Happy Halloween!!!!

Some things sound like such a great idea when they are presented.  But alas, you should at least make sure there is no documentation of the event.

Twenty years ago this year I was waiting tables in Atlanta at Bennigan’s.  My friend David the one in the back on the left decided it would be fun if we worked as waitresses on Halloween. So we went thrift store shopping and there you have it.  Four cross-dressing waitresses.  It was a lot of fun actually.  And since every male person front of house (except for two bartenders) were gay everyone enjoyed it immensely.

On the left is Craig, David, in the red Ray and me on the right.

A shot of David helping me with my hair.

And then later that night, the girls went out on the town.  I make one of the ugliest drag queens known to man.  I’m the one on the right with the HUGE head of blond curls.  (You were half right Sarah).

Ray and I are large boned men so we had a huge problem finding clothes to fit us.  We went to all the large lady size stores but we were even larger than that.  We ended up going to Macy’s on the south side of Atlanta found everything we needed.  Of course I still remember the look on the sales girl’s face when we asked to try on our gowns and shoes.  We laughed our asses off that day.  Of course we started the evening off by stopping by work for dinner and drinks.  We had to let everyone see our creations.

I wasn’t looking my best here.  And we hadn’t even started the evening yet.


Several years later my boyfriend and I dressed up for Halloween.  This was Jim not Sam.  I still didn’t make a very pretty girl.  Of course the evening ended before it got started because we got into a huge fight and ended up not even going out.  Needless to say that relationship didn’t last very long.

Happy Halloween.  I’m dressing up as a waiter tonight.  And if all goes well I’ll be a highly tipped waiter.

Tomorrow night I’ll tell you the story of getting into a bar fight, the cops and my friend Amy and I wrestling a guy to the ground and planting his face on the side walk.

Oh the joys of drinking after work.

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Sam — Chapter 10

The Sam stories have been bringing up all kinds of memories and feelings.  Memories of my life 15 years ago.  A time when I still felt I had my whole life in front of me.  A time when I was indestructable and invincible.  I felt as though I had direction, and knew what I wanted from life.  The realizations that I was 100% a prick.   I was selfish, and self-centered and thought little of anyone other than myself.   My friend Lee works with me at the restaurant and recently told a group of people that I’d become nice as I grew older, that when he first met me I was a complete ass.  It’s nice to know I’ve changed and I guess I should find some comfort in that, but I can’t help wonder how things might have turned out if I’d always been a nice guy.

But I found the picture of Sam giving me my first Christmas gift.

It’s took me three hours to find, and another 30 minutes to scan.

The first picture is of him sitting at my drafting table holding the gift and the second photo is me in my now famous green bathrobe opening the gift.  These are only a couple of the photos I have of us during the beginning of our relationship.  When we first started dating we spent 90% of our time hiding in my apartment, so there are no photos.  Of course I’ve also never been good at pulling out the camera.  I tend to carry it with me and then not take any photos.  I think sometimes it’s because I don’t like being photographed.   Maybe if there were only photos that showed me at my thinnest and prettiest I wouldn’t mind.

He’s cute isn’t he?

Notice the glimpse of flowers on the table?  I’d bet a million bucks he brought them to me.

Notice the Diet Coke can?  Very little has changed.

Sam — Chapter 9

It’s been an interesting experience telling this story.  Each day new memories coming barging in.  Most of them are wonderful, although some not so much.  Of course if the memories were all good, we’d still be together and if they were all bad we wouldn’t have stayed together four years.  I guess that’s why the story has been fun to tell.

The real issue today is whether I’m remembering things the way they happened, or the way I wish they’d happened.  I’m trying very diligently to tell the story truthfully.  Of course, with all writers there are embellishments, as well as things I leave out because I already look like the world’s biggest jerk.  But for the most part I tell the story as I remember it striving to keep it honest.

And today as I was trying to figure out what comes next in the tale, I realized that something I wrote last night wasn’t true.  I had not remembered it correctly.  And that’s prompted an examination of everything I’ve been saying. Wondering if perchance I’m remembering the whole story incorrectly.  And I don’t suppose we’ll ever know.  The memories are mine.  They are embedded in my brain and, although I can remember exactly what Sam was wearing the day we met, for the life of me there are huge chunks of our relationship that I don’t remember at all.  And then something I hear, or say, or do will jog a memory and it brings the story forward.

Which happened today.  Only it brought the real story forward not the glamorized version I told last night.

