… forsaking all others, as long as you both shall live?

 I’ve long come to realise my fault in preferring married men, or that pseudo-straight player who ogles tits but fondles boys, the principle of no-strings-attached fun would stay uncomplicated and undemanding. That between all the self-abuse of dirty deeds done dirt cheap on one-night stands somehow I’d find something real in the daylight. Instead I chose to accept that when he said ‘I’m never going to leave my wife for you’ he really meant ‘You’re just not worth losing that second income.

And so I made a promise to myself that when a guy was physically, or emotionally unavailable, I was not only turn but run in the opposite direction. So imagine my surprise when the Bradley Cooper-esq guy told me that he was once engaged. Nearly falling off my bar stool without splashing any of my vodka martini on the floor I picked myself and my jaw off the ground and waited for him to share more from that mysterious X-File of his.

The drinks were part celebration/part relief after a totally public demonstration, short of a civil registry or gift list, of coupling. Our individual needs converged and we both decided to take that certain test where a negative response is preferred. His being a renewable insurance clause – mine a guilty conscience. After months of whoring around with a stiff cock rather than rigid morals the time had come to take control and the matter into hand, so to speak.

His explanation of their break-up was shorter than a long sip from his imported beer. As I watched him from the corner of my eye, my thoughts drowned slowly in my swirling drink and I thought not to prod him about it further. Even though we are still stuck somewhere in the hinterlands between lovers and friend there are some things that should remain private and never shared. If our having sex kept the friendship fresh and exciting then it was best to keep my heart safe without thinking of his.

But later that night I got to thinking about safe sex or lack thereof and it struck me as odd how when only our physical health is at risk do we follow certain guidelines to protect ourselves. But what about our emotional lives? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a little pamphlet to warn us what unsafe behaviour might be high-risk to ourselves or our relationships? And even if you take all the precautions and emotionally try to protect yourself, when you crawl in bed with someone, is sex ever safe?

Safely tucked away in his antique poster bed reading, the look on his face from the drive back hadn’t changed even after he emerged from a hot shower, and I knew what he was thinking. Just as I tended to bite my bottom lip when I struggled with something, he frowned. Desperate to find a balance between keeping it bottled up with the paper perfect person or gushing it all out with my last foray into dating I decided that following my instincts would be best. They said ‘shut up!’ And so I did.

Ever since we had met so many months back he had always stated that our lives were different. How or why always managed to escape me but then, in the honesty of the midnight hour, it dawned on me. While he had no problem being with a guy sexually his fear was that others would. And because of that I could never move from just being a friend to being his boyfriend. At least not to the people who mattered most to him. In him I had wanted a friend but the love of the autumn had turned him into a lover that could never last until the spring. I realise now, now more than ever, I need to be looking towards the future. A future I fear will forever be haunted by the choices I make today.

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