Above: A pic of Jose dancing at Club One in Savannah, Georgia.
I’m leaving Savannah, Georgia, and traveling to San Francisco in 25 days.
I have something to say. I’ve written in the past about how little regard I have for relationships. I’ve written about my cheating history and pissed on the idea of dating.
I take it all back, and I’m sorry.
I love someone a lot. I’m leaving him behind when I make this move.
And my heart is breaking.
When he and I were first getting to know each another, he found my blog one day and asked me about it. “You think relationships are nothing,” he said.
I felt guilty. He was right. I had written about relationships and those who try to be in them as if they were deluded in some fantasy that I was above believing in. But I found the fantasy. I met a handsome man last September who swept me off my feet.
I was president of the LGBTQ student group at my college at the time and he was an attendee, standing in the back during a meeting one Thursday night. After the meeting, a few people lined up to talk to me, and I saw him at the back of the line. He got closer and I started freaking out. He was really handsome. When he was finally in front of me, he asked, “Are there any Cokes in the refrigerator?”
“Um, there might be.”
He nodded and walked off through the crowd.
The next day, I checked my Grindr messages and saw he had messaged me. We discovered that we lived at the same dorm — he was a few floors below me. We hooked up that afternoon.
What started with a hookup led to dinner, then a date. Then another date. Then a sleepover. Then afternoons sitting on a blanket on the front lawn. Then, somehow, we were together. We understood it as surely as it happened.
He understood my views on sex and dating and he wanted to see if we could make things work. We had differences, but somehow we’ve made something work since then.
I have never written about us. Now that I have the floor, I could talk about all the juicy, adorable parts of our relationship. I could talk about the way he snores, about how he loves my butt, about how his body feels next to mine. But instead I’m going to talk about the most frightening part of relationships — time.
I took him home for Thanksgiving last November to meet my family. It was the first time I have ever done this. There he was, sitting at the table next to my parents, talking to my aunt, laughing with my sister.
Dating him, I’ve learned that relationships are more than cards and delusion. There is something honest and raw about them. They’re a shared experience. They’re really important and really awesome, and I wish I had paid greater respect to the relationships around me, relationships that everyone I know toils to upkeep.
Their struggle isn’t silly or arbitrary or childish. It is deeply human. When I’ve mocked people who hold on steadfastly to ideas like monogamy and commitment, I’ve mocked their attempts to beat the loneliness. Now I want to beat the loneliness. I want to hold on as long as I can, and time is beating down my door, the way it is doing to everyone in love, reminding me how few of us ever get to stay. Time pulls us apart. It is the enemy of love.
I have 25 days.
When I told him last December about my upcoming move, he didn’t speak for several minutes. He looked away. He knew it and I knew it. We would break up.
I’ll watch him in the shower. He’ll be happy one moment, some joke has just passed between us, and then he’ll drop. He will turn his face down and his smile will disappear, and I know what he’s thinking. San Francisco. His heart is breaking too.
Throughout all this, he understands me. He understands why I’m going, why I have to go. I will regret it for years if I don’t take this opportunity or try out this adventure. I don’t want to look back and wish I had gone.
I also don’t want to look back and wish I hadn’t gone. And I know I will. I will be there in some other city, a little bit older, remember how he looked in my bed that night, how his eyes looked in the dark, glassy and broken. How I held him close and felt him breathing and could do nothing. How I wanted to hold on to him and couldn’t.
We are cruel in love. I feel very cruel and I don’t know what to say in my defense. We are cruel in our dreams and ambitions. The people we leave behind get left in the wake of our dreams.
We have nothing to do but choose, and the choices always involve loss. But I am thankful for that day in the Boundary Village Common Room. I return endlessly to that bizarre question — “Are there any Cokes in the refrigerator?” I will go back to you again and again through the crowd, telling you I am sorry. Reaching for your shirt, unable to find you.
I love you so much Jose.