Sunday, September 18, 2011

I know someone with AIDS

I hung out with my cousin from California at the mall the other day while she was visiting her dad for the week.  We caught up on a lot of stuff- family, friends and boyfriends. I hadn't seen her older brother who was now living in NYC since the one time I'd gone to visit the city, in March 2009. Back then, my cousin had suggested I come visit him and had offered to let me stay at his place. I planned my trip, and my good friend also booked her flight to go visit her family in New Jersey.

My intentions were to sleep at my cousin's and meet up with my friend during the day to go out and explore the city. However, my cousin pulled a disappearing act and never returned my calls or texts about my incoming visit. I was very disappointed. I ended up staying with my friend's family instead, but managed to get a visit in the city with my cousin and his boyfriend. Yes, he is gay.

However, the visit was rather tense, and things with the boyfriend sort of rubbed me the wrong way. Since then, I haven't spoken to my cousin. When I hold grudges, I hold on to them for years.

Fast forward a few years to that day with my cousin at the mall, and I explain to her that I hadn't talked to him since then because of what had happened.

"When was this?" she asked.
"Around spring of 2009, why?" I asked.
"Well, ok, I know he was going through a hard time, right around that period-" she said.
"Oh yeah, I remember. My mom told me he'd landed in the hospital for like a month, with pneumonia or something" I continued.
"Yeah, but..... okay, you can't say this to anyone- not your mom, dad- no one, but my brother has full blown AIDS."
My mind went completely blank.
"Oh wow. Not HIV? But AIDS?" I asked to make sure.
"Yeah, AIDS" she responded

I didn't ask her too much about it, but he's known for three years now. He doesn't know how long he's had it because he started being promiscuous years ago when he was a teenager (I think he's 28-29 now.) Over the years, he just kept getting really sick, having problems holding his bowels, until finally he ended up in the hospital. I remember my mom telling me about the hospital stint, but I never assumed it would be because of AIDS. You just can't think of things like that.

His boyfriend and he have been together for over three years now, and when I asked if he'd gotten tested, my cousin told me he didn't want to. It was moot at this point. He didn't care if he had it.

No one else knows- my aunt doesn't want to tell anyone in the family because of the stigma attached to it and I can understand. I mean, she didnt tell my parents that he was gay until this summer. I've known for 3 years so far.

I felt bad for him, because I couldn't possibly imagine how his life had changed since he'd found out, and I haven't spoken to him since exchanging a Facebook hello in the last few weeks. What's more difficult is that I'm not supposed to know, so I can't express any concern or offer encouragement, so to me it's like, he's fine. Nothing's wrong and it's a lie I have to hide.

Be smart. Protect Yourself.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"You have boyfren?"

Things with the IT Pilot were becoming a routine. I would go over to his place on Friday after work to spend the weekend there as his apartment was much more interesting and  bigger than mine. He had all the coolest gadgets and all shows available on his TV. There was only cable TV at my 500 sqft apartment, and we'd definitely have a case of cabin fever.

Not to say I didn't slowly begin to experience cabin fever over there as well.....

I mentioned to him that I wanted to take him to a Colombian restaurant because I like their food, and it is somewhat similar to our Chilean culture.