In my last post I said that we returned from Atlanta and school started and  Sam would be at my apartment waiting for me when I returned from work.  That’s not even close to the truth.  A year later it would be.  But in the fall of 1991 that was not the case.  The school year that started as we returned from Atlanta found Sam rooming with a friend from high school.  A friend that he’d been lying to all summer about how we knew each other.  He didn’t come to my house every night.  In fact it was very much like before.  He would stop by for a couple of hours and then head home when it started to get late.  He did spend the night a couple of times but it was very stressful for him and he couldn’t relax.

Last night’s version of that story wasn’t true.  I’m going to go back and reread all my posts over the next couple of days to see if there are other things that I’ve stated incorrectly.

As for what happens next.

I worked.  I designed.  I studied.  I worked.  I designed.  I studied.  And I pined after the 5’10” boy who I was hopelessly in love with.

He was busy as well.  At the time he wanted to be a state senator and so he was taking his required classes as well as trying to figure out what the course would be to become a politician.  He was still working a part time job, although less so.  And his great love…he was in the university marching band.  I kid.  Sort of.  He was in the marching band.  And he hated it.  He could barely play his instrument and used to joke that he only played the whole notes.  I think he was in the band because his parents expected him to be there.  After whining about it for more than a month I finally convinced him that if he hated it as much as he said he hated it, then he should just quit.  About two weeks later he did.

And our lives continued.  The seasons changed.  Summer faded into autumn.  Autumn faded into winter.

And then it was Christmas.  Yippee for Christmas!

I love Christmas.  I used to anyway.  I’ve become a bit of a Scrooge as I’ve gotten older.  At least around the socializing.  I tend to spend Christmas day on the sofa with lots of Chinese food and sappy movies on the Hallmark Channel.  But I still love putting up a tree and decorating.  And in 1991 it was no different.  Plus I had a boyfriend that liked decorating as much as I did.  Sam and I went shopping for the tree.  It took forever before we found the tree we liked, that would actually fit in my apartment.  He helped me decorate it, with all of the ornaments I’d stolen from my parents.  And in no time the place looked great.

And I remember getting my first Christmas gift from Sam.  It was cold outside and we were sitting in my living room.  It was early evening and we’d built a fire in the fireplace.  (This was the last apartment I had with a working fireplace).  I was in my famous green bathrobe and we were enjoying the tree and the fire and were making out on the sofa.  Somewhere I have a picture of this evening.  By this time Sam had already brought a couple of gifts for me to put under the tree.  While we were sitting there he asked me if I’d like to open a present.  I didn’t know how to respond.

I’ve never been a peeker.  I’ve never wanted the surprise ruined.  I’ve never wanted the gifts early.  I’ve had the chance to cheat (insert joke here) and know what I was getting as a gift many times but I’ve never done it.  I’ve always wanted the anticipation to last.  I think part of this has to do with getting such lousy gifts growing up that if you don’t open the gifts then there’s always a possibility it might be what you want.  And so I’ve always enjoyed waiting.   That is unless I’m doing the giving.  I’ve often given gifts early because I get excited about them.  I’ll tell you about the Tiffany ring I gave the asshole, David, on our first anniversary sometime.

So when Sam asked I didn’t know what to say.  Of course I wanted to open the gift but I also wanted the anticipation to last.  I figured since there were many more, how could it hurt to open just one.  And so he picked one of the gifts from under the tree.  And he handed it to me.  And I sat there.  And breathed in the moment.

And I opened the gift.

And it was a Christmas ornament.  The first of many that he would give me.

And it said.  “Our First Christmas.”

I don’t remember any of the other gifts he gave me that year.  I don’t remember many of the gifts he gave me throughout our relationship.  In fact, there are only three that stand out.  One was Christmas gift.  One was a birthday gift.  And the best of all was a Valentine’s Day gift.  The other’s don’t matter.  The three that I remember will always be the standard which I hold all boyfriend’s gifts.  No one has come close to matching them.

Sam — Chapter 8

So the two love birds are back home in Kentucky and all is well.

The End.

Well.

Not Really.

We are back home in Kentucky.  And officially we are boyfriends.  Finally.  Although none of his friends know about it at this point.  I’ve met them…all four of them, a couple of times.  I’m just a friend he knows from school.  He’s terrified that ANYONE will find out the truth.

By this time I’ve also had the pleasure of going to Sam’s house.  He gave me the tour.  All 4,000 square feet of the tour.  And that was without the basement.  Sam’s closet was the size of my current bedroom.  And all of the clothes were organized by color and outfit.  Of course his bedroom was decorated in early 13 year old boy stylings.  But I guess 18’s not that much different.  Of course by now Sam is 19 having had his birthday in August.  He’s a Leo.  And it’s all about him.  Always has been.  Always will be.

