It’s Not My Party But I’ll Cry If I Want To, Part 4

September 7, 2011

My Those Quiet Eyes Become You

“It’s like the smell of burned toast. You made the toast. You looked forward to it. You even enjoyed making it, but it burned. What were you doing? Was it your fault? It doesn’t matter anymore. You open the window, but only the very top layer of the smell goes away. The rest remains around you. It’s the walls. You leave the room, but it’s on your clothes. You change your clothes, but it’s in your hair. It’s on the thin skin on the tops of your hand. And in the morning, it’s still there.” -Seven Types of Ambiguity

I pull up in front of his house and put my car in park, then turn off the engine. I sit frozen for a moment and then open my mouth: “You don’t have to do this. You can just leave, go home. He doesn’t have to know you were ever here. Just drive away and pretend…” But that’s what I’ve been doing, isn’t it?

I’m ready to get out of the car, but I find myself clenching the wheel like it’s the only thing preventing me from falling off of a cliff. My sight isn’t blurry, it’s like it’s nonexistent. My eyes well up with tears, but I keep them at bay and clench my jaw. Shaking, my hand pulls the keys from the ignition. I open the car door and take a step out. Walking is challenging. It’s like there’s a force pushing against me, a gravity pressing in the direction opposite the house. My body is fighting me. Then I see his car, and I find my calm.

61. He always drives when we’re together.
62. I’m his front seat friend.
63. He puts his hand on my thigh when he’s driving and hasn’t seen me in a few days.
64. His car is the only thing not cluttered in his life.
65. Except that his trunk is overflowing with junk.

Climbing up the steps to his front door, I feel like my shoes are made of lead. When I finally make it to the stoop, I clam up in front of the door. I feel dizzy just looking at it. It’s hard to breathe. I can feel the heat in my face. It must be red. I shut my eyes. Take a deep sigh and summon the strength to pull my hand into a fist. As I raise it up to knock, it freezes inches from the door.

66. He has an adderall prescription despite having graduated college nearly a decade ago.
67. It changes the smell of his sweat.
68. His natural scent.
69. How it makes me lose my mind.
70. And then nauseates me.

My right arm is paralyzed. Even if I could get my fist to knock on the door, I wouldn’t be able to hit it hard enough for The Writer to hear from inside. I grab my right wrist with my left hand and pull it close to my chest. A dog barks. Its owners, a couple with graying hair walk past gabbing about their new car. I turn around, holding myself, eyes glossed. They don’t notice.

71. His tumor, which I named Fred. (He doesn’t really have a tumor.)
72. But he thinks he does.
73. How he absolutely cannot dance.
74. The way the length of his hair goes from perfect to ridiculous in just a day.

I turn around and stand closer to the door. There’s no air inside me. I’m a balloon, ready to float away. I wait for a gust of wind to take me into the sky like the nannies in Mary Poppins. But southern California isn’t stormy London, and this certainly isn’t a Disney movie. The best I can do is lean up against the door. It’s so comforting having something else hold me up that I can hardly fathom the thought of having to support my own weight again. I truly wonder if I’ll ever have the strength to even ring the stupid doorbell, so I shut my eyes and try to pass the moment.

75. How he’s surprised every time I remember something special about us.
76. How sparse his facial hair is.
77. How his memory is about as short as his emotional capacity.
78. His innocent, quiet eyes.

I open my eyes. I pick my forehead up off The Writer’s front door and stand up straight. “What the fuck are you doing?” I ask myself. “Seriously, what is your fucking problem? Are you stupid?” I smack myself across the face as hard as I can, which honestly isn’t that hard. I sit down on the top step and bury my face in my arms. “You’re fucking pathetic!” I scream into my arm, trying to muffle the noise.

79. How much I can tell about him based on the state of his hair.
80. I know every piece of clothing in his wardrobe.
81. How he uses axe body spray because he thinks it makes him seem younger.
82. I definitively know more about one thing, and he respects me for it.

I hop up and manically jump up on the stoop. “Do it. Just do it. Do it. You can do it.” I stick my hand out flat, ready to hit the doorbell. But it’s like my arm is petrified. “No. No, no, no.” I turn and sit again. When I pick my head up, a woman in her 50s, wearing a bright pink shirt and white pants has stopped to look at me. When she notices I’ve spotted her, she turns and scurries away. If it weren’t so psychotic, it would be hysterical. Or at least endearing.

83. I have a toothbrush at his house.
84. He has one at mine even though he almost never sleeps there.
85. He hates conflict.
86. How terrified I’ve become at the thought of losing him.

Stepping up for another round with the doorbell, I use my left hand to support my right hand as I try to smash it into the little button. But I really just can’t. “I can’t. You can’t. Don’t ruin this. Please, don’t do this. Please.” I get my hands far enough that they’re touching the bell, but not pressing it. I feel like I’m going to die. But you see, I’m a clever kid, so I use my right foot to kick in my left leg and fall over, my weight pressing into my arm and by extension, my hand mashes into the doorbell. I hear it buzz as I collapse against the wall. (I did just trip myself.) I scramble to collect myself, not wanting him to see me crumpled up on the ground. But even as I stand up and hear him shuffling out of his bed and toward me, it feels like an eternity. And I panic. Then am overwhelmed by nausea. Please don’t throw up. I gulp and know I won’t. I have no idea what I’m going to say. Well, what’s important? Why are you here? I ask myself. I recite about three sentences before my thoughts clam up. And then it happens. The door opens.

Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Not My Party But I’ll Cry If I Want To, Part 3

August 28, 2011

On The Car Ride Down

“You cry, but you endanger nothing in yourself. It’s like the idea of crying when you do it. Or the idea of love.” -Angels in America

The next morning, I wake up feeling a little Zombie like. I can’t manage to stay out of bed, and at 1:30, I remember I have to go to Sunday Funday. I assume The Writer will be there but have neither the critical nor emotional faculties to even deal with his presence, so I bite another xanax in half and swallow part, slipping the other half in my pocket.

When I pull up to Noah’s house, I realize a couple of problems. First, there are only four cars on the street. The second, none of them belong to Clark. Luckily, my janky ass car isn’t spotted by anyone. So naturally, I drive away. I don’t even pretend to pretend to think I can hold a conversation with a couple of strangers right now. Driving through the hills, however, is wonderfully calming. Except when a car comes speeding around a bend and there’s about two inches between me, it, and certain death.

After my daily dose of near-death, I need a little grace, a little soothing; I call Ann, one my dear friend from New York. We haven’t been keeping up like we should, but she remembers most of the boy details from my visit. “Listen poodle, do what’s good for you. You know what that is. And if he doesn’t want something, you can’t force it on him. These things have to work themselves out…” My phone keeps cutting out. The Hollywood hills have notoriously poor reception. I call her back, but we’re cut off again almost immediately. She didn’t say what I wanted to hear, but she did say the truth. And this talk with The Writer is for me, not him. That’s why I’m the one initiating it. I just hope I don’t do something embarrassing like faint and fall into Noah’s pool or walk into a giant window…again. That would suck.

I sit, parked in front of some random house for five more minutes. Some yard-workers look at me, and I realize how pathetic this is. I put my car in drive and take my foot off the brake. The wheels roll backward as I slide down the hill a bit before slamming on the gas and narrowly dodge a mailbox. I’m pretty sure I hit a garbage can, but it didn’t fall over, so I’m going to say it doesn’t count. Did I mention I’m not the best driver? I plug in my iPod and blast “Who’s That Chick” by David Guetta and Rihanna. “Who’s that chick? Who’s that chick?” I sing shaking my shoulders and dancing. “I’m that chick!” I yell at the top of my lungs, cruising back toward Noah’s.

I park behind the line of expensive cars, and pump myself up. Normally, I’d feel ridiculous, but…really no I wouldn’t. I have no more shame. Who’s gonna stop me? No one. I bounce on my heels and roll my shoulders then launch myself up Noah’s driveway with a hip little strut, which would probably look better if I actually had an ass. I decide to tone it down a tad when I reach the house. Taking off my sunglasses, I spread my arms and yell, “the party has arrived!” Noah and the half dozen guys I don’t recognize look at me blankly. Me…cuz I’m the party. An exceptional start to an awkward Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Not My Party But I’ll Cry If I Want To, Part 2

August 20, 2011

I’d Like To Tell You All About It

“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.” -Billy Joel

The next night, I’m feeling under the weather. I consider skipping Wolf’s party. My throat is soar, my eyes are scratchy, and I have a slight cough. But how could I miss this? What would it say about me? No one would really even notice, but I would know. Besides, all of the ridiculous drama that I imagine will climax tonight will make for a wonderful story to share over drinks with friends. So I ready myself, and get in my car. I’m pumped. I feel a little adrenaline. A little anxiety. Dread is the exact emotion I’m feeling actually. But whatever. Who doesn’t have a precise fear of the unknown? What’s on my mind, you ask. Well, I’ll be meeting Dalton for the first time, which frankly doesn’t sit well with me no matter which way I angle it. He’s predetermined to hate me. I have no idea how I’m supposed to begin to interact with him. We’re sharing what in some way belongs to the other. I’m nervous about seeing Wolf and meeting his other “boys.” It’s immature, but I’m genuinely curious how I compare. I don’t really care about seeing Turtle or Warren, but I am anxious about what they might say to or about me. I know what I’d say to either of them; something along the lines of “oh, hey.” And while I’m considering all of this, one thought lingers above the rest. It’s like a constant static shock somewhere near the top of my spine. What will I say to The Writer? I promised myself to talk to him the next time I see him. Talk about everything. And that time is tonight. I don’t know where to begin. What I have to say is simple. The situation? Not so much.

I start my car. Before I switch gears into reverse, Clark calls. Relieved, I turn off the engine and remove the keys from the ignition. “Hello?” “Hey buddy, what’s up?” I used to hate it when people called me buddy, but Clark has the kind of authority where it doesn’t bother me. “I was just calling to check in with you,” Clark continues. “Oh, I’m just heading to Wolf’s party,” I tell him. “Cool, me too. I’ll see you there then,” he says conclusively. “Great! Can’t wait.” It’s extremely comforting knowing Clark will be there. He always has my back one way or another, and my back is going to be rather exposed this evening. Especially because I’ve decided not to drink, given my not feeling so hot.

I arrive at Wolf’s about an hour after the party kicked off. But the sun is still glimpsing over the horizon…a sign that I’m here too early. I knock on Wolf’s door, and no one answers. I hear people around back though, so I let myself in. My eyes dart around searching for Turtle first. Turtle has the temperament of a scorned overweight junior high cheerleader, and while he doesn’t pose any real threat to me, I’d prefer to steer clear. Number two on my search-and-avoid list is The Writer and/or his ex. I haven’t met Dalton, but I’ve seen pictures, so I know what he looks like. I feel some kind of weird kinship with him. He’s what came before. Deep down, I pray to whatever someone like me would pray to that Dalton flaked out and The Writer would come solo. It would take a lot of stress of the agenda I have for the evening. And it’s not too much of a stretch, especially considering Wolf and Dalton never really seemed tight. And finally, Warren. At this point, I’ve come to believe he’s insane. Like truly unstable. As luck would have it, not a single one of them is present. By the time I make it through the house and onto the back patio, I know I’m in the clear. That’s when I realize…my anxiety about who would be there was misplaced. What I should have been worrying about was who wouldn’t be there. I don’t recognize anyone except Mr. Wolf, and it’s his party.