"Why don't you take me to a Chilean restaurant since you don't want me to meet your mother" he countered.

~~~Rewind a few weeks earlier~~~
While my sisters were out in California for the summer, I had taken the opportunity to take my mom to play bingo a few times. She had liked it, and since the IT Pilot wasn't yet in the picture, my mother and I had grown used to going together on Thursdays. When the IT Pilot asked to go to Bingo one week, I told him I'd have to cancel on my mom. He said "She can come too if you don't mind her meeting me."

I wasn't ready for that, especially not since I'd been dumped the previous month. I told my mom the truth, and I told the IT Pilot that I was going with him alone instead. Later on he had asked me what I'd told my mother, and I just said I told her I was going with a friend that week. He didn't need to know specifics.

"Haha" I said, avoiding the obvious. "That's not true! Plus, I would take you to one, but there isn't one here in Houston anymore! It closed."

We were soon spending all weekends together, trying to come up with ideas as to where we could take a weekend trip. We had discussed Austin and New Orleans, but the heat has been so terrible lately we've decided to postpone until it cools down a bit. We were getting along better, and coming up with our own inside jokes.

One of our favorite comedy bits were Achmed, the dead terrorist puppet from Jeff Dunham's comedy show, and Anjelah Johnson's nail salon skit. At one point, I used Anjelah's famous line "You have boyfren?" on him, to which he replied, "No, I have girlfriend."

It didn't hit me at first, until just recently. Guys don't necessarily use titles. Most of the time, they say they are dating, which is the equivalent to what a girl would refer as a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. They are exclusive, but for some strange reason, titles scare them off. So since he had used the "girlfriend" term, did it mean our relationship had become official? Or was he joking around?

For me, it's more of... the other way around, if there are no titles attached, then it's fair game, and I can technically still date if I want to. It's not cheating.

But no Facebook status updates happening anytime soon. Even though we get along, I'm still one foot in, one foot out. There's not telling where the road will take us.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Am I a secret?

The week after I came back from California, the IT Pilot returned from his business trip/mini-vacation. He had left to see his family in Alabama to spend his birthday and his mother's, then had driven back into Louisiana for work. We hadn't seen each other in nearly two weeks and when we saw each other we hugged each other for a long time "Wow, you're tan!" he remarked. "I missed you. I guess the pilot took care of my precious cargo after all. Did you miss me?" he commented. "I missed your penis" I said teasingly.

We went out for dinner that night, when I found out that my group of french "friends" were just a few doors down at the restaurant having their weekly meetup meeting. I knew they would go to a bar nearby later on, so I asked the IT Pilot if he'd be up to going to say hi for a little bit next door. He hesitated, and I pushed on the fact that we wouldn't drink, and that it would only be a quick meeting. He said Ok.

After dinner we walked over to the frozen yogurt place to have dessert, and my friend texted me to say they'd be over at one of the bars down the street. I asked the IT Pilot if he knew where it was, to which he said yes, and I asked him again if we could stop in.

We finished with dessert, and I started walking on the other side of the sidewalk, getting ready to cross the street when he pulls out his keys and starts heading for his car door.

"I thought we were going to the bar to say hello to my friends?" I asked.
"Oh, you still want to go?" he replied.

WTF? If I didn't want to go, I wouldn't have asked you! It was obvious he didn't want to go meet my friends, and would rather go home. I let out a sigh of defeat and quietly got in the car. The moment was gone. I didn't want to go anymore.

He turned on the car and told me again "If you want to go, we can go." He pulled out of the parking lot and began driving in the opposite direction and continued "I can still turn the car around, just tell me, we can still go. Yes? No?"

"No, let's just go home" I replied, defeated.

I was upset and didn't say a word until we got home. Here's the thing- when I'm upset about something, I get silent. I don't say anything, I don't acknowledge anything, and just ignore the other person. It's the only way I can control myself from pulling a Shaniqua on them. We got home and turned on the TV, and watched for a while until I got ready for bed and went into the bedroom. He followed shortly after and got into bed with me and asked "What's wrong?"

"Nothing" I replied.
"No, something's wrong. I can tell something's bothering you" he pressed.

I was relieved he could tell I wasn't acting the same, and that saying "nothing" wasn't the truth. I remained quiet for a few moments, until I finally opened up.

"I was kept a secret from my ex for the entire year we were together. I never met his friends, they didn't know who I was, and we hardly ever went out. When you didn't want to meet my friends tonight, it made me feel like you didn't want to be seen with me, as if you were ashamed or something. So it just brought back memories" I said.
"No, it wasn't that at all. I didn't really feel like going because it was late and I knew we'd end up spending at least an hour there, and I was tired" he said.

I had opened up, and he had listened. At least he was getting that right.  The next morning I left a sticky note on the door thanking him for listening to my concerns and wishing him a good day. Later on that morning, he texted me with : "I wouldn't expect anything less from you ;) Have a good day too."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mr. Rogers

