6:14 p.m. - August 03, 2003
It's been a few years now and I still don't know.
When I was in Florida a few years ago I had an experience that I didn't want to write about because I'm a firm believer in rose-colored glasses and at that time lacked perspective and the gravitas some may call balls and others it's-your-life-who-cares. That night I had gone to dinner with a large group of codas and shared a table with Roxanne (from California), a woman from Brazil, and her friend, an American expat currently studying Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro; I don't recall his name but it may have been Adam or Anthony, one or the other. During dinner he had his knee pressed up against mine and each time I moved away he followed and I knew this was no accident but didn't know what to do. He was openly gay and told everybody at the table how cute he thought I was and I would be a liar if I said I didn't enjoy the attention and all throughout my heart pounded like a madman's. I wanted to touch him, explore him, but didn't know how to say so. When he placed his hand on my thigh and began to spider-close I felt like a rabbit cornered in a cage watching doom in the guise of the warren-keeper but also excited and when he reached my dick I jumped and blushed and stuttered and Roxanne said in French, I think somebody's in love and I wondered to whom she referred. I recall the scent of his cologne and the mischief in his eyes and my own worry, How does he know? and as dinner ended and people broke off into groups for the walk back to the hotel, Roxanne and the Brazilian woman disappeared and it was me and him and I began to stutter, then became silent, my heart pounding and I felt like I was suffocating myself. He asked if I had a room and I said I shared and then a half-hearted non-sequitur came out: I'm not gay and he said I didn't say you were and he took my hand and I was shaking because again, I didn't know what to do. So I said again, I'm not gay and just looked into my eyes with a small smile and I didn't like what he could see, so I walked off and literally became lost. I remember that when I found my way back to the hotel, I sat in front by the fountain and let the spray wet and refresh me, though I was soaked through from the humidity. I saw him the next morning and I'm certain he saw me, but I turned around and didn't see him again for the rest of the conference.
I think about that experience every so often and reflect on my reactions, and the frustrating aspect is that I'm no better now than I was before. I close my eyes and walk in circles, that's all. Maybe that's the most I can do or the most I want to do, you know? Some of you who read this journal have sent me emails or guestbook entries urging me to let loose and have fun and I can only say, sincerely, that you don't know me well enough. Yeah, sometimes I think about what it would be like to be different and shed this shyness and inhibitions, but like the leopard and its spots, they're there for a reason due to evolutionary influences and its environment, and I am me due to my own influences and environment. If I met a gay guy who wasn't girly and I could learn to trust him and he was patient and didn't give me reason not to trust him, it would be a while before I'd consider holding hands, much less kissing or sex in which I let down my guard. Some days I think maybe I'll find a guy like that, but most days I shrug and figure I'm asking too much and from what experience I do have, I'm convicted that some people are meant to be alone for a purpose; I just need to divine what constitutes mine. It's sad to me to see all these gay men say they want love and relationships and marriage and yet make do in the meantime, as if these qualities can be discovered at the local club or bar, sad not because it's fruitless but sad because I don't know how to play the game, am unsure whether I can, doubtful whether I want to. Isn't there a pass to Go card out there? Maybe I was offered one today but declined, eh? Is that how it works, seizing upon what can be taken and riding it as long as you can, which may be forever or short-lived, because regardless of the outcome it takes you to a new place? Is that how it is?