This is the text of an email message I sent to a friend at 4:44 p.m. on Saturday, February 11, 2006, the ninth day I knew Andrew. I sent this message on Andrew’s computer.
How did I luck out and meet such a wonderful guy? I could pinch myself 24 hours a day. And thank my Dad! And thank Andrew's Dad, too!
Silvio, Andrew is SUCH a beautiful person. I think he is the nicest person I have ever met. He is entirely selfless, and looks out for the concerns of others before he looks out for himself. His instincts are so kind and generous and human I can hardly believe it.
I told Andrew today that I thought he handled me Thursday night, when I went off on him, in the perfect way. I asked him what he was thinking that night. He said he knew I was unhappy about his flippant remark, but he did not have an opportunity to apologize before his roommates came home. He said that's why he tried to get me out of the house as soon as possible after dinner was cleared up. I asked him if he had been mad at me, too, and he said no, he had not been mad at all. He was telling me the truth, Silvio.
We are back from the library, and all of us are puttering around Andrew's place right now. I did not realize this until today, but all of Andrew's roommates are also going to the same birthday party tonight.
This morning, when we were showering after basketball, I could not help myself, and stared at Andrew the entire time, despite the fact that there were eight other guys in the shower besides Andrew and me. It was all I could do to keep from going to him and touching him all over, despite the presence of his three roommates and five other guys, all more or less strangers to me. The locker facilities were far less spacious than at American, and there really was no opportunity for Andrew to make constant eye contact with me as we dressed, as he does with me when we are over at American.
Nevertheless, when we walked over to the library after basketball, we walked shoulder-to-shoulder the entire time, with our books slung over our backs. I thought it was incredibly erotic. We did the same on the way home.
I talked to my Dad last night, and he asked about Andrew. All he really knew, until last night, was that I had called and met Andrew over a week ago, as he had asked. I told my Dad last night that Andrew and I got along well, and that we were becoming friends, and that we were spending time together, and that he was right in his belief that Andrew would make a suitable friend for me and that he would be a nice person to know. I did not tell him anything beyond that.
I asked Andrew about his call to his Dad. He said that he had told his Dad pretty much the same thing. I asked Andrew whether he had told his Dad that we were now officially "dating", and he said "no", but that he had told his Dad that he liked me. I asked him "Did you tell your Dad that you liked me, or that you LIKED me?" and he said "I said that I liked you, and left it at that".
I learned today that our Spring Breaks do NOT coincide. Andrew's Spring Break is the week of March 5 and my Spring Break is the week of March 12. Before I met Andrew, I had planned to go home during Spring Break, but now I don't think I will. I will stay here.
I asked Andrew what he was going to do during Spring Break. He said the same thing: he had planned to go home, but that now he thought he would stay in DC.
I told him that, if our Spring Breaks coincided, I would want to take him home to meet my folks. He said the same thing.
I wish it would snow! There is hardly any snow, and I hope the lack of snow does not affect Andrew's plan for me to spend the night at his place!
Thank you, Silvio, for your Valentine's Day gift advice. I am going to follow your suggestion to the letter.
Andrew has been thinking about Valentine's Day, too! How do I know that? This afternoon he said "Why don't we go see 'Brokeback Mountain' on Valentine's Day?"
Have fun at your play reading tonight!
Twelve minutes later, at 4:56 p.m., I sent this email message.
My roommates will be gone during my Spring Break.
I just learned that Andrew's roommates will be gone during their Spring Break.
That will be a full two weeks for us to be together and to be alone.
How do I tell Andrew that I want him to come and stay with me, and sleep in my bed, during my Spring Break, and that I want to come and stay with him, and sleep in his bed, during his Spring Break?
This email message describes the birthday party Andrew took me to on the evening of Saturday, February 11, 2006.
I am really glad I went to Saturday's party. I learned a great deal.
Andrew's roommates drove in a separate car--one of his roommates also has a car--and Andrew and I drove alone.
On the way, he told me that if I was bored at the party, just to tell him and no one would be offended if we were the first to leave. He also said that no one would be offended if I just wanted to watch a basketball game on television, as there would, no doubt, be others who wanted to watch basketball games, including himself.
He said the party would be boring, nothing but a bunch of law students talking about their prospective careers and classes and professors and such. He said I might meet three of his closest friends if they showed up and, as it happened, all three showed up and I did meet all three of them.
In the car I asked him whether anyone at the party knew we were dating, and he said no. I asked him whether he had told anyone at school that we were dating, and he said no. I asked him "Now, really, what do your roommates think is going on between us" and he said all his roommates knew is that we were friends, introduced because our fathers were friends, and that anything beyond that was mere presumption on their parts.
"I think they are presuming" I said. He responded "Well, that's up to them."
