“I want to spare you a lot of sadness
I don’t know what he’s told you
But I can guarantee you
He doesn’t live with mother
Or what you’d call a roommate
He’s just a – I can’t say it
Poor Betty
You ask him
I’d love to hear his answer”

I was listening to this and was wondering about the truth – how we define it.  What we believe to be true.  What we shut our eyes to.  What we will never believe, regardless of who tells us, or what evidence there is.  Because, there is a certain comfort to “our truth”, to “our reality”.  Even when it is something that brings us great pain, it is nonetheless a constant – and in life, sometimes a bad constant is better than no constant at all.

The writer in me tries to conjure up a scenario that would work – some way to be heard, to break through the reality that someone else has constructed.  But then I think to myself – how easily would someone break through my reality?  Not very.  It’s a realization that forces me to listen.  And I try awfully hard to see other points of view.   I actually respect them – as I expect mine to be respected.  However, I rarely concede that I am wrong – I will dig my heels in pretty hard.  But I don’t let things go.  I mull those contrary arguments over and over in my head, and probably obsess for a few days about “what if” – not necessarily what if I am wrong, but what if someone else could be right – or at least right for them.  If my biggest fear is not being heard, my second is not hearing.  And to hear someone else, sometimes you have to not listen to yourself.

I do envy some of these others – people for whom things are black and white.  This person is a hero, this person is a villain, and let’s move on from there.  I don’t believe I see anyone in those terms – even those I don’t care for.  This way of looking at people was shifted forever after a high school reunion.  Up until that point, I typically wouldn’t be found at such an event – the people I wanted to stay in touch with, I stayed in touch with.  The others – well, I likely didn’t stay in touch with them for a reason.  But, curiosity got the better of me one year – that and the fact that I looked really good.  In high school, I saw myself as an awkward misfit.  In the intervening years, I had blossomed, gained confidence, and really liked the idea of showing up at a high school reunion as the “new me”.

What I discovered was that the new me wasn’t so different from the old me.  OK, there was one girl who cried the entire time we danced and said, “I would have been so much nicer to you if I knew you’d grow up to be so gorgeous.”  And we wonder where we get these crazy messages!  But most people saw the new me as just a slightly polished old me – I was fine then, and I was fine now.  However, looking at them, I saw many people who’s best years were behind them.  People on their second (or third) marriages.  People who relived the days of high school glory as the “good ole days”.  People who peaked in their teens.

And what I felt was love and compassion and empathy for them.  I realized they were a lot like me.  I went through those years feeling that I wasn’t being seen the way I was on the inside.  So many of my classmates were feeling that way now.  I took them off their pedestals, took myself out of that moat, and put us on equal footing.  And realized we had a whole lot more in common than I ever knew.

Since that time, some relationships grew.  But for the most part, they remain a part of my past.  The funny thing about the past – it helps define who you are today.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.

The Universe

I have a strong belief system.  The thing is, I’m not exactly sure what it is.  I know I believe in “something”.  But I can’t define it – at least not any more than anyone else can.  For instance, I believe that our lives are predestined.  That said, I also believe in free will.  How do those two things come together?  Simple – I believe it’s pre-destined who will use free will, and who won’t.  So is it really free will?  I’m not sure.  I often think of going to a psychic like reading TV Guide.  Whether you have TV Guide or not, the same shows are going to be on TV.  You may not know about it and will just come upon a show as a surprise, or you can find out in advance and plan.  But can you change what shows will be on TV?  Not on your life.  I suppose you could avoid them, or delay them, but they’re always there.  And that leads to this story.

I was in NYC the week after Thanksgiving – a few days after what would be the anniversary of my first real date with Me2, and our cyber break-up.  The last time we physically saw each other was two years ago – also around this date.  It’s not something I’m conscious of in terms of remembering the actual date (although, if you put a gun to my head, I could make a pretty good guess). 

Normally I am not in NYC on Monday nights – theatre is dark and usually there’s no need to be there otherwise.  But this particular week, I was there because I was going to a benefit being produced by one dear friend, starring another, and written by a third.  So off I went.  A friend from LA who I hadn’t seen in a while recently moved to NYC and we planned to get together.  Sidebar – said friend is a gay porn star (OK, former gay porn star).  Only important because it points out that he’s hot.

