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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sonriso, Part 2

Red Flags and the Kindness of Strangers

This post is rated PG-13 for some language.

At worst I feel bad for a while
But then I just smile
I go ahead and smile

—“Smile,” Lily Allen

A few nights after that steamy evening with Derek, a chat window popped up unexpectedly one night. It was Drake, a guy I’d spent months chatting with and texting without any success of lining up our schedules for a single date. I’d heard through the grapevine that he was in a relationship, so this conversation was particularly unexpected.

Drake and boyfried.

“GMB!”

“Hey, Drake! How are you?”

“Pretty good. Life’s treated me well. I saw you online and thought I’d say hi.”

“Thanks. I like hearing from old friends, but you know it gets weird when they’re in a relationship. I’m self-conscious of what it’ll look like sometimes.”

“That’s one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard. I know we haven’t talked for a while, but a friend is a friend.”

“I’m glad you feel that way.”

“There’s not a ton of good guys out there, so we’ve gotta look out for each other.”

His sentiment brightened my day a bit, but I wondered if its surfacing was not entirely spontaneous.

“I heard you’re seeing Derek.”

“Yeah. He speaks pretty highly of you. He considers you his best friend.”

“We go back a few years, I guess.”

“He’s handsome and witty.”

I wasn’t really expecting what came next although I wasn’t entirely surprised.

“He is. You just need to be careful.”

Drake didn’t elaborate, but rather left me to wonder just what he was leaving for me to discover for myself—a topic we would discuss over coffee a couple of weeks later.

Cole had acted similarly since Derek and I began to date. They went to school together and knew each other from a distance. Only later did I learn that it was by Cole’s wishes. That said, their paths did cross. A few nights after my chat with Drake, Derek made a confession:

“I was at a party last night and ended up telling Cole everything.”

heart skip

My heart skipped a beat. I’d kept something from the one person I could trust the most. It was something deeply personal that I was still processing. I was planning on telling him about that hand job sometime down the road (despite his joking remarks that he would disown me if I got any action before he did). In a way, though, I’d kept it from him as I withheld the details of the date.

Cole’s response was ambivalent. He was happy I was comfortable with myself in the moment and reassured that I wasn’t so comfortable afterward. Just what I needed at the time even if I wasn’t able to reach out for that kindness myself. At this particular time in my life, that seemed to be my luck.

napoleon_dynamite_poster Despite what I’d learned about Derek that week, I was gearing up for our next date, a day at the Sundance Film Festival with a few of his friends. I’d wanted to go since I was a freshman in college (as one of my instructors was in Napoleon Dynamite and offered to take us before it sold out). Thursday night, though, he dropped a quick text: “Saturday won’t work after all.”

He didn’t really offer an explanation other than “Things didn’t work out,” which left me a bit upset. I put on a smile and let it all go in the moment, though.

“It’s alright. Some other time.”

“Next week. I promise,” he said.

Later that night, a chat window popped up as I was finishing up a paper on some Brazilian short stories.

“I hope you’re having a good night. I’m Zane, BTW.”

Zane was another one of Derek’s friends. The one who’d invited him to Sundance. I bet this is going to be an interesting conversation, I thought to myself.

Sundance

“Nice to meet you. Derek’s thinks you’re pretty much the coolest guy he knows. He really goes on a lot about you.”

“Oh really? LOL, because he’s an asshole.”

Although I’d half-expected something negative from him at that point, his comment really took me by surprise. He explained:

“Derek’s a fun guy to hang out with, but doesn’t have a lot of substance. He’s why gay men have a reputation for being drama queens.”

“I’ve started to see that more recently. It’s got to be true if one of his best friends goes to some length to track down a total stranger warn him.”

“He’s got a pattern. He goes for he wants and when he gets as much as he possibly can, he moves on. Don’t let it get that far is all I’m saying.”

“Okay. That’s good to know. Next week’s definitely the last.”

“Next week? Aren’t you coming on Saturday to Sundance?”

“He told me things didn’t work out for me to go.”

“See…Total asshole. The only reason I got the passes was so that I and my friends could meet you. I’d hardly call it a reputation, but I’d call it a good one still.”

“Wait… Why was I not invited then?”

“You’ll have to ask him. If you ask me, though, I think he’s insecure about us possibly liking you better… and for good reason.”

The time had come to contemplate my next move.

End, Part 2.

5 comments:

Ethan said...

Would you believe it if I said some of that language would be in PG movies?

You are much nicer then me b/c I would have been pissed for telling my best friend about um bathroom fun w/o my permission

That being said I don't think I would be able to dump the guy b/c I would see it as a mistake

Ethan

Phunk Factor said...

Like you mentioned, if HIS best friend goes to a length to warn a complete stranger there has to be something worth ringing the alarm!!!

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

@Evan: I'd believe it. I tend to caution people about the content of posts, because I think they appreciate it. Haha.

"Bathroom fun?" I've never heard that one.

@Phunk Factor: It sure was a big red flag I should have taken more seriously.

naturgesetz said...

I'm a little surprised that you felt you should have told Cole about the hand job. I'd have thought that sexual activity was something private.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

@naturgesetz: I did plan on waiting a month or two, but he's the only person who knew in my life for a while.

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