Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Secret

Leaves Carpet the Earth

The secret of Fall
Is the secret of Man
That both seek to conquer
Though neither one can

Their hues are most brilliant
Like rose in the sky
Their beauty is greatest
As they wait to die

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I am not sure how I feel about the way I behaved this weekend.

A part of me knew, knew before my dazed and drowsy head touched the pillow Saturday morning, that the way I had conducted myself was wrong, but that alone was not cause for great moral trepidation.

People make poor choices all the time, and then, deriving fresh reason from their sullied courses of action, resolve to do better. They don't dwell on misdeeds already done.

What caused me such disquiet was the pleasure I took in committing my offenses and the startling realization that, though I was aware what I had done was immoral, I had every intention of repeating it at the next possible opportunity.

I still do.

In fact, I'm eager to go further.

This streak, emerging seemingly out of nowhere, has left me disturbed and a little afraid, but has simultaneously tickled a dark sensuousness to which I long to surrender. These mere thoughts unsettle my conscience and make me wonder if something of my essence is in peril.

When I was younger I always prided myself on being a good person, but wonder if that was ever true. As a boy I stood in resolute denial of my sexuality, and between being unattracted to girls and denying myself attraction to boys, I had no options.

Now, I suddenly find myself in a situation wherein I am considered quite desirable, and with the wide availability of partners such a status affords all of the past's moral objections have fallen away like a gauze curtain torn from a window.

Were those remonstrances always a function of practicality, or was there ever more to them?

I'm doing things I never would have considered before, with a brazenness that borders on reckless.

Friday night in the club, I approached a cute man I'd been eyeing for some time, stood before his tall form, and looked up into his face dolefully.

He appeared to be between twenty-three and twenty-five, and he laughed at me in the dismissive way that older men sometimes do.

I narrowed my eyes and opened my hands in challenge.

"Do you really not want me?" I asked.

The smile dropped from his face and his eyes widened. He approached me to dance.

I loved the look of fright on his visage, loved how gazes shifted my way from across the dance floor, loved seeing the display of delicious flesh arrayed before me and knowing I could have my pick from its stock, that I could have as many samples as I wished, for prettiness comes in many forms and to taste only one is to abdicate from life. I deplored and adored this at once.

I've not actually had sex yet, but find myself fantasizing about how I might plunge into its depths for the first time. Beside this pounding urge is an inner spirit that decries my depravity, but even as I absorb that criticism I am overcome with pleasure at the notion of being depraved.

This doesn't feel right, but I enjoy it so much.

I don't think I'm a bad person. I don't know what to do.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Drunken Post

It’s about four o’clock in the morning right now.

I just got back to my dorm from going to a gay club, and I plan to go to another gay club next weekend, for Halloween. Woo, so much fun.

The first time I went to a gay club was earlier this month, and on that occasion I found myself dancing with a really cute guy from the metro whom I envied, for he shared himself with two young men and both wanted him.

Tonight, I became that boy.

First, I started making out with a Hispanic guy who had a ponytail, and then I dragged a black guy into it. After tonguing the Hispanic for a bit, I turned, not wanting to be selfish, to the black one, and alternated back and forth. They didn’t mind taking turns.

Then I saw a cute white boy, a college student whom I’d picked out early on but been too shy to approach. I beckoned him to me, but he seemed unsure, so I did it again. When he finally came, I abandoned the other two without a thought and started kissing him. I asked him several questions and was too intoxicated to understand the answers, but I certainly enjoyed the kissing.

I can pick who I want and do what I want.

I love the power in that.

When I was younger I despised people who gained things through their looks, but that was before I realized such standards would ever apply to me, and now I undertake to verify them with something bordering on vengeance.

I seized the white boy’s chin and made him kiss me. He complied.

I told him to wait while I used the bathroom, and he did.