The fun part of going to Sam’s house was concealing that fact that we’d been there.  The day of the tour Sam showed me the formal living room and the formal dining room.  I even sat down and played a little ditty on the piano that was clearly there for show.  And then after the tour about three minutes before we were leaving, Sam pulled out the vacuum cleaner and began to make the pile in the carpet look just like it had when we entered.  The cleaning lady (Francis)  left the carpet in these nice little diagonal patterns, and it was important that NO ONE know that I’d been to the house.  And everytime I visited after that, including long after his parents knew about me, we would do this to the carpet.

So by now all my friends know about my new boyfriend and he’s going to parties with me, and out to eat with me and FINALLY spending the night.  When school started back Sam was officially living in the dorm.  And what this meant was that Sam kept his belongings in the dorm and occasionally spent the night there, if he was out with friends, but most of the time he was in my bed waiting for me when I came home from work.  I’d given him a key a while ago.

And so we were the young couple in love.  I would go to school and have classes in the morning, work in the shop in the afternoon, run home shower and change and be at work by 5:30.  I would wait tables till midnight and then go home and do homework…after kissing my boyfriend hello and letting him know how much I missed him.

And all this time I was still sleeping around.

About ten minutes after we started dating Sam told me the story of this guy he’d hooked up with, one Saturday afternoon.  He went back to this guy’s house and had great sex and Sam had to sneak down the back stairs because his girlfriend was coming up the front stairs.  And Sam went on and on and on and on and on about how hot this guy was.  His name was Jason, and he was hot, hot, hot.  And nothing makes conversation with your boyfriend better than his going on, and on, and on, and on, about a guy he’s been with who’s hotter than you.

Flash forward about four days.  I’m at work waiting tables.  I pass through the bar area on my way to my section.  As I walk by I catch the eye of this really hot guy sitting at a table with his friend.  Being me, I make the trip about three or four more times just to check him out and to make sure he’s checking me out.  And then he follows me.  To the bathroom.  All right calm down.  I did not have sex in the bathroom.  I’ve done that, but not that day.  He does introduce himself and turns out his name is Jason.  The one and only.  And yes, he’s as hot as I’ve been told he is.  And he asks if we can get together sometime.  I suggest tomorrow because I know Sam will be at work all day and I have the night off.  And so he agrees and I tell him I’ll give him a call.

And so now it’s like I have to do it.  Sam has gone on and on and on and on about how great the sex was how am I supposed to say no?  Really.  It’s a no brainer.  So the next day I call up Jason and we agree on a time and without giving it a second thought I head over to his house.  And he’s even more beautiful with his clothes off.  And he’s got a huge dick.  And he’s GREAT in bed.  Everything Sam said and more.

And we finished and I showered and we said our good byes and I told him I would give him a call sometime and he said great.

And that would be the end of the story if it weren’t for three things.  First, the girlfriend  coming up the stairs as Sam was going down the stairs is a well known Hollywood Actress.  Hmmm.  And the second part is that Jason went on to become a porn star.  See below.

And well the most over the top, insulting treatment of Sam ever, was two years later.  Sam and Jason ended up in the same program at school.  This involved a studio class that lasted every afternoon for four hours.  Jason was a couple of years ahead of Sam.  By this time Sam is out of the closet with his friends and family and now they all know about me, and I’ve met many of them.  So Christmas 1993 Jason throws a big Christmas bash.  He rents ballroom in a private residence to have the party.  It’s formal so everyone is decked out in their best attire.  Sam and I are in tuxes with green and red plaid cummerbunds.  And we get to the party and we walk in and Jason comes over to welcome us and Sam turns and says, “Jason, this is my boyfriend Jeff.  Jeff this is Jason.  He’s a couple of years ahead of me.”  We both follow with the “I’ve heard so much about you phrases and Sam never knows that we’ve slept together at least six or seven time in the past year or so.

Sometimes I wonder how I haven’t been hit by a bus with the kind of karma that should be heading my way.

Sam — Chapter 7

Now I’m torn between finishing the story from last night, or continueing with the great adventures of Sam.  If I continue with last night’s post I eventually get to Sam anyway.  It’s just a matter of how soon.

I know, I’ll write what I want to write about.  How’s that.  Actually I think I’ll alternate the stories for a bit so that no one gets bored and I don’t get tired of making the shit up.