Wolf and I haven’t really spoken in a couple weeks, and all of a sudden I feel guilty. Other than a couple of simple misunderstandings, he’d always been very genuine and kind toward me. Not to say that I plan to rekindle our fling, but I displaced frustration I had with myself onto him. My shoulders tense up and my breathing becomes shallow. That’s when Wolf notices me. I do have impeccable timing like that. “Hallo, you!” I give him a weak smile and a strong hug. “Happy Birthday,” I muster up with appropriate sincerity. “I see you’re cooking. Your favorite!” I inch closer. “Well, grilling but yes.” He has to correct me. If I wasn’t so uptight at the moment, I’d find it charming. I even go as far as to grin but imagine my expression looks more like a wince. As more people arrive, Wolf greets them, and I stand, watching for a moment unsure what to do with myself. I lean on one leg and pull out my phone, pretending to text someone like I used to do at high school parties where no one wanted to talk to me. I’m literally making myself crazy. My shoulders are so tense, they’re practically touching my ears, and I think of more things, more reasons why I can’t free myself from the man I care for so deeply:

16. He’s the only person I’ve ever liked sleeping next to.
17. He made me fall in love with cuddling.
18. How weak I’ve become to not give that up.
19. How hard he tries to do right by me.
20. How often he fails.

I hear a laugh. That’s when I snap out of it. Clark and Noah are sitting at the table right behind me. My chest heaves a heavy sigh. I slap on a smile, which I hope is big enough to blanket my enormously exposed insecurities. “Hey cuz,” Noah says with a wink. I bend over to give him a hug before embracing Clark. He hops over to sit on the cooler, offering me his seat. “You’re the best,” I tell him. “What have you been up to?” He asks me. I tell him about New York and we talk family matters, which calms my nerves. Then Noah interrupts to introduce a friend. “I don’t think you’ve met The Model,” Noah says. I turn to shake his hand and nearly swallow my Adam’s apple. The Model is gorgeous. Perfect teeth. Perfect hair. Perfect skin. Perfect jaw. Everything. The reason I’m really so faint though is his uncanny resemblance to Jake, the first boy I ever fell for. Same facial hairline, beauty mark on the same spot on his cheek, exact hue of his eyes. Noah elbows me, getting the wrong idea. The Model, just like Jake, is way out of my league. And for those of you tuning in, I’m buried under a mountain of someone else’s emotional rubble. “H-hi,” I sputter. “Nice to meet you,” The Model says, making me feel much more comfortable. The four of us carry on some conversation, and I mostly say things that make me feel stupid. I actually feel kind of drunk despite not drinking anything but water.

When I feel I’ve worn out my welcome with the people I know, I do the rounds…only to discover I know no one else. I recognize a couple of lesser-known actors, who I have a lot of respect for but can’t summon up the courage to introduce myself. Everyone’s mingling, so I lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes. Where is The Writer?

21. He uses wipes instead of toilet paper.
22. He only takes baths.
23. If he was here, I’d probably be just as quiet. But I’d be content just standing beside him.
24. He expects me to wait.
25. But doesn’t care if I don’t Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Not My Party But I’ll Cry If I Want To, Part 1

July 26, 2011

I Hear It In My Head Real Low

“The only fright that’s caused my flight was love.” –Anonymous

It’s Thursday night, and I’m walking up The Writer’s steps. I watch as the sun sets into the hills. I’ve walked up these steps a hundred times and today is no different. I wonder if it ever will be. I pause at the door and take an exaggerated breath before pressing the bell. “Hiiii,” he says with his dumb grin, opening the door. Then he pauses and smiles snickering, “Why do you always look so depressed when you get here?” I ignore the question, sliding my arms around his sides for a hug. “What do you want for dinner?” He asks. “I’m indifferent,” I respond. “You’re always indifferent,” he says. I shrug and clear off my side of the bed…where I see a denim jacket. Not his denim jacket–he doesn’t have a denim jacket. I do his laundry, I know all of his clothes. “This is cute,” I say. “Yeah,” he says not really paying attention. “Is it new?” I ask holding it up. He looks up from his computer to take brief glance. “No, I think it’s Dalton’s.” “I love denim jackets,” is all I can muster. I place the jacket on the floor on top of a pair of jeans…also not belonging to The Writer, and get on the bed next to him.

“But really…what do you want for dinner?” He asks again. “Really…I’m indifferent,” I reply. He searches a couple websites for recommendations as if he doesn’t already know all of the options. “I kind of want pizza,” I finally say, getting hungry. “Pizza makes me puffy,” he says.

This is a new and probably short-lived “thing.” The Writer thinks he’s allergic to wheat (or more specifically pizza) causing his face to swell. When we go out, he refuses to order anything with wheat but insists on picking over my wheaty dishes. As a reactionary response, he’s become ridiculously obsessed with pizza when he’s drunk. It’s simultaneously adorable, endearingly irritating, and entertaining–much like The Writer.