Then, though, I got kicked out for being too drunk (I only had four, but there I am, 127lbs, and what’s to be done?), and spent the rest of the night bored and wasted and horny and hoping the white guy didn’t think I blew him off.

I can’t wait for next weekend.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hair Update

It's been a little while, but it's time for one of these again. They seemed to come so quickly, one right after the other, in the summertime, but since school's commencement the space between each month feels like it's grown.

This is what my hair looked like last month:

My Hair

Boy With a Long Blonde Ponytail

Longer Than I Thought

Here is what it looks like now:

My Hair

My Ponytail

A Very Long Ponytail

My hair has never lain down normally. Back in high school, I used to be so envious of the boys with stick-straight locks that stayed flat on their faces, hair so sleek and free of curls that hair ties would slide right off of it.

I have never been able to achieve that, and, chemical aids notwithstanding, I never will. My hair is bushy, so thick as to be unnatural, and very wavy.

"Getting layers really wouldn't help you," a hairdresser once told me, looking down at my blonde head in pity. "Your hair wouldn't lay flat anyway because of the curls, and when the layers started to grow in they'd push up on the longer sections. It would actually probably make it worse."

The two times I grew it out, I just suffered through the ungainly volume until it was long enough to put into a ponytail, but length can only weigh it down so much.

I can and literally have hidden things in my hair before.

One of the most annoying aspects of its unusual size is that it does not show its length; it's been growing for over three years now and still bunches up just below my shoulders. The only way you can really see the change from month to month is to look at the pictures of my ponytail in multiple hair-ties.

That being said, I like it.

It's been getting caught in everything lately: under my backpack straps, beneath my shoulders when I sleep, and behind my back when I lean against anything. The latter case sometimes results in my trying to move my head forward and having it jerked back, which, usually in a public place, causes me to slam the back of my skull into a wall.

It's okay, though. I enjoy having it this long.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One Day

One day I will be free of the people who have tormented me, the people who have done me wrong, the people whose crimes still haunt my dreams.

One day the memories of those acts will not inspire the rage of the unavenged, but will fill me with happiness at what I broke away from, at what I left behind. One day their image will stand before the portrait of my life and will be nothing more than a shabby rubbing put next to a masterpiece.

One day I will look into the sunset and it will be mine, seen through windows that are mine, curtains that are mine, while I lean against a table that is mine and prepare warm food that is mine for loved ones who are mine, and to whom I belong.

One day I will control my own life and answer to no master, and in the lives I can influence I will spread joy and kindness, and even in anger I will never be what they were.

One day I will show someone an example of restraint and nobility, and forgiveness.

One day I will escape, and I will never have to scream, in anger or sorrow or fear, ever again.

One day they will be a faint recollection, and the iron fingers that clasped around my throat won't be even a whisp in a dim nightmare.

One day I will bask in thankfulness and joy at how lucky I am.

One day I will have a child, who I will love and discipline and provide for.

One day I will do what I wish, and will be questioned by no one.

One day, no person will impinge my honor or soil my reserve.

I will build this.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

At Home

A Fall Sunset

Today was a day to sit around and do nothing.

Major University is closed Monday in honor of Columbus Day, and I have no classes on Fridays, so Thursday night I left campus and came home. The air has been crisp and cold lately, the sky that gorgeous shade of dark blue it only assumes as Fall transforms the landscape and chills the soaring ceiling of the Earth.

The blustery weather was enough to change my mother's mind on an issue she'd previously said was already decided.

"You're lucky," she said as she got out of my father's truck this morning, walking across the driveway under steel clouds as a shiver-inducing wind blew her hair. "I'm making soup."


For those of you who aren't aware, my mother is famous for her home-made chicken noodle soup, which her mother taught her how to cook and which she in turn has fed to us since we were small children. It's among the things I most enjoy eating, but is very definitely a seasonal food; this dish can only fully be appreciated in cold weather, which means that the last batch usually comes in February or so. Though in this state spring is far from begun in February (it snowed this year in April), winter is waning then, and the soup somehow doesn't feel right under those circumstances.