So I’m in Atlanta for the weekend.  I’m visiting my friend Stacy who I worked with in 1987 at Bennigen’s at Lenox Mall.  She’d moved on to other restaurants by now as a bartender and I had quit my restaurant job (actually I was fired) returned to Kentucky and started working on my MA in theatre.

So I’m there visiting Stacy and we are doing what we do a lot of.  Hanging out.  I still have a lot of friends in Atlanta that I want to se, so for the first few days I manage to see some of them.  One of them is my friend Tony.  We’d dated ever so briefly but had remained great friends.  I always spent a little time with him.  And there were others.  Everyone was understanding of my mood and they let me be.  And then I was sitting in Stacy’s living room and checked my messages and what would you know, Sam had called.  He had left a message saying he was sorry and that he’d love to come to Atlanta if he was still welcome.  I called him later when I knew he would be at home and gave him directions as to how to get here.

And what do you know, the next day, about four hours later than he should have, he got to Atlanta.  First stop — food.  Stacy and her friends are all in the restaurant business and they’ve worked at some of the best restaurants in Atlanta.  So we headed over to Veni Vedi Vici.  They had a friend who was the manager and he was going to hook us up.  We were there about three hours and had the opportunity to try a lot of different things.  Some of them I liked, some of them I didn’t but I tried it all.  Sam was more hestitant to try things, but after some coaxing he warmed up and was a little more open minded about it.

After dinner.  It was supposed to be drinks and dancing.  That was the plan anyway.  I don’t remember what bar we stopped at first.  We approached the door and held our breath that Sam wouldn’t be carded going in.  He gave them his biggest smile and no one said a word.  We took about ten steps into the bar and Sam freaked out.  He was hyperventilating, wouldnt let go of my arm, and was hysterical.  He was convinced that everyone was looking at him and that everyone wanted to have sex with him.  There was no calming him down so we gathered up our purses and we left.

Outside the bar we stood in the parking lot and chatted about what had happened.  Sam kept apologizing, but also saying that he didn’t think he was ready to go into a gay bar.  Michael, Stacy’s friend told him, “No one’s ever READY to go into a gay bar.  But if you want to have fun and dance.  You take a deep breath and do it.”  Sam still wasn’t convinced.  I was just getting annoyed.  He’d come to Atlanta to make up for being so narrow and closed minded and he wasn’t helping his case any.  Finally Michael convinced him to come in and try again.  Michael held his hand as we re-entered and Sam did okay.  Inside we were able to get him a couple of drinks to take the edge off and FINALLY he started calming down.  He was able to dance and at least let go a little.  By the end of the night, he might have actually been having a good time.

We didn’t stay out late that night.  We were all tired and we had to be up early the next morning.  When we got home Sam and I brushed out teeth and said our goodnights.  And we closed the door.  We lay in bed for a long time talking.  He gave his part of the story.  I gave my part of the story.  During the talking it came out that part of my frustration was our sex life.  He was close minded about what he was willing and not willing to do.  And for the most part he thought all of it was dirty.  I explained that there were things that I needed and wanted and if our relationship was going to work he was going to have to try and accomodate me.  It might be tough at first, but with patience and understanding, he would eventually come to like it.

And so for the sake of my argument we tried it, and it hurt, and he said no, and I think it was the last time I even tried to do this ever again.  I just realized that the sex we were having was great, and I could live without it.  At least in my relationship.  Since I wasn’t being monogamous, I’d just get it elsewhere.

And then we returned to the world of school, jobs and giving him a key to my apartment.

How Maddog Got to Atlanta…By Way of Kansas City.

I’ll get to the part about Sam, it’s just by way of Robin Hood’s Barn.

First I have to explain how I came to be in Atlanta at all for that weekend.  It’s a long story.

I graduated from undergrad in 1987 with a degree in theater.  Acting to be precise.  And about two weeks before graduation I realized that I SUCKED.  Not just a little.  I SUCKED BIG TIME!!!  So I was out of school, out of work and had nothing on the horizon.  So when my friend Julia asked if I’d like to come spend the summer with her in Kansas City I jumped at it.  Her parents had moved there the previous spring and Julia didn’t want to spend the summer alone with no friends.  So she asked, I said what the fuck, and there I was living in Kansas City, Kansas.  Overland Park to be exact.

