I listened to the early evening sounds of our building around me, and the very faint hiss and whistle of the radiator. Despite the fact that we had unpacked every box, the apartment still had a cluttered appearance. The bits of paper around my desk were dropping to the floor. His various back packs –ok he only had 2 –plus his lap top bag, were strewn around his “place”. He seemed to gravitate toward the Club chair. I liked looking over at him just after dinner, watching him struggle to stay awake when we watched TV. Eventually our evening cocktail and the dinner won out and his head would sink back into the soft club chair for a cat nap of 20 minutes or more –eyes closed –mouth wide open and I found it endearing. Especially when his head snapped back up and he asked, “What’d I miss?”
I got fetal on the couch with my cocktail and balefully glared at an unruly shelf in desperate need of clearing. Then a new thought fibrillated through my body and I sat up in surprise …”Hey..I live with someone now” There was no doubt I was living with the right one but, I suddenly felt like a race that I had been running for ever had finally finished. It was good feeling. Relief and not confusion settled over me. A relationship –like raising children, is one of those learn-as- you- go- sort –of- things. There are plenty of books and classes and helpful friends and relatives but you don’t get it until you are actually in the thick of it. I have learned much in the past few weeks. I have learned much in the past several years. It’s not that I am a late bloomer…I had been studying how to do this for a very long time and now it was time to practice what I had “learnt”
Before I had met Orlando my relationships were not exactly wise choices-at least not on the inside but on the outside they seemed like very good choices. Allow me to explain. One man worked for a non-profit and his job was to glad hand big wigs into giving this particular non-profit money. He is attractive in a congenial good guy way that almost gives off a cherubic innocence. He’s the kind of guy that could watch a football game or a Science Fiction Movie. He was very good at his job. He was so good in fact that the San Francisco Examiner took note of it and pointed him out as one of the up and coming stars to keep an eye on. (It helped him that his non-profit was enormously appealing too, because it gave enterprising kids a chance to succeed in forming their own businesses.) He was age appropriate (38) and dammit…he looked good on my arm-and vice versa.
As my Jewish Friend asked, “It didn’t take?” No –it didn’t take. At that point in my life I kinda told my boss of 7 years (at the time a Mortgage Broker) to go take long walk of a short pier. Thinking that a bright impressionable lad like myself could reinvent myself, I figured getting a new job would be a piece of Princess Cake. I didn’t realize the economy would choose that particular time to tank. The San Francisco Examiner’s Pick of the Litter couldn’t handle the strain of being my personal bread winner and was fearful that at any given moment I would ask the fateful question, “ Honey? How do you feel about me moving in?” Since I was empathic and I loathed people sensing any weakness with in me. I cut bait and sailed Gay-ly forward. I have to admit -he was a good guy and the sexual attraction was still there, but he couldn’t handle vulnerable P.A. Strong P.A. on the other hand was another matter altogether….
My 24 hour rebound was ( all this unknown to me at the time) a high school senior named Bam Bam. When Mr. SF Examiner and I were breaking up at the Mix quietly in the corner, my phone rang and it was Bam Bam asking when we were meeting that night. I admit it. Look. Don’t judge. The writing was on the wall. I knew the relationship was doomed and earlier that day I had been trolling the internet for …attention. I held the phone looking directly at my soon-to-be-ex and said, “20 minutes.” My ex was shocked that I took a booty call during our break up but I was hurt that he felt he couldn’t handle the WHOLE P.A. Cooley and I needed comfort and Bam Bam looked… very comfortable to me. –and indeed he was. After my evening of comfort with the Bam, his phone rang the next morning. It was his Mom, making sure he wasn’t late for wrestling practice…she even asked where he was so she could pick him up and take him there. I strongly urged him to um…meet her on the corner somewhere. I tried very hard to resist the Bam’s charms for future assignations and succeeded…sometimes.
My attraction to big brown eyes and baldheads and dark skin never faded …(Orlando may be Puerto Rican but take a good look.) and after Mr. Examiner I met The Nurse. Well one would think that a Nurse would make an excellent life partner right? WRONG! Be wary of a nurse. A Guy or Gal who spends their days being humiliated daily by ego maniacal Doctors, after doing very difficult thankless work that requires intestinal fortitude is either very crazy or a living Saint. I know. I work with them everyday. Let me tell you. The Saints are very few and far between. This one lived in LA. His big loving moment with me was when he drove up to see me on 4 hours of sleep after I had a horrible dental procedure that left me swollen and doped up on my couch. I awoke on my couch to find him asleep on the rug beside me holding my hand. It endeared him to me so I fell down the rabbit hole of love yet again.
I waited tables on weekends part time, so he always drove up to see me. He was 23 at the time. He made twice what I made at my two jobs, but when I bought him an inexpensive pair of sneakers he got on the phone and crowed to his friends how his man got him some new “treads” Did I mention he looked liked a thug? I liked the Ying and Yang that he looked like he might kill you, but he spent the day being compassionate to frail sickly people…(or so I thought). In the end, I lent him several hundred dollars feeling guilty about him having to pay for all that gas for his Mercedes. This turned out to be a poorly thought out move. Upon lending him the money he dumped me immediately and told me “I was no better than a woman”. I never saw the money again. In retrospect I found it more irritating that he found calling me a woman insulting than the actual act of being dumped. I recall going through the motions of being heart broken and well…not being all that into it. I was furious about losing my money. It got a little worse as he left some maniacal rants on my voicemail indicating he was truly unhinged. He said he had a mysterious genetic disease for which there was no cure and he would be dead in 2 years. Well it’s been 4 years. He looks healthy and he’s moved to San Francisco now. He looks very cerebral and introspective in wire rimmed glasses and khakis and expensive sweaters. When I see him out and about, we glance at each other making note of each other’s presence but that’s about it. He tries to friend me on facebook. I hit ignore. I’d rather hang with Mr. SFExaminer than the Nurse any day if I were to hang with an ex.Then I met the Lando man. It was all supposed to be a weekend hook up and well ….that hook up has been going on since 2009. (An Author smiles smugly to himself, sips drink, and stops writing to watch Chelsea Handler. Author is enormously pleased with how things all worked out)