The making of the inaugural bowl each Fall is one of the surest indicators in our family that autumn has actually begun, and we usually mark the tradition in October or late September (though last year, emergency circumstances moved the first soup up to August).

My parents unloaded the groceries they'd purchased, assembled the ingredients on the kitchen table, and got to work.

Mom and Dad Preparing the Food

The soup takes several hours to cook, so in the meantime my mother made muffins to tide everyone (including my father) over.

As we sat at the kitchen table gobbling the baked goodies, she cut up carrots, celery, and onions, let them boil on the stove with chicken broth and diced tomatoes, and then put the chicken in the pot closed the lid.

Pots at the Ready

Waiting As It Steams

Thomas, Pie, and I passed the waiting time playing out back in the chilly air, which made us anticipate the soup's completion all the more. Fall's simple drop in temperature spreads hunger on the very wind. I've never been able to explain it.

Pie is now on a community soccer team and wants to be outside kicking the ball around at all hours of the day. The truth is, she's quite good at it, better in fact than we could ever actually tell her; she easily outmaneuvers the other children in her league (let alone on her team), and it's completely normal for her to outscore anyone on either side during any given game.

Pie Goes After the Ball

She knows that she enjoys the sport and would like to think she has a knack for it, but because she's six she doesn't realize how much better she is than everyone else on the field.

Witholding this information from her, while still providing strong encouragement, is a wise thing to do; Pie, for all her sweetness, has a hypercompetitive streak. No matter how much we tell her that the game is about having fun, she has to win. It's actually something I admire about her.

Thomas and Pie

After she went in, Thomas and I stayed outside, tossing the football back and forth. Once we'd done this for a while (and marveled at the surprising accuracy and strength of my throws), Thomas decided to start punting in random directions, with the not-so-veiled goal of hitting either the house or one of the lights along the path to our pool.

We continued happily on this course until a stray kick sent the football crashing against the kitchen window, which brought my father outside to ask what we were doing.

Around two o'clock in the afternoon, the soup was done.

The finished result was delicious, a mix of soft noodles, tender chicken, and succulent vegetables soaked in a hearty broth.

This soup is a hallowed favorite from childhood, and I'm known to eat a lot of it. Beautiful Cousin claimed I had four bowls, though I only counted three, but regardless of the number it was thoroughly enjoyed.

We took turns ladling the delicious stew from its pot, then retreated with our bowls into the living room, where the ceramic and broth warmed our laps through blankets and sweat pants as we settled in for a long movie.

Delicious Soup

The Finished Product

Our entire Saturday was occupied with watching DVDs, bantering about the weather, and consuming ridiculous amounts of Fudge Cicles.

Every now and again, a person needs to spend a day refraining from doing anything of consequence, needs to regard leaving the house as arduous and changing out of one's pajamas an undue burden.

"I took off my pajamas, showered, and then put another pair of pajamas on," Thomas laughed tonight.

Days like this are poisonous in any amount, but as a rare indulgence they renew and replenish the spirit.

Tomorrow, I'll work on my book and go out with friends. Today, I had soup.

Golden Leaves and Golden Skies

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Three Years Ago

Ponytail Severed

I am a writer, a storyteller. I always have been.

As a small child going to daycare outside of Native City, I used to make up tall tales on the spot and tell them to the staff, who encouraged the tendency.

“You should keep making stories, BB,” one young woman said to me when I was about four or five. “You’re good at it.”

Perhaps for that reason, I have always understood the narrative of my own life as a journey, one sometimes mythical, one marked by several important dates on which fate spun. Some of these dates have been magical, and others have been horrific.

December 27, 2001, sent me soaring into barrage of beautiful lightning sparks that illuminated my existence for the next two years and five months, that began the happiest time I’ve ever known, even with its flaws.

