Posts Tagged motivate

The Next Chapter

Two years ago, I started this blog. I began writing because I felt alone. I knew there had to be other gay men out there who were looking for the same thing I was, and I wanted a way to connect with them.

grindrAt the time, I just ended my first gay relationship, and I found myself in very unchartered waters. I was already out to close friends, but not publicly. Because I had so few gay friends and a strong aversion to gay bars, I had to find a mate digitally. I began serial dating, at one point going on four dates in four days — And thus, One Gay At A Time was born.

Since the beginning, I have gone on MANY dates and put myself in many situations well outside my comfort zone. I have not only grown more comfortable in my own skin, but I’ve also grown up as a gay man. I got all the hookups out of my system and began searching for a meaningful, long-term relationship.

This blog began as an open forum diary of the daily occurrences I encountered navigating the gay world. I told my side of the story honestly in hopes that others out there would be able to relate, comment and most importantly, realize they are not alone.

The time has come for the next chapter of my life and for this blog. For quite some time I’ve been blogging about CK (aka Clark Kent or Superman). You’ve gotten to know him through my eyes in the early stages of our relationship. It’s been some time since I’ve blogged, and I apologize for leaving you, my readers in the lurch. I do not mean to abandon the small community I’ve worked so hard to foster, but I’ve been struggling with the next chapter of the blog.

When I first told CK about the blog, he was very open to and even grew excited about the idea of my writing our relationship. Over time, as you could probably understand, his excitement waned, and we began to argue about the content of the blog.

I had to make a choice between the blog and my man. It’s quite obvious which I chose. As a result, I will no longer be blogging about the specifics of my relationship with CK. However, in lieu of continuing to finish our story in a daily dairy format, let me catch you up on what has happened since July. Here are some of the highlights…

In July, CK joined my family for our annual beach vacation. While I went for the entire week, he only joined us for a few days. It was the first time we’d spent an extended period of time apart, and with my trust/cheating baggage, it was a true test of my sanity. I was thrilled and relieved when he finally arrived. It was also nice that he would finally get to spend some real-time getting to know my parents.

In early August, I traveled to Miami, CK’s birthplace to surprise his family with a visit to celebrate the birthdays of his two beautiful nephews (turning 1 and 2 only a week apart). I felt incredibly special taking this trip with CK. I was meeting his ENTIRE extended family. Before this point, I’d only met his mother. I was welcomed into the family with open arms and came to grow strong bonds with them over just a handful of days. This was unchartered territory for both of us, as I’d never been brought home to meet the family by anyone other than my high school girlfriend, and he’d never brought a man home to meet everyone before. It could not have worked out better!

Around Labor Day, CK and I went on week-long vacation to the Hamptons with 15 of my friends and family. While there, our relationship grew very strained. I felt he was trying too hard to impress my friends. I wanted him to be himself so all of them would come to love the man I knew, not the man I felt he was trying to be for them. By the end of the week, I reached my breaking point. I was so stressed out from organizing the vacation and ensuring everyone was happy that I made myself miserable, and I took it out on the person closest to me. In the penultimate moment of the trip, one night we not only exchanged words but also fists and shoves, as my closest friends and sister witnessed the lowest moment of our relationship.

It took a lot of time for CK and I to figure things out. This wasn’t the first time our relationship reached physicality, but I hoped it was the last. It also took a long time for things to return to normal between CK, me and my circle of friends. My sister wasn’t speaking to me for over a month and my friends had semi-ostracized me from typical gatherings. I burned a lot of bridges on that trip, and I am still working to rebuild them today. You can expect to read about my experiences and feelings dealing with issues such as physical violence in a relationship as one of the topics I will cover in coming posts.

In September, CK and I found an apartment in Hoboken to call our own. We moved in together in the midst of Hurricane Sandy’s wake on November 2. Although the experience of moving immediately following a hurricane is incredibly overwhelming, we are both stronger as a result of the experience. In my experience, moving in with a lover is unlike sharing a space with any other. You’ll certainly be reading about my experiences and the things I’ve learned from this experience as well.

After Sandy exhausted my last modicum of energy, I decided I was too tired to shave my upper lip. CK and I both decided to raise awareness and funds to fight prostate cancer by growing mustaches for Movember. I proudly raised over $500 for charity as a result of my stache, and I was thrilled when we both shaved them off — We both looked like pedophiles.