I asked him about his three special friends, and he told me about them.
One was D, a Jewish guy from Scarsdale, unmarried, straight, Penn graduate, very smart, very nice, very quiet. Andrew said D knew he was gay because he had told D.
Another was C, a Chinese-American from Boston, Columbia graduate, engaged to an MBA student, very funny, very outgoing. Andrew said he had never told C he was gay and did not know whether C knew or not.
The third was the interesting one, Silvio. She is J, from Los Angeles, Stanford graduate, unmarried, very tall, very attractive, very talkative. Andrew said he had never told J he was gay and did not know whether J knew or not, but he suspected that she did.
After Andrew introduced me to most of the people at the party, J was the one who took me aside and monopolized the early part of my evening.
"So, YOU'RE the hot little number Andrew is dating? I heard all about you. I heard that you two study together in our library. I heard you are headed to law school. How did you two meet?" These were J's first words to me.
When she paused to come up for air, I told her that how we met was a complicated story and, having been admitted to one of the finest law schools in the country, I preferred not to be called a "hot little number". I asked her how she "heard all about me".
"Oh, everyone at school is talking. You two were seen in the library, and someone asked Thomas who you were. [Thomas was one of Andrew's roommates.] That's why there are so many people at the party tonight. Perfect attendance--everyone who was invited is here. I have never seen that happen before. These people came to see you."
I said sarcastically that I was enormously flattered, and then J went on and on about how she thought Andrew had recently died: "He stopped answering my emails, he stopped returning my phone calls and I wondered what was going on, as we generally talk several times a day. Then I learned about YOU. YOU'RE the reason why I have lost my best companion."
By this point I was trying to move away from J, and she said "Oh, please, DON'T read this the wrong way. I am GLAD you are seeing Andrew. You're a real doll. I just never thought of him as wanting to BE with someone. I was startled when I heard the news. I can't believe that he didn't tell me."
Then she asked me again how we met--J is persistent--and I told her, as briefly as possible, how we met. Then J wanted to know where I was from, about my family, where I have studied and positively everything else about me, including my favorite brand of toothpaste, and she was just getting warmed up with her questionnaire when Andrew rescued me and took me off to another room.
I whispered to him "Everyone here knows we are gay and dating each other" and he said that that was not true, and that no one had a clue. Silvio, I said "No, Andrew, you are wrong. They all know. Apparently everyone at school is talking because we were seen in your library, plus one of your roommates blabbed."
Andrew said "I really don't care what people think, Joshua. Does it bother you that people have jumped to conclusions about us?" I said "No. It doesn't bother me at all. I'm actually happy that they all think we are together. I just wanted you to know."
"Well, I would not waste time worrying about it. I truly don't think anyone cares" was Andrew's response, and he took me to get some food.
Well, who soon cornered me again? J. The hostess, whose name was P, asked Andrew to help her with something, and when he departed J moved right in on me again.
"Now, I want to hear all about this" was her first missile.
"All about what?" I responded.
"You and Andrew".
"What do you want to know? There isn't much to tell" I said, trying to blow her off.
"Aren't you dating?" was her nosy response.
I borrowed Andrew's words: "We're friends, and we're getting to know each other. That's all."
"Oh, COME ON!" was J's outburst. "Andrew totally disappears from view--everyone thinks he has been abducted by aliens--and then he pops up with you. His roommates say that he sees you every day, all day, and that he sees you every night, all night, and that you come over to their apartment, and that you will be spending the entire weekend there this weekend. And you are telling me that nothing is going on?"
"I don't see Andrew all night. I never have, not even once" I told her.
"Do you love him?" she asked.
At this point, Silvio, I utterly could not believe this girl, and in frustration I was looking around for Andrew in order to go to him.
I spotted him across the room and started to move in his direction, and J stopped me. "Look at him" she said. "Look at him."
"I'm looking at him" I said.
J continued "Isn't he the most dazzling man you have ever seen? Honestly? Have you ever seen a more dazzling man? And isn't dazzling the most appropriate word to describe him?"
It was hard to argue with that, Silvio, and I told her "Yes, Andrew is pretty dazzling".
"Now look at him" she said again.
"I AM LOOKING AT HIM" I said.
"Did you just see him smile? Doesn't that smile make you want to fall to your knees? Look at how he stands--he has the line of a dancer. Have you noticed how graceful he is? How he holds his head and laughs?" If it had not already been clear, Silvio, it was now--J likes Andrew.
"Yes" I said, "Andrew is pretty special".
"THAT IS MY POINT!" said J. "Do you know what a prize you have there? He is truly special. He is the most special person I have ever met. He is probably the most special person you have ever met. Do you know what a prize you have there?" she repeated.
