It started with a short message and ended up with a whole bunch of choices I never expected.
Not in my wildest dreams.
I’ve read what you had to say. Now it’s my turn.
Stepping away from the mess. It’s not so messy. It seems like it was planned.
This pantomime. Look at the cast of unusual, freakish characters. Look at them.
Boys and men, trans and women.
Young girls. Yes. They are here too.
So you wrote me a poem. No title… of course.
We were connected .
When it expires we are expired.
The order? It was a good idea. It was a great way to formalize the end of our association. I can only imagine that you feel much the same way I do.
I wish we had never met.
Don’t you shudder whenever you think about it?
I understand why you needed to rewrite the narrative.
I took advantage of you?
You had far more to lose by telling the truth.
When assigning blame, I take full responsibility. I should have walked away.
Everyone I trusted advised me to do so. Everyone I trusted.
Instead, I pinned my hopes on you. I found your interest in me all at once baffling and inspiring.
A romantic relationship was impossible.
Because I am a broken, sick man. Incapable of intimacy.
You sold me:
A big fat lie.
Yet, we never talked about my lies. Yes, I lied to you about almost everything.
Lies I had held onto for a very long time.
This man is a liar. Just like me. Did you ever think that?
The last time I checked, and that was some time ago, you seemed very happy wearing your new clothes, your relationship, your job and your family.
I am delighted. You will make a much better job of being a gay than I ever could.
Your ability to form and maintain relationships will mean that you’ll have everything you always wanted. Everything you ever dreamed.
The questions I wanted to ask… I have no reason to ask.
The truth set you free and I am very proud of you… even though I have no desire to set eyes upon you ever again.
May 6th 2013
When did you have time to write that? Was it really meant for me?
Did you wonder if I should reply? Did you think I could?
There are no words left.
The storm rattles the house, thunders down the drain pipes. Torrents of rain over the mountain. Hammering down onto the wide, new leaves.
Make some toast and lime marmalade. Boil some eggs. Stand naked in the warm rain.
There is a week of mayhem to report. A week of extraordinary conduct. A week of moving back east.
I can’t show you his face.
Only in NYC.
Then, I meet a woman who KNOWS all about my film. I mean, she knows the story like an urban myth. But it’s not a myth. It’s the sad truth.
“Oh, I know this story,” she said. Her eyes sparkling with anticipation. “I think he’s my friend on Facebook. Yes, look…” she pulls out her smart phone and there he is. I push the phone away. I shouldn’t be looking at that.
“What was he thinking?” she roars with laughter.
Women love my film. It confirms everything they think they know about men. The injustice of men.
Dead five-year olds. 20 of them.
The children are shot dead by a crazed, entitled white boy. The little bodies buried this week. Lined up against the wall and executed. You know they didn’t have a clue. You know they did as they were told.
I thought about the little dog facing the lethal injection.
A horrific pendant: ten Afghan children are splattered into the mud by a drone.
Somehow their little brown faces are missing from the media. Somehow the little white children in Connecticut are worth more.
We asked you to vote for him, now he’s letting us down all over again. Surprise, fucking surprise.
I saw a man being mugged on the 5 train. Into Manhattan, a stealthy, tall, nimble black man rips an iPhone 4s out of an asian man’s hands leaving him with his ear phones on his head. The rest of us sat amazed.
The white people urged him to call the police but he said, “I’m already late for work.”
I’m buying a parker. It’s lined with blood-red shearling. Like the monkey they found in Ikea.
Dinner in the neighborhood, dinner at the Mercer Kitchen with Courtney, dinner at the Standard Grill with Brock.
Dinner with Cristina who I have not seen for 30 years on the floor of her palatial Upper East Side home. It was as if all those 30 years just melted away. That we were friends again from last week. Funny, compelling, brilliant, beautiful Cristina.
Dinner with new gay AA friends in cheap diners.
Dinner at Mary’s Fish Camp with Benoit. We stop at Boxers (gay bar) on the way home. There’s nothing for us. Benoit peels off leaving me on the street and as I wait for the green light a handsome green eyed man says hello.
At first I wonder why. Why is this stunningly handsome 27-year-old man saying hello to me.
Then we’re in Barracuda kissing each other.
I’m wearing that huge fur hat.
I can’t kiss him any more. I can’t suck any more spit out of his mouth. I can’t look into his green eyes.
I am so overwhelmed by him I walk through the rain until I am soaked to the skin. Wondering how it happens? Wondering how it ends up like this?
All the way home I’m humming Nature Boy to myself.
In the morning my room smells of damp fur.
In some weak attempt to meet someone I spoke to a prospective date yesterday. He sounded masculine, looks attractive, seems intelligent, good job, own house…blah blah blah.
After a short while I despaired. Why bother?
I am not going through what I went through last year. I refuse.
I hung up.
This is the legacy of hopelessness that I am left with after my time with Jake.
I am not going to have a relationship any time soon. If ever. I am not going to risk falling in love with and painfully out of love with anyone ever again.