For the first time in my life, I had someone to take home to meet my family for Thanksgiving. Before venturing home, I sent my extended maternal family an email to get the awkwardness out of the way. You’ll be pleased to know my family welcomed him with open arms. I imagine coming out to extended family creates a lot of anxiety for man, as it did for me, so I hope sharing my experiences will encourage more to share the truth with the ones they love.

When I returned to Hoboken after Thanksgiving, preparations began immediately for what would have been my Sixth Annual Holiday Bash. This year, it became Our First Annual Holiday Bash. I finally had someone to share the hosting duties with, making it extra special.

Although CK and I spent Christmas apart, after all the festivities with my family, I hopped on a flight down to Miami to spend the rest of the holiday season and New Years Eve with my man and his family. CK’s sister and brother-in-law planned a trip with their two boys to Disney World for two days. After a little persuading, I convinced CK we should join them. I preferred Disney to a raucous gay party any day, and it was truly magical to see Disney World through the eyes of a two-year-old.

In February, CK and I took a romantic trip to Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Although it seems we can’t go anywhere without having some kind of quarrel like an old married couple, the trip was amazing and couldn’t have come at a better time. We went ice skating, snow shoeing, swimming, hiking, and much more. It was a perfect escape for both of us to get out of the city and away from the bustle of it all after the holidays.

In between, there have been countless brunches, parties, trips, nights out, Broadway shows, fights… Oh yea, and plenty of sex — Can’t forget the sex! Overall, things have been going well for us. You have good days and bad days, but you have to realize the bad days are just there so you appreciate the good ones all the more. I am thrilled to announce, this past Saturday, CK and I celebrated our one-year anniversary at the restaurant we went to on our first date, Frankies Spuntino 570. Although we waited nearly an hour, the evening was perfect, and I look forward to many more years together.

Although I won’t be detailing the specifics of my relationship going forward, I hope to share with you what I have learned along the way. It’s not easy being in a relationship, but then again, the things that are worth it never really are.

To my most dedicated readers who haven’t let me lack of posting stop them from commenting words of support on my blog, thank you. You are what has motivated me to get back into this once again. I feel like many of you have integrated my writing into your daily routines, and I have left you with your morning coffee in hand and no reading material. You will not see the frequency of posts you may have grown accustomed in the past, but I still hope you find time in your lives for One Gay At A Time.

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Separate Battle Camps

After spending a nice night at CK‘s apartment, I had a very hard time waking up the following morning. CK was fully motivated and had to be at work early, so he persisted in waking me up. This was quite the role reversal, as I was often the one dragging him out of bed (sometimes physically). I just wanted to spend the entire day in his bed wrapped up in his arms. Going to work was the last thing I wanted to do.

Things were improving on that front. I was making a lot of headway with my social media endeavors, and I had two interns to help me with this massive roll-out. I was developing a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, WordPress, Instagram and SlideShare while revamping our presence on YouTube and Twitter. That being said, I still wanted to stay in bed all day.

CK finally motivated me to get out of bed and into the shower. I always enjoyed showering together, and today was no different. As I slowly emerged from my slumber under the warm jets of water, I began to fully appreciate CK’s body. I pressed it against mine while my soapy hands explored all his crevices. Being a water conservationist certainly had its benefits. I think CK was starting to regret waking me once he realized I couldn’t keep my hands off him. I was awake, and I was horny. I tried to get some action, but CK was on a mission to get ready for work. I needed a release. There was no way I was going to be able to concentrate the entire day at work.

I laid down on the bed and began to take care of myself. CK immediately noticed and inquired what I was doing. I explained my situation, so he decided to pitch in on the effort. While I manually stimulated my member, he got to work on my prostate. Turned out, my libido was contagious, as CK began to pleasure himself as well. After a few minutes, I climaxed, only to be followed close behind by CK. Now, we could finally go about our day. I felt like I was awake, and I finally had a clear head (literally and figuratively). Nothing quite motivates you like a good morning orgasm.

We finished getting ready and were out the door rather early. We swung by our favorite place to grab breakfast before heading to work, Pick-A-Bagel. It sounds incredibly cheap, but it never disappoints. After we grabbed our food and coffees, we made our way to the subway. His train always came first (or I would narrowly miss mine), but today was my day. We parted ways, brown bags in hard, with a kiss as he waved goodbye from the subway platform.

