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 scoffed at the idea of dating repeatedly on this blog and elsewhere.
I take it all back. 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 have written about relationships and presented those who try to be in them as delusional, believing in a culturally constructed fantasy. But I found the fantasy. I met a handsome man last September who swept me off my feet.
I was president of the LGBTQ college student group at the time and he was an attendee, standing in the back during a meeting one Thursday night.
After the meeting, several students clustered around, chatting with me excitedly about upcoming club events, and I saw him behind them. 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 away through the crowd.
The next day, I checked my Grindr messages and saw that he had messaged me. We realized we both 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 am, I could talk about all the 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 thing — 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 works so hard to upkeep. The work is worth it.
Their struggle isn’t silly or arbitrary or childish. It is 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 us how we never get to stay. Time pulls us apart. Time 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 of 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 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 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 hurt.
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.