While I was there I had the worst job I’ve ever had in my life and I hope will ever have.  It was called Flyboy where I was working but I just found it listed on the Internet as “jogger.”  Basically I stood at the end of a printing press that was pringing newspaper advertisements and as the papers came out of the press I would grab them between my arms and jog them until they were nice and neat.  I would then tie them up in to batches of 100 and put them on a pallet.  A printing press is a VERY loud machine and so you need ear plugs to keep from going deaf.  At the same time you couldn’t have headphones because you DID need to be able to hear incase the press needed to be stopped in the event of an emergency.  At one point that summer the temperature was over 110 degrees.  There was little AC and the sweat just dripped off me.  I lost close to 40 pounds that summer.  And the first two weeks the inner part of my arm bled constantly.  It was disgusting.  I did learn a lot about myself that summer.  I learned that I can put up with just about anything if I know it’s not forever.  I also learned that there are ways to make things a little bit stress free.

In the world of printing, the goal is to keep the press going as long as possible, printing the papers as quickly and as efficiently as possible.  This is all well and good except that means there’s no time to stop and pee, or get a drink, or listen to the quiet.  It’s just the endless drone of the machine pulling the paper through each roller as it adds it’s layer of ink and then cooling it and cutting it and then folding it so that I could jog the papers and place them on the flats.  Sometimes, I learned, there were ways to have the press “breakdown.”  If you happened to toss a tiny ball of paper onto the moving paper before it hit the cooler it would cause the paper to break.  This is not an awful thing but it did give you time to take a breather and let you hear some quiet before it all started up again.  I was taught to do that almost as soon as I started.  I didn’t do it often but sometimes when a girl has to pee, a girl has to pee.

I probably would have only worked about three minutes at this plant if it hadn’t been for the end of my second day.  I was in the locker room, back in a corner, changing when a couple of guys came in and began changing on the other side of the lockers.  There conversation was light hearted and funny — until — One of the guys says, “How long you think the fat college kid will last?”  And the other guy replies, “I give him till the end of the week.”  And the original guy said, “He might last till the end of the week but there’s no way he’ll last more than two.”  “I’ll bet you 20 bucks he’s gone by next Wednesday.”   And they dressed and left and never knew that I’d heard them.  And as I left the locker room, I knew that no matter how much this job sucked or how much I hated it, I was going to at least last till the end of the month just to prove them wrong.  The day I quit I went up to the guy who had won the 20 bucks and told him I wanted my share.  He didn’t know what I was talking about and then I explained that I’d heard the whole conversation and the only reason I’d stayed was so he could win his bet.  So now I wanted my share.

I started June 1 and I quit at the end of September.  By then I’d become friends with everyone I worked with.  Tony the head press guy invited me to dinner with his family at least twice.  There was a girl there, who liked me, that went with me to Royals games and to Worlds of Fun.  And everyone seemed to like me.  I quit because I was staying with my friend Julia’s parents and she’d left to go back to school and now it was just me and them and it was WEIRD!!!

I did do some theatre while I was there.  I worked for The Barn Players.  I discovered their offices in the local mall and signed up to volunteer.  The next thing I knew I was on the crew for Noises Off and I was running the light board for Guys and Dolls.  I missed the last performance of Guys and Dolls to leave to go back to Kentucky.  I met some wonderful people out there.  One of them, Lisa actually came home with me to Kentucky once.  We had to stop every five minutes for her to smoke because I wouldn’t let her smoke in my car.  The other girl Kathy had the biggest crush on me.  The last time I was out there we made out in my car and she begged me to come up to her apartment.  I told her that I couldn’t and by the time I left I think she knew what the score was.  It was the closest I ever came to losing my virginity.

And the summer ended.  On a September day I loaded up my car, and headed back to Kentucky.  I’d quit my job, said goodbye to the theatre folk and thanked Julia’s parents for being so wonderful and I was on my way back to Kentucky with no job.  I had no idea what was in store for me next.

Another example of Maddog’s leaps of faith.

Sam — Chapter 6

I spoke to Sam last night and he shared some things with me about our first summer together.  I’m compiling a list of those stories and will post them separately.

Back to our story…

And so the summer progressed.  And slowly, very slowly we became boyfriends.  By the time school started we were pretty smitten with each other.  I had introduced him to many of my friends, from work and school.  They all thought he was as charming and cute as I did.  And cautiously, I was introduced to a couple of his friends.

The first friend I met was Jay.  Jay is an “actor” in the gayest sense of the word.  When he walks into a room he immediately steals focus and whatever is going on becomes instantly about him.  This attitude is multiplied in power by the number of people in the room.  I’ve seen him clear a room because of his self-centered loudness.  I only say all of this because Jay will come back into play several times in this story.  Sam and I dropped by to see Jay at his house one afternoon just before school started.  I think Sam had already told Jay that he had a boyfriend and by all accounts from Sam, Jay was jealous beyond belief.  We hung out at Jay’s house for a couple of hours and then we were on our way.

