Posts Tagged hike

The Move

Nothing really puts stress on a relationship quite like a move. One year had gone by for CK in The Big Apple. He moved to the city in a hurry, finding a nice apartment in a convenient neighborhood, but because of the rush, he ended up paying more than one would like living in New York City. There are plenty of things to see and do in the city that never sleeps, so spending all your money on rent is no fun!

He decided when his lease was up, it was time to find new living quarters. This was quite stressful, not only for him, but also for me. Selfishly, he lived two avenues and a few blocks from my office. I could easily walk there, and commuting to his place from mine in Hoboken was a snap. Chances are, it wasn’t going to get any easier.

When he told me he started looking on the Lower East Side, I was nonplussed. I knew it was going to be a bit of a hike to get to his place every time I came to see him. The Lower East Side is only convenient to get to from one place — The Lower East Side. But, in the end, this wasn’t my decision. I was there to be supportive while he went through the stress of trying to find a new place.

When the search expanded out to include Brooklyn, I nearly had a panic attack. Screw hike — Brooklyn was going to be a day’s journey to get to from Hoboken. I was petrified for our relationship. I wasn’t sure at the time if our relationship could survive the stress on a day-to-day basis.

Finally, after his mother flew to NYC to help him pack and find a new apartment, he landed in a sweet spot. I was thrilled with the final outcome. He managed to find a room in an apartment in a managed building in Hell’s Kitchen with two roommates. I had experience in Hell’s Kitchen. Broadway lived in Hell’s Kitchen, and I was able to walk to work from his apartment. It was also very convenient for me because Port Authority wasn’t far from his apartment, so I could use the bus system. It was the quickest way to travel when heading to or from that part of town. I felt very comfortable in HK as well. I’d taken more than a handful of dates to that neighborhood. The gay population was large enough that no one looked twice at two men holding hands or sharing a kiss.

When the time came to move, I wanted to run and hide. I’d dealt with CK’s attention span before, but nothing of this caliber. I thought it nearly impossible to keep him on task so this move would go as smoothly as possible. Even with the help of his mother, there was still a lot of work to be done. CK isn’t the best planner in the world either. While the idea of booking moving men a few weeks in advance or gathering boxes crossed his mind, the action and follow-through never occurred.

I was trying to be patient. He was going through a lot. I was going to help him, not out of obligation, but out of love. He needed me, and I was going to be there for him, however, it was going to take a lot of strength and biting my tongue to get through this.

I agreed to help him pack things up Thursday after work. I had limited time, however, because I had a volleyball game that evening. I left work as soon as I could and arrived with flat boxes for him from my mail department. We made a lot of progress, but it certainly wasn’t without a lot of comments. I do have to say, it went a lot better than I expected. It certainly could have been a lot worse. Luckily I had a built-in time limit, and the time came for me to head back to Jersey.

We both took the following day off from work. After many failed attempts to get a truck, borrow someone’s car, book movers, we decided to try to rent a Zipcar. This of course wasn’t going to work because there is an application period. Although we were able to walk over to one of their offices in New York City, we had to wait for him to be approved to rent a car. We wasted most of the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out what to do and lying around. After growing incredibly frustrated with the poor use of our time, I decided to stop worrying. I tried to keep my frustration to myself. While I was going to be there to offer my support, in the end this wasn’t going to be my problem. If he drug his feet long enough, this was either going to become his huge hassle or it would increase his financial burden.

There were rides in the back of a van with boxes and potholes. There were things packed at the bottom of a box only to be torn open again. There were enough dust bunnies to start a farm. The list goes on…

Of course, there were copious amounts of arguing. We rarely agreed on anything, but we did both make an effort not to rile the other up. When we finally got all his things in a rented U-Haul van, we had to wait outside in the cold/drizzle until his roommate came downstairs to let us into the elevator bank. His roommate still hadn’t given him the key, so we had yet one more person to rely on to be responsible.

After a little blood, a lot of sweat and almost some tears, we managed to get everything into his apartment. Beyond that, we managed to get all of his belongings into his bedroom. The only thing that saved us was the fact that he didn’t have a bed yet. He left his old bed behind in the previous apartment and hadn’t ordered a new one yet. Of course, it would take some time before things got unpacked. The lack of bed also meant we had to head back to Hoboken every night so we had somewhere to sleep.

It was a very stressful weekend, but in the end, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Sure, it could have gone smoother, but in the end, everything worked out. I was happy to help my man, and I know he truly appreciated my help. And the fact that we survived something as stressful as this told me we could survive just about anything.

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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???

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