Posts Tagged selfish

Nearing the End of My Rope

Tensions were high between CK and I. Nearly every night, we’d find something to argue about. Although it didn’t always result in an explosive fight, there always seemed to be some kind of noise in the background. The honeymoon was officially over.

FightWhen we woke in the morning, CK apologized for the night before, as did I. As we got ready for work, we both agreed underwear was not something we should be fighting about. After making us breakfast, we ate, showered together, got dressed and made our way to the PATH.

A day prior, CK got tickets to see Hot Chip in Brooklyn from a coworker . He asked if I was interested in going. We had already planned to head to Brooklyn to visit Hip since he was recovering from his second hip replacement surgery, so I said, “Sure. Why not?”

StarbucksCaramelWhile we were at work, we nailed down plans via text and phone. Since I finished much earlier than he did, I hopped on the subway and made my way to his office. He wasn’t quite ready yet, so I asked for his coffee order and hit up Starbucks. I didn’t sleep very well the night before, so I needed something to keep me up and give me the energy to be a fun date.

While riding the subway out to Brooklyn, I asked CK if he requested the time off to join my family on vacation. He reacted to the question as if this was some big surprise. I’d only been asking him about it for a solid month. When he asked me to take time off and book a flight to Miami for his nephews birthdays, I did it without question. Now that I was asking him to take time off to be with me and my family, he didn’t think he could get the time off. I was p*ssed! I found it quite selfish. If he’d requested the time when I originally asked, we wouldn’t have gotten into the argument that ensued. As I said, we seemed to be fighting about everything.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe rest of the ride wasn’t pleasant. It grew to far higher proportions when we got off the subway. I wanted nothing more than to get right back on the subway and make my way home. I no longer had any interest in going to the concert, and I told him that. It takes two to fight, so I take half the responsibility, but he was being rude and treating me in a way I wasn’t willing to subject myself to. As a result, I skulked behind him as we walked through Prospect Park. As he yelled at me for not helping him navigate our way to the concert, I shouted back, “Fine. Just go without me! I don’t want to go anymore. I’m not going to have any fun.” I wanted nothing to do with him or Hot Chip.

I think he understood I was serious and responded by apologizing. “Can we just get past this tonight?” he asked. “Do we have to sacrifice our entire night over this fight?” I didn’t want to just put on a happy face and grin through it. I was angry, and to be honest, I wanted to go home out of spite. The concert was something he wanted to go to, and just as he didn’t put in the effort to come with me on vacation, I wasn’t going to come to the concert. I realized how unproductive this would be, so I agreed to go (not before numerous attempts to make my way back to Hoboken).

ConcertWhen we finally made it in to the concert, CK bought me a few beers, and we cut through the crowd to watch the concert already in progress. Surprisingly, I started to have a better time. Admittedly, I’d never heard of the band before we arrived, and I didn’t recognize any of their music. The fighting ended, and CK was being affectionate. We even made a few friends while moving from place to place among the crowd and managed to bum a smoke off some nice guys.

When the concert was over, it was far too late to visit Hip. I felt really bad considering he was the original plan and reason for the trip to Brooklyn. I wasn’t thrilled we sacrificed his visit for a concert, but in the end, it was CK’s decision.

On the walk to the subway, we found ourselves in a situation once again that birthed yet another argument. When we were a safe distance away from the situation, I began to calmly explain how p*ssed I was at him. Once again, he didn’t think it was a big deal and almost brushed it off as if I was overreacting. I didn’t care. To me, it was so much more. I told him explicitly how much I didn’t like these types of situations, and he completely disregarded those feelings. I don’t think he consciously acted in spite of my request — Quite the opposite. I don’t think he was thinking at all.

After arguing about the matter the rest of the way to the subway, I decided I wasn’t going to engage him in conversation any longer. Clearly I wasn’t getting through to him. We rode the subway with a large group CK decided to befriend. I wanted nothing to do with them. When he asked me questions or tried to introduce me, I simply ignored him. If he wasn’t going to take my feelings into consideration any longer, I wasn’t going to regard his either. I began to wonder if this was something we’d ever get passed. Maybe we were just inherently different. Maybe he would never be able to see things through my eyes. I began to think about what it would mean to end things. Obviously that would be my last resort, but I began to prepare myself for that possibility.