The more time I spent with the IT Pilot, the more I found out he was just too relaxed. He reminded me a lot of my previous boyfriend, Sebastian. In a way they were both very similar. Sebastian and I spent most of our time at his apartment, watching movies, TV shows online and having sex. A lot of sex. We went out for dinners on a weekly basis, but Sebastian knew how to cook, so he cooked often. He could prepare great meals.  However, Sebastian didn't turn down any opportunity to go out and explore and do something new. Although we didn't get to travel a lot (just two trips: Austin and Europe) we were just fine staying home. We never got bored.

 The IT Pilot likes to stay home too much. He doesn't like to go out in crowds, doesn't really like to go out drinking, and doesn't try new things often. It was starting to get to the point where everything I suggested, he'd turn down. He didn't want to experiment or come out of his comfort zone. He's like Mr. Rogers, but behind a computer.

That weekend, I took him out for dinner to celebrate his birthday since we hadn't been together the previous weekend. I was hoping I'd get him in the mood to experiment some nightlife, but he turned down my suggestions. At one point, I even propositioned him a strip club or gay bar, hoping he would pick either one, but he passed up on both, and said he'd rather just go home and watch a movie.


It was beginning to become a problem. I told him "You don't like to go out do you?" "Not particularly" he said. "Well have you ever tried?" I pressed on.

"Yeah, and I didn't like it" he responded.
"Hmmmm. Maybe it was the company you were with" I said.
"Well, how often did you go out before you met me?" he inquired.
"Probably once a week or so" I answered.
"And that was when you were single right? With all your other single girlfriends?" he pressed.

Well played my man.

I could understand his point, but I was hoping he could accept my point of view as well. Just because we are "together" doesn't mean we have to resort to being couped in all weekend. That shit is gonna get boring quickly. And it's not like I want to go out every single weekend either; I just ask him every weekend because he doesn't accept any of my offers. To him it probably sounds like I need to go out all the time; that's not true. I like going out, but I would prefer to go out with him, not by myself.

We've fallen into a routine. We go out to eat, we come home, lay out on the couch, turn on the TV and pass out. We wake up hours later and move over to the bedroom and resume sleeping.

I feel like an old couple.

Where is the spice??

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Vacation in Cali

I had a great time out in California. I spent a few days out in San Luis Obispo and the surrounding beaches where I tanned like crazy. I also went out to Hollywood and to Venice Beach/Santa Monica for the day. The weather was incredibly amazing, not breaking 80 degrees, compared to our unbearable sticky 100+ back at home in Houston.

I also went out to my hometown to surprise my best friend for dinner. Her new husband and our other friend had set it up to where she thought she was having dinner with just him. When she walked in, she burst into tears, shocked and amazed at the surprise she was facing: Me! Her husband had worked out all the details to perfection, and she never suspected a thing. She talked about her last year of studies at Pharmacy school, and gushed about married life. It was a bittersweet moment, and it was great to catch up on what each person was doing, but it was also then that I realized that we had grown apart, and would never be back to the same level of friendship we'd shared when we were in middle school. Too many years and too many miles between us, we were two different adults with hardly any similar interests between us.

It was also then that I realized I shared a lot more interests with my other friend (who also happened to be dating and single) as we recounted all the similarities we shared, especially when it came to music. While we were in the car, she blurted out "This is so weird. It's almost as if I'm driving my car because this is exactly the music I listen to!" My iPod included classic rock, some pop, but mostly legends. "I could never listen to this type of music with the other girls" she said, referring to our high school group of friends.

I came back from vacation, vowing never to return to my hometown again. It was dead. I had gone back four times since I'd moved away in 2006, and it didn't have the same appeal anymore. It was in the middle of nowhere and required hours of driving just to get in for the night. I prefer to sight-see when I vacation, not go back to the same dead town I escaped from.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The number is wrong b*tch!

I was set to leave to California for a week on vacation to visit my dad, friends and cousins. The day after I arrived on the west coast, I noticed "Unknown Caller" on the caller ID. A short while later, a new voicemail:

"Hey Ren, it's Joshua. I just wanted to call on check on you and see how you're doing. I had an amazing time with you last night. I thought belting out, screaming out 80's songs out on that back patio was one of the most fun I've had in a long time. I really enjoyed that. That guy was great, wasn't he? Anyway, I'm just thinking about you, and wanted to see how you're doing. I don't know why this message is so long. [laughs] Bye. I'm at the gym by the way. I did make it, I just got here late."

My mind started wandering off.

WTF? He totally just got the wrong Ren from his phonebook. I couldn't help but laugh. I was thisclose to sending him a message to let him know he had contacted the wrong person, when the little devil on my shoulder stopped me.

No. Fuxk him. Let the girl think he never called her. Hahaha.

Later that night, I received another text that read "Ok we are parking at gabes and taking one car"

