I so wanted to reach out and touch Riley; let him know that it didn't have to be this way. I wanted to gently kiss his forehead, have him look at me, search me and know that I was there for him. I had always promised him that no matter what, even if we didn't have a relationship, we would always be friends. I needed him to know that; even now. I wanted to wrap my arms around him, wipe away his tears and tell him over and over again how much I loved him. I wanted....
Wait! What did I really want? I was bluffing and I knew it. I wanted him dammit. I didn't want to comfort him and have him feel better about himself when I was left feeling like shit. I wanted to scream at him. I needed to let him know how he was hurting me. Ok, yes he did tell me that he was straight; but shit! NOW!
He is straight..... AFTER A WHOLE FUCKING YEAR!
Ok, calm down, Chase. Take a breath; a deep breath. Breathe, gaddamit BREATH. Slowly. I can't believe he's doing this to me...Now? After a fucking year? Now he wants to be straight?
I hear myself laughing. I sound different. It's like I'm hearing myself, but as someone else. I can feel my body shake as a guttural laugh bursts from the depths of my soul. I know that I'm looking at Riley, but even now, he's refusing to look at me.
LOOK AT ME DAMMIT! You're straight? You can't be gay? This boy is not fucking serious...he's just not!.... I watch myself put my hands over my face...I exhale. I'm laughing again, not loud, but just enough for it to be audible.
Ok, Chase you're being a drama queen. You knew this was going to happen. You saw it...you were prepared for this...remember?
I knew that my mind was right. I did know this was going to happen. A blind man could have seen it. The last few weeks were hell. We would be together, but every time it was like we weren't with each other. Sure, we went to the movies...we hung out at my place, but it was like we were friends. Riley had stopped holding my hands months ago. He barely kissed me; we'd even stopped having sex. I kept asking him what was going on, and he kept telling me that he just needed time. His excuse? "I'm having doubts about it all...serious doubts."
Bull-fucking-shit! And he knew it. In the beginning, all he wanted was sex. A blow-job here, a hand-job there...I'm not even going to mention actual intercourse; he could never get enough! And all of a sudden...it just stopped. He stopped asking. He stopped initiating. He just stopped everything as if I were diseased.
I kept asking him what was wrong.
Our relationship had changed. We had gone from having sex all the time to pointless conversations that got us no where, always starting with me and ending with him.
"Riley, can I ask you something, please?"
"Sure, ask me anything."
"Are you still attracted to me?"
(Incredulously) "Of course I am. Why do you keep asking me that?"
"Well, you've stopped touching me."
"No, I haven't. Where are you getting this from? I touch you all the time."
"No you don't...well, you touch me...but you've stopped touching me. Have I done something to turn you off?"
"Chase, what's going on? Why do you think you're not turning me on anymore? I'm with you, aren't I?"
"You're with me, but at the same time, you're not? You know you could tell me if you didn't want to be with me anymore, right?"
"Why do you keep saying that? Are you trying to break up with me?"
"No! You know I'm not. I love you too much to not want to be with you. But I just need to know why you don't want to have sex with me. You say I'm attractive, but the most you do is hug me. You don't even kiss me."
"I'm not the kissing type. You knew that from the beginning."
"You kissed me in the beginning...why not now?"
"I'm just not that into kissing."
"Does my breath smell? You can be honest with me, you know."
"Nah, you're breath is just fine...everything about you is just fine...perfect even." (He smiles). "Please let it go. I'm just going through some things right now.... School's really stressing me out."
"So, you're still attracted to me then?"
"Of course I am, baby."
"So, touch me. Let's have sex...right now."
"What's up with you...why are you so damn consumed by sex all of a sudden? WHAT'S FUCKING UP WITH THAT?!"
"Why are you shouting at me?"
"I'M NOT FUCKING SHOUTING OK! IS THAT ALL I AM TO YOU...A GOOD FUCK?"
(Exasperated). "Look, forget about it. I'm sorry I brought it up."
That's how it always went. Me asking him what was wrong, and in the end, me always getting him angry. I wasn't a fool. There were many things I didn't understand; I'm not even going to pretend that I knew everything, but men were definitely the only concepts that I understood fully. I knew then as I know now that he always got defensive to take the heat off of himself. What I didn't understand, was why!
I looked at Riley, still refusing to look at me. I took another deep breath. "Ok, Riley, I'm not going to beg you to stay with me. I think I can see that this really isn't what you want, but I need to understand some things...please... for me!"
He looked up. Damn, even with tears in his eyes, he still looked so damn good.
A loud inhale snapped me out of my trance. His eyes met mine, and just for a moment, I swore the world stopped. It was like we were one. The last twenty minutes never happened. I saw so much love in his eyes. In that instant I wanted to kiss him; to feel his soft lips pressed firmly against mine... to taste his tongue flicker against mine.
"What do you want to know?" It felt like he was speaking directly to my soul. He looked into my eyes like he was searching me. I needed to look away, but I couldn't. Without having to think, I spoke. I mustered all of my pain, and all of my love. I needed him to see what he was doing to me. He often told me that my eyes were the most expressed aspect of me; that they showed him everything I was feeling. Now, I hoped they wouldn't fail me. "I need to know what's changed. Why are you so determined not to be with me all of a sudden?"
"I... I just know this isn't what I want. I'm...I...I'm sorry."
Enough with the fucking apologies already. SHIT! You don't want to be with me. I get that. I can't change your mind. I get that, but stop fucking apologizing.
"I, I... (exhale) it's just that every time I've been with you...every time we have sex, I feel dirty afterwards, like I've done something wrong. I feel...I feel like I'm going to hell or something."
I watched as his face contorted. I could see pain, and hurt. I could see confusion. I knew then that it was hurting him to have to hurt me, but I also knew that I needed to let him go. He had just played the trump card, he mentioned "hell".