FriendsArgueI was also in a tough spot because I was spending the night at his place. By the time we resurfaced in midtown, CK finally realized I was ignoring him. He started to get irritated by this, and yet another fight broke out between us. This time, I didn’t care. I went nuts. I didn’t care who saw us fighting or what they heard as I laid into him. We argued back and forth about the severity of the incident at hand for some time. He didn’t realize it, but as each of these incidents came up, my tolerance for them dwindled more and more. Toward the end of the argument, I think CK finally got a clear idea of the zero tolerance I had left. I’m not the most bending person (and that’s an understatement), but this was one sticking point I wasn’t going to bend on. I didn’t care how small the infraction. He had a choice, and he needed to pick me.

He finally understood my stance and apologized for everything. He didn’t think this fell under my umbrella of discomfort. He finally understood that nothing in this realm would be acceptable to me. We were able to civilly walk the rest of the way back to his place, but the conversation was certainly nonexistent.

When we got back to his bedroom, I brushed my teeth, stripped down to my boxer briefs and climbed right into bed. CK finished what he needed to do before bed and climbed into the opposite side of the bed. That night, we didn’t go to bed fighting, but there wasn’t a lot of love in the bed either.

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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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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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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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Gym Hottie

Since my breakup with Smiles, I’ve been making greater efforts to spend more time with friends. I didn’t neglect them while I was dating him, but I certainly didn’t shower them with attention either. They’re very important to me, and I wanted to make sure they knew they were appreciated. Of course, I also just loved hanging out with them, otherwise they wouldn’t be my friends.

One of my old roommates asked me if I wanted to go out to the bar. It’d been a long time since he’d done this. It came quite out of the blue, but I was very happy for the invitation. Since we don’t live together, we get along much better. It wasn’t that we fought all the time while we lived together or anything. It’s just much simpler now. I look forward to bar nights with him.

At the same time, one of the girls who I know from my annual Martha’s Vineyard trips was planning a birthday gathering the same night a block from my office. I asked my old roommate if he minded going there for happy hour. I thought it would make things convenient so I could spend time with both. It’d been a long time since I caught up with both friends.

My old roommate and I arrived at the bar early. We made our way through the crowd at Gingerman to the bar to order some beers. I offered to pick up the first round, as I generally do. I handed him his beer and we cheersed. It was at that moment I learned it was his birthday. I had no idea until he said something. I felt like such a sh*t. He was a close friend, and I was usually up on that sort of thing. I have everyone’s birthday in my phone, so I checked to see how I missed the date. It turned out I didn’t have his birthday in there, but with more investigation, I had scheduled it a month later on the same date. I told him how bad I felt, but also added, “At least I offered to buy the round! Haha.” He laughed and quickly forgave my mistake. I thought about it for a second, and realized I was the only one meeting him for drinks. I was the one he wanted to spend his birthday with. I was touched and happy.

We stood by the door because it was the only place we could stand, drink and have a discussion. He told me his plans to go to Atlantic City that weekend for his birthday with a busload of people. I wished him luck since it sounded like such a complicated situation.

After some time, the birthday girl arrived. She came in and gave me a big hug. I introduced her to my old roommate, and we quickly caught up. She decided to make her way to the back of the bar to see if she could grab a table when the bouncer chased us away from the front door. My old roommate and I had already been back there and knew there were no tables, so I let her find out for herself after telling her that. He and I made our way to the front corner of the bar. Just as we did, a couch opened up. I texted the birthday girl to come join us. About ten minutes later, she finally did and brought the rest of her group over.

I talked with my old roommate as more and more people filtered in. It was becoming an intimate little circle. I introduced him to everyone that joined that I knew. When the evening was dragging on, I decided I was read to head home. I had to take equipment home from work, so I was going to book a car service from my office. I invited my old roommate to join me since he still lives in Hoboken as well, and he accepted. I pointed out how I bought all his drinks and provided him a ride home, proving I wasn’t a bad friend who forgot his birthday after all.