“Into love, and out again, Thus I went, and thus I go. Spare your voice, and hold your pen — Well and bitterly I know. All the songs were ever sung, All the words were ever said; Could it be, when I was young, Some one dropped me on my head?”
I reread his final letter to me yesterday. I hadn’t read it for some time. If I had received that letter now it might have meant something. It might have put to bed every miserable resentment that consumes my brain like so many flesh-eating maggots.
I want to believe that he was sorry but he lied so often and so deeply that I simply can’t forgive him. I want to. I really do.
He just lied about everything. He trapped me and toyed with me and used me then at the crucial moment he tossed me aside. This doesn’t get any better. Why? Why do I remember him? Why when every other man I ever loved can be stowed…do I remember him?
Perhaps because it was this time last year that we were in France enjoying/not enjoying out road trip. Walking on egg shells because he had said that we were not lovers. I scarcely touched him until he invited me to have sex. Because he was running the show I just bought the food and chauffeured him. I just served him when ever his ass itched for attention.
I imagine him with that cute blond boy he liked. I imagine him. I imagine him living a full life because I helped him over the rubicon…where he left me. So I could never celebrate what came next.
Yes, he apologized for his cruel words. Yes. Did I believe his self-serving apology? His fake contrition? No I did not.
I am scarcely speaking to the twins. I have run out of fuel. Like a ghost in the house I tread carefully around them. Land mines in the carpet I am that close to triggering a tantrum.
Whenever I get close to anyone, when I feel myself tip toward feeling love in any of its many disguises…I stop. I run. I hide. I push them away. That is his legacy. I hope he is proud of himself.
Robby says, “I love you man.” and I wince. Leave me alone Robby. No more love.
The book continues to be written. It’s hard. Very hard. Prose is a bitch. I would rather kill gophers. I would rather walk around the garden tending the plants. I spend all day in the garden rescuing old-fashioned tomatoes from being savaged by critters. Consequently the garden looks amazing, like it never has before. I spend so much time tending it. Trimming. Weeding. Lopping.
The Chinese say: “If you would be happy for a week, take a wife. If you would be happy for a month, kill your pig. If you would be happy for a lifetime, plant a garden.”
In the novel I get to contemplate murder but the only person in real life that I want to kill is myself. The twins will move out soon. Perhaps, just perhaps I will muster up the courage to finally do it rather than just write about it. I don’t want to make a mess. I will have to take care of the dog first. So he isn’t left alone. He will only pine for me.
I understand now how and why Issie Blow was so determined. When death calls your name. When is it time to make death your friend? I am running out of fuel, not just for the twins…but myself.
I had a lovely time today with you. You must have been twenty years old when I first met you. Now look at you. I like when you wear your jeans tighter. Cargo pants really don’t suit you. I like when you read poetry to me. I like when you crack my fingers.
Help yourself. You can have whatever you want. Take what ever you want.
On my way back to the United Kingdom. Even though it is to deal with very bad situation at home. Includes a long journey so I can travel with the little dog: New York, Paris, Calais, Dover, Whitstable! One month before I leave-will arrive there May 30th. I am excited. I will stay there for three months-one of the many benefits of not having a career!
Anyway, a great deal to sort out. Nothing much to write or worry about today.
I found a charming little video for you to watch.
I am tired of selfish boys. Tired of his jet-black hair. Tired of waiting. Tired of mistress censorship.
I want to see Amanda, Tim and banter; with Simon Finch and hold my nose in the air.
I want to stroll down Old Bond St in my red suede boots, visiting Patrick in Hanover Square.
I want to smoke cigarettes in West London with Katrina. Let me ride horses in Hyde Park with Martha; explore electrical hardware stores with Toby and Arthur. Clandestine giggles with Joe and Adam and Eve, cottage amusements with George.
The train to Bromley and Chatham through the Garden of Eden. Where the Thames meets the Medway and the Swale beyond.
I am tired of you because I don’t trust you, but I know very well what it is to lie to some one you say that you love. To meet in some dark, wet guinnel, to feel your warm body under your navy blue coat. To feel your lips and always your lips.
Oh I miss you so much my darling hometown, and wish you invited me Whitstable style. Up on the downs overlooking the sea. Turbines, the horizon that chased me away. I have arrangements with banks to consider and beg that homeland security take me away so decisions are easier where no choice is to stay. Wholesale foreclosure, redistribution of wealth.
Take me. Take me away.
I am tired of selfish boys with raven black hair and myself in every one of them. Just you. I met just you.
Let me forget these people, struggling with prosperity and stemming the tide. Seeking solution and tanning the hide. Let me go home. Let me go home. The 12 step recovery clichés that keep me in purgatory with less time to go than one hundred years of perfect sobriety. Oh please send me home to smoky church halls and WI and no multi-malls. Remind me of jet beads stitched onto her bodice, of peplums and bagels and tottenham forest.
I am TIRED of you showing me men that are hot, hotter than me or you for that matter. I am tired of boasting to keep us alive, to stimulate interest and punish my precious child. I am naked before you my darling creator. This and more like it is all I can offer.
So take me away with you darling Ophelia on the Thames and the Medway and the Swale far beyond.