"Chase, look... I never wanted to hurt you, honest. I just thought...well, I just thought you'd want to have sex and that would be it, you know? I never really understood the love stuff...I mean, two guys in love? I...I just thought it would be sex."
I must have been looking confused...or maybe even hurt, because he quickly added, "Look, I wasn't using you or anything, but ...well, it's just that I thought you just wanted to sleep with me, you know?"
No, I don't know. What the fuck! How could he think that I was just in it for the sex? Didn't he hear me that night?
"I love you, ASSHOLE...I never said I wanted to have sex! I NEVER EVEN BROUGH UP SEX! Shit, it was you who started it, and now you're telling me that you thought that I had only wanted sex!...FUCK!!!"
I felt myself smile....sweetly. I wasn't going to beg anymore. I felt my brain begin to take over. I felt my heart being caged. I would deal with my emotions later. Right now, I would give him what he wanted.
"Ok." I say simply.
That's all I was prepared to say. I had a calm look on my face. I mean, inside everything was screaming. I wanted to cry. I wanted to hit him...to tell him that I felt I had been used. To let him know that I had given him my heart and now he was returning it...used...damage...in a terrible condition. I wanted to slap him; throw him out of my house. I wanted to .....
"That's it? Just... 'ok'?" I heard him say. I saw the confusion on his face, but I was determined to keep calm.
"Yup, that's it."
I needed to sound nonchalant, like what he was saying didn't bother me. I was hurting, but I wasn't going to lose dignity either. He made what he wanted extremely clear... anything but me. He played dirty...he mentioned religion (hell), knowing that I would never argue with religious convictions. We'd had the conversation too many times, so it was impossible for that word to have slipped. It was deliberate, and I knew it.
I was getting the feeling that Riley was playing a game with me, as if it was all planned. The tears. The doubling over. The "I can't do this".
"Chase, are you alright?"
He was beginning to sound nervous. I looked at him, calmly. I wanted him to see that I was calm.
"I...I..." I smiled. I wanted him to think that I was over it. I couldn't let him see that I was hurting. "I'm good...I'm all right. I just don't know what to say." I laughed nervously; I felt the left corner of my mouth twitch. "It's obvious what you want, and to be honest, I want nothing more than for you to be happy."
This had to be the biggest lie ever told...but it was done well.
Now I was the one surprised. I heard myself say the words, but they weren't the ones I wanted to say. I just wanted him to know that I was giving him what he wanted...not that I wanted him to be happy, but I wanted him to feel that I'd meant them.
Now that I think about it, I really did want him to be happy, even if it wasn't with me.
I got up, and walked over to him. He looked so fragile, almost nervous. As I lifted my arms to hug him, he flinched. I guess he was expecting me to hit him. Not my style though. I shook my head from side to side, and just smiled. I wanted him to remember me, to remember us on good terms. As I took him into my arms, I squeezed him tight. I felt him rest his head in the crook of my neck. His cheeks felt wet. I could feel his heart beat against my chest, and deep down I knew that this was the last time I would hold him.
"I love you, ok." I whispered as I pulled away. He tried to hold onto me, but I needed him to know that this was it. Looking into his eyes again, I said "Maybe you should leave now. My parent's are going to be home soon, and maybe I should start dinner. Thanks for being honest with me. K?"
For a second, he looked hurt. "Yo, why can't I stay?" It amazed me how quickly he had slipped into his street tongue. I guess it didn't matter anymore because we weren't together. "I'm cool with your parents dawg. You fohgettin' I always here?"
I hated hearing him talk that way.
"Ri..." I saw him cringe. I knew he hated that name, but he also knew that I hated when he spoke street talk around me. "...could you please not talk that way...Ahhh, never mind. It doesn't matter, I guess. Look, I just need time, Ok? I need to get over this..."
Again, he looked hurt, but what was he expecting. He just broke up with me...shit, HE JUST DUMPED ME!!! And he had the nerve to look hurt because I ask him to leave. I wasn't even dramatic, and he's hurt because I ask him to leave. HELL NO!
"Look, I'll see you around, Ok. I'm sorry." I needed him to leave...now. I turned dismissively and walked to the front door, holding it open. He walked towards me; he seemed angry.
"Look Yo, you bein' childish. You said we'd always be friends...and now you tellin' me you need space? Bullshit, yo." He was angry. I looked at him. He looked at me. I closed my eyes. I heard him sigh.
"Later yo, I'm out." With that, he was gone.
Ok, enough of this shit now! It had been over a week since Riley and I broke up...ok, since I got dumped. Yeah, I had put on a strong face for everyone, but inside I was still dying.
Hell! What was I to do? I couldn't tell my parents why I was upset. As far as they were concerned, I AM the quintessential straight boy. I have girlfriends every now and then. I put the swagger in my walk when it needed. I occasionally get drunk at parties. I've even smoked up. Shit! I was so far in the closet I'm sure C.S. Lewis was thinking of me when he wrote "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe".
It didn't help that I couldn't even talk about "Riley and I" to my closest friends, Rick included. Our relationship was always soooo top secret. Riley had demanded that I not tell anyone about us and I agreed. I guess I understood what he feared. Hell, he wasn't even sure that he was gay, so why tell people?
Don't get me wrong, a huge part of me always wanted people to know. I was damn proud of what I had, of what we had. I wanted to tell the world sometimes, but somehow, I always knew I couldn't.
OK! Enough already! I was far too enamoured with thoughts of Riley. It seemed like every five seconds he was on my mind. His scent, his smile, and the way he tasted when we made love. I really do love him- more than anyone else in the world.
I needed to focus now, though. I need to be in the present. My senior year starts tomorrow, and I need to deal with it. This year was far too important.
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