We said goodbye to the birthday girl and the rest of the group. She pulled me aside and told me how cute he was. I explained to her he wasn’t a love interest. I pointed out how she’d met him at my Christmas parties, as well as his girlfriend. She was so confused, but I realized what happened. He was guilty by association. Because he was sitting on the couch with me, and because of my status as a gay man, everyone who knew this bit of information also assumed he was gay as well.

As we walked to the car, I pointed out to him what happened. Even though there was nothing I could have done to prevent it, I apologized to him for it. He was oblivious to it, and he laughed it off.

That night, I also had to say goodbye to another ex-roommate. He was still a good friend and tennis partner. He was moving to San Francisco for work, which meant I would probably see him once a year like my other San Francisco friends. I was very sad to see another friend go. Slowly but surely, all my friends were moving away or pairing up and falling off the face of the earth. I know this is part of getting older, but that doesn’t make it any less painful.

My sister and I went to the bar where he and his friends were gathering. It was nice to get to see him since it had been so long. He’d been quite busy with his new job, but now I’d see even less of him. After I got to chat with him for a bit, I texted my other friends, D and his girlfriend and asked what they were up to. They wanted to meet up for drinks, so we decided to go to Cooper’s Union, where I know the owner and bartender.

We met them there, and the whole lot of us wasn’t charged for a single drink the entire night. He always took great care of me and my friends when he worked at my usual watering hole. Now that he branched off and opened his own bar, the attention only got better.

I had a great time with everyone that night. I got to see so many of my friends. Normally I’m too lazy to do any of these things. I always bail last minute out of selfishness, but I was trying to be better about it. It was already paying off. I had a really great time.

In the middle of all this, a gorgeous man walked into the bar. I’d seen him many times before. I’d actually seen quite a bit of him as well. He was a usual at my favorite bar, and he was a usual at my gym in the city. Apparently we both lived in Hoboken, and we both worked in the same neighborhood. I’d had a crush on him for a looonnnggg time, but had a very strong feeling he was straight. He was still gorgeous and fun to look at.

At the same time, I noticed he caught my sister’s eye as well. It’s ironic, but we have the same taste in men periodically. We both acknowledged shared interest in him, but I pointed out to her it wasn’t even worth a battle. She’d already won. There was almost no question in my mind he was straight “How do you know?” she asked. “I can just tell. But, I can also tell you he looks great with no clothes on — At least from the backside anyway,” I added. We both laughed and she continued to ogle him from afar. I did as well, but I was much more discreet about it.

When I was tired and it was time to go home, I gathered everyone to make our way home. Of course I wasn’t going to walk out without paying. I gathered cash from everyone and handed him a wad of cash before walking out the door.

I had a great night. I saw a lot of my friends in one night, I got to scope out a hottie I’ve had my eye on, and I had cheap drinks. Maybe single life was working out well for me. Maybe it was time I tried that for a while… Maybe not…

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Goodbye to a Closer Long-Distance Friend

Today is another Fast Forward Friday!!!  

Hope you are enjoying these. It will help bring the blog a little closer to real-time. If you’re keeping up with the stories chronologically, please skip down to this morning’s post first, then read this one. I think it’s a good one! Enjoy!

Back to your special edition of One Gay At A Time…

On Friday, my last night in San Francisco, I made plans with Swinging D*ck to come to my hotel. We talked about grabbing dinner before staying in for the night. However, he casually invited me to come out with him and his friends when he realized he had to go out for a friend’s birthday. I was apprehensive since it was a torrential downpour outside. It hadn’t rained for three months prior, but now it was raining for three straight days. This trip was turning out to be an epic fail.

I graciously accepted his invitation and waited for his call to tell me where to meet them. Hours passed, and I didn’t hear from him. I was all dressed up with nowhere to go. I decided to run out to grab dinner at In-and-Out when dinnertime passed by. That’s when I finally got a text. He told me they were going to Lookout in a bit. He would text me when they were leaving, and I could meet them there.

I ate my burger in my hotel room and made my way outside to hail a cab. Luckily I wasn’t out in the rain too long.