"Well, yes, Andrew is pretty special" I repeated.
"Then you must be good to him, or you will have me to deal with! If you are not good to him, I will come get you! And you do NOT want to tangle with me!" After hearing J's threat, I had to acknowledge, to myself, that I definitely would not want to tangle with this girl.
However, she went on.
"Now, do you know how to handle him?" she asked.
"Handle him?" I said.
"Yes. Andrew requires special handling. Do you know how to do that?"
"I'm not sure what you mean" I said.
"Andrew can be very remote. He can be very reserved. He can be very self-contained. He is a great observer and a great analyzer. However, he does not always participate in life. Sometimes I think he observes life more than participates in life. He is a classic case of still waters running deep. Beneath that remote exterior--and 'remote' is the best word-- is a very passionate and a very sensitive and a very generous man. Do you know how to deal with that?" she asked me.
What could I say, Silvio, other than "I don't know".
"Good. That's what I'm here for! I'm going to tell you how to deal with Andrew" volunteered J.
First, according to J, Andrew had to be intellectually engaged at all times. If he was not intellectually engaged, J said, Andrew would wilt. J said that Schopenhauer's dictum that "most people would rather be dead than bored" genuinely applied to Andrew. "Your primary job", decreed J, "is to keep Andrew intellectually engaged. Can you do that?"
What a question, Silvio. How can anyone answer such a question? In exasperation, I told her that "I am not mentally retarded. I have been admitted to the most prestigious schools. I think that I can keep Andrew intellectually engaged."
"Good" was J's response. "You need to share some of Andrew's interests as well as introduce him to some interests of your own. What are your interests?"
"Well, most of all history and politics, and anything connected to history and politics" was my answer.
"Oh, wonderful!" screeched J. "Those are interests you both share. What else?"
"I mean, just the standard stuff--that's what I'm interested in" I moaned.
"Well, we'll talk about this particular point more in depth at another time" J said. "I can give you lots of tips."
"Second, you need to know how to deal with his remoteness, both for your sake and for his" J went on. "This is very important. You must be very persistent, but also very gentle. That is the only way for you to get him to open up to you. It is very hard for Andrew to open up to others. I fear that you will find this to be a very frustrating experience unless you couple dogged persistence with saintly gentleness."
"And how do YOU get Andrew to open up?" I asked, trying to turn the tables on her.
"Oh, I start an argument! That is my own favored technique. I will throw out a ridiculous proposition--one I know he will not agree with--and let him respond. As he responds, I will throw out other stuff on other topics, and before I know it, he has totally opened up. That is the technique I have found works best."
"So, you want me to start lots of arguments?" I asked.
"Intellectual arguments. On politics, art, music, culture, history, lexicography, theater, philosophy, religion, economics, animal husbandry. Anything. Andrew cannot resist an intellectual argument. If there is one thing I want you to remember, of all things I am telling you tonight, please remember this: ANDREW CANNOT RESIST AN INTELLECTUAL ARGUMENT. You will find this piece of advice to be a lifesaver!"
J went on: "Personally, I generally throw out some left-wing opinion that I know will drive him nuts--BECAUSE HE IS A RABID RIGHT-WING REPUBLICAN!--and then let him go to town. That is an absolutely fail-safe way to get him started. Guaranteed."
"Well, I'm a Republican, too" I said.
"The point I am making is that this is a way of dealing with him if you think he is being remote. Don't you get frustrated sometimes because of how remote he is?" J asked.
And, Silvio, I told her, honestly, "Not really. I thought he was remote for about the first fifteen minutes after we met, but then I thought he opened up pretty wholeheartedly. Maybe I'm wrong."
"Well, then, the only thing I can say is that if he's opened up to you, he must love you an awful lot" J said.
Silvio, right then Andrew came up to us. He had heard J's last remark.
Without any rancor, without any bitterness, without any irony, Andrew said "J, I opened up to Joshua immediately. I opened up to Joshua more than to any person in my life outside of my family. Joshua knew more about me after the first afternoon and evening we spent together than most other people I have known for ten years or more."
Then, Silvio, Andrew placed his hand on the back of my neck and continued to talk. "Joshua thinks I am slow-moving and slow to show affection, but Joshua does not think that I am not open with him. At least I don't think so. I have said things to Joshua I have never said to another living soul. I have been surprised how open I have been with Joshua, especially because I am also nervous when I am with him, which makes me naturally want to clam up. I have fought that tendency, successfully, every day since I met him."
"You are nervous when you are with me?" I asked.
"Yes, of course" Andrew said.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because you are so beautiful" Andrew answered. [It is Andrew who is the beautiful one in our household, not me.]
Silvio, Andrew said this with J no more than two feet away from him.