That night after work, we planned to hit up yoga on the pier. As the day progressed, I learned CK probably wouldn’t be able to make it since he had to work late. I was still committed. I tried to encourage other friends to join me, but it was no use. Regardless, I still went and had a great workout. On my way home, I swung by the grocery store to get a few things for dinner. On my way into my apartment, I noticed a package for me. Like most people, I love getting mail. It always makes me feel special for some reason — The novelty has never worn off. When I got upstairs, I immediately opened my package.

12It was the highly anticipated package from aussieBum. I’d been anxiously awaiting its arrival ever since they promised to send me some of their best underwear and bathing suits so I could review them on my blog. But, however large my excitement, I put the package aside and began working on dinner immediately. I wanted to food to be ready when CK arrived from a long day at work.

When he arrived, I showed him the package, and he grew quite excited. “I want a full fashion show when we’ve finished dinner!” he exclaimed.

As per usual, we ate our dinner in front of the TV, exchanging stories about our days. When we finished, we moved to my bedroom to lounge about. While he laid on the bed, I began to strip so I could model my new wares for him. As I moved from pair to pair, CK must have felt left out and asked if he could try some of them on. I asked that he not do so. I knew I’d want to include pictures of myself in them for the post, and I didn’t want anything to happen to them until I had time to snap the pictures. I’m not sure why, but this put his panties in such a bunch (pun intended).

I didn’t understand where his frustration was coming from. I thought my request was completely reasonable. He’d done nothing to deserve the underwear. They were not his. Why was he getting so bent out of shape. This, of course, led to an argument, and now, something so fun as modeling new underwear had now turned into a fight.

Gay FightI’d had enough. I left the room with him in it so he could be miserable by himself and went back to the couch to watch TV. I know I was being as childish as he was, but I’d had enough. There was no reason we should be arguing about anything so fun. Sure, I could have just relented and let him try on the underwear. But, I wasn’t in the mood. If he was going to be so miserable, he could do so by himself.

That night, we went to bed not speaking to each other. There was no sex and no cuddling – All over a few pairs of underwear. Rarely had my California King felt so big, but that night, we might as well have been sleeping on opposite sides of the Hudson.

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Cooler Heads Prevail

Preparing to get ready for the Scissor Sisters concert was a sh*t show and a half. This was twice now CK and I fought before going to an event. I was beginning to wonder if we would ever be able to go to these kinds of events without it turning into a fight. I had finally grown more comfortable with the crowds at these events, but I was growing uncomfortable with the idea of going with CK to them. Living up to what I thought were CK’s expectations was a lot of pressure to deal with.

CK and Hip were ready, but the tickets were nowhere to be found. After quite some time, Hip managed to find the tickets behind the couch. It seemed like he happened to know where they were in a moment of clarity. At this point, we quickly made our way out of the apartment to see if we could salvage what was left of the concert. Like the flip of a switch, CK began apologizing to me and asked me to come along and be happy. His main concern was getting to the concert, not whether or not we were okay. It was incredibly selfish, and it hurt a lot. We quickly hustled the ten blocks to the venue, but I skulked behind a few paces every turn we made. I was really hurting deep inside. Things weren’t going very well between us the way it was, but this took things to a new level. I wasn’t saying anything. I was in shock about what had transpired. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what I was still doing there.

I’m not good at putting on a smile and bearing down. I may have been present physically, but mentally, I was in a whole other world.

When we got to the doors at Terminal 5, a large mass of people were walking out the door. CK cut through the crowds heading in the exit only to find the concert had ended. Everyone was leaving. I stood on the street with my arms crossed because I knew there was no hope. I also wasn’t about to chase CK through a mass of people. When CK finally realized all hope was lost, his anger returned. Hip continued to apologize over and over again, but CK wanted none of it. I wasn’t upset in the slightest because I was in no mood to go to a concert. The three of us managed to find each other, and we all agreed we were starving.