When I arrived, I made my way to the second story bar and began looking for him. After two minutes, and noticing a lot of men scoping me out, I found him in the crowd on the other side of the bar. I walked over and said hi with a big hug. He introduced me to his friends. They were all very nice. I wasn’t sure exactly how much they knew about me.

I ordered a beer before I was told we would be moving on for the night. It was back out into the rain. Apparently, we were headed to a house party for the remainder of the night but not before popping into a liquor store for some beer. We hopped in a cab and made our way to the party.

It was slightly awkward because I was now a friend of a friend of the host. I was hoping everyone would be okay with my attendance. Luckily, only the entrance was slightly awkward. After that, I was in my element. I talked with my friend, his friend, and many other men at the party. It was the biggest sausage fest I’d ever been too. I think there may have been two women there versus the fifty gay men.

I met some interesting people and one very sexy man who looked a lot like Steve Pasquale (Sean Garrity) from Rescue Me. Swinging D*ck is a smoker, and when I drink I’ve been known to smoke the occasional cigarette, so those were nice breaks where we somewhat stepped away from the group and could talk more. He really was a sweet, intelligent guy. I learned a lot about him talking to him on Skype, and I only wanted to get to know more.

The night was beginning to draw to a close. For one, I had a flight to catch in the morning. Secondly, the birthday boy/host was ready to hit up the bars. Everyone was getting kicked out. S.D. told me he had to tell me something when we got outside. We walked away from the party to find a bodega to get him cigarettes. As we did, he took the opportunity to confide a big secret he’d been walking around with.

He pointed out to me how standoffish he was the previous night, how he had to leave early and how he changed plans from coming to my hotel that night. Then he told me all this wasn’t because he wasn’t attracted to me — Quite the opposite. The reason was because he was HIV positive.

My heart immediately sank, and not in a selfish way. The compassion I felt for him in that moment was so great, I can’t even begin to explain.

Apparently I know very little about HIV. He told me he’d been “positive undetectable” for a year and a half now. I never heard that term before, but deduced its meaning from its name. I also did the math in my head and realized he contacted it just after he started talking to me on Skype. I put two and two together and realized that’s why he was so depressed when I was talking to him. My heart was breaking for him.

He explained that he is on medication, and the doctor told him he would lead a very normal and full life for the remainder of his time on this planet. I was learning a lot about the treatment for HIV. I realized I needed some education, and I was happy I had someone so amazing to teach me.

A large part of me wanted to cry and give him a big hug because I couldn’t imagine what he was going through all this time since being diagnosed. The larger part of me was upset because he felt he couldn’t just tell me outright from the start.

He didn’t know how to tell me, nor did he want to. He thought I would treat him differently or stop being his friend. I told him he needed to give me more credit than that. He was an amazing guy, and nothing changed between us.

He started to explain his strange behaviors I wasn’t even noticing. When I asked him back to my room, he was very leery because of what might happen, but he still wanted to be with me. So, he agreed. When we were fooling around, he said he was purposely taking more time to please me so I wouldn’t even have a chance to please him. When I went for it, that’s when he really said he had to get going. It wasn’t because he wasn’t attracted to me. It wasn’t because he didn’t like me. “I think you’re amazing,” he added. It was because he was scared. I understood completely.

When I asked him to come to my room a second night, he talked to his friend about it. “I don’t know if I can tell him,” he told his friend. His friend told him to do whatever he felt comfortable with. He actually invited me to come out with them that night in an attempt to set me up with his friend. Looking back, I did feel as if I was being sized up as the night progressed. However, I was not feeling him in the slightest.

When we were at the party, he encouraged me to go with the guys who asked me to come with them for some fun because it would get him off the hook. I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in them either, however their compliments were always welcome. 🙂

I never noticed all this, but I jokingly reprimanded him for going through all those charades instead of just telling me as a friend. Of course I would understand. I told him about all my skeletons. I would have hoped he’d feel comfortable telling me his.

We continued to walk to the bar everyone was heading to. He told me about how he contracted it and how bad the situation was. He admitted that’s why he was so depressed when I first started talking to him. It all made sense now.