This guy wanted to get together after the benefit on Monday night.  In NYC, there’s only one place to go on Mondays – Splash.  And I know that it is one of the few constants in Me2’s life.  He’s always there since he has Tuesdays off.  The most recent times I’ve seen him have been there – another reason not to go to NYC on Mondays.  Anyway, the porn star and I made plans to meet up there, and let the chips fall where they may.

That is, until after the show.  There was a party.  I had a lovely time.  Good friends.  Some nice new people.  A good, positive vibe in the air.  Why fuck that up?  So I txted the porn boy and asked if we could cancel.  I really wasn’t up for running into Me2.  Not that there would be a confrontation, but just having that energy around me wasn’t something I wanted.  It is something I constantly wrestle with – I want to see him, but I don’t want the negativity.  And since I don’t know a way to see eachother without negativity, I try to avoid seeing him.  He doesn’t realize this, holding onto some misguided thoughts that I purposely try to run into him when the opposite is true.  But, I’ve learned that people believe what they want to believe.

Anyway, Monday night was cancelled and I went back to where I was staying – the swanky penthouse above Broadway, inches away from Daniel Craig’s resting head.  Since I had a full schedule, the porn boy and I made tentative plans for a late lunch on Tuesday.  That was all I had left in my schedule.  Since I had a 7PM curtain, lunch around 3PM would be great.  It could be my one meal, I wouldn’t be in a rush, and then I could stay out and go to the show.

The next day I awoke, texted him to see if we were still on.  I chose Elmo – fun, gay, casual, good food, not too expensive, and no one would be there at 3PM on a Tuesday.  We had a plan and off I went.  As I stepped outside, I could see it was getting ready to rain.  I dashed back up to the penthouse to grab an umbrella and said I was running late.  No prob, said the pup.  He just got to the restaurant and it was empty…so he’d grab a table and just wait as I zipped downtown in my cab.

When I got into the restaurant, I saw him immediately in front of me.  He rose, thrilled to see me (well, who could blame him) and gave me a huge hug.  However, in mid-embrace I felt an odd energy to my right.  And then, in this otherwise empty restaurant, was one other party.  Just two tables to our right sat Me2.  It appeared he had finished eating and was drinking something like ice tea while he read a book.  At least that’s what I gathered – I never looked directly at him.  Like an eclipse, one mustn’t looked directly at Me2 for fear of irreparable damage to the corneas!

It’s extraordinary to me that in all of Manhattan, we ended up in the same restaurant.  That he, who lives on the upper east side, was having lunch on a Tuesday at 3PM in Chelsea – lower west side.  And that of the only two people in all of NYC who end up in this one random restaurant at the same time, it’s us.  What are the chances?  That’s why I say there are no accidents.  There is obviously a reason.  Sure, I told the the Universe that I wasn’t going to run into Me2 this trip by avoiding a Monday night out.  But if the Universe wants you to run into someone, there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  Alas, I suspect Me2 believes that I somehow planned this – like I have him under 24 hour surveillance.  It’s madness…but it’s who he is.

Anyway, I sat across from my “date” – never have I been so happy to be meeting such an attractive person.  Alas, I wasn’t just across from the porn pup – I was diagonally across from Me2.  Two seats to my right and across from me.  OY!  As luck would have it, he (and the porn boy) had their backs to the wall which had a mirror on it.  So as I sat across from them, I was acutely aware of how I looked…and I managed to make every spontaneous movement look as attractive as possible.  I tossed my hair back and laughed with abandon, and then rested my chin pensively on my hand.  I relaxed every brow muscle like I had just been shot up with Botox (which mightn’t have been a bad thing).  And I don’t remember anything we talked about.

We never spoke – Me2 and I.  We never looked at eachother.  We never acknowledged eachother.  The closest we came to any contact at all was when he got up to (presumably) go to the bathroom and had to brush by my chair – giving me a good look at him in the mirror.  He looked better than I could have hoped.  This actually made me happy – I like to think I have excellent taste in men…even those who despise me.  And I certainly expected him to look good.  I wished I had put a teensy bit more care into looking as good as humanly possible.  But given the circumstances, I was fine with it.

Maybe 30 minutes after we sat down, Me2 got up to leave.  He spoke to some people in the restaurant before going.  Maybe they’re friends.  Maybe this is one of his hang outs – like Splash on Mondays.  Who knows.  But without any fanfare, he was gone.