That day saved my life. I’ve commemorated it every year since, and this December 27th, eight years later, I will do so again.

Some dates have been more ambiguous, neither good nor bad.

July 29, 2004, was the day I arrived in Central City, Deep South State, and began the most intriguing, glamorous, and heartbreaking saga I’ve yet experienced.

Along with the good and the in-between, there are some that are purely bad.

On October 6, 2006, three years ago today, I was experiencing the dramatic beginning of a severe emotional collapse, one that, before it bottomed out, left me near suicide. I’d spent the month before crying my eyes out every day, weeping when I woke, weeping when I ate, weeping when I showered, and sobbing myself to sleep, before sometime in September I lost the ability to shed tears. They wouldn’t fall from my eyes again for two years.

At the time, at eighteen, I was obsessed with the past; with the glories of years gone by, with whether I’d ever attain such fulfillment again, with simultaneously longing for prior times and wanting desperately to escape every vestige of who I’d once been.

I’d been growing my hair for four years at that point, since eighth grade. Somehow, in the back of my tortured mind, ridding myself of it would tear away the pain of my memories and the pain of the present.

I walked into a hair salon on October 6, 2006, and asked the stylist on duty to cut off my seventeen-inch ponytail. That being done I shaved my head, and, four months before Britney Spears made it the cool thing to do, was plummeting off the deep end.

The cutting of my hair was not a bad thing in itself, but it was symptomatic of the spiritual tailspin I was only beginning to ride, of deep-seated issues that hadn’t even begun to flex their excruciating muscles.

I was a young man in peril, and I got so much worse before I got better. When I think of myself as an eighteen-year-old boy, lost and alone in the world, his serious problems mocked or downplayed or ignored, and compounded every day, I don’t know how I made it. I thought I was a man, but I was a child, a child who nearly died.

At the end, in the moment Death stared into my eyes with its cold gaze and willed me forward into nothingness, I didn’t believe in God or humanity. It was awful.

Three years have passed since then, and time brought so many gentle changes.

The growth of my hair, now quite long again, is a superficial indication of the tremendous growth I’ve experienced within, just as the shearing of an eighteen-year-old’s long locks could not begin to encapsulate the agony he would soon endure. For everything, though, and despite my past assertions to the contrary, I wouldn’t undo it. Surviving that made me so strong.

Today I trust my own instincts, embrace those who embrace me, and spurn those who don’t. Today I have confidence in my talents but resist the hollow comforts of hubris. Today I am a fundamentally better human being than I was three years ago.

During that crisis, I often said I didn’t know who I was before it began. Now, I don’t know who I was as it unfolded.

For that, I am so blessed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Mistress Fall

Autumn Creeps In

The fleeting beauty breaks my heart
And takes away my words
The mountains laced with finest gold
The mourning song of birds

The trees are hung with champagne coins
Like toys at Christmastime
The leaves recede from summer's peak
And wither on the vine

The mistress Fall has barely come
She tiptoes through the fields
Careful to make herself known
But not her full strength wield

The grasses glow in majesty
Not yellow, nor quite green
The subtle turn to Autumn
Is more felt right now than seen

It won't be long before she moves
Her gaze upon the land
And then the red starting to bloom
Will flourish by her hand

It will erupt, a symphony
Inferno-fuse of light
For one brief moment all the world
Will glow sun-fire bright

Then the leaves will fall away
And come down from the trees
The vibrant orange will retreat
To deadest brown with ease

The stalks of copper will subside
To fields of rocky dust
The barren branches, stripped and stark
Will see a landscape crushed

The time 'till then is but a blink
In Nature's ageless eye
In whose gaze a thousand years
Pass through an evening sky

But who cares of decay to come
Or that this breath will pass
When for one gorgeous second reigns
A beauty that can't last

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My First Gay Club

Last night was a revealing experience for me.

After weeks of meaning to go but being unable, of planning the trip and then having people cancel, a group of friends and I finally trekked into Marble City and went to The Village, a gay club.