When we arrived at the bar, it was time for me to say goodbye. I had an early flight, and it was already two in the morning. We talked a little bit more, gave each other a big hug, and made out a little bit. It was hard saying goodbye. I felt we had so much more to talk about. But I needed to go. We kept coming back for just one more kiss before we finally parted ways.

As I walked towards my hotel searching for a cab, I thought about what just happened. My heart was still breaking for him that he had to go through that. I wish I’d known sooner so I could have been there more for him. I was so proud of him for finally finding the courage to tell me. I was starting to think he just wasn’t into me a little bit, but that’s not important. What is important is that I have a friend I love dearly and will always be there for, no matter what happened to him. I just hope he knows that!

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Waking up with the feeling of dread is never a good thing. Upon opening my eyes, I immediately knew something was wrong. It all came crashing back. I remember the conversation I had with Smiles the night before in my bed. It didn’t go as well as I would have liked it.

I needed to reassess the situation and make a decision before proceeding. One thing was for sure; I was going to proceed with caution. No longer was I going to invest so much of myself into a one-sided relationship. Smiles was still interested, and I had optimism the relationship could still progress towards something good. However, I could no longer devote so much of myself to someone who wasn’t doing the same for me.

I had that day off, but I had to wake very early. I needed to get my friend’s car keys before he went to work so I could take Smiles to the airport. When I volunteered to take the day off from work, I thought it would be a perfect way to see him off. I wanted to be both helpful and selfish. I wasn’t going to get to see him for a week, let alone on Christmas. The next best thing I could get was sending him off at the airport.

I climbed out of bed, put on clothes and rode my motorcycle over to my friend’s place. I swapped the bike for his car and drove back to my apartment. When I got back to my room, there were a few minutes left before Smiles was supposed to wake to get ready for his flight. I undressed and climbed back into bed.

Since we went to see the stage-show the night before, and he was working through the day before, he wasn’t able to pack yet. When my alarm went off, we woke and got ready to make our way into the city so he could pack.

I drove him through the Holland Tunnel and stopped in front of his apartment. There were no legal spots available, so I had to sit in the car while he got ready. When he got out of the car, Smiles checked out another street and texted me from his apartment: “If you wait another five minutes, you can park on the other street at the meters.” It was nice of him to check that out so I wouldn’t have to sit in the car alone the whole time.

I joined him upstairs and tried my best to assist. When he was ready, we got back into the car and set off for the airport.

My question from the night before was still in the back of my head. The car ride was rather quiet. It was as if we were both searching for something to talk about. I had yet another question burning a hole in the back of my mind. I had no New Year’s Eve plans, and all my friends did. I didn’t want to spend it alone, but Smiles hadn’t mentioned it to me. I had no idea what his plans were, but I wanted to spend it with him. The conversation from the night before didn’t change that. I was about to ask him if we could spend it together, but as we neared the airport, things got hectic because he wasn’t sure which terminal he was flying out of. That question would have to wait until later.

Once we had that settled, I found a space at curbside and helped him unload. We exchanged a very quick hug and kiss as he set off for home for the holidays. It was very unceremonious. I don’t know if he was self-conscious because we were in public or if it was because he still felt awkward, but I was very disappointed. That was not the way I wanted to be kissed by the man I was dating but not seeing on Christmas. That was not a proper goodbye.

As he walked away, he turned back and said, “I’ll call you later tonight.”

Since I had my friend’s car and the rest of the day off, I decided to run an errand I’d been neglecting. I took a route home that allowed me to stop by Michael’s to pick up a large panoramic photo I had framed. All that alone time is NOT good for me. It’s a sure to produce over-thinking and slight depression. I really didn’t know how to proceed. There was a fork in the road, and I wasn’t sure which road to take.

I decided to make a stronger effort to engulf myself with my friends. I wasn’t going to give so much of myself to Smiles, and in turn, I would fill that void with friendship. After I ran my errand, I went home and watched TV on the couch. I needed to distract myself with some form of entertainment, but it wasn’t working. I was still thinking about what I was going to do. I hopped on Facebook while watching TV and got a message from N: “I miss you buddy.” I hadn’t hung out with him since we broke up with the exception of my holiday party. Maybe it was time to give friendship with him another chance. I hit him up to see what he was up to. He was going out that night and told me he would keep me in the loop regarding his plans so we could hang out.

