Tomorrow marks a week since my birthday, and also a week since I last heard from Joey.
I told myself that it was mostly my fault. That’s why during the course of one week, I’ve been trying to reach out to him, via means that he had presumably blocked. I asked my friend over there to call him but all she got was a voice box response. I tried contacting him on the app where we first chat last night, and this will be my last resort. If it fails, it’s time for me to give up.
Yesterday, a strange number from the States called, which I picked up without hesitation. I thought it was him but all could be heard on the other side of the line was breathing, and TV, and automated sound of somebody’s voice in a commercial urging people to watch Stranger Things. It went on for about 2 minutes before I decided to hang up. I knew it was him, with that Houston area code. He must have butt-dialed me, with his other phone number.
“Do you know that we have our consulate general is in Houston?” I threw it out there when we entered the elevator for the first time, trying to strengthen the impression I made of myself as a guy that knows things.
“Yes, I do. I got my visa there actually.”
Our first night together, he got me talking about my past, about my first boyfriend and the time I got molested by my mom’s colleague. He told me about a similar event inflicted by his cousin when he was still a child. He was such a typical old-schooled American boy, in such cargo shorts, polo shirt and a cap, to which I joked “It’s not raining.”
He told me about the most recent boyfriend, Chinese-origin. He did have a soft spot for Asian men, as I did for white men. He wanted a family but the Chinese didn’t, since he had already got a family, with wife and kids, already. There was something about the sincerity in his eyes as they were staring down the floor upon his touching on an often neglected subject. There was something that got me thinking “We’re on the same page. I want a family, too.”
And family was one of the topics we managed to discuss once. I told him it would be great to have two, carrying each other’s last name. He was strongly in favor of them living in his place rather than mine. I, as usual, tried to argue, not for the sake of my opinion but for the sake of an argument, to prove that I had a point and I took charge. I said it was selfish, that my job was much more difficult to be based somewhere else and his wasn’t, and I don’t want to be the one waiting for a few shags a year.
“But do you really like that job? Do you want to do it for good?” He asked.
It’s true. And I can’t deny that a part of me seeing him as a convenient ticket to get out of here initially, but then as a motivation and encouragement.
During the course of 1 week, it was harder to sleep. Food didn’t taste the same. I guess it was because of the bitterness lingering at the tip of my tongue, still. There was no sex, no male encounter. The other night I happened to bump into a guy whom I first met on a winter day almost 5 years ago, when my relationship with Beurre was on the verge of dying. I drove him home, with his revealed legs pressed against mine, thinking he should be the omen for doomed affairs.
During the course of 1 week, I found out that Ben had a girlfriend. It wasn’t surprising, as he was always that charming guy who claimed to be dorky and didn’t fit in but actually aware of his appeals. It was finally alright. I didn’t feel anything about it really, just like how Joey would have wanted.
During the course of 1 week, the military also succeeded in getting me to do the health check for the 2nd time. They concluded that I was in perfect condition to get drafted, asked me for my shoe size, took my picture and told me not to leave town to wait for their call. One of them asked if I wanted to go, to which I couldn’t say yes or no. ‘Yes’ would be a complete lie. And ‘no’ would have been seen as a rejection of such sacred responsibility. I told them it would be better if it were cost-effective, right person & right time.
Joey always tried to assured me that it would be alright, that we could work this out as it came, although I knew there was nothing he could do from such distance. I, on this side, had tried to pull every string that I got. Military people, my aunt’s friend, my friend’s dad, my boss’s acquaintance, every single one. But it was comforting, having his words, just being aware that he was aware. Maybe one of my mistakes is taking too much comfort in it, to build a nest around it, without paying attention to him.
There were beautiful autumn days, when all he did was waiting for me to come back from work, in his hotel room. He changed the entire travel plan to come back and see me, which I saw as an act only like-minded people to us could appreciate. After all, I did it to see Ben & George.
Every time I left and came back, the first thing he asked would be “Did you miss me?” We just had sex, and lied there, and talked about our travel plan. I urged him not to wear certain kind of clothing, which he did. Those were beautiful days. First moments were always so pure.
I wrote another song yesterday. Joey always thought the song I did the night I planted my seeds in him was about him but it wasn’t. This one was. It was about the halfway future plan, with starry nights he had painted in front of my eyes. But just like the song that night, it will be hidden from him forever.