I had never been to such an establishment before and wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t even know what to wear; beforehand I got input from two different friends, one of whom recommended a dressy shirt and the other of whom said that dressy would definitely be inappropriate. Because the second friend knew the place we were going pretty well, I trusted him and paired a black band tee-shirt with dark blue jeans and a red Hollister jacket.

On the one occasion I went to a straight club, I was approached and groped by a random stranger, so I was a bit nervous about what to expect in a hang-out specifically designated for homosexuals.

“BB, that’s probably going to happen a lot,” a friend of mine named Freddy Mercury said as we sat aboard the train on the way into the city.

Freddy Mercury met me my Sophomore Year, before I was out. The first time we ever spoke was when he hit on me one Saturday night, telling me I was cute and that we should hang out. When I didn’t reciprocate, he had the decency to leave me alone, unlike some others I’ve known. We hadn’t talked since that time, but with me being openly gay this year and making more gay friends it turns out that we have a lot of mutual acquaintances.

His warning was prescient; the come-ons began before we even entered the club.

Freddy and I were standing outside, Gay Black Friend having gone in to find a girl who was supposed to meet us, when two men got out of a cab and walked straight over. They were older, probably in their late twenties or early thirties, but reasonably cute.

“Hey there, guys,” one of them, a well-built blonde with close-cropped hair, said by way of greeting. “What are you doing out here?”

“Waiting for some girls,” Freddy replied.

“Oh,” he said. “Is that what’s required?”

“No,” Freddy said. “They’re just friends.”

“Just friends?” the man asked, turning to me. “And what is your name?”

“BB,” I said, extending my hand shyly.

“Hello, BB,” he said.

His friend said something to him, and they turned to go inside.

I stared at Freddy and started laughing.

“That happens all the time,” he assured me.

Turning to our left, we saw a very handsome young man with shaggy brown hair walking down the street towards the club. He’d been on the train with us, and Freddy had guessed him to be gay even though he’d gotten off at a different stop.

“You called it,” I told him.

The boy and his friends headed inside, and we followed shortly thereafter.

We were joined by two friends of Gay Black Friend: Pretty Black Girl and Kind Black Girl, aged twenty-two and twenty-one.

At first I was reluctant to venture out onto the dance floor, but after one beer and a lot of encouragement, I was mingling with the crowd, where the reaction to me caused me a great deal of surprise.

I have never been attractive in the conventional model valued by straight society.

Thin and lithe, with a small waist and narrow shoulders, I don’t fit the athletic archetype so sought after by young women. The average co-ed looks for a man who could defend her, but I stopped growing at sixteen; I would be hard-pressed to defend myself against most men.

My facial features are soft and strongly resemble my birth-mother’s, giving me a somewhat feminine appearance that leads, even now, to my sometimes being mistaken for a girl.

And in a world of beer-guzzling, hairy-chested, scraggly-bearded men, I am the lone boy: the one who never got tall, the one who never filled out, the one who shaves once a week and can’t handle a single beer without getting buzzed, the one who looks so much younger than everyone else.

“How old are you?” Kind Black Girl asked me when I approached the bar to buy a drink.

“Twenty-one,” I answered.

Her eyes went wide.

“Are you serious?” she asked. “You look eighteen, and I mean eighteen at the most. You could be sixteen!”

“I know,” I sighed.

I’ve always been on the peripheral of the beautiful crowd, always outside that circle of desirability.

In the gay world, things are very different.

I glided onto the floor, edged along by Pretty Black Girl, and within moments a cute Asian guy was dancing with me.

He laughed at first when I sidled up next to him, but then he started to get into it, especially when I grinded on his leg, rubbed my chest against his, and moved my lips along his forehead.

“My boyfriend is jealous,” he said nervously into my ear after we’d been dancing for several minutes.

