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3:22 a.m. - August 10, 2003
It's 3:30, do you know where he is? Where I am? Where you are?
A night of firsts and seconds: First time to a gay bar and congealed leftover dynamics in which we both fall back into familiar patterns served up again.

Devoid of drama and emotion, it is:

a) Emotional abuse. You should be more appreciative that I still want you. Any other guy would take one look and walk away.

b) Physical abuse. If a man can't take a punch on the shoulder, he's not a man to begin with. He hit me today and I lost it.

c) Sexual abuse. You say no but I know what you want.

What is it in me that draws it out, eggs it on, makes him angry? What is it that he sees or reacts to? Where does this come from?

We fight, then cry. We argue, then cuddle. We wrestle, then kiss. We yell, then walk along the creek. We sleep together and have sex. He says mean things, I say mean things. He hit me today and I was stunned and didn't know how to respond. Not my face, just my upper arms and how pathethic, how sick and low it is to be relieved it's just my arms. He cried and apologized, and I wouldn't talk to him. I didn't want to look at him, just wanted to look at the floor and feel the air conditioning blow across my face. He came over and covered me with his body and I panicked as I always do and he cried and I began to blame myself.

We talked, sat on the balcony and watched the hummingbirds, such a pretty sight and when we didn't speak, we listened to the beat of their wings. Comforting and I tuned out, not thinking of anything. If I accept the words he says, that he loves me and has missed me and is so sorry, he's getting help and won't I stand by him as he stood by me all those days I was ashamed of being gay and those nights when I was afraid to sleep and when I did, woke to have him beside me singing, holding my hand. And if I accept his words, what do I tell myself when I'm afraid of him and my heart seizes up and time stops and I look down and think, He's hitting me again? Do I say, Be patient, Get the fuck away, I deserve this for some reason, I love you still?

After he brings up the subject of a gay bar, we being strangers in town, what could go wrong, it would be fun, wouldn't it? And off to Baltimore not DC because What if a student . . . and to the Eagle, a leather bar. Both curious and of course he admits this isn't his first time to a gay bar and not to worry, he'll protect me and doesn't he understand I don't want or need this, that I yearn for a level playing field? And the bar isn't what I've pictured and leather + gay + bar does not = people with whips, chains, and perversion, simply a crowd of masculine men utterly normal by the casual glance-over. I talked baseball and hockey with someone and Spec was pleased and then disappeared and I didn't want to leave the booth and walk through the crowd. I panicked, thought perhaps he was having sex somewhere someone and I felt disgusted, dirty, and angry and as I got up to go outside he sidled up to me, affectionate and smiling and I didn't trust him. Don't trust him. And I took the keys and sat in the car and shortly he came out, said I was being a baby, and then we drove back here. He swears up and down he didn't do anything, but I know I can't compete. Maybe before when I was in shape and still possessed a virgin hole and thus gave him cause for pursuit, but not now and on my end, I know not all gay men are like him but what does one do when one is attracted to that despite it all?

And so he took off and I don't know where he is, who he's with, what he's doing and it's nearly 3:30 and my stomach is granite and asking myself How did this happen? is as fruitful as chasing a fly while in a wheelchair. I realize I'm an emotional invalid, a social misfit, and a psychological mess.

How easy it is to be down on oneself.


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