“I’ve already had a carby meal today. Are you trying to make me fat?” He asks. “Don’t be dumb,” I say, pressing up against him to see what’s on his screen. “Maybe we should order from two places,” he says. “No, it’s fine. I’m really indifferent. I’ll order from wherever.” “I want a salad,” he says. “Now you’re really being dumb. You can get a salad from literally anywhere.” He agrees to order from the pizza place. “Can you call?” He asks. “Sure,” I say. He hands me his card. When the person at the pizza place picks up, they ask me for the address and cross street, which I have memorized. As I’m placing my order, The Writer stops me. “Actually…I want pizza too.” “Hold on,” I say to the person on the phone. After he provides some needlessly complicated explanation of what he wants and why he’s justified it to himself, I cancel the whole order and ask for a large cheese pizza. “And with those Parmesan packets,” he says. I nod holding up a “just a sec” finger, and he says it again, loud enough that the lady taking my order probably heard. “Can we get some of those Parmesan cheese packets?” I ask politely. “Yes sah. Twenty minute,” she says.

Thirty minutes later, we’re starving and the delivery guy has arrived. Only when the doorbell rings, he’s not at the front door. “He’s not here…” I yell to The Writer, who’s still in bed. “Huh? Oh.” Apparently there’s a secret doorbell by his garage…his house in kind of confusing. He gets up and walks barefoot down the sidewalk to meet the guy. The guy walks him back toward the front, and I hear The Writer say this “How much do you usually get tipped?” I don’t know why he says shit like that. Especially when he orders in several times a week. I just shake my head, and he walks back into his bedroom with the pizza box. Starving, I fling open the top and shove a slice in my mouth. “Oh my god. Where is the Parmesan?” It’s not there. They definitely forgot, but you’d think it was a fucking national state tragedy. “I don’t see them. Do you want me to call and have them…” “No,” he says disdained. The tantrum-level theatrics going on here force me to hold back a giggle. And then I don’t care. “I think they did it just to spite you,” I tell him. He doesn’t think it’s funny…then he does but only for a sec. “They’ve been plotting this against me for weeks!” “I bet they’re the ones who fucked up your back, too!” All to withhold The Writer’s Parmesan.

As we’re eating, a piece of tomato is about to fall off his pizza, but I catch it with a napkin. “You’re so much cleaner than Dalton,” The Writer says. He spilled everything all over our bed. “Yeah, and you didn’t?” The Writer pulls up the bedsheets and points to a couple stains. “Coffee, grape juice, more coffee, spaghetti sauce…” “Gross.”

When we’re done eating, The Writer takes the pizza box and puts it on the floor. “No,” I say, getting up. “Me civilized person. Me put pizza box in kitchen,” and I leave to do just that. When I return, he’s totally entranced in his email, so I start surfing the web. I find a website which takes screencaptures of people’s outraged Facebook statuses. Only, these statues are in response to satirical news stories. Pretty much all of the posts are dripping with a painful lack of education, cripplingly bad grammar, and religious fundamentalism–comedy gold. I show The Writer a post which is a response to a fictional multi-billion dollar, government funded abortionplex. How could that get funnier? People believing it’s real. Responses range from “ppl are litarally unbelievable” to falsely attributing quotes to Mother Theresa to blaming STDs on the use of condoms to calling it an “8 billion dollar baby Holocaust.” The camp and hyperbole is simply too much, and we nearly die laughing. After almost an hour of this, he tells me he’s going to post it to his Facebook. “But don’t comment on it,” he tells me. “I want people to think I’m the funny one.” “Oh, you’re positively hilarious,” I assure him with a certain amount of sarcasm. I feel so natural with him. He’s my best friend.

As we start to settle down for the night, we get a little chatty. “When are you going to get your nose surgery?” I ask. “Why?” He says worriedly. “Does it look messed up?” “Of course not!” I say. I honestly want to know so that I can plan on taking care of him–not that we’ve really discussed it.” “I’m not getting it anymore. Unless I absolutely have to.” “Why not? It’s broken.” “I don’t really need it and it’s like $5,000. I don’t know though. Maybe I’ll have some taken off.” He says in slightly smug way. The Writer’s nose is a little larger than average, but it’s neither unattractive nor distracting. It’s cute and suits his facial features. “Don’t.” “Really?” He asks. “I’d be upset if you did. It’s perfect the way it is.”

We decide to watch a movie, and he decides it’ll be The Rules of Attraction. “Have you seen it?” He asks, searching around the room for something. “No.” “Hey, have you seen my movie binder anywhere?” “No,” I say sleepily. He disappears out of the room, and I hear him shuffle around this house. A few minutes later he returns. “I swear to god, if Dalton stole my movie binder, I am never speaking to him again. He’s the most selfish…” “I can just download it,” I say. This calms him down a little bit. He texts Dalton to ask if he stole it. I’m not sure why–I mean, would you admit to stealing it? Dalton says he doesn’t know where it is.

We make it through most of the movie before I start dozing in and out. “Ian Somerhalder was so adorable back then, wasn’t he?” He says to me. “Mhmmm,” I reply. “Are you falling asleep?” He asks. “Mhmmm,” I answer.  He shuffles through the covers for a moment to find the remote and shuts off the movie. I’m facing toward him–not optimum spooning position. He slides his foot between my ankles, facing me and pulling me into his arms. He holds me like he’s going to hold me forever, like we’re never going to wake up tomorrow Read the rest of this entry »


A Week In The Life of A New Yorker Come Home

July 7, 2011

Day 1: Ex

“I don’t have to exist outside this place.” -The xx

I’ve only seen The Writer once this week. I’m jet-setting to New York on the red eye tonight but before I go, we need to talk about this script that we’re allegedly writing together. True to form, he’s forgotten all of the above, so I call him and we decide to have lunch. I meet him at his house, where he’s writing in bed, wearing some silly white underwear. “I have a song I want to play for you before we go to lunch,” he says, pulling on some pants. I nod, sitting with my knees up on his bed. The opening chords are so lovely that I get goosebumps and pull my knees against my chest. “We can give it time, so much time…” the haunting voices chant, and I lie down, slowly turning on my stomach with my head facing the opposite wall. Then this line comes: “I can draw the line on the first date. I’ll let you cross it, let you take every line I’ve got,” and a fat refugee tear slides from my eye. I dry it with the pillow cover, careful to make sure he doesn’t notice. “You okay?” He asks when the song ends. I turn over, nod quietly, and we leave.

