Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sonriso, Part 6

“Life is short but a smile takes barely a second.”
—Cuban Proverb

I hate to admit it, but it was one of those nights in which sleep was practically impossible. I couldn’t concentrate on anything but the coming day. The next day began with one of those mornings in which one wakes up with the energy of a Christmas morning. I arose—full of energy—early that morning to the sound of the furnace in the next room pushing out gusts of hot air. It was ten minutes before my alarm was set to go off, but too electric to hop back in bed for those unredeemable moments of rest.

3pcsuit I spent that time going through my things, making sure that everything I’d set out the night before. My black three-piece suit, peach-embroidered maroon tie, a t-shirt and jeans, matching socks, my research poster, and jacket were all waiting exactly where I’d left them. Throwing on the suit, I geared up for a day of lobbying. A true nerd, I was excited at the invite to share my research with Utah’s legislators (despite my opinion of many of them), but the excitement of the day was complemented by a romantic excitement, giving it a sense of fullness from its first hours.

For the drive down, I grabbed a couple of my “happy albums” to set the mood for the day and jammed out on the way down to Ludo and Kate Nash. I wish every day could be like this one, I thought to myself. It was difficult to question whether my attitude was healthy or not. Infatuation—even for a very cute and intelligent guy with direction in his life—is one of those emotions that became borderline unacceptable after other heartbreaks. That said, it felt good to let myself enjoy the day even if disappointment was a distinct and even realistic possibility, so I stopped analyzing my emotions and just let myself feel. As the day unfolded, this feeling did not waver, but perhaps intensified.

capitol sunrise

I parked at the Capitol Building just as the sun peered over the edge of the Salt Lake Valley, which slowly filled with sunlight like a cup slightly submerged under water in the sink. It was as if the light were being pulled in by laws of pressure and volume until the valley filled to capacity carried by the blustery January winds. Inside, I joined a number of other researchers (some nervous and some as contagious with excitement as myself). We enjoyed a breakfast together followed by several hours of engaged discussion with each other, our mentors, and the legislators. Some of the more notable moments were a few “Thank you for doing research in the Humanities” comments, catching a few noticeable shudders as Chris Buttars passed, and an unexpected conversation on lesbian poetry with one of my mentors, Dr. Cangelosi (a welcome sign that she understood and cared about my personal life without actually discussing it).



That afternoon, in the hour before I was supposed to show up on Evan’s doorstep (in as “traditional” a fashion as one could imagine for a first gay date) I tried going through the date in my head as I had many times throughout the day and every day since we’d set it up, despite the fact that we were going into it super casual. Then, on his doorstep, I stood with that lingering feeling—a cocktail of anxiety, twitterpation, and self-induced intimidation. It took somewhere between a minute and five in the mild cold of watching my breath and my indecisive hand attempting to ring the doorbell to finally realize the start of the whole ordeal.


A stern man answered the door. He opened the door just far enough for me to see his furrowed brow and brick-hard demeanor.

“Is Evan here?” I asked hesitantly.

“Yes. Take a seat.”

I did just as I was told, unsure what the consequences might be otherwise, but just as I took a seat across the living room from the man who seemed instantly angry with me, Evan peeked his trademark smile around the corner and said, “Why don’t you come in here while I finish getting ready?”

As I entered, he pulled the door shut and said, “Sorry my roommate’s kind of creepy. It definitely makes things awkward. Not just when there are guys over. I’ll move out when I get a chance.”

“It’s all good,” I said as I examined the contents of his room. In the midst of casual conversation, I felt comfortable from the perch of his bedside. Everything about the room seemed to suggest a boy next door—a few dirty articles of clothing on the floor, a half-made bed, a laptop opened up to Facebook, the superhero movie DVDs and Harry Potter novels on the shelf next to pictures of him hanging out with his friends.

He stood in front of the closet opening drawers picking out a hat.

It struck me that an outside observer would immediately glance at the two of us in that scene and perceive it as not a date, but rather two guys hanging out, and I supposed some people would think that a bad thing. I just wanted to stay in that moment taking in how good it felt just to be around someone I admired and perhaps idealized. He was smart and handsome, but so casual. So casual that sexual fantasy was welcome and congruent in my mind. But a certain fear underlay my elation like an instinctual acrophobia creeping up in the passenger of a glass elevator.

Glass Elevator

My sympathetic nervous system drew itself taut as the thought of an emotional fall crept into view:

Perhaps the reason there’s such a high homosexual relationship turnover is really tied to the fact that it’s so easy to be friends?, I thought. Connecting on that platonic level somehow gets us into trouble. We want to connect on other deep levels (sexually and emotionally), so we rush things and end up getting hurt. Don’t be too excited about Evan.

End, Part 6


Q said...

OMG - the freaking aniticipation is KILLING me!!

Anonymous said...

"...even for a very cute and intelligent guy with direction in his life." And humble!

Haha, sorry GMB. I had to say that. I just couldn't resist. You know I love you. (I think I've earned teasing privileges by now.)

I also want to make some kind of "Where's Waldo" comment about the picture.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

Q: Sorry for the suspense. I hope it paid off in the latest installment.

@Love in the Ruins: I was referring to Evan. :P

How did I know you'd respond to an academic-y post?

As for Where's Waldoing it up, I plan to continue the trend. One other person caught that to my knowledge.

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