It’s now 2.15 am and I find it difficult to close my eyes, even just for a while.
I’ve been wanting to start this blog for so long but procrastination always seems to prevail the urge to write. However, tonight I feel the need to do so, to write the very first entry of this blog, as myself, a gay guy in his early 20s living in a rather homophobic environment.
What would seem the trouble gay guys the most? Many would say how to get marry, dealing with people’s opinions, struggling to come out or stay in the closet. They sure are obstacles we all have to deal with in some points of life. But there is also one more thing, one thing that I bet all of those who are not 100% straight out there have experienced at least once and can also be seen as a curse that leads to constant suffering and depression if it hits you: straight crush.
I’ve had straight crushes before. I’ve seen how it’s tossed lively souls off the cliffs. But never before has it felt this strong. I guess as I grow up, knowing exactly who I am and been through several relationships, the feeling of straight crush happens (since we know who to fall for) but goes deeper when it does.
That was a cold night in March, I guess. I was waiting outside the concert ground, taking a few cigarettes. I’d just started to smoke not too long before. The show had already begun and all I could make out was some kind of combination of jazz and rock and modern techno or something, all played by several Japanese artists whose names I couldn’t even recall now. Benjamin Button (how I called him), on his first night in my town, texted me saying he was on the way there with all of the tickets, assuring me that it would be alright since he could sneak me in.
We met through a website from the internet (yes the internet, sounds magical since it’s not a hookup daily things huh). I remember first hearing his voice while seeing a really terrible movie in the cinema with my best buddy. He called in the middle of the movie, which was a huge surprise to me (and also a reasonable excuse to get out of the room, passing several annoyed goers). His voice didn’t sound masculine or low-key or mature and all, it sounded exactly like some of his photos I’d seen online: witty, playful, thin and maybe a tiny slice of feminine thing going on. Damn, thinking back, I was wondering if these tiny little things that I took as hints that he might not be straight were so wrong on the very first moment.
Back to the dead jazz concert, my phone rang again, his number, I know cuz I’d saved it right after the cinema moment. His voice, softy and safely, came in
“I’m here, where are you?”
“I’m standing by the tree, oh wait, I think I saw you…”
Standing with his 2 friends, one of the dude is a giant (compared to my size), was Button, hair neatly pushed back with a little touch of gel, glasses on, slight facial hair (my weakness), wearing a shirt that hugged his not too muscular body firmly enough. He didn’t look like the super handsome actors you see in movies nor the typical nerds. He looked charming, unlike the normal kind of backpackers, neat but not too fancy, odd a little but in a very attractive way, the kind of odd that makes you curious and want to know more. Odd, just like me.
We greeted, in a proper way, and then we talked. We talked about music, of course, since we’re in a dead jazz concert. We talked about diplomatic relations, of course, since the show was a celebration of the tie between Japan and my country. And then we talked about his trip, my studying and everything else which was very generic. And then he prompted.
“I’m so sorry for disturbing you in the middle of the movie today. How was it by the way?”
“Oh no, don’t be. It was such a horrible movie, I must thank you for interrupting me (the movie was indeed horrible)…”
And then we went on with the movie, movie industry and the alcohol (duh). He wanted to buy me (and also the other guys) a drink and I accepted. It was something called “Devil’s Fart”. It tasted good though, and at a pretty reasonable price. I was thinking “thank God since the convo is now heading off the basic-and-boring info.” But I wasn’t really thinking about what I was about to say either, words just kept coming out of my mouth. It’s like he’d cracked the lock of the fending everyone has for themselves and now things just came flooding out.
We got tired of the concert for a while and decided to part way. Little did I know the next day, he’d show up at my place with the whole gang, eager to go to the puppet show. “So I guess I’m gonna be their cultural guide huh”. I took them to a grant water puppet theater closeby and went with them inside. Button tickled me and smiled, the hideous and sly kind of smile.
“I will treat you dinner since you have been so kind.”
I was thinking, ok, if he wanted too then I didn’t mind. Don’t get me wrong but I actually felt nothing than kindness towards Button and his gang at that time. I mean, just another bunch of travelers, they come and they go, right? And we were just friends. I didn’t have anyone to hang out with that night either.
So the night actually went pretty well, better than I expected, in the hidden BBQ place decorated by graffiti walls all around. And actually I felt like the other guys and I got along way better since we shared lots of things in common, like country music. No sooner did we start to sing those Luke Bryan, Zac Brown Band and Carrie Underwood off the table that almost everyone around looked at us in a very unusual ways. Button, on the other hand, seemed to be 0% aware of the subject so he just sat and listen, enjoying the chewy grilled pigs’ breasts that I ordered. I guess he was always like that, avoiding (or not interested in) the mainstream stuff.