I know Smiles was settling in the with family, and I wouldn’t expect him to call. But, it would be nice if he called, even if just to let me know he landed safely. That night, I never heard from Smiles…

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Awkward Silence

Yet another video I’d like to share. This one is a music video for one of my new favorite groups, Duck Sauce. Great song and love the sexual connotations, but may not be safe for work depending on what you do.  Enjoy!

On with the story…

Every Tuesday in Hoboken is free movie night if you have Cablevision’s triple play. I do not, but I have some very generous friends who do, and they lend me their card when they’re not using it.

I asked Smiles if he wanted to catch a movie and dinner. He told me he could possibly do dinner, but there was no way he could do the movie. He had to be up at 6:30 the following morning for a work meeting, so spending the night in my bed was off the table.

While I was finishing up work, he was moving his final boxes into his storage unit from Harlem. I agreed to help him when I arrived downtown, but when I got there, he was already finished.

I walked him back to his apartment. We talked about his day on the walk. I waited while he showered and changed after loading and unloading all those boxes to go to dinner.

While he was moving the boxes, both his parents called, separately. He was a little worried, so on the way to the restaurant, he dialed his mother. Smiles said he needed to walk a while, so we kinda just went for a stroll. We talked a little about work and how he got to where he is today. We stopped in a few stores on the way. We were walking for over a half hour before we settled on a spot to grab some grub.

We settled on Peels. When he returned to the table after washing his hands, the conversation was very dry. There were many long awkward pauses throughout the night. I struggled to think about anything we could to talk about. Nothing. I didn’t know what to do. We continued to eat in silence. It was incredibly awkward. I was so worried we’d hit that point already where we had nothing to talk about. I was petrified.

Was he distracted by the phone calls? Did something happen? Who knows?

When we finished eating, we paid the bill and began walking back toward his place and the PATH. We ran into a friend along the way, and Smiles chatted with him for a short while after barely introducing me. After we left the friend, he explained who he was and how close a friend he is. I was a little surprised. If he was such a good friend, then why was he so casual when introducing me. Maybe I didn’t mean as much to him as he did to me. Maybe I was putting too much of myself out there too soon. We’d been dating for a month and a half. I thought we’d be closer knit at this point, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe I had different expectations.

As we walked, he told me he was tired and a bit out of it. This wasn’t news to me after the awkward dinner we just had. He walked me to a crossroad and said goodbye. When I went in for a kiss, I barely received anything in return. It was almost like a child begrudgingly accepting a kiss from a grandparent. I felt like a piece of sh*t.

As I walked by myself to the PATH, I wondered if this thing had run its course. How much longer were we going to go before he fully opened up to me? — Before I didn’t have to wonder where I stood with him? I was tired of the uncertainty. It was dragging me down.

I needed to talk to someone, so I called Boston. No answer as usual. College always gets in the way of our friendship!

Next, I called LES to see what he was up to. No answer, so I left a message.

Then I texted the Principal just to say hi and see how he was doing. When I came above ground on the other side of the Hudson River, I received a response from him. We texted back-n-forth for the remainder of my walk home. When I got to my apartment, I immediately climbed into bed. I was depressed. This relationship was looking pretty bleak. Silence at dinner and an awkward kiss goodnight. Once again, maybe he just wasn’t into me.

The Principal and I continued to text over the next hour while I watched some TV. I explained to him I still had some feelings for him, however, the distance thing just wouldn’t work out for me. Apparently, I opened up a can of worms there. He really did miss me. I’m not sure why I felt the need to reach out to the Prinicpal that night. I thought I passed that chapter in the story. I think I did it for selfish reasons because I needed to feel wanted again. I knew the Principal would provide that for me. Looking back, I never should have done that.

In my mode of depression, I also responded to one of the guys who had hit me up on OKCupid. I asked him if he wanted to grab a drink sometime. I was taking my friends’ advice. I wasn’t going to put all my eggs in one basket. The guy responded, and we scheduled a date for the following night…

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