Can’t Say Why I Kept This From You

April 18, 2012

“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.” -The Winter of Our Discontent

I’ve been thrown into the gay end of the pool.

I just arrived at a party that my cousin invited me to in the hills. It’s at a gorgeous house with an even more gorgeous view, packed with gorgeous gay men… or at least ones intimidating enough to pull off hot by proxy. Standing there, watching them chatter and play around the pool, I pull the pink plastic sunglasses off my face, trying my best to feel less out of place.

“There you are,” my cousin Clark says, noticing me standing at the house entrance. “Here I am,” I mutter before deciding how stupid my words sound. “This is Chase,” Clark says, introducing his co-worker to me. “Nice to meet you,” Chase says. “I think we’ve met before,” I say, by which I mean we have definitely met. I’m a little disappointed he doesn’t remember me. I always wonder in these situations if it’s better to just pretend you don’t remember either. As I shake his hand, he looks at me a little sideways before someone else greets him, then he’s gone.

“Can I get you a drink?” Clark asks. I try to work out the mathematical formula in my head to figure out the maximum quantity of liquor I can consume but still be safe to drive by the time I leave: no less than three hours here without an excuse to bounce, factor in the probable alcohol ratio of the mixed drinks, carry the one… that equals one very strong vodka tonic and a beer to chase with later.

After he retrieves me a drink, Clark talks to me for another ten minutes and introduces me to so many people that I can’t manage to hold onto a single one of their names. I think to myself, This is L.A. Can’t people just hand me their business cards? It would make all of this a lot easier.

I take another sip of my drink, hoping it will chill me out. I don’t know what it is about drinks, but having that cup in your hand—at first glance, an utterly useless prop—is a better weapon to fight social awkwardness than the actual liquor in it. Read the rest of this entry »


Body Heat

April 9, 2012

“Sex is emotion in motion.” -Mae West

Tonight, The Writer and I are attending a Murder Mystery dinner. From what I gather, we will be fed and served booze while we witness talented-but-struggling actors perform a theatrical act of homicide. Then, as audience participants, it will be our job to use clues from scenes intermittently put on between the dinner’s courses to deduce which character is the murderer.

When I arrive at The Writer’s house, I notice his jacket, the one that I’ve been harboring, on my passenger seat. I’m not ready to give it back just yet. Unsure of who will be driving, I roll it up and put it in the back seat, hiding it beneath another jacket. I climb the steps just like I always do and knock on the door like I have a hundred times before. I turn to look at the sky and notice grey clouds rolling in. He answers and gives me a strange look. “Are we supposed to get dressed up for this?” He asks. I’m wearing a black and white thinly checkered button-down with black pants and a skinny tie. “You don’t have to, but the tickets say ‘Invitation to the Millionaires Club’ and that guests should be encouraged to dress in character,” I reply…not that any of the millionaires I know dress like this.

I follow him into the house, and he begins searching for something—probably his keys. I hear someone else shuffling around by the bedrooms, but his roommate’s car isn’t parked out front, so I practice my detective skills and surmise that it must be Dalton.

“Hey,” I say, poking my head in the bedroom. “Hey, man. What’s up?” Dalton replies with a much more cheery demeanor than the last time I saw him. “Nothing much, just going to this dinner thing. What about you?” I watch him stuff clothes and a few other items into a backpack. “I’m headed to San Diego for a friend’s birthday. I was supposed to leave yesterday, but I missed my ride.” “Oh, fun,” I say with my coolest nonchalance. “Yeah, it should be a good time.”

Just then we hear a honk from outside. Dalton collects a few more items and rushes past me. “See ya!” He shouts to The Writer as he opens the front door. Alone in The Writer’s bedroom, I look around. I remember that feeling I used to get from this room, all of the promises I was naive enough to believe it held. I space out for a moment, getting lost in the crumpled receipts, the stacks of papers, the mounds of clothes.

“Did Dalton just leave?” My eyes flutter, and I turn around to see The Writer. “Yeah,” I answer a little breathless. “You find what you were looking for?” I ask. “Yeah, I had to find a pain pill. My back is killing me.”