“Your boyfriend?” I asked seductively. I’d never pulled off seductive before in my life.

“Where is he?” I taunted.

“Right over there,” he said.

I smiled and pulled closer.

After a little while I drifted away and returned to Pretty Black Girl, who was smiling broadly and shooting me thumbs-up.

“Oh, my gosh, you did so well!” she exclaimed.

“He said his boyfriend was jealous,” I giggled, a little tipsy from the beer.

“His boyfriend?” she asked, her eyebrows narrowing. “Where’s his boyfriend?”

“Here,” I laughed.

“You got him away from his boyfriend?” she exclaimed.

“Yeah…” I responded. “Is that good?”

She hugged me and laughed.

“Yes, honey, that’s really good.”

The second guy I danced with was the one we’d been admiring on the train. His shirt was off by this point and his exquisite body was covered in sweat. I hadn’t realized how attractive he was, because he’d been fully clothed earlier, but now I saw a thin form that glistened with near perfection.

His impossibly-flat, rock hard stomach merged into hairless pectorals, and his delicate hands were constantly sweeping a mop of sweaty brown hair out of his pretty face. His lips invited me from the beginning, but getting at them was hard because he was so much taller than me.

He was dancing with two of us at once, and when he turned away from me I tested him a few times but starting to walk off. Always he pulled me back.

He kept turning my head in awkward directions with his hands, but he was so hot I didn’t really mind.

There was one thing that was bothering me, though: I wanted to be kissed. I’d made it my personal goal to have my first gay kiss before the end of the night, and I could see no one more beautiful to share it with.

I tried to catch him several times, but he kept nodding his head around and around.

Finally, when he was dancing on me from behind, it happened.

I turned my head to the side and angled it upward, while he, seeing what I was doing, angled his down. Our mouths searched for one another, but they were lost in a mass of long blonde locks, leading me to curse my hair for perhaps the first time in my life.

After a moment of searching, though, my lips met his. They brushed together for just a second, and a healthy amount of hair fell in between, but it counted.

A ding went off in my head.

I’d had my first kiss.

Then he reached down and grabbed me through my jeans.

I exclaimed loudly and backed away, but continued dancing with him.

After a while, the boy said that his friends wanted to leave, so I just walked away. Just like that.

I don’t sweat a lot, even when I should (I’ve sometimes wondered if there’s a problem), but he’d been pouring out moisture, and my shirt was soaked. Reasoning that there was no alternative, I took it off.

Then people really started to look.

I headed up onto one of the stages on either side of the room and joined Freddy, Gay Black Friend, Kind Black Girl, and Pretty Black Girl, who were all dancing there.

I danced with Pretty Black Girl.

There is something very flirty in me that gets unleashed when I’ve had even the tiniest bit of alcohol, and I’ve been known, despite being completely homosexual, to kiss girls when at parties. They, in turn, feel secure around me and indulge in these impulses, rationalizing perhaps that it doesn’t count because we’re really just good friends.

I bring this up because Pretty Black Girl, despite being gorgeous and having a wonderful body, insists that guys don’t find her attractive.

“The next time we come here you should get me good and drunk and take advantage of me,” I teased.

She laughed and said she’d have to take me up on it.

I was contemplating kissing her when a black man walked up to me and asked, “Can I dance with you?”

I looked at him.

He wasn’t my type at all, but he was there.

“Sure,” I said.

He started out gently, swaying and grinding. When I fell backward and nearly hit my head on the floor, he caught me, and, because I weigh nothing, swooped me back up.

“I got you,” he assured me.

He was much stronger than I, but I didn’t do too much to resist when he grabbed me by my waist and slammed me against a wall with as much effort as it would’ve taken him to lift a doll into the air.

We made out, but I’m really not sure why. I didn’t much care for it. I just kind of let it happen.

I’m glad that my first kiss, even if it was barely a kiss, was with someone I really found appealing.