He continued "J, we'll all get together and have lunch some time. Then you can get to know Joshua. However, let me take Joshua over to C and L, who he has not had a chance to talk to yet."
And with that Andrew effected my escape from this fiercely meddling girl and he remained at my side until evening's end.
The rest of the party was, by comparison, unremarkable. However, I learned several things about Andrew that I had not previously known.
I learned that Andrew speaks and reads and writes fluent German--his German is perfect and is apparently as good as his English. He also is quite fluent in French.
I learned that he gets all "A"s in law school. I learned that he is considered to be as bright as any law student could possibly be. I learned that his writing skills are considered to be formidable.
I learned that he is extremely religious--and prefers to attend High Roman Catholic Service despite the fact that he is a Presbyterian (and on most Sundays he will attend both a High Roman Catholic Service as well as a Presbyterian service).
I learned that he plays the piano remarkably well.
In sum, the party was a very interesting experience, and I am glad that he invited me to go and I am glad I went, despite the irritating and near-obnoxious J.
We talked in the car on the way back to Andrew's place, more or less going over everything that happened at the party.
Andrew's roommates left the party at the same time we did, and we all arrived back home at roughly the same time.
When we got back, it was about 12:30 a.m., and Andrew's roommates went to bed shortly thereafter. They shut the doors of the two bedrooms, which Andrew said had never happened before--apparently they always leave the bedroom doors open.
He laid out our bedding on the two sofas in their living room. The sofas are across the room from each other, about 15 feet apart.
He said he was going to change into his sleep gear, and I told him I always sleep in the altogether. He said I could not do that at his place because of the other people in the household and he asked me "Did you not, truly, bring any sleep gear?" I said "no" and Andrew said he would get me some of his.
And then he brought out two identical sets of sleep gear: thick all-cotton white long-sleeve poor-boy shirts with open necks, no buttons, and flannel lounge pants, dark blue, plaid, with a single stripe of green among the blue. "You have to wear these, because of the other people, plus it will be cold tonight" Andrew said. I told him I had no problem wearing the sleep gear.
Silvio, because they have no blinds on any of their windows, and because of the street lights right outside the living room window, it was very light in the living room, even after the lights had been turned off.
Both of us got into the sleep gear while watching each other and then both of us stood in the middle of the living room, neither of us making a move over to the sofas.
I decided to seize the initiative, and I went up to Andrew and I touched him and I put my mouth next to his and I started to kiss him.
Next I did something I had wanted to do since the day I met Andrew: I started playing with his beautiful hair with my right hand, while I kissed him and touched his waist with my left hand.
After a minute or two, I put both of my hands around his neck, and REALLY kissed him, and played with his hair with BOTH of my hands.
When I did that, Andrew put his hands around my waist, and then around my lower back, and kept them there. He was holding me against him, and holding me up as well, and kissing me.
Then he would kiss my neck and my ears and my eyes and my brows and my cheeks and my lips again, and I would do the same to him. He was holding me right against him, and holding me up, and I was supporting myself around his neck. We kissed like this for about half an hour.
[I wanted to do more than just kiss, and I made a gesture in that direction, but Andrew did not go with me.]
"I'm not ready for this yet. I can't do this yet. This is a step I can't take. Please don't get mad at me. This is just a step I am not ready to take. Please forgive me, but I can't do this."
I stood up and put my hands on his waist and I looked right into his eyes and I asked him "When will you be ready? When will you be ready, Andrew?"
His answer, Silvio, was "soon".
"When is 'soon'?" I asked. "When is 'soon'? A year from now, a month from now, a week from now?"
His answer, Silvio, was "Between a week and a month from now." And that's all he said.
So we kissed some more, perhaps for another 20 minutes.
Then Andrew said "It's 1:30. We have to go to bed. The guys will be getting up early tomorrow, and we will have to get up at the same time."
So we each picked a sofa, Silvio, and went to our respective sides of the room, just like boxers.
And we each went to bed, and we each laid there, looking at each other across the room. We were too far apart to talk easily, because we had to be quiet so as not to wake Andrew's roommates. So I just looked at Andrew, and he looked at me.
After 15 minutes, I crossed the room, climbed over him, got between him and the back of the sofa, pulled back the covers and climbed in. He turned to face me, and I said "This is how we sleep from now on" and I put my arms around him and he put his arms around me and I put my leg between his legs and he put his leg between my legs, so we had four interlocking legs against each other. I kissed him, he kissed me, and I said "Go to sleep now. I love you."
"I love you, too" he told me.
We kissed some more, and I told him again that I loved him and he told me again that he loved me.
"Will you be able to sleep like this?" Andrew asked me. "Yes, of course" I answered. "This is how we will always sleep."
And both of us quickly fell asleep.