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 »


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 »


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 »


Prideful Flailing

January 9, 2012

“Things were getting worse faster than we could lower our standards.” –Carrie Fisher

It’s Pride weekend in WeHo and just a few days until my birthday. To help me celebrate, my two best girlfriends from high school come to visit for the weekend, which is extremely beneficial toward my sanity, whose status is currently “in flux.”

After showing the girls around town for a bit, we head back to the hotel where they’re staying and choose a place for dinner. “I think I’m going to invite The Writer,” I announce. The slight hesitation before their response indicates to me that they think this is a less than stellar idea. But I’m already aware of that, and I’m pretty sure they’re a little intrigued. A few minutes and a text conversation later, The Writer agrees to meet us.

The girls and I arrive at the restaurant a few minutes early, and to be honest, I’m a little nervous. Partially because this whole thing is super fucked up. But also, I want my friends to like him. In some weird way, he’s like a badge of honor.

By the time we’re seated, The Writer still hasn’t shown. I get a text from Trick Bradley: “I’m wasted in WeHo.” “Good job!” I respond. That is what you’re supposed to do during Pride, after all.

The Writer is now fifteen minutes late, and I’m a little irked. Finally, he bustles in with his dumb grin, and slightly mismatched outfit. I know this look; it’s the haven’t-done-laundry-in-a-month. He spouts out about 50 words in ten seconds—a mixture of an apology for being late, annoyance about the status of LA traffic/parking, and what a lovely restaurant this is. His grievances melt into an introduction to my friends. I’m interested to see how this goes.

As the conversation starts, The Writer is surprisingly normal. I find myself at a loss or words, but that is how a good observer is supposed to behave, right? I get another text from Bradley: “I’m with David. We’re getting back together.” David is Bradley’s ex, who he’s been heartbroken over the past couple of months. Only, I’m confused: “Wasn’t David with his boyfriend as of yesterday?” His response? “We’re in a three-way relationship.” Gay polygamy—now there’s something to write home about!

Focusing my attention back to the matter at hand, I find myself astonished. The Writer is giving insightful advice about the menu items without sounding like a major doucher. After we order, he starts into engaging, knowledgeable discussion about the universities my friends attended. Who is this person? He’s unbelievably charming and an exceptional conversationalist.

You know that imaginary competition that people have when the break up? If one person lets himself go or gets a fugly new lover, you know you’ve won? Read the rest of this entry »


Thank You Should Go

December 24, 2011

“Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.” –Tender is the Night

The Writer calls me the next day. When his name pops up on the screen, I ignore the call. My life was one way before and today it’s not. It wasn’t my choice, and that makes me feel helpless. I’ve recoiled.

The voicemail he leaves is concerning the movie pitch that we’re supposed to write together, so I give it a few minutes then call him back. “Hey,” he exclaims like a little boy, excited to hear from his father who’s been away on a business trip. “Do you want to come over and work on this outline?” “Sure. When?” “Come now.”

It’s rush hour, so it takes me almost an hour to get there instead of the usual ten minutes. He texts me as I pull up in front of his house: “Are you still coming?” I ignore it, as I hustle up the front steps. When I ring the doorbell, the door opens almost immediately. It’s Dalton, his ex. I choke Read the rest of this entry »


Guess Who’s Coming to Party

December 22, 2011

“I believe we’re all in denial about the people we love.” -David Geffen

I was wrong. Things didn’t get better. The next day, I survived the worst hangover I’d had in years and have since remained thoroughly unemployed. But I’m determined to pick myself back up. I continue to go without seeing The Writer and do my best not to correspond with him. And it works. Sort of. Despite being in an unprecedented state of denial, I find myself manically productive and thriving socially. Between my strengthening friendships and returned interest to forging ahead on my career, I don’t even think about The Writer. Until I get home at the end of each night, and I lie down in my cold, empty bed. I find him in my dreams. He infects the thoughts I am already thinking the moment I awake each morning. That, plus I find myself spooning my clumped-up comforter. It’s a surprisingly decent lover despite its lack of body heat.

But even as he’s not here with me, I cannot seem to fathom my not waking up with him.

*     *     *

It’s Sunday afternoon, and my friend Cash gives me a call. “Man, I haven’t seen you in forever!” He says. “What are you up to?” I ask. “Smoking a bowl at home, you should come.” “I’m good,” I answer. “Well, I’m headed up your way later to go to a party. You should come with,” Cash tells me.  I agree and we meet at a trendy build-your-own burger joint around six.

“The sweet potato fries are delicious,” he tells me an insisty kind of way. The waitress approaches and greets us. Cash puts his serious black man face on and very directly inquires about the exotic burger sauces. After answering, she pauses then nervously opens her mouth. “You’re a no bullshit kind of guy, aren’t you?” “You know it,” Cash says. I start cracking up. Cash concludes about 80% of his sentences with laughter. “Oh, and this bitch will have himself some sweet potato fries,” he says melting into a chuckle. “Don’t tell me what to order,” I say in a mock-catty way. “I’m paying. You’re poor.” “That’s so sweet of you,” I say.

By the time the food arrives, we have caught up. “So what exactly are we doing tonight?” “We’re going to my friend’s birthday party.” “Who’s your friend?” I ask. “Dalton…The Writer’s ex. Have you met him?”  “Where is it going to be?” I ask without answering him. “The Writer’s house.” I look around like I’m about to make a dash for the door before realizing I’m only in a restaurant. “I can’t go,” I say with a certain amount of urgency. “Why not? You get a booty call or Read the rest of this entry »


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