I texted back with "? I think you're texting the wrong person"

He didn't reply. 

As I came back from my vacation, Joshua texted me once again:

Joshua: 1:46 am: Ben has you stuff. I hope you are ok and I am so very very sorry.
Ren: 5:06 am: Thank you for the help.
Joshua: 6:30 am: Wrong Ren lol! Oops.
Joshua: 8:04 am: Wait this was the right Ren my mistake!

I could tell he'd been drinking. Not that it was anything new....

A few days later I stopped by Ben's apartment to pick up my things. My heart raced as I drove through the parking lot, hoping that I wouldn't see Joshua's orange Mustang parked out. (He was always at Ben's apartment)

Ben said "Sorry it took so long to get your stuff back. I kept telling Joshua to bring it with him but he would forget every time."

I played nice "It's OK. I'm glad I was able to get it back, and thank you for helping out."

And with that I walked away.

Ben had "accidentally" deleted me from Facebook and sent another friend request soon after. I pretended not to see it, and ignored it.

The next day I texted Joshua for the final time:

Ren: I was able to get my stuff back from Brian yesterday. Thanks again.
Joshua: Np, I hope you are doing well Ren. I am again sorry for how I acted. Maybe one day we could be friends.

Mmmh... fat chance on that one asshole!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An empty apology

Joshua wouldn't let up, and I was forced to play "nice" while I still needed to get my stuff back. I didn't lash out or tell him to go to hell. Instead, I just stayed quiet, and didn't respond to any of his texts and calls.

I had edited his name from my contacts and filed it under "Unknown Caller" so that the next time he'd call, I wouldn't pick up, tricking myself to believe it was a private call. I do this to all the guys I no longer want to speak to. I can't remember who's who anymore, so the "Unknown Caller" trick works!

One of the calls that definitely stood out happened on a Saturday morning while I was getting out of the shower at the IT Pilot's apartment. I let the call go to voicemail, but I could sense that it was Joshua, and didn't want to pick it up in front of the Pilot. I listened to the 1:08 minute message intently:

"Hey Ren. A couple of things: I definitely want to give you your stuff. If you still want me to just give it to Ben [Franklin] I will. I know for the next few days he's going to have a friend from out of town. If you want to stop by you can, uh, you know you can get it from me. I also wanted to really, really really apologize for uh, how I was to you. Uh, [sigh] you know, uh that was very unfair. You know and I'm not trying to get you to talk to me or anything like that. I mean I'm giving you a sincere apology. Uh, God what a prick. I was definitely a prick. I feel bad about that, you did not deserve that. Um, I've actually been apologizing to a few people here lately as I realize what a complete and utter asshole I've been and you definitely deserve an apology. Once again I am very, very, very from the bottom of my heart truly sorry. [sigh] Bye."

I didn't buy it. I was too angry at Joshua, and his so-called "apology" meant absolutely nothing to me. If he wanted to feel better by trying to apologize, have at it. I didn't care. I couldn't forgive someone who treated me like shit after only hanging out for three weeks. It's like one of those people that think that just by saying "no offense" they can get scott-free when they say something rude. Mmmh, yeah, no. Doesn't work like that.

I was stuck. I didn't know whether to tell the IT Pilot about what was happening. But I didn't want him to think that I was hiding Joshua, since I was actually trying to avoid him. So I sat him down and told him the situation.

"Would you want me to tell you if Joshua was calling me?" I asked.
"Why?" he responded.
"Because he's been calling me and texting me, trying to apologize about what happened. I haven't actually spoken to him since before you and I got together, and I don't intend to, but I don't know how you'd want me to handle it. I left some things at his place last time, and I've been trying to get it back" I told him.
"What did you leave behind?" he asked.
"A necklace I got from my mom as a gift, and a pot of conditioner that cost me $25" I answered.
"I can give you the money for the conditioner, but I don't know about the necklace. I don't know. It's up to you" he said.

At least he was in the know, and I'd been completely honest about Joshua. There was nothing else to hide.

I continued spending the weekends at the IT Pilot's apartment, spending all days indoors watching TV and movies. I managed to ignore Joshua's texts, which soon became completely confusing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Jealousy after breakup

On Friday night, the IT Pilot and I went on another date out for sushi. We had a great time together and later went on to the Flying Saucer downtown where they serve a large variety of beers. We talked about the rest of the "stuff" and I pressed on about why he'd dumped me in the first place (it's always easier to get answers when there's alcohol involved.)

He told me that it'd been because he'd been stressed about work and school, and that he couldn't deal with a full blown relationship; He'd gotten scared. But after being apart for a month, he'd seen that he wanted to try it again, and he understood if I didn't want to. He said "I haven't been on any dates since you, but I noticed that you moved on rather quickly. And with that asshole out of all people. I can't believe you chose him."

He told me he'd gotten very jealous when he found out about me and Joshua, and really pissed off about a post I had made on Facebook saying I hoped my car was where I'd left it the night before.

"When I saw that I knew you were with him" he said. When I asked him how he knew, he said "Uh... cause of all your pictures together, duh."