And why did I get introduced to Jay first.  Jay and Sam had been friends since junior high school together.  They had been scouts together and Jay had been Sam’s first sex partner.  They were junior high school boys playing some sort of game and then just like in the movies one thing led to another and there you have it.  Of course after many years of knowing Sam it seems that he had the very same encounter with every boy in scouts that summer.  Perhaps I should have stuck with scouting.

So I met Jay.  And eventually Christian.  And Jenny.  And Vanessa.  And a couple of other people.  I don’t remember the story that Sam told them as to how he knew me, but eventually we did several social things with his group of friends.

Things were progressing nicely…until…I decided to teach Sam how to drive a stick shift.

There was a lot of arguing back and forth about whether he needed to learn this skill.  I said yes he should, because you never know when you are going to be in a situation that you’ll need to drive someone’s car that is not an automatic.  Sam, said he didn’t care.  He’d only ever own a car with an automatic transmission and it seemed stupid to learn.  And then an argument ensued and at some point Sam yelled at me and I responded by saying, “You are the most stupid close-minded ass that I’ve ever met.”  Or something to that effect.

He asked me to take him home immediately.  And I did.

I’ll interject here and say that this was not just about the car.  It was about sex.  And money.  And life.  And friends.  And being in the closet.  And not being able to spend the night.  And any countless other things that had been building between us.  It all just came screaming out about the car.

And I called him later to apologize and he didn’t return my call.  Nor did he return any of my calls over the next several days.  I was crushed.  During this time school was going full force, I was working as much as always, and now my new boyfriend was mad at me and wouldn’t return my calls.  I was desparate to at least talk to him but I didn’t know how to get in touch with him and unlike many years later I didn’t want to stalk him.  So I waited.  And one afternoon several days later, I ran into Sam with Jay at a sandwich place.  I drove up next to his car and waited for him to come out.  He didn’t, but Jay did.  He came over to my car and told me that Sam didn’t want to talk to me.  I told him that was fine but I was going to wait all the same.  Finally Sam came out and the first thing I noticed was that his beard was gone.  I had loved his beard and it was clear as to why it was gone.

We talked for a few minutes, while Jay waited in the car.  I apologized and asked for his forgiveness.  He told me he would have to think about it.  I told him that I would do or say whatever it took to make this better.  He told me he would think about it.  I asked him to please give me another chance.  He said he would think about it.  I left the conversation by saying that I was going to Atlanta for the weekend to see my friend Stacy and that maybe he would like to come with me as a chance to get away and talk about this.  He said he would think about it.

And I drove away.  And I didn’t hear from him.  And I was still devastated.  But what can you do?  So I packed up my little Suzuki Sidekick, took the top off and drove to Atlanta.  I met Stacy and her friend Michael and we played while I was there.  I was completely obsessed though and called every ten minutes to see if he’d left a message for me.  I refused to call him, but I hoped against hope that he would call me.  And the days dragged by.  I don’t remember how long I was there, or why I was there, but I was there.  And I was moping and just as everyone was getting tired of it…guess who called?

That’s right Sam.  Seemed he was missing me as much as I was missing him and so he’d decided to stop being mad at me.  Not only that, he wanted me to call him and give him directions to Atlanta so that he could come visit.  He promised to make it up to me that he’d been so mean.

So the very next day, he arrived in Atlanta.

Sam — Chapter 5

Sam and I are now into the second or third week of our relationship.  I’m still not sure where it’s going but I’m too afraid to question it much because I’m afraid it might end.  So I continue to accept the reality that he only stops by at the end of his day to see me.  At which point we talk, watch TV, have sex, sleep until the alarm goes off at 1:45 a.m. and then we kiss each other goodbye and call it a day.

For the life of me I can’t remember when we had our first real out of the house date.  I’ve searched my memory for the past two weeks, since I started this story and to no avail can I remember.  What’s really funny is that I can remember lots of other things about that first night and the weeks that followed.

I remember that our first night together he was wearing a pair of khacki shorts and a red, gold, and blue horizontal striped Polo shirt.  Actually the red was more burgundy.  I also remember that I was excited because I tried on his shorts and they fit me.  He was wearing brown slip off casual shoes that had seen better days. I remember that all his clothes matched.  All of them.  Later I would learn that his mother purchased all of his clothes — in outfits.  Everything was to be worn with the other items purchased with it.  I was the person who made him realize that not everyone did this.  He didn’t know that people bought shirts with little thought of what they would go with, or if they would go with anything.  Especially casual clothes.

