Friday, March 16, 2007
22 years ago 4
The months that followed were dreadful, a huge black hole in my gut that nothing could remove. I felt hollow, like every hello and how are you was just a sham, my laughter a traitor. Meanwhile, Em and I clung together like two buoys in a storm, our emotions the roiling sea. We found a different kind of love together, a safer yet bottomless love, the recognition of being cut from the same spiritual cloth. What made things more difficult was that John and I worked at the same place. I didn't mention that, did I? Yes, he was a Hyatt room service waiter, and I worked in the dining room; naturally, we crossed paths often. I was so broken trying to put on a happy facade and I think he saw that a little and pitied me. A couple months after it ended, he asked for a ride home one evening when we finished at the same time and sucker that I was, I went in and we had sex one last time. I didn't know it was the last time until after, when he said, "You know, this doesn't mean I want to start dating you again." One last little mind fuck, but God I was so grateful nonetheless. Pathetic.
Eventually, I quit my job and moved up to LA to live with Pablo, and John and I lost touch. When spouse and I lived in Long Beach (where all of this happened) I sometimes got news of him, who he was shacked up with, "I'll tell him you said hello" kind of thing. I never saw him again. Sometimes spouse and I went out to the old hangout, The Silver Fox. The bartender there knew all of us back when all this happened, he always calls me tiger when I see him and has done so for 22 years now. After greeting me in French (he always practices with me and spouse now) and addressing me as Tiger, he asked me if I knew John had died. He told me the details, complications from HIV, and that he was gone. I wasn't sad, but rather stunned, the little voice I would never admit was there that said, "maybe one day we'll run into each other again" could be put to rest. Liberation.
Then, this happened.
I know I'll never feel that poisonous love again, and that is by choice. My whole attitude about "cheating" has changed too. Why can't the heart love two at once? Who says? I think the heart is, as Woody Allen says, a very resilient muscle. I guess without that experience, I wouldn't be who I am today, but I still wonder what it would have been like if he had been as gung ho on me as I was on him. I don't think I've ever been with someone who shared my depth of emotion - either I care less, or they do, until I found spouse. From day one we said, "we'll stay together until one of us wants out, no questions asked." Which is really just facing facts. And here we are 14 years later. (It seems gauche to announce it, but that is the end of that story.)
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Thank you for sharing this story of your "Summer of Love." You two did make a handsome couple. It is good that you got closure and moved on even before his death. So Tiger your stronger and more mature and your spouse loves you back the same 150% you love him. Hey, nice tie. hahahaha!
My goodness, you both look like babies!!! It must be very cleansing to write all that and relive some of the emotion!! Good for you!! Love the story!!!
These four posts were an awesome read. Thank you for opening up to share it. Perhaps you will never know how it connected with me (and I am sure with others).
Amazing story. Thank you for sharing and retelling it. Stirs up recollections of times early in my journey through life. It's quite amazing how passionate and strong feelings of love and rejection can be and how we act due to them.
I feel sick everytime I think about all of the people HIV has taken from us.
Wow, excellent story. And that picture, OMG yes you look like babies, babies dressed in 80's style.
Wow! Thanks for writing this. And this awful experience brought you to the emotional place where you could have a successful relationship with Spouse.
ps. Love the tie.
oooooh, my verification word is 'ladbia'!!!!!!
Not gauche at all. Something to be proud of.
Thanks for sharing such a personal part of your life. It was riveting, and I anxiously looked forward to reading it each day.
Gotta say though, I'm diggin the tie. mainly cause I had a white one of just that same width about that same time! Man, were we fashion icons or WHAT? :)
wow. I dont know what to say.
You might want to delete my link, my blog is nevermore.
86. Was a summer of love for me too. And heartbreak. What a coinkydink.
Ya, great story. I know this is shallow, but you too looked hot together. Also, your story had me thinking about my early loves.
"My whole attitude about "cheating" has changed too. Why can't the heart love two at once?"
But, isn't there a difference between loving two (or more) people at once and lying about it?
Cheating is like stealing. Stealing the other person's trust, and then making him feel like a fool when he finds out he wasn't the only one.
Yes, the heart is resilient, but there are feelings too that make us who we are. Acknowledging those feelings are important to moving on.
it is amazing all the building blocks we must encounter and endure on our path toward the present. this post made me all philosophical n stuff.
may you and spouse have many more 14 years together.
I don't often think about an "80's style" until I see it again.
I totally agree with Rebekah on the cheating thing. To me, it's about the type of relationship that you negotiate with the other person. If you have a certain understanding which they don't bother to follow, then they are just abusing your trust. Relationships ending are painful enough. Adding in lies and deception just makes it even worse and more hurtful.
I think that your agreement with spouse is the most sensible thing possible. Thanks for sharing this story, Torn.
I agree with Rebekah -- cheating is like stealing.
And again, thanks for sharing. I know I'm not the only person who has gone through a similar relationship.
May you and Serge share many, many more years of happiness together.
Thank you for giving us such a great perspective on your life.
It helps provide each of us with our own perspectives. Very valuable. Greatly appreciated.
I understand this more than words could say. I admire you.
Yes, a heart can have 2 or more loves. The amazing thing that I have found is each love is unique in it's own way and doesn't overlap with another. The only time they do overlap is when cheating is involved. An even then are the both really love or is one infatuation?
John became a guy you had sex with on an intermittant basis. Then he developed HIV. If you had stayed around he might have given it to you. Things do work out for the best most of the time.
If we have loved more than one person in our lifetimes, and if we continue to honour those loves after parting, then we love plurally. Of course we do. But betrayal is something very different, isn't it?
Thanks for giving us this story, Torn, and for reminding us of our own. It's amazing where time will take us if we let it...
Sigh, he was pretty. I'm pretty sure my "John" didn't really know how he devastated me either. One simply goes on living for a while, until it gets better. I'm very glad Em was there for you.
I can feel your pain, even after all these years.
So glad that you found Em and have had 14 (and counting) wonderful years with Serge.
Beautiful writing, as always.
thanks for sharing this story in three posts, tornwordo! I am endeared to you, because you write with such understated emotion and real-ness. Your posts truly make me pause and contemplate my past as well...and for that, I am forever grateful!
Happy St Patty's Day to you and spouse!!
It's rare that a blog (or any written thing, really) makes me feel something, but that did it. Like everyone else said, thanks for sharing.
This story gave me goosebumps. You're such a good writer. I'm sure everyone will agree with me - we want more stories!!!! :)
God. My post today was a photo and description of my new shower curtain. Then I read your story.
Sometimes we bloggers think our lives are so dull or unexciting because we go a few days (or weeks) sharing only fluff. But the real stuff is inside us. Its just a lot harder to write. Thanks for making the sacrafice. Everyone who's read your story has loved it.
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