When we get back from lunch, I ask him if we can talk about our script ideas. “Let’s nap first,” he says kicking off his shoes. I climb in bed next to him and run my fingers through his hair. It feels right. “Hey, can you do me a favor?” He asks. “Sure,” I say softly. “I have this spasm in my back, would you mind massaging it? Pleeeeease.” I agree, and The Writer flips over so that I can straddle him. I go to work, knuckling about his lower spine. “Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh,” he groans exaggeratedly. “Down,” he directs me. “Down is your crack,” I inform him, but he shimmies his pants down, grabs my hand, and jams my finger into the meat of his left buttock. “Ow!” He complains. “You’re the one who did it,” I say guilt-free. “No, that’s where the spasm is. You have to jam into the knot. Hurt me.” So I do and continue to do so for another ten minutes. “My fingers hurt,” I tell him, climbing off. “K,” he responds, removed and drooling into his pillow. I wrap my hand around his side, pulling us together, and we lie together for a while until… “It’s so freaking bright in this room,” he says because it would actually kill him to not have something to complain about for more than ten minutes. Even if he’s supposed to be unconscious. “Come on,” he says getting up, and I follow him into his roommate’s room. Since his roommate travels internationally five days a week and usually spends weekends at his boyfriend’s, he’s almost never here; I live here more than he does. Perhaps this is what makes The Writer completely comfortable with climbing pants-less into his roommate’s bed with a boy. “My bed sucks. Do you think he’d switch rooms with me?” “Why would you want to do that? Your room is twice the size of his. Besides, there’s not enough space for your mountain range of crap.” He smacks my arm. “We’d leave all of the stuff where it is except like clothes…” “…and then after three seconds you’d find something that drives you crazy about this room.” “It would just be a trial for a few weeks. There’s so much less light that gets in here. I love that.” “You’re insane,” I tell him as his phone rings. He mutes it, letting it go to voicemail and tosses it next to us. Only it begins ringing again. I catch a glimpse of the screen–it’s his ex.

The Writer is clearly aggravated. “Hey,” he says failing in his attempt to cover up the irritation in his voice. I’ve been in this situation one too many times, but I do my best to politely pretend it doesn’t bother me or more accurately that I don’t find it incredibly rude. A few minutes later, I hear “I love you” come out of the receiver. “You too,” The Writer says almost begrudgingly.

“Sorry, it was Dalton,” he says. “I swear to god, he’s the most inconsiderate fucking person in the entire world. No, you know what? He doesn’t even live on this world.” “What happened?” I ask, although most of me doesn’t even want to hear about it. “So he moved in with this New York gay club owner, and he’s been living the hallway of this guy’s apartment. So this man invites boys over to fuck all night and day that he meets online, and they’ll just come in and think Dalton is the guy ’cause I guess they don’t even know what the guy looks like. Whatever. But now he’s moving out.” “That sounds awful,” I say putting all my feelings aside. “Is he still moving back to LA or staying in New York?” “He’s coming back to California supposedly. But right now he’s trying to find a friend to stay with,” The Writer answers. “How did he even get caught up in all of that?” I ask sincerely. “So after his whole modeling thing didn’t happen, my friend helped him get this job as a waiter at a nice restaurant where he was making good money. But he found out he could just get unemployment even though it was only half of what he was making, so he quit. Only, he can’t make rent.” “Why did he quit?” I ask, confused. “He did this same thing when he lived with me. When he was 19, I got him a job at my friend’s restaurant and three months later I came home when he was supposed to be at work. He told me that he was young, that he shouldn’t have to work, that he should just be enjoying life.” “Are you serious?” I ask. I’ve pretty consistently maintained two jobs at a time since I was 16 on top of a full time school load, so when people get into this kind of idiocy, it pisses me off. “The problem is,” The Writer continues, “he hasn’t been in New York long enough to qualify for unemployment, so he had to go through California and get all of this proof that he moved to New York in search of work that he couldn’t find here. Anyway, now his checks are being sent to my house because it’s his last permanent address, and he doesn’t know where he’s living, and I have to deposit them for him.”

“He sounds…” “He’s a mess,” The Writer says. “But I feel bad for him. He’s never had real parents.” “Oh,” I say. “Yeah, like his mom didn’t know who his father was, but she was dating this guy, and she left them when Dalton was two. How fucked up is that? Leaving your two year old son. But this guy raised him for a few years and I guess was good to him, was like his dad. I don’t know, then he lived with his grandmother…” “And then he lived with you,” I think to myself. Even though he’s not quite a decade older, it’s always seemed to me that The Writer was kind of like a parent to his ex. More that he took care of him, than cared for him. I wonder if that’s how he feels toward me. But the comparisons definitely aren’t equal. They had something more tangible. Dalton is exactly a week older than me, which makes the difference in our journeys that much more contrasted. Although I haven’t met him, in many ways, I feel older than him. Much older. He hasn’t even started college yet. But then again, he was basically on his own at eighteen. Or two, depending on how you look at it.