I was pretty wasted, and we stumbled back towards his apartment searching for somewhere to grab food. We didn’t pass anything along the way, and CK mentioned getting take-out delivered. When we got back to his place, I hopped into bed immediately. I was hungry, but more importantly, I was drunk and upset. I wanted to go to bed to escape what was going on around me. I fell asleep in CK’s bed still fully clothed.

I woke the next morning to the sound of Hip knocking on CK’s door. Originally, we planned to go to the cloisters in north Manhattan, but those plans would never come to fruition. For some ungodly reason, Hip was wide awake with lots of energy. I, on the other hand, was incredibly hung over. Everything was too bright, too loud and too real. I just wanted to go back to bed and sleep off my hangover. Hip sat on the foot of the bed talking about the night before and asking a lot of questions. Apparently, he had even more to drink than I did. He kept asking if we actually ever made it to the concert, and this was really the last thing CK wanted to hear. Every time he brought up the previous night, it made CK grow more and more frustrated.

At one point, Hip excused himself to use the restroom. CK and I took the opportunity to chat while he was absent. I was still quite upset, but I wasn’t going to make a scene. This was the perfect opportunity to talk. I brought up everything from the night before and explained how none of it was okay. I point blank asked him what Hip handed him the night before. He responded, “I have no clue what you’re even talking about.” When I pushed the issue, he denied any recollection of it emphatically. After my suspicions and insinuations, he detailed how the only substances he partook in the previous night was alcohol. Based on his reaction and emphatic response, I believed him. I was not okay with how he acted or how he treated my, but I did believe him. I put my worries aside and took his word for it. I had no reason not to believe him. After our previous conversations on the subject, I wondered if maybe I had finally gotten through to him.

I told him if he ever lays a hand on me like that again, we’re done. He didn’t hurt me physically, and I did loved him. But, this was not something I would tolerate. The next time, I was actually walking out the door, and I was never coming back. I made sure he understood how serious I was about this. I wasn’t afraid for my own safety. I was more afraid for both of us. I didn’t know what would happen if things escalated out of control because we both had short tempers. I stressed this point numerous times. Again, he apologized emphatically. I could see his apology was genuine, and I accepted it. He loved me, and I could see it pained him to know how much he hurt me. He apologized for everything and I forgave him for everything. “Forgiven, but not forgotten. We will not go through this again,” I added.

We literally kissed and made up, but things didn’t stop there. He was very sweet in his remorse. Apparently, he was feeling a bit frisky. Warning: The following may be too graphic for some. We started to make out, and when I pointed out Hip just on the other side of the bathroom door, he didn’t stop. As per usual, I woke in the morning raring to go, and CK took advantage of this. We were making out and my hands were exploring his entire body under the comforter. He was straddling me, and he reached down with his hand and sat on top of me. It was incredibly hot, but I was still a little self-conscious about the whole thing.

Just as I predicted, Hip emerged from the bathroom with CK still straddling me. I didn’t know what to do, but we didn’t immediately separate either. We both turned our gazes to meet his with a guilty look upon our faces. He knew exactly what was happening, but he went about his business accordingly. We all laughed at the situation as I slowly removed myself from CK. It was necessary to break the tension in the room.

We continued to lay around for a majority of the morning chatting and relaxing. Before Hip got back into the previous night, CK pleaded, “Can we talk about anything other than last night please?” After some time, we were finally able to motivate ourselves to get out of bed and face the day…

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Before the Fourth

After our day at the beach, I still had a few lingering worries. I’d made the mistake of getting involved with the wrong guy before, and I wasn’t getting any younger. I wanted to make sure if I was getting into a relationship it was with the right guy. There was no use getting attached if in the end I was just going to get hurt. Or at least that’s how I saw it.

Sunday morning, we woke up in my bed. In his usual fashion, I woke to a kiss on the lips. With a lot weighing on my mind, I’m sure I wasn’t the most affectionate. I certainly wasn’t cold either. I just had a lot to figure out. I wanted to make sure I was the right guy for CK, and he was the right guy for me. There was no use panicking just yet. I needed more information about CK’s true intentions.

We had a lazy Sunday. After making breakfast, we made our way to the Hoboken pier get some sun. I took along the weekly circulars and a few magazines so I could make my grocery list and catch up on the stack of magazines piling up in my room.