I like my own body type, as I think many gay guys do. I don’t want someone who makes me look like a woman, nor someone who makes me look like a tree. I want an equal.

After a while I walked away from him. When he followed me, I dove into the crowd, lost him, and returned to the stage. I saw a really cute boy from my school and attempted to dance with him.

I backed in his direction, but when I turned around he’d rotated to the other side of the cluster we were in.

Pretty Black Girl swayed over to him with me, and this time it was a dead lock. He swerved and moved away.

“Whatever,” I said, genuinely shocked; it was the first time I’d been turned down. There had been one other guy who’d said no, but he was older and with his boyfriend.

“He’s an asshole,” Pretty Black Girl immediately said of the other boy. “Plus, you got three out of four, right?”

I smiled.

“True,” I said.

When we got outside, the other guys were bragging about numbers exchanged and Facebook requests obtained.

“I think BB outdid everyone, though,” Freddy Mercury said. “You made us all proud.”

“Really?” I said, surprised and delighted.

“Yeah,” he said. “We saw everything.”

Just then, the shirtless sweaty boy from the train appeared on the sidewalk.

“Freddy,” I said. “That’s one of the guys who kissed me! And he grabbed me, you know—down there.”

“Wait,” Freddy said. “You kissed him?”

I nodded.

“Fuck you, BB,” he said, but laughing. “I’ve been doing this for four years!”

After we’d dropped Gay Black Friend at his off-campus apartment and Freddy and I were alone in the car on the way back to school, he took the time to give me some advice about emerging into the gay world.

“Don’t let being gay define who you are,” he cautioned. “Don’t let that be all you’re about. I’m only telling you because you’re just now coming out, and it can be easy to want to give into it because it’s so shiny and new, but gay culture is a lot about self-destruction and nihilism. You never want to be the gay friend.”

“I’m not,” I said.

“I know you’re not,” he returned.

“And I won’t be,” I added.

“Right,” he said. “And don’t do cocaine.”

“Oh, yeah—what?” I exclaimed.

“A lot of gay guys get so sucked into the club scene that they wind up doing hard-core drugs,” he said.

I stared straight ahead, alarmed at the very thought.

“Trust me, that will never happen,” I promised. “And with regard to the whole gay thing…I’m not going to let that be my whole personality, but I would like to learn to dress better.”

“That’s fine,” Freddy said. “That can be done. I mean, look at all the attention you got tonight. If you had been dressed really nice, it would have been even more.”

“To tell you the truth, I was kind of surprised by that,” I confessed. “By the way people were with me.”

“BB,” Freddy said, as if were self-evident. “Look at you.”

This is very new territory for me. I’m not sure how to handle it. I’m proceeding with caution. But I’m trying to have fun.

Friday, October 2, 2009

What's Been Happening

The Circle of the Sky: The Moon on Her Throne

The last day of September was cold, cloudy, and stark. Robust wind blew through the Fall leaves as cold mist fell all day upon the school. It’s the kind of weather that we didn’t get last year until November, but we’ve had consistently autumn-like conditions since the beginning of the month, conditions that have grown stronger with time.

A Cloudy Path

Every year, including 2008, I felt as if I were grasping at straws, clinging desperately to every small sign of Fall, looking for the scarce indications that the season had come and deifying the few I found.

This time, though, it’s the real thing.

If this continues, I think it’s entirely conceivable that we could have snow in October.

I’ve enjoyed feeling this change on campus, walking to class in a soft jacket as I pass trees that are beginning to burn yellow and red. The thing is, it’s actually been cold, not just cool enough to justify wearing a jacket, but cold enough that you need to wear a jacket. Natural beauty and seasonal cheer (at least from where I sit) have been abundant on campus.

A Tree Bursts into Flames

Other things have been more mixed.

I’ve made an active effort to become more involved with gay people here, and my efforts have met some success. The thing is, while I have made some friends, I’m not “in” yet. I’m still really new to everything, but I figure that the type of people who’d withhold their companionship or make it conditional aren’t really the ones you want to be hanging out with anyhow.