We decide to take my car, which probably isn’t the best idea, considering we’re late, and I’m a slower drive. That, and my car doesn’t exactly have the best track record with, you know, getting to its destination. “I like these glasses,” The Writer says, picking up my hot pink wayfarer sunglasses. Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage

March 28, 2012

“You are a trick question.” –Closer

Today is The Writer’s birthday. He’s turning thirty, and I’ve been dying for this day to arrive–not only to see how someone with his own specialized brand of well-meaning narcissism celebrates the day of his birth, but also due to the mercilessness of my gift selection.

After work, I drive to his house. I retrieve the large blue gift bag, overflowing with yellow tissue paper from my trunk and hurry up the stairs to ring the bell. “You didn’t have to get me anything,” The Writer says. “But I would have held it against you if you didn’t,” he remarks. I roll my eyes, remembering how he forgot my birthday completely and thought an acceptable substitute was a lunch at Panera.

He takes the bag from my hands, and I follow him into the living room. Pulling the tissue paper from the top, he looks puzzled. “What’s this?” He asks, pulling out something else. “They’re Depends…you know, the adult diaper? I hear old people have trouble controlling their bowel movements.” He cracks a big smile followed by a loud and awkwardly exaggerated laugh. “Go on,” I say. He begins to pull each item from the bag, an affixed post-it explaining each one:

1. Fancy wrinkle cream; “Because now you’re old and saggy.”
2. Margarita rimmer: “Because you’re a butt slut.”
Read the rest of this entry »


Baggage

March 18, 2012

“There is so much to be learned about someone from the little they remember and label ‘the past.'” -Seven Types of Ambiguity

I’m sitting in the lounge at work, reading a magazine about the big Oscar-worthy movies this year. Some of them look inspiring, and I start to make a list of the ones I want to see, but I’m interrupted when I hear a buzzing noise. It becomes louder in my ear. Then I feel something pressing, moving across my head. Chunks of hair fall on my clothes. I reach up to feel the area where the hair came from right as my eyes blink open in my dark bedroom. Just a dream.

I run my hand through my hair–still there…although I do need a haircut. The screen of my phone is lit up with a text on my nightstand. I rub my contacts to un-smush them, and the blurriness subsides. “Miss you,” it says. I sit up and swing my legs around the edge of my bed. I see that it’s nearly 1AM.

I power my phone off before clutching it in my hands and pulling it tight to my chest. As I fall back asleep, I wonder what The Writer was thinking when he sent that message. Why now? And just why?

*     *     *

The next morning, I awaken with phone in hand. As it powers up, I remember the text, and it makes me question myself. Not just “should I answer?” I don’t understand why he sent the text, so I should at least understand why I would respond. But I don’t know why.

I moved across the country with a mission, and he derailed me. Or maybe I just used him to derail me. I recognize that something is different now. I feel it within myself. I’ve changed. I’ve been damaged. I healed. I’ve grown. After two months without a sight of him, I decide it’s time.

We make plans. We’re going to see the film Like Crazy. I’ve been dying to see it since I watched the trailer months ago–even that two-minute preview was devastating. I had made my friends promise me that they wouldn’t let me see this movie with a boy under any circumstances (even though at one point I had plans to see it with Drew), but I can’t help myself. I can’t describe why precisely, but I knew I had to see it with The Writer.

But when I arrive at his house, I begin to panic. What if he invited Dalton? Despite feeling collected, there is no way in hell I can do that to myself. So I consider my options. Maybe if Dalton comes, I’ll pretend to throw up next to the car and just go home. Or I’ll get an “urgent phone call” that will require my presence elsewhere. No, that’s not it. I’ll abandon my car altogether and just Read the rest of this entry »


Bondage

March 3, 2012

“But you and I, we know the truth. We know something about real life, don’t we?” -Sex and the City

Following my revelation, I start seeing The Writer less. He is offered a job on the TV show he’s been trying to get on but earlier than planned. He has to rush to turn in the sample script he’s been putting off, before the offer is official. So I stay up all night writing half of his script with him and call in sick the next morning to help him edit it. My kickass temp job soon becomes my kickass full-time job, and he visits me during lunch once or twice. I bump into him at parties, and he enthusiastically introduces me to people, who I suppose are meant to be important. He begins calling me pet names–babe, pumpks. In return, I become increasingly sassy in the way I speak to him. But it only makes things harder. My sass turns to aggression, and he doesn’t know what to make of it. I’ve become like a little dog that won’t stop snapping. And I can’t seem to shake the thought that’s been echoing through my mind over and over since the concert: My life would be better if we were together. It’s not something I want to believe, not at all. But I do believe it.