After the dinner, we decided to head for the beer. Since I had to go back to my place so I went there by my own vehicle and showed them the taxi. Guess what, Button wanted to go with me, instead of going by cab. I was surprised, by feeling a slice of happiness inside. Well, that may mean that they were comfortable with my rather unconventional self. So Button and I walked back to my place.
I showed him the rooms, some home food and I told him to wait a little. While I was in the bathroom, I could heard him trying my dumbbells in my room and dropping them real hard on the floor. I ran out to see what happened and he was grinning that guilty smile accompanied by the expression that you often see when a children has just broken your favorite vase and now try to hide it. Odd, right? But I think I’ve found more common with myself in him than anybody else in just a day.
We took off to the beer place, where other guys might probab,y be waiting already. On the way their, Button kept faking some kind of weird accents to pronounce my name correctly. He even did the Donald accent one. Now thinking back, I didn’t remember what exactly we exchanged on that 15-min ride but I clearly visioned myself laughing the heck out of myself and trying a little to manage to drive and get us there in once piece. Humor and all, and the fact that he’s hesitated even for a sec making himself look odd in front of somebody he barely knew just rang some bells in me, I guess. He reminded me of myself – the always-the-clown-in-the-group, making fun of own stupidity just to see people smile, cheer up and feel happy.
I would skipped the next two days when we went around town and also his last days in my town. Nothing really happened though, except for a few times we caught each other in our awkward moments and soaked up and laughed at the very same awkwardness. I made a joke of himself as a child molester and he seemed to like it. And while other guys seemed to have troubles eating some local dishes, Button would finish them all in no time. He’s just that unusual, isn’t he?
The fun always ends soon. The night of the final day came and we had to say goodbye. I was about to part way at their place, which was close the where I left my vehicle. However, they seemed to think that I was going to the train station with them so when they held the door for me to get inside the cab, I was quite surprised. I was thinking “okay, I might just take a cab back later…”
The cab was extremely packed with 5 of us, 2 of them were like super tall, not to mentions huge backpacks so there wasn’t enough space for us all. Instead of taking a bigger cab, Button asked me to sit on his lap (yeah, I’m kind of around his size, relatively smaller than the other guys). I said okay, of course. Don’t think of me as someone who’s trying to take advantage of the situation but listen, it was a very small cap for 4 only.
It was lucky that we weren’t late for the train. We were about to say goodbye. I’m supposed I would be very stupid to be sad saying goodbye to some random people I’d just known for 3 or 4 days. Why should I right?
And it was a few minutes left. Button went to buy some water and I saw from his wallet a photo of himself (must be years ago). And then out of nowhere, he asked:
“Do you want my picture?”
The question was so sudden and of course, very strange. I mean, I’d see it ok for people who have been friends, like real long time friends or who have been together or relatives or something. It was indeed strange for people like us.
“Uhm, I don’t know, I guess?”
And he handed the picture of himself to me, again, you could guess that it was a very silly kind of face he was doing. I turned the pic around and there was something says “BEN 10”, “good luck” or so. He told me it was from a friend of him.
To make the situation less awkward (I guess), I tried to find something in my wallet also. Luckily, I have the habit of printing small pictures I’ve taken that I find beautiful of places I’ve been to. And I gave him the one of one of the places they might be going to, a very ancient and lovely town down South.
After another few moments of taking weird and fun group photos, we finally parted ways. Watching them heading towards the train from behind, Button to be exact, made me realize something. Train stations, airports or such kind of place always make me nostalgic or reminiscing. Sometimes I feel like I’m left behind if I’m the one who stays. Sometimes I feel like I wish there would be somebody waving me goodbye so bad if I’m going somewhere. And some other times, I just get lost watching people bursting in tears or happiness parting or reuniting with their loved ones. That time, when Button left, it was all of these things plus something different. Next thing I knew, I ran straight to the public restroom and found my eyes all red and teary. No single tear had been dropped but it was just like I’d love for somebody to hit me from the back and make it drop.
What I could do after was just telling myself for several days after that it was just a moment of being too overwhelmed and I was taking those tiny little things that I’d mistaken as some kinds of signals so far. Everything was gonna end soon. Everything was just in my head.
I gotta admit that from these little conversations, I felt a strong connection with Button. Not the kind of feeling that you want to take that person home and have sex, not the kind that you want to be with them right away and show the world how happy I am and others should be jealous of. It was just like you’ve found your long lost friend or maybe even better, it was just like finding a part of you and what makes it more profound is that that part has been hidden somewhere across the other end of the globe and now somehow manage to get here to you, in a human form. And it’s always the worst part when you also realize that you have been wrong in the first place and such thing doesn’t even exist.