I’ve met one of these already: his name is Flamer and he lives down the hall from me. At first I thought he was cool. I approached him outside of Student Newspaper, where he works in the advertising department, and asked for his advice. He subsequently accompanied me to a meeting of Gay Club and then invited me several days later to a get-together in his apartment.

That’s where the trouble started.

As you know, I have an extremely low tolerance for alcohol, and after a margarita, a Mike’s Hard Cranberry, and half a beer, I was lying on the floor murmuring for water. My stomach was on fire, the combination of drinks make me nauseous. I headed to the bathroom and waited by the toilet until the sensation passed, responding that I was fine when Flamer knocked on the door to ask if I was alright.

When me stomach had settled and I came out of the bathroom, everyone else but Flamer was gone.

“Where is everybody?” I asked.

“They were tired,” he said. “They went home.”

“Oh,” I said, legitimately confused even in my intoxicated state.

Something about the empty apartment felt abrupt, artificial. Why would they just leave? I said my goodbyes to Flamer and rebuffed his attempts to walk me home, telling him that my dorm was all of thirty feet down the hallway and I was capable of making it there myself.

I got to my room, but something still troubled me.

“What if,” a paranoid corner of my brain asked. “Everyone is really back there and he just ditched you?”

I figured I was probably being insane and almost didn’t indulge the ridiculous suspicion, but something made me walk back down the hall, where, to my shock, I heard laughing voices coming from his dorm room.

When my fist rapped on the wooden door the talking quickly ceased, replaced by frantic whispering. I pretended to have lost my cell phone and then stood there, angry and hurt, as he went through the mattresses looking for it for about two seconds before explaining that he was tired and he would “search in the morning.”

No doubt he didn’t want to keep his guests waiting. It would have been rude.

This incident displeased me so profoundly that I said nothing more to Flamer, save to call him and let him know how much he’d upset me.

I planned not to speak to him again until, through circumstances I couldn’t control, I wound up at his apartment again. I’d planned on heading to the club with my Gay Black Friend, but when several people who were to accompany us dropped out, he suggested that we instead hang out in the dorms, in the room of a mutual friend named Flamer.

I reluctantly agreed, and for a good part of the night thought I’d been wrong about Flamer. He notably failed to offer me alcohol despite the fact that everyone else was drinking, but plied me instead with delicious cake.

When I asked him if we could stop by Campus Diner for some food after walking Gay Black Friend home, he agrees, at three o’clock in the morning no less.

Now, I have a very fast metabolism and that cake had gone straight through me, building up a pressure that felt unbearable by the time we reached Campus Diner. Once we got there, I hurriedly relieved myself, and five minutes later emerged to find Flamer waiting by the water fountain.

“Real cool, dude,” he said, his face an annoyed mask of disapproval.

I assumed he as joking so started to laugh, but he interrupted with, “No, seriously, that wasn’t cool,” as if reprimanding me for a racial slur. I was so stunned that I could think of no response until we were standing in line, when I turned and asked him, “Are you kidding right now?”

“No,” he said. “The etiquette is that you wait until you get back to the dorm.”

“Okay,” I replied. “Maybe you should just leave.”

He objected that he’d promised me he’d stay and that he didn’t want to look “like a dick.”

I assured him that he wouldn’t, and he departed.

We haven’t spoken since, and I plan on not dealing with him anymore, but I hope he has occasion to be rude to me one more time so I can really blow up on him.

Other than that one bad example, people have been mostly friendly. This weekend I may hit Marble City with Gay Black Friend and some others, and I was invited Wednesday night by another group to go to a gay bar, but I sadly had to turn them down because I had class most of the day on Thursday.

Bad things may happen, but they won’t knock me down. There is disappointment and perseverance: the first one is bound to happen, but the second eventually overcomes.