“When he was twenty, he had a lot of freetime…because he wasn’t working. So he was on this whole kick to find his mom, and I was like ‘why do you want to find the woman who abandoned you?’ I hate her.” I don’t know if he really doesn’t understand, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was legitimately didn’t. “Have you met her?” I ask. “Yeah. He finally found her, and she has this new family–a husband and two kids. I guess I should kind of feel bad for her too. Like when Dalton went over one time, she made ‘spaghetti’ by which I mean she microwaved Ez-mac noodles and poured ketchup on them.” “How very Reagan.”

“But one time, she came to visit him here, and we went out to dinner. The check came and she just looked at me. Like she was waiting for me to take my wallet out. No intention of paying. So I sat there. We sat there for about twenty minutes before I finally just paid. How fucked up is that? You go to dinner with the son you abandoned, your 20 year old son. And you expect his 25 year old boyfriend to pay?” Wait! Those ages in no way add up. Yes, sadly, an age discrepancy is the only thing I’m taking away from this story. “I’m sorry, how old were you?” I laugh.  “Fine, maybe I was like 26,” he mumbles. “Uh huh. Maybe something like that,” I say rolling my eyes.

“I think you’d get along. Like each other. You and Dalton.” “Yeah? Why’s that?” I ask. “You’re both really smart, funny, sensitive.” “Yeah, I have a feeling he wouldn’t really like me too much,” I say in kind of a high, questiony voice.

When The Writer got back from Coachella, there was a Facebook interaction on his wall that went like this:

The Writer: Coachella was so awesome!

Bradley: jealous. i wanted to go.
Dalton: ^????

For those of you who don’t speak bitch, that last part translates to “Who is this little fucker, why is he talking to you, and why are you even Facebook friends with him?” Yes, I’m sure Dalton would just adore me.

“I need a vacation,” The Writer groans. “Then you should go,” I tell him. “My mom wants to go to Europe with me, but that’s not a vacation. That’s cruel and unusual. Being alone with her for more than a few hours would just be…ugh.” “What if your brother went with you?” “That’d be worse.” “Your dad?” I suggest. “Pure torture. The more of them, the greater the torture.” “So who would you go with?” “I don’t know.” He opens his laptop to start looking at destinations. “I want to go to Costa Rica. You should come,” he suggests. “Trust me, I would if I had the money.” “It’s only a few hundred dollars,” he says, which is nice except I’m about two weeks from being broke. “How about we work on this script, sell it, make some money, then we’ll talk.” So we do.

The Writer likes my ideas but likes his better, which is honestly fine by me. I take some notes, and he assigns me to write a mini outline. I tell him I’ll work on it in New York, and he emails me another of his scripts to read–this one a TV pilot. “When am I going to read something you’ve written?” He asks. “Soon,” I promise.

I go home and pack, then head to the airport–Bradley drives me this time. By 11:30 PM, I’m in the air.

Day 2: Empire State Fuckery

“Sometimes I feel like being gay is a full-time job. Do straight people ever feel straight? There are moments when I feel extra gay…and I’m not even sure what that means.” –Ryan O’Connell

I don’t actually land in New York until 7 AM. I love everything about being home. I love that New Yorkers get off the plane in half the time it takes normal people. I love that they’re not afraid to shove past the obliviously slow. I love the air, it’s infectious ambiance. New York has a morose, quiet dawn. It’s a tiny sliver in time just as the night’s party dust has settled, as though the city is taking a deep inhale before it’s rhythmic launch into a new day.

Yes, I’m cracked out against the calm, having only slept three hours. Luckily, that’s my default New York state of mind. There’s no way I’m taking the subway into Manhattan–I’ve been away too goddam long, and I want to watch her as I come in across the bridge. This is the longest I’ve been away since I was seventeen. When I moved to L.A. I was fine with my decision to leave New York, but I was missing something. It was as though I’d lost my second heartbeat. But sometimes we must leave behind what we know and love in order to grow. All we can do is try our best and hope the future will be worth what we give up.

I hail a cab and when the driver asks me where I’m going, all I can say is “home.” When I finally arrive at my friend’s apartment, I fork over the fifty dollar fair. That’s when Ann comes running at me, screaming. She’s still in her pajamas and yesterday’s make up, so you know this is a special occasion. She never leaves her apartment unless she’s all done up. Period. I drop my bags and run at her too, then she jumps and I hug-catch her, her magnificent boobs cushioning the collision. “I missed you!” She shrieks. “I missed you too! And New York. God, did I miss New York.” I’m almost in tears. I can’t believe I ever left.

We walk to our old little hangover diner where I order half the menu and stuff my face while we catch up. Ann was my best friend in college. We were next door neighbors freshman year, and I essentially moved into her apartment sophomore year. Then, we studied abroad in Italy together for a semester. We were also out-of-our-fucking-minds insane for about 80% of that time. A nice euphemism we use to describe our sophomore year of college is “excessive.” During that time, I shirked as much responsibility as I could manage while still keeping up appearances, and we’d stay up doing drugs, drinking, dancing–everything under the sun–until the sun literally came up. Or as normal people call it, chipping away at our insanity. Ann’s crazy ex boyfriend and I even exchanged blowjobs one time, but she doesn’t like to talk about that. Not that it’s even close to our craziest stories, (mostly because both parties were sober at the time). But when we were being more “excessive,” we were known to have multi-partner bisexual relations, black-out crying sessions in the bathroom, wild dancing sessions, break-out Broadway performances in inappropriate locales, find needlessly creative new ways to abuse substances, old-fashioned binge drink, and even had an interesting celebrity extension or two. Those were the days.

