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Friday, April 23, 2010

Sonriso, Part 3

Exit Strategies

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

—from “We Wear the Mask,” Paul Laurence Dunbar

The next morning, I sent Derek a text: “We need to talk.”

In terms of dating and relationships, about 80% of the time that is a very bad sign. And for that reason it took him a while to respond.

That night, he sent a very generic message either oblivious or evasive of the situation: “Hey, GMB. What’s up?”

“Not much. Just homework tonight. Do you have a sec to talk on the phone?” I responded.

me on phone

After another half hour, my phone rang and the pressure suddenly mounted. Cliché as it might sound, I panicked at the last minute wondering if I should even pick up. I answered at the last possible moment before it could go to voicemail.

“Hey, Derek,” I said in as neutral a tone as possible. “How was your day?”

“Super busy. School, then rehearsals, then work, then some family drama when I got home.”

“You do seem to have a lot of that don’t you?” I jested.

“Can’t deny that. At least there’s the weekend, right? It’s too bad things didn’t work out for you to go too,” he said, lying through his teeth.

“About that…. I really did want to go,” I said gritting my own teeth slightly. Teeming with dissatisfaction but holding back, I paused. “I talked to Zane on Connexion last night and he explained the situation.”

“What situation?”

“If you didn’t want me to go to Sundance, you should have told me.”

“I do. It’s just complicated, okay?”

“Yeah. This is getting pretty complicated,” I said. “This isn’t going somewhere I like, so I don’t think another date is a good idea.”

***

To be completely honest, that’s not what happened. Not at all. I didn’t send any text or attempt any serious talk. That’s how the story would have ended had it happened a year later.

quantum-suicide-9

Instead, I let it go. I had no intention of pursuing an actual relationship with Derek, but I still planned to wait it out. Zane’s forecast was that he’d lose interest soon and move on when he knew he wasn’t going to get any more action turned out to be fairly accurate.

One date was all it took.

underworld 3 I didn’t want to be there and I’m sure my body language indicated such. It all started with an uneasy hug in the snow as we met at the movie theater. Since he drove a bit that day, I suggested he pick the movie, and without fail he picked the one movie I wasn’t interested in: Underworld 3, “It’s okay,” he reassured me. “It’s a prequel, so you don’t need to see the other movies to know what’s going on.”

I sat there amused. While he was so enthralled he didn’t attempt to make a move, I amused myself with analyzing how ridiculous I found the movie and the situation. How did I end up stuck here. At least it’s a free movie, right? That’s all I’d pay to see it.

Our quick, final date ended with a quick hug goodbye. Should I say anything? It was as if I was holding my breath debating whether to come up for air or keep waiting it out conserving what little I still had in my lungs. We passed each other hollow smiles as he got in his car to make the drive back.

Twenty minutes later, I received a call.

“I had a good time, GMB.”

I listened waiting for the inevitable “but.”

“You know it’s been fun and all, but we’re at different places in our lives. I left the Church a long time ago. I’m comfortable with sex. You’re going off to grad school fairly soon.”

“True,” I said. Oh my gosh. It’s really happening, passively embracing this fate.

“Well, I feel like I haven’t been getting a lot out of our time together. I mean, I keep making all of the effort and don’t feel like it’s paying off.”

“Okay.”

“It’s best we move on then. After all, you’re looking for a relationship and at this point I don’t think I am anymore. I only have so much time to have fun.”

“I agree.”

With a few painless words, it was all over and I saw through the counterfeit smile. Not Derek’s, but my own. I was weak for putting up with being nothing more than an object, nothing more than a conquest, nothing more than a pretty face.

End, Part 3.

4 comments:

El Genio said...

Fortunately, you are a lot more than just a pretty face.

Personally, I have never understood the idea of wanting to play the field and have fun - especially when it's at the expense of legitimate relationships. I just don't get it.

robert said...

While Dunbar was speaking of slaves, there is a clear universality in his words...when we stop lying to others, we stop lying to ourselves and start living Our lives.

green and purple said...

A sad post. I saw it coming, but still. You can say that you learned from him - what to avoid in gay men.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

@El Genio: Thanks. I think I've had the playing the field experience while seeking legitimate relationships. Sad, but ironic.

@robert: More great insight. I'm glad you paid attention to the nuances of those posts.

@green and purple: Yeah. I think that's the difference between positive and negative people. Not a great experience, but I happily learned from it. A negative person would have dwelled on the whole thing for years.

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