Our relationship, whatever it was, was supposed to end by April 1st anyways. That had been the deal when I first met him. I knew he was moving to Portland in a couple weeks and still dove in headfirst anyways, probably did so because I knew that the thing had an expiration date, that I should just have fun, enjoy this cute thing and not hold any expectations about it, about him, that in a couple weeks he would be in another city.
Well, he will still be here April 1st. And so my feelings morphed a little, ever since he told me he would still be here, that he wasn't moving to Portland. I really had started to like this person a lot. I was really happy he was staying.
He had been in Florida the past week or so. We were supposed to meet up last night, but he told me he was in a dark place and just wanted to meet up today instead. We had plans this morning to meet around 2. At one something, he texted me a long text, about how he was finally feeling the breakup with his ex, how he wanted "to extract the physical from our relationship." It hurt a lot more than if he had just moved away April 1st, that this was far more painful. I hadn't planned on something like this happening when I dove in - that the reason I had allowed myself that thing, that riskiness I haven't allowed myself since Jacob breaking up with me, is because I thought it was carefree, thought it was just diving into the creek behind your subdivision as a kid with your friends, something carefree and with only the slightest amount of riskiness involved, maybe some smelly clothes, maybe a cut knee, but nothing much more, and so I dove in thinking that it was okay, that it wouldn't hurt when it ended.
After getting upset, after looking at my phone, after saying fuck him, after deciding I wasn't talking to him anymore, I texted him back and asked if he wanted to meet me for a drink at Rawhide.
I told him it that it was one of my favorite bars and that is was closing at the end of the month. The bar has been open since 1979, has lived through so many versions of Gay New York, and will finally be brought to its end by the insane leaps of real estate prices in Manhattan, the bar's rent being doubled, one of the few remaining outposts of an older gay New York being edged out, killed.
I ordered a whiskey and coke. He ordred a whiskey and ginger ale. I mourned this bar's passing to him. At some point, I realized the strange symmetry happening. The bar and our relationship were supposed to have April 1st end dates, that the day he was supposed to be out of this city was the same day this bar is in fact due to close, that by inviting him to come mourn this bar's closure, I wanted him to mourn something else with me, to realize perhaps that something else should be mourned in addition to this bar.
He was just as cute as he always was. I wanted to kiss him more than anything, and it made me so sad that he no longer wanted that, that I, by saying this desire after he had told me he didn't want anything physical, that it made me desperate, that it made me creepy. It's why I hate so much when someone you are more than friends with, tells you they want to be just friends, and though they would be a great friend to have in your life, there are very strong elements of the human to you despite what you might think about yourself in more generous times, say that you are okay with this or that you are cool enough to be friends with someone that rejects you, instead though you are pretty human, a vain, proud, absurd creature.
We left. We went to Marie's Crisis. No one was singing yet, the piano player had just recently started, and the bathroom tiles were the most beautiful color of seafoam green. I wanted to lie down on them and smoke a cigarette and drink a beer and look up and see Bonnie and Jamie and talk about Sarasota, to be somewhere else in my life. From there, we went to his house, watched some movies on cable, ate a burrito, and then went to Metropolitan together. And what used to feel so easy, so amazingly un-self-aware, has become something agonizingly aware of its current state, of its difference from that closeness that used to be there, that had been established so quickly and that somehow faded with just as much quickness.
I rode the subway home by myself, these amazing nights of cuddling, of feeling close to another human being, again at an end. I needed something nice, honest, true, and yet calming. I put on this Judy Collins album and listened to her cover of "Suzanne." I played the song again as I approached my house after getting off the subway. Right before I got to my house, right before I took out my headphones, there was this line, beautiful thing, that rung again and again in my ears as I opened my front doors and walked up my building's stairs:
They are leaning out for love and they will lean that way forever.
I washed my face, brushed my teeth. There is a blue and white toothbrush in my bathroom, his. I wondered if I should throw it away or give it back to him the next time I see him, wondered which one would be less weird, was sad that this was a problem, wondering what to do with someone's toothbrush.