I excused myself to go use the restroom and left my purse and phone on the counter. When I came back, I noticed I had a new text from Joshua that read: "So I guess good fun sex is out of the question?"

WTF?? Are you serious. God I hope the IT Pilot didn't see it. (He hadn't)

Regardless, I still wanted to give it another shot. I told him that it was going to take a lot of work to earn my trust back because he had dumped me for no reason that I could understand back then. He told me he didn't expect me to give him the trust back and wanted to work for it.

We went back to his apartment and got ready for bed. We began making out in bed, things heated up and we began having sex. It was just as I'd remembered it. It was great and left me incredibly pleased. We spent the weekend together at his apartment and had a peaceful time in each other's company. We didn't bring up much of the past, and rather focussed on enjoying our work-free days.

On Monday however, the IT Pilot woke up sick. I had successfully passed on my cold to him, except much more powerful. He called in sick for work the entire week and didn't fully recover until two weeks later. His doctor had prescribed him antibiotics, but the viral infection he'd gotten from me had hit him a lot worse. He'd had phlegm, coughing, sore throat, fever and sneezing. I felt incredibly guilty.

I offered to bring him food, and I always checked up to see if he ever needed anything. The answer was always no, but appreciative. He just wanted to sleep it off. 

After a while, things were looking good. I was spending the weekend at his place, and we would see each other normally in the middle of the week. We were building the relationship again, and although I was still on my guard, I was feeling a bit more optimistic as time passed.

Joshua on the other hand would not stop texting or calling me, and ignoring it wasn't helping.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A second First Date

I had made plans to get together with the It Pilot on Tuesday to watch two episodes of Weeds that I had missed. However, that night just happened to be Chile's match against.... whoemver,  for the Copa America (soccer tournament) and I wanted to watch it with my friend. Actually, my Gorgeous Guy friend I'd dated some time ago and had last swapped spit with the day after Halloween. It wasn't exactly a date..... per se.... but, I was always open to seeing this stud.

Ren: Hey, I won't be able to come by today. Does tomorrow work for you?
Pilot: Hot date? :-p
Ren: There's a soccer game tonight I want to watch- Chile vs. Peru. I forgot about the schedule. So are you okay with tomorrow?
Pilot: I see how it is...
Ren: Are you... on your period?
Pilot: YES! DAMN IT! :p ... no I told you I'm open all week.

The next day, the IT Pilot texted me early afternoon to confirm about our "non-date" (or was it a date?)
I was actually beginning to feel sick and could sense a cold coming on. I'd woken up with a terrible sore throat that morning and had some nasal pressure as well.

Ugh... if I cancel again, he's probably going to think I'm playing hard to get. But I really don't want to get him sick if we're gonna be within reach of each other. What to do... what to do???

Ren: No, I'll be there. Just text me your address again.
Pilot: Wow... already forgot where I live?
Ren: I have some errands to run, so I'll be there around 6:30.
Pilot: K... wanna order a pizza or Chinese? Or go somewhere?
Ren: Let's go somewhere.

I showed up at his apartment on time, and I greeted him sans hug. I don't know what happened, but the hug motion just didn't jump out of me. I did notice he went to extend his arms, but as I stood there frozen still, he pulled the stretch move.

We went to Olive Garden for dinner and had a fun time. We didn't talk about Joshua, and focussed rather on his work and school, which he said he'd be taking a 6-month break from after this period was over. Once we were finished, the waitress put the check in between us to which I joked and said "Seems like she thinks I'm taking you out."

"No, I think she figures there's no way a girl like you can be with me, and we're just friends" he said.
"What do you mean a girl like me? Like, you're too good for me?" I asked.
"No, try that the other way around. Like you're too good looking for me" he added.
"Yeah well it didn't stop you from dumping me the first time around" I teased.
"Yeah...." he trailed off into a silence, looking embarassed.

We went back to his apartment to watch Weeds as we'd planned. We each sat on opposite ends of the couch, and watched the show intently. After the first episode ended, the IT Pilot scooted over closer to me and put his arm around me and started running his fingers through my hair. We had a good evening, and when the second episode was through, I got up to leave. He came up to me to give me a hug goodbye and asks me "So do you think we can keep hanging out?"

I give him a confused look like, what changed? I sort of mauled the thought in my head, and after an eternity replied yes. Standing there in each other's arms, he leaned in to kiss me. We made out for a bit, and then he walked me out to my car and said "I missed you" as he's hugging me.

I look at him and say frankly "That's all your fault right there" to which he replies "I know. Major fuxk-up."

I get in my car and drive home. The hopeless romantic in me would say that he realized he made a mistake, but I just think he got jealous of Joshua. They both talked shit about each other to me. Joshua was always asking me about the IT Pilot, asking if we'd talked, and the IT Pilot asked me if we were dating. I know now that he was looking at my Facebook posts and pictures.

The next morning, he texted early asking how my morning was going- something he hadn't done since Part I of our relationship two months earlier. We made plans to get together again on Friday, to which I packed up clothes to stay the full weekend.

Hmmm... I smell something brewing.... and it's a little something called beer!!