So I decide to make a choice. I’ll seek refuge in distance, stay away from him and give my heart some space. I already have a long weekend planned to visit my family, and I book a week long trip to New York. When I go back to my city, I realize how much I’ve changed, how much I’ve compromised. When I return to L.A., I find myself unable to write, so I bury myself in work instead.

I start seeing someone else. His name is Drew. I take it slow with him at first, but then things become very fast-paced.

“You have these walls up like I’ve never seen in anyone,” he tells me after a few weeks. “I’ve been hurt before,” I tell him. He sees me differently than anyone else does. That is the quality that I find most appealing in a partner. It’s the fastest and most constant way to make someone feel special–just see them differently from the rest of the world. The Writer did that, too.

Drew and I have great chemistry–our relationship quickly becomes very physical. It’s not like what I had with The Writer. It’s more brutal. Brutally comforting or brutally sorrowful. “I miss you always,” I whisper to him, crying quietly one night when we’re out, and I’m too drunk to be conscious. He just laughs at me and gives me a squeeze, and the next day I laugh about it, too. He is never bothered by truth the way everyone else seems to be.

I cook him dinners, and he spends the night. While we fall asleep, he presses his nose into my hair and whispers to me in the dark. In the morning, he goes out on my balcony for a cigarette. It’s cold, so I sit between his legs, and he holds me while he smokes.

The playing field is more even with Drew. When our lips part after a kiss, he looks into my eyes with endless Read the rest of this entry »


Splitsies

February 26, 2012

“What is essential is invisible to the eye.” -The Little Prince

I feel someone tap me on the shoulder. In the middle of this sea of people, I decide to ignore whoever it might be, but I receive a follow up tap. Turning around, I see a girl with glowsticks braided into her hair, wearing a gushing smile. She opens her mouth to say something: “Kiss him!”

Let’s back up. I’m standing in the parking lot of an LA Metro station with some of my closest friends, looking raved-out. We’re on our way to a music festival where Chromeo, our favorite band, is playing. I puff-painted my shirt with some of their song titles and lyrics with the words “NEEDY GIRL” written in big pink and green letters across my chest, and I’m wearing neon blue heart-shaped sunglasses.

“We have the tickets and the pills?” My friend LB asks.  Tonight’s the first time I’ll be ingesting ecstasy since my ill-fated group sex night. But this time, there will be no orgies or panic attacks. “I double checked,” my other friend Dani announces before going back to yelling at her boyfriend. Everything is set for this to be a perfect night. What could possibly go wrong?

Here’s a piece of advice: never, ever ask that question because someone will always Read the rest of this entry »


Breakdown

February 18, 2012

“Only the gentle are ever really strong.” -James Dean

I shove him hard against a wall. The brick exterior scrapes the skin of my palms, but I’m too busy maneuvering my tongue to notice. Everything is so blurry. My arms wrap behind him while my lower body crawls up and thrusts against his. “Are we almost there?” I gasp before pressing my lips hard back to his. “Almost,” he mumbles into my mouth. I’m not sure exactly how I got here, but my body knows exactly what it wants. Which is good, because I fade back to black.

The first traces of sun glow through foreign blinds. A bicep lies between the back of my neck and a pillow, which is noticeably lacking in the firmness department. I turn my head slightly–two empty condoms on the floor. Looks like someone needs a package stimulus. And with that thought, he turns over and begins to hump my side. I’m still drunk enough to go along with it. But I fade out again before we get too serious.

“Hey, you,” he says as I force my eyes open into a squint. He stares into my eyes like we’ve known each other longer than the past seven hours. “Hi,” I say with that raspiness that comes with morning. It’s disorienting waking up in strange place. Or maybe it’s just the hangover. “I’ll be right back,” he says, getting up and walking to bathroom. Nice ass.

Trying to configure the puzzle pieces of the night together, I notice Read the rest of this entry »


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