Monday, August 16, 2010

Hold, Part 5

Something New

First impressions do hold the legendary power attributed to them.  Perhaps it goes back to visceral reactions to primordial times in which survival was on the line, or perhaps we’ve grown more dependent upon empirical observations over time. 

In the case of Chandler, good feelings were abound in those first moments after Clark introduced us.  His humor was witty and slightly self-deprecating.  Making all sorts of queer jokes or observations about himself, it was clear that he brought up his lisp or the decals on his car only because he was so comfortable with who he was. 

Throughout the conversation, Clark remained uncharacteristically silent only to shoot a glance now and then to suggest his skill as a matchmaker.  Those looks punctuated stories of Chandler’s latest adventures with his flame dame aptly named Judy.  They worked together at a restaurant on Bear Lake and had their own language of codes and nicknames for the regulars such as “Spinach Salad Monster” (who took total offense at any lettuce particles in her salad) and “PB and J minus the B” (who enjoyed his pizza with raspberry jelly).

Bear Lake

Though he was my age, he had this boyish charm to him.  His stories seemed to be out of an eighties coming-of-age movie set in a resort town—the type with just the adventures and lessons I’d like to share.

That first impression came into question as Chandler offered me a cigarette.  As I recall, it was the first time this had ever happened to me in my 24 years of life.  I wasn’t offended, but shocked the way anybody is with firsts of that kind.  I’d declined multiple offers of alcohol and found Chandler’s offer a sort of psychological impasse.  Unlike coffee or even alcohol, smoking was one of those things I knew I’d never try nor want to try.  Did I really want to date a smoker or know what an ash tray tasted like?

Over the coming week, my mind was stuck on the issue along with the resolution of trying new things, to which Clark had committed me. 

“Alright, Clark, one date,” I told him.

Excited that his prospects as gay matchmaker remained intact, he passed on the good news that I’d set some time aside for a date between another week of rehearsals. 

Between dance rehearsals of “Into the Fire” and “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” I spent my last free night off before performance week trying something new. 

Juniper Takeout

The date went well.  Dinner at my favorite local restaurant, great conversation about past relationships including the one woman he still considers the first love of his live, an attempt to educate me in the beauty of country music other than “Earl’s Gotta Die.”  That said, the most memorable part of the night was a simmering curiosity: if he’s good in all of these other ways, just how much will the smoking affect my kissing sensibilities. 

Talking in his car, my eye wandered to the gum, the toothbrush, the mouthwash, etc. all ready in waiting for a refresher.  He was very candid about the setup:

“I learned a long time ago that it’s nothing I’ll be able to get over unless I want to get over it.  I won’t do it for anybody else.”

“It’s good that you would want to do something for the right reason, but I do wonder why you still smoke.”

“I had quit, but nerves got the better of me.  I started after my last breakup.  I had something to fall back on when I needed.   It’s not healthy in this sense or the health one, but it works for me and that’s what’s important.”


I was happy he saw through his self-delusion, but disconcerted that he saw no way out of his dependence.  In the end, my curiosity got the better of me and we kissed (following his best self-conscious cleaning efforts), though I doubt I would have held back were he not a smoker.

Pulling away from our embrace in the seat of his car, I looked into his large blue eyes. As he turned and sighed, I felt the cool satisfying air pulled across the most sensitive parts of my neck.  We lay there for a moment in repose—his hands against by now-relaxed shoulders, his head on my heart as if to overhear a verdict being discussed on the other side.  The preceding moments of physicality were some of the best I’d ever experienced, but dulled constantly by the thought, “This would be so much better without that taste.”

End, Part 5.


Q said...

who is Spence? or was that a slip of the fingers? :)

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

Yep. You caught an error. That's Chandler. Neither is the guy's real name, though, BTW.

Popular Posts