Out of the Past

Ten years ago. I was 19.

I was at a summer math research program many states away from home. I fell in love (or what I thought was love) with another student in the program (let’s call him Guy). I didn’t know he was gay until there were only three weeks left in our program.

We had some fun together for a couple weeks. The long hugs and cuddling for a couple hours in the afternoon were the best. But Guy didn’t want a relationship. We went to school in different cities, and he was against long distance relationships (he had been cheated on in the past). I tried to convince him to try (I certainly wasn’t going to cheat on him) but it’s hard to argue logic with a math major. We reverted to being “just friends” for a while.

July 26, 2002. We both got a little drunk at a party (there was a lot of drinking that summer), and things heated up again. We ended up alone in his room. Here is an excerpt from something I wrote the next day, in an old journal I used to keep:

So I asked Guy if he liked me and he said he did. But I think when he’s sober, he likes me as a friend. When he’s drunk, he likes my body. Nowhere in there does he like me for me in a more romantic sense. I finally began to realize that as we were making out last night.

Guy wanted to take things a little further but my body and my mind were telling me not to. Like, my body refused to feel what was going on, and my mind was thinking about our relationship and how it could never work. So I wasn’t feeling sexual, and Guy was getting frustrated at me. I wanted to make Guy happy, but my body didn’t let me. He called me a 13 year old child and said that I’m not a man. He also said I’m not gay, because being gay means I want to have sex with men and all that stuff.

I thought I had buried this experience a long time ago, but the ten year anniversary of that summer somehow stirred up a lot of old feelings. I think a big reason why I still consider myself a boy and not a man stems from that night.

I started seeing a campus therapist last week. I think seeking counseling has been long overdue. It’s been good to talk through a lot of my feelings, both past and present. I hope I can finally move forward.


My Most Romantic Valentine’s Day Yet

Target gave me a midday shift today. I was supposed to put go-backs away all day, but the LOD gave me a “special project” to do for the last couple hours. Basically, she wanted me to consolidate all the Valentine’s Day merchandise from six aisles into two. All of the Valentine’s Day merchandise is going to be 50% off tomorrow, so it’s best to consolidate today before the chaos starts.

She knows I want to be promoted to an ETL, so she said she would write a note at the end of the day saying that I did this extra work. She asked me if I could stay an extra 45 minutes to get the job done. Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like staying late at work.

When I got home, my parents said we were going out to eat to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It was my dad’s idea, but I’m not really sure why he suggested it. I think he just wanted to eat out tonight.

My dad is the least romantic person I know. He never buys my mom any sort of romantic gift. If he says anything romantic, it’s said sarcastically (and received as such too). I can’t even remember the last time my parents were physically touching; I never see them holding hands, hugging, or even sitting on the couch at the same time.

Anyway, my parents and I went to a slightly fancy Italian restaurant (fancier than Olive Garden). The main dining room was all booked with reservations, so we had to sit at a table in the lounge/bar area. We were probably the only party of three in the whole restaurant. Looking around, I saw only couples (which seems logical, given the day). Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like going out to dinner with your parents.

On the bright side, my parents didn’t mention dating, girlfriends, or marriage all night. Instead, they talked about how unstable a job at Target (or in retail in general) can be, since the rumors of recession can mean I could get laid off at any time, even if I became an ETL. Good times. Happy Valentine’s Day!