Friday, August 31, 2012

The Other Side Of The World – Part I

Last summer, on an Alaskan cruise, I slept with Dalton and Cade – but not at the same time.

Dalton was a member of the travel staff for the corporate group I traveled with. We stumbled back to his cabin on our first night on the ship, and I woke up the next morning so disoriented that I had to ask a Filipino lady on the Lido Deck where I was. She said, “I think we near Ketchikan. On the other side of the world. You okay, son? You lost?”

“I’m very lost.”

Cade was a dancer on the ms Zuiderdam (pronounced with a long "I" sound, as in “cider”). He was one of seven male dancers on the ship, and although he didn’t walk and talk as gay as someone like me, his behavior on stage was gayer than anything I’ve ever seen in my life – and I’ve been to a one-woman Amy Winehouse–themed drag show at a Mexican gay bar. I’m not joking. I watched a fat Mexican drag queen in a beehive prance around and lip-sync “Tears Dry On Their Own” and it was fathoms less gay than what Cade did on a nightly basis. The first time I watched him hump the air and flap around jazz hands in his glittery, hot pink bowler hat and suspenders to “The Pink Panther,” I laughed so hard that I literally pissed my pants and was late for dinner in the Upper Vista Dining Room.

From our second day at sea, Cade and I hung out nearly every day. We went on four dates, kissed in three different cities, and managed to hook up in just about every major local on the ship ­– my favorite being the stage on which Cade “performed.”

The actual stage.
Our romance was hasty and reckless and sloppy and I loved it. The electricity between us was tangible, and I felt like at any point, we could reach out and grab this thing that was materializing between us. I would look at him and feel starved and full at the same time. I wasn't sure if this was love, but I wanted to live in it.

On the last day before making port in Vancouver, I called Cade to confirm that we were still meeting in the Crow’s Nest for drinks, but he didn’t answer. Nor did he that night. Nor the following morning. And then I departed the Zuiderdam without having said goodbye. I teamed with the staggering herd of geriatrics and overweight children and Dalton who was poorly feigning interest in whatever was going on in his man purse and silently whispered to myself, “Don’t turn around. He’s not coming.”

The last time I saw Cade in person, he was stretched across my lap in dark recesses of the Vista Lounge Balcony.
“I’ve never felt this way about someone I just met,” he said to me.
Looking down, I smiled and pushed the collar of his shirt back to reveal the smoldering, spider web tattoo that sprawled around his shoulder like axis lines on a globe.
“Me neither. Let’s keep us this way.” I said.

The only picture of Cade and I, taken by my dad from our balcony.
By the time I touched down in Atlanta, I had one text and one voicemail from him. I didn’t bother to read the text, but his voicemail said that he was spending his second day in bed with the flu. And since the phone service was so erratic in open water, he wasn’t able to get through to me until it was too late. I deleted the message and shoved my phone into my backpack. Because fuck him.

Today, he’s my Facebook friend and that’s about it. We Skyped a few times after I returned home and after I forgave him – not just for standing me up on an epic scale, but for being irresponsible about letting me fall for him. But he had to stay. And I had to leave. And now, we like one another’s statuses, and I write smartass comments under his photos of whatever fruity dance costume he’s wearing this week.

Looking back, I think the Filipino lady on the Zuiderdam was right. We were on the other side of the world – somewhere between my normal life and a dreamscape. A place where I could marvel at my surroundings and feel things I’ve never felt before. I went away, I fell in love, I came back, and that was the end of it. 

Until it happened again.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Don’t Tell Me About What My Ex Is Doing

If you see my ex out somewhere, I don’t want to know about it. Because I’m the one that’s supposed to be out somewhere. He’s not allowed. He’s supposed to be alone in his apartment, alternating between emotional breakdowns and reorganizing the mounting stacks of Chili’s to-go boxes. If you tell me that you witnessed him in public, it only confirms that he’s still alive. And I just don’t need to know all that. I take comfort in the idea that he might be face down in a puddle of ranch dressing. Let me have that.

If you notice that my ex updated his status, or tweeted, or Instagrammed, keep it to yourself. He stopped being a sweet person with rational thoughts and ambition the moment that we broke up. Now, to me, he’s an asshole, and he doesn’t have anything to say, and he doesn’t do anything fun. So that picture that you saw of him skydiving in Interlaken was fucking doctored. And his hysterical tweet about Delcambre and its “shrimp wind” wasn’t even that funny. His whole image is smoke and mirrors, and like I said, he’s an asshole. He’s just doing it to get a rise out of me. So don’t help him.

If my ex decides to brave the world beyond the Rouse’s chip aisle and attend the same party as me, don’t warn me when you see him. If I know that a hurricane’s in the gulf, I can’t focus on work. And if I know that a former 1st tier slam piece is in the same room as me, I can’t concentrate on all the vodka I’m supposed to be shotgunning. Before leaving prematurely, I’ll spend the night staging laugh scenarios and stepping into flattering lighting. Let me see him on my own and I’ll handle it organically and gracefully.

Never mind. Tell me when that fucker walks in. I need a heads-up so that I can ensure the visibility of m’junk in these cut-offs.

But if you hear that my ex is dating someone else, keep me in the dark. After we stopped dating, his tiny sex organs fell onto the ground and were quickly snatched up by a Pomeranian. Plus, I choose to believe that I’m the last person he’ll ever do wiener stuff with before passing away of old age. But if some unfortunate, simple fruit falls for the charming way that he peppers normal conversation with mispronounced French expressions, or the look on his face when he's genuinely surprised, or the way he sleeps with an entire pillow over his eyes, I don’t think I need to know about it. It’s none of my business.

So let's all pretend that he's gone. He moved to Europe where he can finally practice his Italian and his bathhouse etiquette at the same time. He's in his apartment; forever pinned under a fallen tower of Chili's boxes, under which he survives on flecks of batter and sauce. He's just not here anymore, so we can all go about our business and we don't have to talk about what he's up to. I'm asking you nicely.