At one point, CK excused himself to make a few phone calls he’d been neglecting. He walked around the entire pier while chatting on his phone for quite some time. I was a little turned off. After all, we were supposed to be spending the afternoon together. Instead, I was spending it with GQ. When he came back, he informed me one of his exes was going to be on Fire Island for the Fourth of July (three days away). He really wanted to go out there for the holiday after asking me to go out there all summer. Of course I wasn’t okay with going out there to hang out with one of his exes. It just didn’t feel right. I also wasn’t sure I wanted to trek all the way out there (my reason for not going all the previous times he asked). We hadn’t made solid plans yet, but I did want to watch the fireworks. One year prior, I was searching for N so I could break up with him. I was unsuccessful, and I didn’t exactly have the best Fourth of July. I wanted this year to be spent in CK’s arms watching explosions of light with the New York City skyline as the backdrop. I told him we would discuss it further. I have to admit, I was also stalling because I wanted to see what my friends were up to as well.

When the sun began to set and a chill developed in the air, we made our way back to my apartment. I agreed we’d spend Sunday night at his place, so I packed a bag so we could make our way into the city before dinner. While I packed, CK made plans to grab dinner with his two friends. We went to CK’s apartment to drop off our things before meeting them at the Statler Grill in midtown. After dinner, we went back to CK’s to watch TV before falling asleep.

Monday we woke and made our way to work. Our only saving grace was the short week. It was the only thing getting me out of bed and motivating me to finish my workday. I even managed to finagle working from home the following day.

That night, CK asked if I would be up for the midnight showing of Spiderman 4. I told him, “I don’t have to go in to work tomorrow. You do. Are you sure you want to do this?” He was all in. Being a big comic book fan, he was waiting for this movie for some time. Of course, we both struggled to stay awake the entire film, and there were certainly portions I was out cold.

The following day, CK went to work, and I stayed home. I had to “work” a half day, and I actually got a lot of work done. I just picked up the social media duties at work, so I had a lot on my plate. That being said, when 1:00 rolled around, my workday was finished. I was out the door on my way to the gym. I just started a membership at the gym near my apartment via Living Social  because I would finally be able to get back in the pool and get back in shape. I was incredibly motivated and had a great workout in the pool and in the weight room.

It was also just what I needed to clear my head. It’s amazing what staring at the black line on the bottom of a hole in the ground filled with water can do for you. I thought a lot about CK and came to the conclusion I was overreacting in response to his comments on the beach. I heard his comment, but I also needed to hear him when he stressed how much he loved me and was willing to do what it takes to make me happy. Thinking about this made me happy and made me smile. I learned to let some of my worry go.

This also served as motivation. I wanted to look sexy for my man. Summer was in full swing, but my body was not. I’d fallen into the soft trap — When you date someone and your body goes soft from lack of exercise.

After my workout, I made my way home and got ready to head into CK’s place. We were laying low because I agreed to go to Fire Island with him the following day. We were entertaining the idea of watching the fireworks out there. I was trying to be more flexible and understanding — Something I’m certainly not the best at. Regardless, I was happy to be in his arms and his bed. Whenever I was in his arms, I felt home. This was going to be a much better Fourth of July than the previous one, that’s for sure!

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My Week with PR

Things between PR and I seemed to be something of a fairy tale. We’d met months earlier on Grindr after he had a very rough breakup, and I was just getting my relationship off the ground with Smiles. He temporarily moved a few blocks from me, and after a night out as friends, we’ve been spending a lot of time together as love interests.

After our night out to the movies and dinner, PR spent the night once again. Why should he sleep on a pull-out when he could be sharing a California King with me. I got ready for work, and he made his way home to figure out his day. He was on-call that day, but ended up not having to go into work. Instead, he went shopping with his mother.

When he returned to Hoboken Wednesday night, he came over to hang out. We watched TV in each other’s arms on the couch and he spent the night once again. Things were getting hot and heavy with us, and fast. We still hadn’t had “sex’ in the traditional penetration sense of the word, but we were fully enjoying each other’s company.

Thursday night I have volleyball. This was good because it offered a natural break for us. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t tired of me yet. We’d been spending A LOT of time together, and I’m not always the easiest to be around. I was happy to have the time apart – Not because I didn’t want to see him, but more so because it made me look forward to seeing him again that much more.

