To understand the week, one has to understand the month prior – a month of straightness, weekends spent fixing the bedroom formerly known as ours: wall paper removal, painting, bonding with Carrie. Enough to re-kindle my Achilles heel: being only a little gay. Concurrently Phil disappeared. E-mails to nowhere it seemed. Of course I am aware of his technological challenges but why let reason stand in the path of paranoia. “He doesn’t like me anymore. No, impossible, his steady must think I am around too much, and wants me out.” Raging ego with healthy paranoia: a combustible mixture.
The week is already looking a bit complicated, and it has not even started. Thursday a child returns from camp and that evening is the gay men’s book club: I swear I will get there some day. I still read the books knowing that I may not make it. Friday – well, if you live on planet earth, you may have heard a book is being released. It is also the third Friday of the month – married gay group.
I check my cell last Sunday and a voice mail – Phil’s e-mail is down and he thinks maybe I fell off the edge. We go with a novel concept – we call each other. He is available and while I will not find myself in the City on business, it is a quick enough drive, particularly in the summer months. So Tuesday it is – 7:15 PM at his apartment: Maybe play a bit and then a drink and dinner and surely a quick ride home, no train schedules for me. I get a spot in front of his apartment, good till 7 AM, not to worry.
Now it is time for Nate to show his past patterns, the seemingly innate ability to get it wrong. Carrie knows where I am going and the assumption of my coming home. Why even discuss the alternative. I really do think I am coming home, but as Tuesday progresses I realize that when we made the plans, Phil had made a passing comment about spending the night. I realize that showing up at work the next day in the same shirt may be a bit much. Not a problem, I am not spending the night. Which is why I made a quick stop at Kohl’s for a cheapo golf shirt – just in case.
I get to Phil’s and he is still suited up – literally – and needs to get casual. Of course between suit and casual one has to pass through naked, a rather distracting spot. And we always knew we would play, so why not. Three hours later I realize that the cheapo shirt was a good purchase. And I wonder if Carrie is expecting me – as I had left it. I can still go home, but it will be a late night and which is worse – the night out or that creaking door at some ungodly hour. I want to communicate and do the right thing so I call. She answers the phone and sounds quite chipper, that is until I ask the question. It seems, either possibility was fine with her, but the phone call was a bit much. The night out it will be.
Back to bed, its only 10:15, early by the gay clock. And we play some more. Now I have to express some admiration for you sex bloggers – either your memories are extraordinary or your narratives are composites because I could not write a blow by blow if I tried. And while I am not one to detail the sex – a thin veneer of modesty still remains – the fact is that we played – gently, roughly, wildly. We reaffirmed that versatile is more than CL code. Uncharacteristically, I let go, I went with the moment, with the flow. And we had fun. Sometime around 3:30 it became clear that sleep was preferable to dinner. The next morning I wake early, I have to move my car. Might as well just head to work.
What happened next is a mini-post of its own and we will get there. But the important stuff had already happened.
I have hung on – desperately at times – to some myths: The myth of being a little gay, the myth of getting harder for Carrie than for the guys, all of which is really the myth of going back. The myths have some truth – that is from where they derive their power. But on this night I had no “performance” issues, no trouble playing all night, a long all night. I had let go. A little gay? I think not.
The next evening at dinner, Carrie glances towards me – I am wearing on an old tee – and points out I should be wearing a higher collar, something that will hide the hickey better. She points out that she hasn’t seen a hickey on someone over sixteen in ages. I suppose I blush, a little giggle, and of course change shirts. But I keep thinking about being sixteen and realize that the night before I was sixteen, making up for what I missed along the way. Phil, also late to the dance, listens to me say “I’m making up for lost time.” His soft response: “Don’t I know it.”
It’s too late to make it right,
Probably wouldn’t if I could.
The week does continue, times of thought, times of family and right choices, times of floods and explosions. But most of all times of reality. It is late now – tomorrow we can continue.