I remember that he sexual experience prior to mine was having sex with an older man, and by older I mean OLD, that worked with his mother.  He took the guy back to their house and he had sex with him in his bedroom.

I remember that he knew nothing about the real world.  In the weeks that followed I discovered that he had no idea how much the car (Ford Probe) cost that his parents had bought him for high school graduation.  He didn’t know how much his insurance cost.  He had no idea what his tuition for college was.  At the time he wanted to be a Senator and was studying political science.  I guess a washed up party boy would have trouble being a senator now.

I remember that he was an Eagle Scout.  He’d only gotten his badge the previous summer.  His service project was to erect a flag pole and monument at a local church.  He also landscaped the area.  That summer we made several trips to the church to clean up the area and to plant more flowers.

The first time Sam met any of my friends was coming to see my production of Tintypes that summer.  He was terrified that someone would know he was gay because I was gay.  I kept telling him not to worry about it.  The first person he met was the chair of the department (a lesbian) and he was much calmer after he realized no one cared.  I also remember that there were only about 40 people in that audience that night in attendance for the show.  The theater sat 400.

He worked at a nursery that summer.  He did a lot of heavy lifting, carrying planters to people’s cars and moving bags of soil.  He had a deep bronze tan.  He had a very short beard and a flat top.  His eyes were hazel and the tan only made them brighter.  His arms and legs were defined as though he spent everyday in gym, and yet he’d never stepped foot in a health club.   He had to be at work at 9:00 a.m. everyday and got off work at 5:30 p.m.  His lunch hour was at 1:00 and I often drove out to pick him up for lunch.  The first day I did this I surprised him.  He was very uncomfortable at first but found it sweet and loving.  We drove up the street to Wendy’s and then drove over to a park behind the mall and ate in the parking lot.  We sat there and talked and made out.  We ate our frosty’s as I drove him back to work.  One day that summer I rode my bicycle out to see him.  It was a hefty trek but it was worth all the work to see him.

And without even realizing it, we’d gone from just a casual hook-up to being boyfriends.  We actually started going to the movies together.  And out to eat.  We went shopping at the mall.  We hung out.  I would pick him up at home and I always had him home by 2:00 a.m.  Often we would sit on the street across from his house making out till it was time for him to go in.

Looking back it was beautiful summer.  I don’t remember a lot of rain although I prayed for it.  Sam often was given the afternoon off when it rained.  He would come over then and spend the day with me.  At the time I had a Suzuki Sidekick and we would drive around town with the top off, especially enjoying the drive at night out into the country with the stars overhead and the moon in the sky.

It was on nights like this that we would hold hands and just feel the breeze from the night sky on our faces as we drove.  We would listen to the music on the CD player, enjoying each others company with very little talk.  We were living a summer of dreams that is only known in cheesy romance novels and Lifetime movies.  And it was approaching 2:00 a.m. on one of these warm summer evenings as we drove out Winchester Road towards his parent’s house that I turned down the radio and asked Sam if we could talk.

I don’t remember the exact conversation but I know it ended with me saying, “I love you.”  It was the first time I’d said it and really meant it.  This 18 year old man sitting beside me in my Sidekick was making the impression of a lifetime.  He told me that he loved me too and we continued the drive in silence.  When we got to his house I pulled up in front with my headlights off so as not to wake his parents.  I leaned over and gave him a peck and said, “I’m glad I met you.

And I meant it.

Saturday Night.

I had another one of those bad nights at work.

It started when the chicken caesar salad I ordered for dinner had about twelve cups of dressing on it.  It was more like caesar soup than salad.  I picked out the chicken and left the rest.  This meant that I spent the whole night hungry, which might explain some of my grumpiness.

When I got to work tonight I checked the line-up to see who was the head waiter for the evening and to see who was going to be in my wait station all night.  Out of ten servers in my area I only liked two of them.  Fuck.

Then when my shift started I had four little girls sitting at my counter drinking water.  While their mothers sat across the room at the bar eating nachos and drinking beer.  So I had two tables taken up with people who weren’t going to order anything.  It was almost 6:15 before they left.

90 minutes into the shift the computers went down.   Again.  For the 10 millionth time since they were updraded to the new system.  So I spent 15 minutes trying to get checks printed for everyone, run credit card etc.  And how do you do this.  You take a paper check and you hand write in everything the table had and then you get a menu and you write in all the prices and then you take a calculator and add it all up, multiply by 8.375 or something like that to get the tax, and pray that you’ve guessed right on the alchohol and then you drop the handwritten check at the table.  Needless to say this is not a fast process.  By the time I did this for three tables they were all pissed and people sitting at my counter had gone to the bar for drinks because their waiter was nowhere to be found because he was in the kitchen adding up fucking checks.  The system was down for about 25 minutes.  Which was exactly enough to ruin my already pissy ass mood.