When I got home from volleyball, he started texting me. We texted about the shows we were watching until he added, “So, I miss you.” I quickly replied, “Stop being so adorable. You know I can’t resist it!” And then he called it spot on. I love how real and upfront he is about things. “Is today resist each other day? If you need a break, I understand. I find you intoxicating in the best sense — Like happy,” he texted. I told him I did not need a break, and I in fact did miss him. But I also told him I wanted to make sure we didn’t tire of each other. He told me he was having a rough day. He heard back about a job he applied for and was told he didn’t get the position. I felt really bad that was the night we decided to spend apart. I’m sure he just needed a hug. He was depressed. I told him. “I can try to hug it away.” He asked if we could hang out the following night. I told him I had no plans and would love to.

When he stopped responding to my texts, I joked, “Replaced me with pizza?” He apologized since his pizza was delivered, and he added, “Food won’t comfort me as much as you.” And with a smile on my face, I dozed off for the night.

The next night, he came over. I made dinner for us both, and we watched movies. It was nice to have someone to spend my evenings with. This is what I really wanted in a relationship. This is what I was looking for. I was happy!

When we woke the next day, I made us breakfast. He spent the afternoon with me, and we finally motivated ourselves to hit the gym. He went home and changed while I showered. We met at the corner and walked to the gym together. He was very quiet and solemn that morning. We didn’t work out together, but that’s because I like to do my own thing at  the gym. We finished at the same time and walked home together.

That’s when he dropped a small bomb on me. He told me he was moving back home. I didn’t quite know how to take the news. I wasn’t thrilled with it. It meant he would be much further away, and we wouldn’t be spending evenings together so readily. I knew why he did it, and I realized he needed to get his life back on track. But, I selfishly didn’t like the idea.

That evening I had a bunch of friends come over to pregame before hitting up my friend’s birthday gathering at a bar a block away. He met many of my friends and seemed to fit in, but I still had the idea of him moving home in the back of my mind. When the time came, we all made our way to the bar. It was a fun night, but PR was being standoffish. He wasn’t mingling with my friends and was only talking to me a majority of the night. I was a little disappointed. On top of this, he was getting pretty inebriated and flirtatious. I’m comfortable with my sexuality, but I don’t like PDA in a “straight” bar. I feel all eyes on me, and it hinders me from enjoying myself. Nothing he was doing crossed the line, but it also was edging further and further.

By the time we moved to a friend’s bar (after hours) he was being overt. Granted it was a much more exclusive group and mainly my friends, but he was drunk and making me uncomfortable. I tried to just look past it.

Once again, we went to Cluck U to get a late-night snack. He was so drunk he couldn’t stay awake long enough to eat his. I carried him to my bed and tucked him in. He wasn’t happy because he wanted his chicken, but soon enough he dozed off. I put it in the fridge until the following day. I wasn’t resentful at all of this. I actually enjoyed taking care of him. I knew if our relationship continued, he’d be doing the same for me down the road. I sat in the living room and ate my chicken with the company of my thoughts. I had a lot on my mind since he told me he’d be moving back home. The news he didn’t get the position he applied for was a little unsettling as well. On top of this, there was the incompatibility we shared in the bedroom that hadn’t been resolved. This wasn’t the stability I was searching for, but I was still enjoying his company.

When I had my fill, I tucked myself in bed in quickly dozed off.

The next day, we woke, and he continued to give me $hit for not allowing him to eat his chicken the night before. He ate it for lunch instead.

We got dressed and ready for the day finally. I needed to go grocery shopping, so we walked to Garden of Eden together. His mother was coming in an hour to take him home. It was a bittersweet day. We’d spent more than a week straight together with the exception of one day. Things progressed quickly, but then again, they were about to change drastically.

I said goodbye to him as we made plans for the coming days. We were a few days away from Valentine’s Day, and he really wanted to celebrate it together. I obliged.

I thought about him the rest of the night and what this new arrangement would mean for us. I was quickly coming back down from the clouds…

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Dinner Reunion

Smiles and I made plans over the Christmas break to share a home-cooked meal my first full night back in town. I was greatly looking forward to it after not seeing him for a week. We’d spent a week apart before, but not over Christmas. Something about it made it tougher for me to get through.

