since I was the only one with outdoor space.
When the food was ready, we all gathered around the table to eat. We poured cocktails and enjoyed the food. I looked around at all of my closest friends and my man sitting next to me, and all I could do was smile. CK turned to me and said, “What?” I told him, “I’m just so happy!” He smiled back and stroked my knee as we both leaned in for a kiss.
While we ate, everyone began chatting about their plans for the evening. CK and I had a discussion not long ago about having better lines of communication. We weren’t going to put each other on the spot to make public decisions. I was very conscious of this as they all chatted. I told them we hadn’t decided what we were going to do yet so we could talk. “We haven’t even thought about what we want to do tonight yet. We got up late this morning. We may head back into the city, but we don’t know…” I added. I wanted CK to feel this was a pressure-free decision. We would talk about it when we got back to my place. If he wanted to stay in Hoboken, we would stay. If he wanted to do something else, I was game. Obviously, I was leaning toward sticking around Hoboken for a pub night with my friends, but I’m not so sure CK was thrilled with the idea.
In the end, we to stayed in Hoboken. It made sense too, because K invited us to her parent’s lake-house the following morning. Everyone was headed to one of my favorite bars, Cooper’s Union. I was happy to go there since the bartender takes good care of me and my friends. CK had to borrow a teeshirt since he didn’t pack anything to go out for the night, but he looked great and totally fit the part. When we got there, no one was playing shuffleboard, so I suggested we hit that up. CK seemed to be moping a bit. While I’m sure hanging out in a pub with my friends wasn’t his ideal situation, he didn’t offer up an alternative.
As the night went on, CK began to liven up. We made our way to McSwiggans for a few drinks and to dance in “our spot.” Every time a big group of my friends and I head there, we take over the only spacious part of the bar and form our own dance circle. Nobody is bustin’ a move, but we all move around, make fun of each other and have fun while we drink. I never truly felt comfortable there being publicly affectionate with CK. I wasn’t hiding my affections for him, but I certainly wasn’t making them obvious. We were never making out on the dance-floor, but we did dance together and have our arms around each other periodically. I could feel the eyes on me from time to time, but I learned to look past them. CK taught me that. I no longer cared what others thought. I was with the man that made me happiest, and that was nothing to be ashamed of.
When a few of the girls were tired of dancing there, they suggested we head next door to the Shannon. I was adamantly opposed to this. I hadn’t been there in over two years, and for good reason. That place was never anything I enjoyed. We entered, and it was like a porthole to the Jersey Shore. Shockingly, CK was having a blast. I told him of the similarity to the bar and the Jersey Shore, and he added, “If this is what it’s like, let’s go!” You could have knocked me over with a feather. I’d had a blast at The Shore, but I never expected him to want to go. I was blown away, however I was also thrilled to see him having such a good time.
I know we weren’t out with his friends and it took a little more effort on his part to hang out at the bars I liked going to, but none of that went unnoticed. I witnessed the sacrifice and the effort, and it made me love him even more. When we were finally exhausted, we made our way home to my apartment. We were already invited to hit up the lake the following day, so we needed to get to bed at somewhat of a decent hour so we could wake up in time to go.
Both of us were hoping my roommates were away so we could have our own raucous party — In my bed. Sure, we had a hot night in his bed the night before, but we were on a roll. Great sex was inevitable, and that night, it certainly didn’t disappoint!
Smiles was halfway across the country and Christmas was rapidly approaching. There’s something about dating someone over the holidays that makes you really appreciate that person. There’s also something to be said about being single over the holidays that makes me utterly depressed. I was happy to be on the dating side of the fence this year, but I would certainly miss Smiles.
While he was home, he sent me periodic texts out of the blue. I got a few picture messages of him and his mother’s dog on the beach and some pictures from around town. They were sweet simple texts that showed me even though he was many states away, he was still thinking about me throughout his day.
This seemed a bit of a stark contrast to the conversation we had just before he left. He told me he couldn’t be in a serious relationship right now. If that was the case, why was he reaching out to me even when I wasn’t around. I started to wonder if maybe he didn’t know what he wanted.
As he was driving around, he called me to chat. It was a really sweet conversation. He was asking how I was doing and what I’d been up to since everyone left town ahead of me. He was telling me all about where he grew up and his old high school. We talked about his mother a fair amount and her business. He sent me a picture of some of the things she worked on.
I was getting access to mother information. You don’t share that with someone you don’t truly care about. I was getting more of him. It was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to know more about where he came from. I wanted him to open up. I wanted it all.
Maybe my conversation sparked something inside him. Maybe he realized he wasn’t appreciating me as much as he should, but there certainly was a stark difference between the time we spent together before the conversation and the time following.
As the rest of the family was arriving into town, Smiles started getting anxious. This is something he did regularly — Got worked-up over small things. He was texting me about solutions to the problem, such as drinking. I encouraged him to do whatever made him comfortable. There was no reason he couldn’t have a few cocktails to take off the edge if it would make him more relaxed. He was anxious about talking about his career. He was still working hard to get it off the ground, and I think he was ashamed about that. I told him he needed to be proud for being so brave for starting something from the ground floor. Not many people can do that. They just go work for someone who has already done all the heavy lifting. He has very low self-esteem when it comes to his job, and he has no reason to. No one finds overnight success, and I have strived to convey this to him constantly while being very supportive of all his ventures.
I think my pep-talk worked because his texts became more light-hearted and relaxed. Either that, or he took my advice with the cocktails to a much higher level.
The morning my sister and I were driving home to Pennsylvania, he texted just to see how my day was going. Again, I love these sweet gestures that show he’s thinking about me. I was much happier over the past few days than I was immediately following our conversation.
When I got home, I had no cell phone service. It makes it a little more difficult to talk without a little more effort. I made sure he had my parents’ landline number, but I knew he wouldn’t call it. He probably didn’t want to have to talk to anyone if he called and they picked up.
I had his number, but now I was settling in with the family. I wasn’t home for long, so I wanted to make sure the time I was there, I was present. I didn’t want to be running off constantly making phone calls.
It was Christmas Eve, and I was off to mass with my family. I texted him on the way to say hi and let him know I was thinking about him.
When I came back out of mass, I had a response. He told me he dodged the church bullet. I told him I wasn’t so lucky. My parents’ priest is one of the most boring people I have ever encountered. Going to church is penance in itself.
I wished him a Merry Christmas Eve just before driving out of cellphone service. We were on our way home to take our annual family Christmas photo before relaxing for the rest of the night in front of the TV…Follow @onegayatatime