Last Tuesday, I spent a good chunk of the day cleaning my apartment. Jamie (the Canadian) was to arrive Tuesday evening and my place was in its usual state: a wreck. Indeed, still sleeping on an inflatabed over a year and a half after moving out, I had hoped to use his trip as a catalyst to get a real mattress, but finances didn't quite allow that to happen.
Anyway, I cleaned and cleaned and managed to get the place pretty respectable. Throwing the last load of laundry in the washer, I rushed off to the airport and made it to the security gate just as my cell phone rang. It was Jamie asking where I was, and I explained that I couldn't come past the security checkpoint... and then I saw him.
He was much smaller than I was expecting, a small framed guy with pokey hair and weird inner ear piercings which I hadn't seen in any of the photos. He had a backpack and was wearing boots. His brown jacket and pants that sort of slouched off his ass completed the look, a look that was about as far away from my look as one could get wearing lay clothes.
Indeed, I had tried to add in some distance the few days before his arrival as I knew the real life wouldn't match up with the online, but now that he was standing in front of me, I was at a loss. I wasn't quite sure what to do with him. He'd brought his guitar, too, and me being a worrywart about neighbors and noise and not being a big music fan either, I was in sort of a quiet panic as to how we'd survive the week.
Yet knowing that my not knowing what to do might appear as though I was disappointed when I was really more meshing reality with my imagination, I told Jamie that I was always slow to warm up to new people and that he shouldn't take it personally. I actually felt bad saying that because I thought it was only a half truth. In such situations, I am slow to warm up most of the time but not always. Were he the devilishly cute British guy from Off Centre, I would've indubitably warmed up quicker.
Anyway, we got his luggage then headed for the car. It was a rental as mine was in the shop, and before he'd even set foot in the U.S., it'd already been a sore subject. My car's crankshaft had come apart Sunday night and was undrivable: Long story short, I powerpushed my way into getting a Mercedes rental as a dent in the hood that wasn't there when I took my car in for service the week before and the coincidental nature of the crankshaft problem seemed a bit much. When I'd told Jamie about it on the phone, he couldn't have cared less that it was a Mercedes. He even belittled me for talking about my car "for eleven minutes" when I told him about the dent, crankshaft, and events with the dealership. I had just wanted everything for his visit to be at least as nice as it was usually, and while I appreciated his wanting to visit no matter what type of car I was driving, I had wanted him to also take note that it was a Mercedes and at least be a little enthused.
So, without much brouhaha, onward we headed, back towards my apartment, stopping at Dave and Buster's, an amusement/arcade type restaurant. We had dinner, talked about our different lives and childhoods, then played video games. The uneasiness that had been at the airport dissipated as the night went on, and by the time we left the restaurant, it was largely gone.
Back at my apartment, we watched the Tivo a bit, then headed to bed. I told him that I'd offer him my inflatabed, but the guest one was identical so it made no sense to take the bedding off mine. We inflated the extra one and we put on the sheets... and we must have kissed a few times in the living room. But the next thing I remember is Jamie being in my bedroom and me sliding my hands down in his boxers to grab his perfect ass while we were kissing there. A few minutes of that later, having kept my hands only on his backside, he got up to go take a shower, and I commented on having a nice sight with which to go to sleep (his butt hanging out the top of his boxers).
When his shower was done, he went back out to his bed in the living room and turned out the lights. I yelled to ask him if he needed anything then dared to come in the living room buck naked. Yes, the lights were all off, but I knew the soft glow of VCR's, a cable modem, and various LED laden gadgets, along with the outside lights shining through the shades, would provide just enough light to tease. Of course, practically sitting on his head, I don't know just how "teasy" it was, but he gave my crotch a grab, I gave his one in return, and then we went to bed, separately.
The next morning, we headed out to Mission Bay where we walked around the park and then we drove to the beach at Coronado. There, we picked up sea shells and got to know each other a little better as we walked in the surf. For the most part, it was a nice walk and a nice talk, but when we started talking about past sexual experiences, my low tact/brutal honesty irked Jamie and his defenses went up. As we continued talking and I wondered what the heck I'd gotten myself into with him staying with me for a week, he confessed that I'd called him on stuff of which he wasn't particularly proud and that's why he responded the way he did. I, in turn, told him that the whole conversation was a good thing then as his admission revealed his human side. It was a speed bump... but a speed bump with good consequences.
The next day, though, we hit something a little bigger than a speedbump. More accurately, it could be considered an iceberg.
We were getting ready to go into T.G.I.Friday's and Jamie blurted out in a voice that was full of venom, "I haven't been able to stand you for the past two days and I don't know how I can stand you for the next one," or something to that effect. I honestly don't remember what he said: as soon as it started coming out, my mind blocked it. It was that hateful.