That morning, Smiles sent me a text. He was wishing me luck on my first day back in the office after being away for some time. It was a truly sweet gesture considering how out of character this was for him. Since I left him, he was showering me with attention I didn’t normally receive. I attribute this to our conversation the night before I dropped him at the airport. That was just my assumption, but the only other factor that changed was spending time apart.

Out of the blue, in the middle of the afternoon, he picked up the phone and called me. I’d told him I had to go to the office that week, but there was little chance I would actually be working, so I guess he felt I’d have the free time to chat. It was a very welcomed distraction from my Facebook status perusal and email correspondences.

He called out of boredom. He couldn’t seem to motivate himself to work. He was still in vacation mode from being away. “My head is still at the beach,” he added. I told him there was no need to dive back into everything unless it was urgent. We all have lazy days. Why not ease back into the workload?

Before Christmas, I bought two cashmere hats from Bonobos. Smiles had mentioned interest in similar hats. I bought them just in case we made a last-minute decision to exchange presents. I could ship them back free of charge and Smiles would be none the wiser, but that seemed like a waste. I got a great deal on them considering how much he paid for the last one he purchased, so I decided I was going to ask if he wanted them. It wouldn’t be a gift — I would just be facilitating the deal.

“Are you still interested in cashmere hats, and what is your price point?” I asked. He told me anything under $80 each, which was $20 more than what I paid for them. I decided I was going to show him the hats and come clean about how I came to purchase them. I was worried I would look anxious in his eyes, but since we had our talk about where we were, I decided I needed to start being more of myself. It’s very much like me to do something slightly awkward and come clean about it. I’m very honest when it comes to things like that, shame or no shame. If he didn’t like it, then he didn’t like me.

That night after work, he came over. He texted me as he was getting on the PATH. When I didn’t hear from him for over a half hour, I tried calling and texting. I was getting no response. I wasn’t sure what happened, but I was hoping the meal wouldn’t be overdone waiting for him. Finally, he told me he’d arrived in Hoboken. When he got to my apartment, he told me he’d gotten on the wrong PATH train and ended up in Jersey City. He had to switch over and come back towards Hoboken.

I filled plates for the two of us, and we sat on the couch to eat dinner while we watched TV. Smiles loved the meal. He said it was cooked perfectly and everything was delicious. I was very proud and thrilled with how much he enjoyed it. One thing I love to do is cook for a man, especially when I get such rave reviews.

While we watched TV, my attention was constantly stolen by the reflection of headlights on the windows across the street. He kept asking what I was looking at, and when I told him, he poked fun at my inability to keep my attention fixed. We had a good laugh about it.

Smiles asked if I had any ice cream to finish our meal (you know him and his sweet tooth). I didn’t have any. We had two options. We could venture back out into the cold to pick up a pint, or we could settle for a variety of candy I had stashed in my room. He settled on the candy.

After dinner, we moved things into the bedroom. I was anxious to hop into bed with Smiles, just to feel his body against mine. I didn’t even care if it involved sex. I just wanted to be close to him. But, before we hopped into bed, I decided to bite the bullet on the hats. I explained, and he decided he wanted to keep the gray hat and have me return the black since he already had one. He gave me cash, and the transaction was complete. I was glad I didn’t just send the hats back without consulting him as many of my friends suggested (I have a habit of doing what I want even against my friends’ better judgment).

We laid in bed and exchanged random stories. We discussed how he was healing after his appendectomy. Like I said before, I was going to start being myself, so I told him the ridiculous story about my belly button. For some unknown reason, when I was in college and I got drunk, I would encourage my friends to feel my belly button. I was a swimmer so I had a flat stomach, and when I got drunk, I like the way it felt (maybe the beer pushed it out a bit). I insisted it was incredibly sexy and even took some of my friends’ finger and guided it to my belly button. I also proceeded to tell him about the time my belly button was handpicked as the body shot glass for a bachelorette party when I was in Key West. “ ‘Wow! You have the Grand Canyon of belly buttons!’ one girl shouted,” I told him. He laughed and looked at me like I was from another planet as he examined my belly button.

The rest of the night was more of the same — Lots of cuddling and chatter, but no sex. I was fine with this, as I was just happy to have him in my bed. We both brushed our teeth and climbed under the covers. I was going to bed a happy man that night, and I was looking forward to waking in the morning to a sexy man in bed next to me.

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