So there I was – nice, cool, clean white sheets with an absolutely gorgeous woman spooning me…just where I would die to be at this very moment. And I couldn’t stop coughing. It got so bad that I couldn’t breathe. Theresa tried rubbing my back, slowly inching away from her contaminated bedmate. Who the hell could blame her? I remember praying to God to please not do this to me. It was so not fair! She was perfect for me! I left Him a message, silently cursing Him for ruining what could possibly have been the first night of the rest of my perfect life. Which is probably why He stuck me with Sharon so many years later. Yes, I’m still a little bitter. Finally, Theresa got me a glass of water, turning on the light so I could walk around and maybe not die in her apartment. As soon as I started walking around, sipping water…the coughing stopped. Thank goodness. The proper thing to do at this moment would have been to head home before I ruined the night anymore. But being the genius that I am, I decided to stick it out. I mean, I stopped coughing so God answered my silent prayer. Right?
I couldn’t have been more wrong. As soon as the lights were out and my head hit the pillow, it started up again. This time, it was extremely disruptive. Theresa rolled over and I felt really bad about it, so I rolled over too. She put her arm around me and stroked my back. It felt really nice so I inched closer and put my head on her shoulder. Things seemed to calm down. It was almost instantaneous…all the sweating. My body was on fire and I was melting – right onto Theresa. It was disgusting. But again, being the genius that I proclaim to be, felt that if I acted like nothing was wrong, then neither would she. Of course, she would think that I was some giant human heater that poured sweat, but at the moment it was better than the alternative. It was a great plan in theory. Except for the sticky, wet sound effects of me rubbing my sweating face into her shoulder and chest like nothing was wrong. It got to the point where I knew that this would be the last night I would ever be in Theresa’s arms. I still held a slight hope that she would somehow understand that this was a moment that perhaps we’d laugh about while our grandchildren played at our feet. Right?
Who was I kidding, though? I wouldn’t call me. A girl who could possibly be sweating the Ebola virus all over me? No thanks. The next morning was interesting. I felt worse and I’m sure I looked the part. The good news was my coughing stopped. I just had no voice. We got dressed, said our thank you’s and goodbyes. I was so nervous and upset and pissy and horribly sick. About mid-afternoon, I woke to my phone ringing. Amidst a Nyquil-infused haze, Theresa explained that she didn’t think things were going to work out and she’d love to hang out with me as friends. I croaked my regret and apologies for the previous evening, but I knew it wasn’t going to grant me another opportunity to prove that I wasn’t a complete basketcase. We did chat a couple of times over the next couple of weeks, but that was it…until about a year later. No I’m not going to tell you what happens. Yes you’ll have to wait. Obviously, we’re not together…but there was closure and I lament once again that I lost out big time.
There’s nothing more depressing than working in a strip club when you’ve just been slightly dumped. There is nothing anyone can say to make you feel sexy, wanted or even remotely happy. Every no thank you was promptly responded with a ‘fuck you’. My dances were lifeless…boring, not worth the time or energy I devoted to showering, putting on makeup, driving to work or picking out a sparkly outfit. Every time I looked in the mirror, I just wanted to stick my tongue out at myself. Idiot. I had no idea how to get myself out of that funk, just like I have no idea how to get myself out of the one I’m in right now. I miss Theresa. I miss Sharon. I miss Theresa more, even though I knew her for less time. Okay, I miss the idea of Theresa. She could have had her ex chopped up and wrapped in plastic in her closet for all I knew. When I compare my mental notes on these two relationships, I regret several decisions I made, then and now. Why do I still ignore the warning signs? I know better. What’s my excuse? Is there an excuse?
There was nothing to do but continue to work. Get through the days and nights. Analyze this, analyze that. Back then the only thing I could analyze was which moment would have been better to politely excuse myself. Would she have assumed a lack of interest and ended it anyway? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to that night and thought…idiot. Do you know how much pain you could have avoided if you would have just carried your ass home and called her the next day? How much pain, you ask? Let me name them…Sharon, Vivian, Janice, Rita, Val, Tanya, Carrie, Gloria…all pseudonyms but you get the idea. And they weren’t all loves of my life, but they did cause unnecessary pain that still leaves me questioning why I had to be gay and why women have to be so fucking difficult. Would I have avoided pain, though, or would it have entered my life in another way? Maybe I was spared and I should count my blessings because if I had not been out with Theresa, I would have somehow ended up at work and the flu would have turned into pneumonia? Trust me, I can go on for days. What’s my point? Not sure, except that things do happen for a reason. As of this moment, I do believe that I was brought into Sharon’s life for a reason at least. Because of me, Sharon came out to her family…her Christian, Indian, father’s a pastor…family. I’m not trying to take any credit. I’ll give that to my incredible ass. See, I was walking away from Sharon toward my car wearing some nice jeans and Sharon stared me down as her mother watched her watching me. The result? A showdown the next day between Sharon and her family – something she is still battling and I wish her all the support in the world. Oh, don’t misunderstand, I’m still bitter for the way Sharon treated me, but it takes an immense amount of courage to stand up for yourself in this world and her journey is just beginning. The only thing I can do now is continue to hold positive thoughts for my future…and wonder how much longer I have to search the Internet before I finally find Theresa.