I finish my multi-course breakfast food, and we walk back to Ann’s apartment. These days, she’s a bartender at a nice Italian restaurant and has to go to work, so I take a nap. When I get up, I walk around the city just taking it in. The lights, the energy, the people, the crazy. Again: how did I ever leave?

Later on, I meet Ann at her restaurant and order myself my second grand meal of the day, along with a fancy drink that she shakes up and garnishes. “Thanks, sugar,” I say with a giggle and slide a couple dollar bills in her cleavage. At close, we head to another area of the restaurant where I meet the rest of her co-workers, and we throw back a couple of drinks. Someone offers me a cigarette. I don’t really want it, but I can hardly pass up the opportunity to smoke inside a restaurant in post-Giuliani New York…so I indulge. Ann introduces me to her gay co-worker, and we head across the street to a trendy bar where they buy some drugs from a cute bartender. We probably drink close to $100 worth between the three of us, but Cute Bartender (cuter by the drink, I might add), only charges thirty. To show their gratitude, they tip $30–apparently this is a regular thing. Ann’s co-worker Tim tries to get me to go to the bathroom with him and get high, but like I said, those were the days. I pass. Tim gets a little pissy, and when he leaves for the bathroom, Ann asks if I’m interested in him. “No, not really,” I tell her. Once upon a time, I would’ve probably gone along with it or at least teased the idea. But his insecurities are showing, and they’re rather unflattering. And although I officially ended my vow of celibacy upon touch down on the JFK runway, I’m still kind of messed up about The Writer.

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Klub Kinder

July 2, 2011

“There are two things people want more than sex and money…recognition and praise.-Mary Kay Ash

Likely off eating shrooms in Palm Springs with his friends, I haven’t seen The Writer since before he bailed on my party. But it’s the weekend, and true to my fiery young gay spirit, I’m ready to drink, dance, and get dirty! I call Trick Bradley, who answers with a prolonged “Hey.” First, I tell him that Turtle won’t be messing with us again and that Clark assured me that Turtle would apologize to us in person the next time we crossed paths. “Oh,” he says. “Did I tell you about the text he sent me when I got home Thursday night?” “No!” I exclaim. “He said, ‘I hope you enjoy your tragic fake friends.'” I bust out in laughter. “Is he serious?” But there’s more. Trick Bradley forwards me this message he got from Turtle some time after Clark “talked” to him: “You weren’t the one I was mad at the other night, I was just hurt that you ignored me because I thought we were going to hang out this week. I thought you’d at least text me and instead I run into you with The Writer’s friend? He was the one who really escalated everything by putting himself in the middle of something that was none of his business. And he took you away from me in the middle of our talk. That’s what pushed me over the edge. And I was drunk so…” There are just no words! “Did you respond to him?” I ask. “No. Should I?” “Definitely not. He’s like half ape, half mean girl.” I’m so embarrassed for gaykind that someone this immature even exists that I nearly forget to make plans with Bradley. “Wait! We have to go out tonight!”

Just before ten, I go through my wardrobe. What to wear? I consider a few outfits but ultimately decide I don’t feel like changing. However, I want to make a splash so I throw on a little black cardigan and my pink shades. A few minutes later, Bradley picks me up in his dad’s car. “Where’s your car?” I ask. “It’s in the shop,” he answers. “Oh. What happened?” “It crashed.” “It crashed, or you crashed it?” I inquire. “Technically, it crashed. I wasn’t conscious,” he shares. “Oh my god, what happened!” “I fell asleep and woke up crashing into the car in front of me going 95 miles an hours,” he says. Usually, this would be a rather alarming story, but in Bradley’s case it seems pretty typical. “Were you drinking? Were there cops?” “No the other people like got out and were like it’s fine. They didn’t want to call the cops I guess. But I wasn’t drinking, I was just like super tired,” he says. I shake my head, then facepalm.

Twenty minutes later, we’re in a gay bar that’s pretty low key. We each down a cheap drink, and I’m abruptly bored. Desperately so. So much so that I text Dan. “What are you up to tonight?” He tells me he’s in the bar next door–it has a good dance scene on Saturdays, so I tell him we’ll meet him. Hut when we go outside there’s a swarm of people waiting to get in. “I don’t do lines,” I inform Bradley. (This impatience is left over from my years in New York.) I text Dan and let him know that there’s a line AND cover, which is unacceptable. I grow impatient waiting for a reply, so I check out the bar patio wall. It’s perfectly hoppable, temptingly so. I look at Bradley, but he doesn’t catch on. Then I get a reply from Dan. “Tell the promoter you’re my friend.” Marvelous. I make my way over to the promoter and introduce myself then inform him that I’m a friend of Dan’s. “Nice to meet you,” he says. “I don’t know who Dan is.” Annoyed, I apologize and start texting Dan again when Bradley speaks up, “Oh. I know that guy.” The guy holding the list hears him, and his face lights up. “Hey! How are you?” Bradley does his oblivious act, flirting with the guy for a minute or two. He doesn’t really acknowledge me, which is fine because the guy is so into Bradley that we get to cut the line and get in for free.

