One of the problems I encountered—a problem I created for myself—was that I was seeking advice from a friend, and this friend’s advice, however well-meaning, was not applicable in dealing with someone like Andrew. It took me a couple of months, however, to figure this out.
This email message recaps what happened on Friday, February 10, 2006, the eighth day I knew Andrew.
One item of background information is necessary for this message to make sense: a major snowstorm was projected to hit the Washington metropolitan area that weekend.
Silvio, I should not have talked to you right before I saw Andrew today. It emboldened me to ask some very blunt questions.
He was so glad to see me today, it was amazing--his eyes were so perky, and his face was absolutely glowing. I feared he might be tired after last night's discussion, or even tired of me, but he was not.
He had not even driven a block when I started to ask him the most personal questions. He did not have much of a reaction to my questions at first . . .
[I omit here the personal things we talked about. Andrew was quiet and attentive, but also very soft-spoken and terse but gravely serious in his words. A few minutes into our talk, Andrew pulled the car over and parked on the street and turned the motor off.]
Then Andrew asked "Is there anything else you want to talk about?" and I said "no".
Then he started the engine and started driving again.
He was quiet for a few minutes, and then he asked me whether I minded if we did things differently today--and because of the weather coming. He said "How about this? We put off "Brokeback Mountain" until next week. We go to Arlington and see the Edward R. Murrow movie. Then we go to a barbecue place I know nearby. Then we go to a food store nearby and lay in stuff in case there's a storm. I always buy the food in Arlington because the stores are better there. Does all this sound too boring?"
I told him that it sounded fine to me. So he took me to see "Good Night And Good Luck", which was not very long. We held hands during the entire movie, Silvio--on HIS initiative. Then, at the barbecue place, we sat next to each other at the table, not across from each other, and Andrew put his calf against my calf the entire time at the restaurant.
I had more fun at the food store than at the movie or at the restaurant, Silvio, because it was so much fun shopping with him. It was sheer and unadulterated joy. Andrew was so funny at the food store, telling me who in his household liked what, and what he had to do to keep everyone happy. Silvio, he bought MOUNTAINS of food, explaining that all four of them had "healthy appetites" and explaining that he had not been to the store since he had met me--"exactly a week now", he said.
Then he took me back to his place to put away all the food. His roommates were out, and while he was putting stuff away he turned to me and said "Joshua, if you get mad at me again while you are here, you are going to have to hide it. The other guys were very uncomfortable last night during dinner, and this is their home, their refuge, and they cannot be uncomfortable here. They knew something was wrong last night--they could tell that relations were icy--and we can't subject them to that. Not in their own home. If you get mad again when you are here, you just can't show it. It will create an impossible situation for everyone. Do you understand what I mean?"
I told him I did understand and, further, Silvio, I used your recommended line: that I liked him so very much, and that I wanted this to work out so very much, that it was driving me crazy. And, of course, all of this was entirely true.
"Well, we have to be unobtrusive when we're here, stay out of everyone's way, not make waves" said Andrew. "Last night, there were some definite ground swells."
I told him nothing similar would ever happen again.
"So, what's your schedule for tomorrow, then?" Andrew asked.
I said "Nothing, except for tomorrow night's birthday party."
"Well, then, let's do this: I will come get you tomorrow morning at 7:30--too early?--and bring you over here for breakfast. Then we will play basketball with the guys in the morning, and study in the library in the afternoon. We'll have dinner, and go to the birthday party. Then you'll stay here tomorrow night because of the snow. We'll each sleep on one of the sofas. Bring clothes for a couple of days in case the snow is really bad. What do you think of all this?"
I was feeling cheeky, Silvio, and said "I'd rather sleep with you, Andrew, in your bed. There's room enough."
His answer, Silvio, was "I'm not sure what Paul would think about all that, but I think it is better that we sleep on the sofas in the living room, at least for now." (Paul is the roommate who shares a bedroom with Andrew.)
I told him, Silvio, that I could not wait to sleep in the same room with him, and that I found the very thought exciting.
"It's just sofas in a living room. Don't get carried away" said Andrew.
And then he took me home, Silvio, and we made it an early night. Andrew said he had to call his father, because he had not really talked to him since he had met me.
"Are you going to talk to him about me?" I asked. "Yes, of course" was Andrew's reply. "What are you going to say?" I asked. Andrew said "I don't know, but I'm sure he wants to know what's going on. Don't you think your dad wants to know what's going on?" I told Andrew that my dad had called me nine times in the last week, but that I had not returned his calls and just sent him a couple of quick mail messages. "Then I think you had better call him, just to let him know you’re OK" said Andrew. I told Andrew I would call my dad tonight.
Then it was time for me to get out of the car, Silvio, and Andrew took my hand and gently kissed it and I got out of the car.
So, tomorrow night will be very interesting--my first night at Andrew's place, the first of many, many nights, I hope.
Now I going to call my dad. Good he is in the Central Time Zone.