Some time later, while the porno boy and I were sharing a bowl of tomato soup, I just started laughing hysterically – without any prompting.  He asked what was so funny.  “Do you remember the guy sitting a few tables over?” I asked.  “You mean the only other person who’s been in this restaurant?  Yeah.  What about him?”  “Well,” I said, “he’s my ex.”  My date looked shocked.  “And you just realized that now?”  “No, I knew the moment I walked in,” I said.  “I’m confused – did you guys say hi or something?  I don’t remember you acknowledging eachother,” he said, somewhat puzzled.  “Oh, no, we didn’t.  That’s part of the game,” I said, smiling. 

I gave him a watered down, 60 second version of our history which didn’t do either of us justice.  But it did lead him to say, “I wish I had known – we really could have put on a show.”  Oh, I’m sure we could have.  But that would have been fake…well, as fake as that laugh I had as I tossed back my hair! 

This was two months ago.  I have no better understanding of why it happened than I did then.  Obviously we’re in eachother’s lives for a reason.  What that reason is, I don’t know.  But there is unfinished business.  Maybe the Universe wants us to find our way back to eachother.  Maybe the Universe wants us to learn to co-exist in the world without tension.  Or maybe on that day the Universe wanted to happened exactly what happened.  We saw eachother.  And we went on with our day. 

There are no accidents.  Everything is pre-destined.  We have free will.  The beauty is when we choose to use it…


One thing I haven’t really admitted to anyone – including myself – is the amount of anger I have for Me2.  I think the big reason I don’t talk about it is because I really don’t think I have the right to be angry.  In so many ways, I’ve caused this situation and so it’s rather unreasonable for me to disregard someone else’s feelings and then be angry when they don’t respond the way I’d like.

But the truth of the matter is that no one can or should take all of the blame.  Things in interpersonal relationships are never all one way – or all black and white.  That was one of the things Me2 expressed in our online relationship.  When I’d talk about the situation with “The Songwriter” and express my remorse, he was more than willing to give me the out that so many others had – how I was young, how it wasn’t intentional, how I did the best that I could, etc. etc. etc. 

While it was important for me to hear that, it also has made me angry.  Angry that he’s able to give reasons why I should forgive myself for things that he – once he knew who I was – was unable to forgive me for (if you can follow that, good luck to you).

Oh, but this has also made me angry at other things.  Angry that this person could have what he professes to be such deep feelings for “me” is unable to get past his feelings for me (from 2 decades ago) to go with it.  Angry that he was never able to express himself to me the way he expressed himself to “me”.

But, most of all, I’m angry that he had the opportunity to live out a fantasy, a Hollywood ending that almost nobody ever gets the chance to, and he walked away from it. 

Now, I certainly am not implying that this could have been some perfect love story.  I’ve actually thought about what would have happened had we actually gotten over this little speed bump (he says with more than a tad of sarcasm).  The truth of the matter is, I’m not even remotely sure that dating would have been any more successful this time around than the last time.  I think the odds could have been more favorable if for no other reason that we’re older and, hopefully, wiser and able to communicate better.

But it’s also possible that had this gone further, that open and honest communication might not have been quite as free.  It’s possible that we are both too different or set in our ways to be able to co-exist.  It’s possible that we’d get to know eachother as real people and feel that it wasn’t quite the match it appeared to be.

That said, there are positive possibilities as well.  And the tragedy of this situation is that we will not know.  And that makes me angry.  And it makes me sad.  For both of us.

And, in some way, I feel responsible for snatching that possibility away from him.  Not that I wasn’t open to it.  But because after opening up a side of him that he had closed off, my revelation prompted him to slam that door shut.  Again, I can take the blame because I can also take the credit.  I have to believe that the feelings he expressed, the synchronicisty he was feeling, the almost combustible chemistry that was forming was all real. 

I could also choose to believe that it was all a lie on his part.  That he didn’t find me hysterically funny.  That he wasn’t thinking some of the same things I wrote in letters.  That he wasn’t attracted to the personality, the opinions, the views, and the soul that was bared in those letter.  I could choose to think that he was only interested in a hot guy whose photo he saw and was willing to say or do anything to get into his pants.  Sure, I could choose to believe that.  But I don’t.