I run into Dan the second we walk in, and he’s zealous as ever about our reunion. “Nice cardigan!” He says enthusiastically. “Where’d you get it?” Before I can answer, someone taps him on the shoulder, and I use the distraction to take refuge outside on the patio. Unfortunately, Turtle is also on the patio and as much fun as a public apology might be, I decide it’s best saved for another time. I grab Bradley and lead him to the bar where we take a shot. I leave the bartender a fat tip, and he starts to flirt with me between pouring drinks. Unfortunately, I’m fairly certain he’s straight. On the bright side, he tips me off to the open bar and promises to hook me up with a strong drink. Seven minutes and five dollars later, (see, I am an excellent tipper!) I’m double-fisting two drinks, one of which I pass to Bradley before grabbing a third, and we run upstairs.

Having chugged half of my what is essentially cranberry flavored vodka on the way up the stairs Read the rest of this entry »


Tic-Tac-Tequila

June 23, 2011

“Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer sex raises some pretty good questions.” –Woody Allen

The rest of the week is turbulent at best. There’s no more talk of plans for my birthday, and The Writer and I don’t seem comfortable together. Except when we’re sleeping. Thursday morning, I ask him if he wants to go dancing at Tigerheat, but I don’t get a response until I’m leaving work: “I don’t know.” I’m uncertain how to feel about the weird air that I’ve returned to, but the tension makes my insides feel like twisting scrap metal. Regardless, I won’t let this keep me down. Instead, I call Trick Bradley, who I’ve been getting along with recently. We went out for a drink in WeHo and hung out a few other times. He broke up with his boyfriend, which was a bummer, but he handled it well–better than I would’ve–and he’s actually pretty fun to hang out with. Nice kid, too. “Let’s go dancing tonight,” I say. “Okay. Is The Writer coming?” “No,” I say decidedly, “we’re going by ourselves.”

Bradley suggests we go early, given the line at the club can be utterly ridiculous. Normally this isn’t a problem since I go with LAGs of status, who have connections on the inside or who are on the inexplicable perma-list of V.I.P.s. Despite arriving early, there’s no parking to be found, so Bradley and I go splitsies on a sketchy pay lot a few blocks away and make our way to the venue. It’s 10PM, a little more than an hour earlier than I’ve ever been, and there’s no line. Despite this, the bouncer makes us wait for a couple of minutes before acknowledging our presence. What’s worse is, I have to pay for admission, something I’ve never done before–liberation is a luxury that comes at a cost. And that cost is $10. (But honestly, don’t they know who I am by now?) The steep cover is ridiculous considering when we walk in, it’s a ghost town. It’s like being the first one to show up to a high school dance. So we retreat to the upstairs “bleachers.” Sitting alone and bored to death, Bradley’s phone buzzes. It’s a text from The Writer: “Pick me up on your way.” “What should I say?” Bradley asks, probably embarrassed by how early we’re here. I grab his phone and write back, “We’re at a bar nearby, so I can’t.” I’m annoyed that The Writer ignored me all day and that he’s now trying to piggyback on my plans for the evening. Plus, why did he text Bradley instead of me? He’s acting strangely. But tonight isn’t about The Writer–it’s about fun. And since it’s cinco de mayo, I’m on a tequila kick (warning: danger), so I order a shot and a margarita to chase. And we’re on our way.

…Only not, because the place is still empty 30 minutes later. Even as it starts to fill in, I don’t see anyone who I recognize from our birds eye view. Probably because everyone I know is smart enough to know not to go out dancing before ten. “Give me your phone,” I demand of Bradley. You know how scientists design some substance that can withstand like a million degrees of heat, but they only use it for some dumb experiment then it sits in a lab for a decade until someone from the military is like, “oh yeah, we definitely could’ve used that,” so they buy the patent and spray said substance on everything they can find? Well I’m pretty sure grindr was created under similar circumstances prior to its proliferation as cruising gaydar. Yes, grindr might finally do me some good, so I launch the app to see who’s nearby. It looks like The Writer is a little less than a mile away. I can’t help but read through his profile…which says he’s “24” (not even close, although I thought he was 26 when I first met him) and “straight-acting” — his words. I hate this term. So what? You’re into vag? Great, then go fuck a girl, asshole. There’s nothing that isn’t condescending about the phrase, which in every way connotes that there is something inferior and behaviorally wrong with being gay. I look at his picture one more time, then go back to searching for another recognizable face. And I see one: Turtle. “Fuck,” Bradley says. “That guy keeps texting me.” “He’s such a creep,” I say. Turtle’s kid friend has since returned to wherever he came from, so Turtle has moved on to searching out any new potential too-young-to-drink boys to victimize. I was wrong. Nothing good ever comes of grindr.

“Let’s go downstairs,” I suggest, and we do. And it’s our lucky day! A random tequila-sampling booth is set up in the lobby, so I New York my way through the crowd of sleeveless pretty boys and shrieking queens up to the table and down what I can get my hands on. “I’m feeling better now,” I tell Bradley. He looks at me like “whatever,” and I lead him to the VIP lounge. “How are we going to get in?” He asks. “I pulled your ass over a bar patio wall last week, this is easy apple pie,” I tell him, not particularly sure what it is I’m saying. It takes less than twenty seconds for the bouncer to be so engrossed in some mundane distraction that we walk right past him.

Near the VIP bar, William is waving at me. William is a Tigerheat regular, friend of The Writer, and politically angry. And usually not in the good way. The Writer also informed me (on the night that he told me he just wanted to be friends before trying to get me to have a threesome with him) that he gave William his permission to sleep with me. Which through the lens of sexual politics I find completely appalling, but in the moment works well for me because William is looking fine tonight. “Want a drink?” He asks wrapping his arm around my neck, his big bicep bulging out of his shirt and against Read the rest of this entry »


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