I’ve said this to every manager that will listen.  If I performed as well as our computer system performs they would have fired me about two weeks after I started.  The fucking things less reliable than the weather.

So I just called it a night.  I waited on tables but I didn’t hustle.  I gave bad service.  I did the absolute minimum I had to do to get through the night.  And you know what’s really funny, I still made more than most of my fellow employess.

Of course the night was capped off by my last table walking out on their tab while I went to print the check.

And the highlite of everyone’s evening.  The drunk guys who sat at the bar and had the following exchange with a female bartender.

Drunk Guy:  Hey do you have long shifts here?  Are you tired?

Bartender:  Yes we have long shifts here and yes I’m tired.

Drunk Guy:  Then why don’t you just climb up my leg and hit the sack.

Bartender:  Pay up boys.  That WAS your last one.

Chapter — Four

Yes, I know.

I’m a heel.

An ass.

A jerk.

I’ve known this for a long time.  In fact I think a number of people at work said as much tonight.

I would love to give you the million reasons I think I cheated on Sam.  And Jim before him and Keith after him.

For Sam it might have been:

I was 26 he was 18.  He couldn’t spend the night or be seen with me in certain circumstances AND he had a curfew.

He was too young to get into bars.

He was limited in his sexual activities and was freaked out by a number of things I wanted to do.  And no it wasn’t like I wanted to tie him up and fist him.  It was normal stuff that he was grossed out by.  Trust me, by the end of our relationship he was all over it.

He was living at home, being supported by his parents, and had no bills or responsibilities.

Of course none of these excuses hold any water.  I was just an ass.  A big ass at that.  And I’m sure the big karma gods in the sky are going to pay me back in full one day.

And don’t think I’m making light of this.  I would rather cut off my arm then cheat today.  I spent two years in a relationship with David and for a year of that we lived on different coasts and I never once considered cheating on him.  And I didn’t even like him.

I can’t even watch cheating on TV or the movies.  I walked out of the movie Unfaithful a couple of years ago because it was centered on a woman cheating on her husband.

I truly believe today that if you need to cheat you need to do one of two things.

First.  Get out of the relationship.  Just get out.  Tell them you are not interested, it’s not working, you hate them, you’re in different places, you have a new boyfriend.  Tell them something but get out.  It’s not nearly as hard as you think.  And if you think breaking up is hard, wait till you see the drama you create when you bring home crabs and give it to your boyfriend.  (And no that’s never happened to me.  God knows how, but it never has).

Or tell your boyfriend that you want an open relationship.  Give him the opportunity to have some say in the matter.  Just for today, I’d say no if I if my partner told me that he wanted an open relationship.  But I’m also smart enough to know that it might be true today and three years from now it might seem like the thing to do.  I have several friends in relationships that are open and it seems to work for them.  They have ground rules and guidelines and they have to be open and honest about what’s going on.  I applaud them for finding a way to make this stuff work for them, but as I said today, it’s not for me.

And when did Sam learn that I was cheating on him.  A friend, Jay told him about a year and a half into our relationship and I DENIED IT.  I DENIED IT.  I DENIED IT.  And Sam believed me and he and Jay are no longer friends.  Of course I think Jay’s an ass for a lot of other reasons so I think Sam was better off.  And the truth really came out in October of 1995 about 10 months after we broke up.  Two guys that I’d hooked up with decided to create some drama in Sam’s life and told him.  I never admitted to what degree it had happened but I did tell him that there were a couple of times.

And once again I know what I did was wrong.  But I ask this question.  It’s 10 months after we’ve broken up.  We are trying to put the past behind us and get on with our lives.  Did the guys have to be a dick and tell him?  It served no purpose other than to create be cruel to Sam.  By then I wasn’t even living in Kentucky and for the most part it didn’t even affect me.  It just made Sam angry and sad and I guess allowed the “boys” to get some pleasure out of it.

And so it’s three days later and I’ve cheated on Sam.  And yet I’m still completely infatuated with the 18 year old boy who’s spending more and more time with me.  Who stops by almost every night and always leaves at 1:45.  Who’s completely in the closet and won’t even let me meet his friends because he’s convinced they’ll know.  And despite the cheating, I count every moment till we are together again and I want to find a way to make this last.