Years ago, he told me that I hear what I want to hear.  That I take what’s convenient out of a conversation and gloss over the stuff I didn’t want to accept.  Well, maybe he’s projecting.  Because this time around, the entire relationship was in print.  And I read every single word.  I heard every single word.  And I believe it.

But I shouldn’t be surprised.  The first time, yes, I absolutely pushed and pushed and pushed until he pushed me away.  And even then, he only asked for time and I pushed yet alittle more – until he was completely spent and said he was done.  OK.  See?  Taking responsibility.  Recognizing perhaps that I was young, emotionally immature, blah, blah, blah.  Got it.

HOWEVER – that last real conversation ended with him saying (paraphrasing): “If, in a month, you have really gotten help and want to talk about this, I’ll talk to you.”  Now, yes, I took that and ran – mind racing, we could get back together, everything would be right with the world.  But make no mistake – for that month, that entire month, he did not hear a peep from me.  Not a single conversation, letter, card, nothing. 

Now, again, I am not referring to any notes here – but there is the slightest possibility that a week after this conversation I may have left him a message at home when I knew he’d be at work, asking him to check my phone line to see if the phone company actually turned my line off.  And I believe he called me back when he knew I wouldn’t be home to say that he checked the line and it was off.  That may or may not have been during this one month of silence.  I’m not sure.  But if so, that would have absolutely been it.

Now, come on – do you know how hard it would have been for me (yes ME) to not call and stay away for a month???  IMPOSSIBLE!!!  It was hell.  It was also incredibly helpful.  It was something I needed to do.  And I did work with a therapist during this time.  And I did make some very teensy baby steps.

It didn’t hurt that for the last week of this month I was in Milan.  That was also horrible.  It should have been amazing, but in truth I was a wreck over this.  And Milan in Jan/Feb is incredibly cold, bleak, miserable.  For years and years, any time people would talk about Milan, I’d say what a horrible city it is and how inhospitable it was.  Yes, I blamed Milan for everything. 

But while I was there, the month was up.  Before leaving the States, I bought a kitchy postcard which was a closeup (I believe) of a watch on some guy’s wrist.  And I wrote on the flip side, “According to my watch, it’s been a month.”  Yes, I know, I know – pathetic.  I said something about leaving for Milan, but would love to talk when I got back and asked for him to leave a message on my machine if that was OK…because apparently I felt like I needed permission to call him after he said he’d talk to me.

Nothing.  No message.  I think I did call and left a message or two, which prompted a message back saying that he never promised we’d talk and why don’t I just leave him alone.  That did serve one purpose – it initiated the anger phase of that break-up 😉  Until then, I think I was really caught up in blaming myself, beating myself up, all that crap.  And then, after I did something incredibly difficult for me, it was dismissed. 

But I think even then, I didn’t really express the anger.  I didn’t even allow myself to feel it.  Rest assured, it came out – usually at the least opportune times.  But none of it was good.

Where do I begin?

It’s been about six months since “this” ended.  While it has gotten easier, I can’t deny that there are moments (sometimes longer than simply moments) where it is incredibly difficult.  To date, I don’t regret what happened.  I know in my heart that I didn’t seek this situation our, nor did I go into it with any malice.  But I know in many ways I was simply true to form – at least when the situation fell right into my lap. 

On the positive side, I got so many answers that were a couple decades in the making.  But the value of those answers seems dwarfed by something I didn’t anticipate – a relationship.  Yes, it’s probably insane to call it that.  But since I know everything I said (aside from some names and geographic places) was true, so I have to assume that what I was being told was also true. 

You would think that maybe I’d feel I never should have started in the first place, but more and more I feel that I never should have ended it.  I think I did it for the right reasons – I was feeling guilty, felt that I was stringing someone else along, and was fairly confident that it was only a matter of time before I slipped up and the entire situation came crashing down on me. 

And, I can deny this all I want, but I really did hope that it wouldn’t end.  I hoped (unrealistic as it may have been) that the feelings and the depth of sharing that transpired would be stronger than the old feelings of anger and betrayal.  I’m not foolish enough to say that there was much hope – probably not even double digits of hope.  But, it was there and, as we all know, I am a risk taker.

Anyway, I was thinking that if I started writing about it in that stream of consciousness way that so typified our correspondence, it would be helpful and maybe fill part of that void.  While I don’t believe this will be a substitution for that connection which was so remarkable, maybe I will be able to avoid the temptation to do anything unwise…..whatever that may be.