I know it was prefaced with something about me being obnoxious and it followed two days where I thought we were getting along fine except for a couple little nothings, so it completely threw me. The one speedbump we had encountered on Thursday was because of my haircut. I'd thought it looked too poofy the day before and we'd stopped by the barber in Coronado after going to the beach, but it was his day off. Jamie had said something about me getting a haircut shortly after we'd woken up on Thursday, too, so I figured he wanted me to get one as well and off to Coronado we again headed. Yet after I'd gotten it cut, I couldn't get any sort of opinion out of Jamie at all. He, in turn, got mad because I dared ask him about whether or not my haircut was an improvement and that I asked him again when he wouldn't say one way or the other. I thought it was really freaking odd to get mad over such a thing, but I also thought we'd moved past it a few minutes after it started. I definitely didn't realize he was holding back the hostility that spewed forth as we headed into T.G.I.Friday's.
Walking towards the restaurant and waiting to be seated, a few more terse words were spoken. Then right after being seated at the table, I remember saying something like, "Even if you added up all the obnoxious things I could've said in the past two days, they wouldn't add up to that," and as those last words were coming out, I started crying. I got up, trying to veil my tears as much as possible from the other patrons, and headed to the restroom. There, I wiped them off, blew my nose, and wondered what I should do. Should I just go back out, finish lunch, then head back to the apartment and call United to arrange an earlier flight back? Should I call Jay? What?
I stood there a minute, trying to figure out what in the world to do with someone who so blatantly couldn't stand me, then walked back out into the restaurant. I hung near the restroom door, in an open area where no one was sitting, and tried to figure out what would come next. Eventually, I headed back towards the table to find Jamie walking towards me.
We sat back down and started talking. He apologized for what he'd said, saying that he didn't mean it, but it was said too forcefully, too much as though it was something he was repressing and it'd finally been allowed to escape. I again began to cry -- actually, I began to cry several times -- but each time I managed to mostly hold back the tears. And then, of all the things, he got angry with me because everything didn't instantly return to normal upon his apology. He asked if I was going to continue on forever or if I was going to forgive him. I remember telling him that things didn't just instantly return to normal and like wrecking a car, it only takes a minute to do it but it takes a couple weeks to repair it. He apologized again.
Needless to say, the Valentine's Day iceberg wasn't quickly forgotten and through it, the rest of the week was tainted. As much as things seemed swimmingly great during our boat picnic, while having lunch at Citywalk in Hollywood, and when playing around at Knott's Berry Farm, little thoughts kept randomly popping into my head. I kept wondering if under the surface, the lava was still lurking, waiting to escape... and then Monday night it did.
As Jay, Jamie, and I were having dinner, Jamie said something like, "You two are the most arrogant, self-absorbed guys I've ever met." It was several notches less venomous than the comment at T.G.I.Friday's, but it was still laced with the contempt that I'd seen the past Tuesday. Part of me was glad that Jay was there to see it, too, but the other part balked at the realization that Tuesday wasn't a one time occurrence.
Long story short, Jamie ended up apologizing when he and I got back to my apartment, saying that that was his sense of humor. I countered by saying that he didn't laugh afterwards, nor smile, nor give any indication that it was a joke. We talked about it a bit and then moved on... again after I explained that things don't instantly return to normal and that his getting angry thinking it should and that I was harping was infuriating in and of itself.
The next day, yesterday, Jamie woke early and walked to the florist (about a mile and a half roundtrip from my apartment) before we had to leave for the airport. I appreciated the flowers, but the card with them meant the most. It read:
i've done so many things for the first time with you..... you took me to see the ocean..... you introduced me to rollercoasters & amusement parks...... you brought me down to california to play in the sun with you.....
words just can't express how incredible this week has been. for now, and forever, i want you to know that i care about you SO much...... there's nothing i wouldn't do to put a smile on your face... the same way you make me smile with everything you do....
smilin at the thought of you,
And the little card, the florist's card, that was with the flowers read:
i'll be the light
i'll be the sunshine in your eyes
and i can't sleep at night
if you're not by my side
you are my life.....
you make me smile.
Those are the lyrics of the song he wrote (and sang) for me.
So I have absolutely no idea where it's going. The nice parts were nice, really nice, but the other parts scare me. Is lava hiding under the picturesque tree and green grass landscape? Or was it simply like he explained with the pressure of wanting everything to go perfectly that caused the less than wonderful aberration?
I don't know, but I know that I'd prefer he were here tonight rather than in Canada. I'm proceeding with cautious optimism, but it's definitely too uncertain to say that we're exclusively dating. I can say that I visited several sites about Canadian immigration and his friend said something like, "You're moving to California, aren't you?" when she picked him up at the airport last night. Something was definitely right, and it's definitely worth exploring further. I do know that.
Ahh... life. Never simple or obvious... but always an adventure.