I have a date tomorrow.To say that I’m nervous is truly an understatement.I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be because I know the guy. Actually I’ve known him for quite some time now.
His name is Peter and once upon a time on one of my drunken nights we decided to meet after his Senior Prom.
He is a year or two younger than I and I had just happened to end my Max “urban” fairy tale. I was heartbroken and full of rage, not to mention full of bad decisions infuse by Vodka. I didn’t care much about anything back then. Didn’t see Peter as a possible “new beginning”, in fact I don’t think either of us ever viewed each other as much more than a simple fuck. He was young and barely exploring his sexuality, I was single and eager to subside the pain with anyone and anything that came my way. A mutual friend introduced us. She thought we would be a great match, where she got that idea, I have no fucking clue. We were good in bed that’s for sure but I couldn’t see us past the bed sheets.
We met on and off for the next couple of years after that one night at social events or someone’s house party. We fucked here and there and he always left the morning after before we could sober up and truly ask ourselves who we were underneath the covers. He lingered there even after I started my committed relationship with EJ (Ernesto) and began to play the part of a house-husband who was settling down for a less “wild” lifestyle. He became then just an acquaintance who I’d share a steamy past with and who I greeted friendly with a head nod when we bumped into each other at bars.
I lost track of him after a while, only seeing him on social media or in a social status other people posted of him. He remained distant until recently one random night we both found ourselves messaging back in forth through Facebook. I had been drinking- not a surprise- and he had just left the bar with some of his friends. One thing led to the other and before I knew it I was meeting him outside my house and showing him the way to my front door.
It was as though time had rushed Nine years back and we were those two boys meeting in the middle of the night for the first time after Prom again. He hadn’t changed much except his hair and style, though something in his persona had definitely become something else. He stared at me carefully… probably thinking the same thing. His smile brought back memories of that night especially of his mischievous grin as he leaned down for a kiss.
We gushed about how long it had been and how weird it was to see each other again. I handed him a beer and sat next to him on my couch trying to figure out what the hell I was doing bringing back old chapters of my life.
He knew I’d been sick recently. He knew only what I had told most people- that I had been diagnosed with Cancer and that I was in Chemo treatment for it. I know it’s not the truth but it’s not a lie either. KS (Kaposi’s Sarcoma) is a cancer- result of the HIV of course, but a cancer nonetheless. I figured that since everyone seemed to be aware of my hospital stay questions would arise and I had no intentions (or courage) to tell the truth. Not yet at least, not today. I decided it would be best if only certain people knew my real results while others only the partial truth. He was part of that “other” group.
After a few beers and long conversation of what we’d been doing the last couple of years he decided it be best if he stayed the night. I didn’t protest in fact I was eager to spend the night with someone other than my dog. He laid on my usual side of the bed as I made myself comfortable on EJ’s old side. I know it sounds weird but the thought of someone else sleeping on the side of the man that for years served as my body pillow seemed wrong still.
The room was dark but I could still see his eyes and his smile as he leaned in towards me and gave me his familiar kiss. He smiled at me as he pulled back, staring at me like he did that Senior night. My hands became my sight and I explored his skin like a map trying to figure out a way back home. His lips fed me his well known taste and I found myself traveling back in time and pretending that nothing between us had changed. I was not HIV positive and he was not the new and improved Peter but his old inexperienced self barely out the closet.
We didn’t do it. Partially because I didn’t want it to be just another fuck to add to our unconventional story but also because the thought of me having sex with someone who is unaware of my status seemed completely out of line. So after a steamy long session of making out we fell asleep and brought ourselves back to 2016.
I didn’t seem him after that though we promised ourselves we would stay in touch. It didn’t seem like a big surprise nor did I care much about it. I was use to this coming and going routine. We’d been doing this since the day we met. He would spend hours on my lips and then, just like that he would be gone only to return on random occasions. You would agree that it came as a shock that a few weeks later he would ask me out.
I don’t know if it’s an official date, I can only assume it is. He didn’t use the typical “would you like to go on a date with me” line and there was no rose or any romantic music playing in the background. Instead, his message popped up on my phone like a sweet surprise. “So when can we hang out? Like maybe stay in and watch movies? Just hang out and be lazy together?”
Initially I didn’t associate his request with anything else but a friendly approach to what there already is between us. It didn’t seem out of character until he said: “okay well let’s make it a date”
Again I saw his new persona come through. Though years had passed and he still remained that inexperienced boy in my head I knew that he no longer was that boy out of high school who I passionately kissed in a crowded dance floor at our local gay bar. He had grown up at some point and learned that bonding with someone over a movie is a lot more intimate than bonding with them in bed. I’m not saying that he is my next prince charming because I don’t even know if I want a prince charming.
I can’t think past today. I can’t think past the pages that are marked with my pill schedule. I don’t know how many more chapters are left and I don’t want to get involved with someone who hasn’t read the prologue to my story.
Fairy tales don’t end with “ ….And they lived happily for five years until one died of AIDS” They are not suppose to happen to people like me. They’re not suppose to happen like that.I don’t want to deny myself the idea of romance but I have to be realistic. I can’t let his charm enchant me and pretend like I am like him- that I can give him everything he wants. I am limited and should treat this with caution. I don’t want to fuck up but I don’t want to tell him the truth either. I’m scared of his reaction. I’m scared that he will no longer see me as the apple of temptation but as the rotting poison apple in Snow White.
Fairy tales all have the same happy ending and though it would be nice to end my book with a kiss in a pumpkin carriage. I think I prefer a story with an alternative ending. Maybe a Shakespeare ending with a romantic tragic end. Or maybe a Stephen King ending, twisted and unexpected. I don’t know what I want yet but maybe tomorrow after our date things will be more readable. I guess for now it’s safe to say that I am eager to see where this chapter will lead. Maybe it won’t end, maybe it will leave readers wanting more. Maybe it will leave off in a semicolon; patiently waiting for the next page.