Friday, March 28, 2008

February 13, 2006: The Eleventh Day I Knew Andrew

The events of Monday, February 13, 2006, were precipitated by a friend of mine, who was giving me advice. His advice was well-meaning but, in hindsight, it was also disastrous. It was advice that may have applied to dating, in general, but it clearly did not apply to dating someone like Andrew.

Right before Andrew arrived to pick me up on the afternoon of February 13, 2006, I was talking on the telephone to this friend. I had seen Andrew each of the previous ten days, and my friend advised me to tell Andrew that I wanted and needed a few days off. In truth, I neither wanted nor needed a few days off from Andrew, but my friend had advised me that this would demonstrate maturity on my part.

This is the text of the email message I sent to him three days later, telling him what had happened on the previous Monday.


On Monday morning, before I left Andrew's place, we decided we would go swimming that afternoon at American. AU's swimming facility is very nice.

As soon as I got in the car that afternoon when Andrew picked me up, I told him that I needed a couple of days off from him and that I would be spending time with my friends on Wednesday and Thursday and that I would not be seeing him on those days. He said that was fine and that whenever I needed "days off" just to say so.

"What are you going to be doing?" I asked him. "Just go to the library and study" was Andrew's response.

He did not ask me what I was going to do on Wednesday and Thursday, so I asked him "Don't you want to know how I am going to spend Wednesday and Thursday?"

"That's up to you" said Andrew.

"Don't you even care what I'll be doing?" I asked him.

"As long as you are not robbing banks, it doesn't make any difference to me" was Andrew's response.

I went off on him, Silvio, because he seemed so utterly indifferent about whether I was going to spend time with him or not, and that was not the reaction I wanted or expected from him upon receiving my news.

"You really don't care at all, do you?" I asked. "You couldn't care less what I'll be doing. You couldn't care less whether we spend time together or not. It means nothing to you whether I am with you or not, does it?"

"All I said was it is fine for you to spend time with your friends. I have no problem if you want to spend time with your friends. I never said I couldn't care less about you. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth." This was Andrew's response to me.

"Well, you sure have a strange way of showing it" I said. "Stop the car. I'm getting out."

"Oh, Josh, don't be this way. Please. Don't do this. Please."

But I was mad and bull-headed, Silvio, and I said "Stop the car. I'm going home."

And Andrew pulled the car over, but he didn't turn off the engine. "Oh, come on, Josh. Don't do this. Please don't do this. Please?" Andrew then put his hand on my leg, and looked at me.

"Tell it to someone who cares" I said, and I got out of the car and started walking up the street.

And I started walking home, Silvio. I could hear Andrew turn off the engine and open and close the car door, so I knew he was coming after me.

He caught up with me very quickly and, when he had reached me, he said "Joshua, why are you acting like this?"

I ignored him and I just continued to walk, and he continued to walk with me.

"Come on, Joshua. Talk to me" he implored.

I turned to him and said "Why? You don't care. You have made that clear. So what's there to talk about?" And I continued walking, Silvio, but Andrew stopped walking alongside me.

Then he caught up with me again and he stepped ahead of me and looked right at me and put his right hand on my waist and said "Remember what General Ludendorff said to Field Marshall Von Hindenburg during the Spring Offensive of May 1918?"

"And what was that?" I asked.

"'Field Marshall, I think the offensive is going well, but if it grounds to a halt I will send dispatchers to you to ask you to provide reinforcement.' Well, I am here to provide you with reinforcement, Field Marshall." Andrew said the first part of that in an hysterical German accent, and it was all I could do to keep from laughing, but I didn't say anything, so he continued "Well, can I give you some reinforcement? As I told you Thursday night, I am always available to provide reinforcement when you need it. Field Marshall, do you need reinforcement now?"

And I did finally burst out laughing, Silvio, because he was being so funny. As soon as I started to laugh, Andrew grabbed me and hugged me very hard. He held me, right there on the street, and he hugged me hard and tight until I hugged him back. Only then did he stop.

"Let's go swimming now, like we planned" he said.

"No, I don't want to. I want to talk instead." I said. "We didn't have enough time alone this weekend. There was always someone else around. I need to talk to you alone."

So we went back to the car, and sat and talked in the car for about fifteen minutes until it got too cold and we had to go elsewhere. I told Andrew I wanted to go to the Barnes And Noble in Bethesda, and continue our talk there.

And so we talked--sitting in the car, driving in the car, and at Barnes And Noble--until it was time to have dinner.

What did I say to Andrew? That I really did not want two days off from him, but that I thought he might want some days off from me, on account of what he said to me last week. That I was hurt when he seemed to be so indifferent to the fact that I did not want to see him for two days, and that I was hurt even more when he seemed uninterested in what I would be doing with my time while apart from him.

What did Andrew say to me? That he had asked to see me every day since we met because he wanted to see me, but that he had never intended thereby to suggest that I was expected to see him every day and that he certainly hoped that I never felt pressured to spend time with him. That he did not feel it was his right to ask me what I was going to do with my friends on my "days off" and that he deliberately tried to be diffident about my question.

And then we got into really serious matters, Silvio, and I decided that I had to lay things out on the table and to be blunt.

I told Andrew I thought it was time for us to start making love. I told Andrew that we only had about ten more weeks of classes, followed by exams and graduation, and that we needed to start making a decision whether we were going to be together or not, long term, and, if so, that we needed to start putting plans into place for next year. I told Andrew that, as it stood now, each of us would be leaving DC around June 1 and going our separate ways, and that we did not have the luxury of taking things "nice and slow", over months and months and months, which we might be able to swing if we were both living in the same town on a permanent basis but which we could not do if a departure deadline loomed, which it did. I told Andrew that he needed to decide, as quickly as possible, whether he wanted us to be together long-term or not, and that the clock was ticking and that the longer he waited, the more likely I would become fed up with his indecisiveness and wash my hands of him.

Andrew told me that he was fully aware of the problems the calendar presented, and that he had been turning this very fact over and over in his mind, ceaselessly, since the day he had met me, but that it was a little early to start talking about "indecisiveness". Andrew said that he had no interest at all in a fling that would end on June 1, and that he had no interest in making love to me unless ALL of three things were in place and settled in his mind: that he knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, that I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, and that he was confident that we both could live happily and comfortably together long-term. Andrew said he was concerned about his parents' reaction, and that he was more than concerned--that in fact he was worried--about my parents' reaction. Andrew said he would have to abandon all of his current plans, long in the works, in order to go with me to Boston: he would have to arrange to take the Massachusetts Bar Exam, he would have to find a job in Boston, and he would have to back out of his current employment and bar commitments. Andrew said that all of this would take far longer than fifteen minutes to arrange, and that any withdrawal by him regarding his current commitments was more or less irrevocable.

I told Andrew that if he loved me he had sufficient energy and far more than ample intellectual resources to change his plans and make Boston his home for at least the next three years. I told Andrew that I would gladly change my plans, but that I thought it would be foolish to give up the prospects of a prestigious law degree. I noted that his current plans were to return to and to work in his hometown and to live in his parents' home after law school and that, at the very least, I no longer needed my parents to heat up my bottles and to change my diapers, and that he might want to consider a similar degree of independence for himself. (Ouch! Oh, Silvio, I was sometimes very nasty to him.) I told him that the issue of parents--his and mine--should not and probably could not impact our long-term future, and that the only thing that could was Andrew, and Andrew's inability to realize that avoiding making a decision was tantamount to making a "no" decision. I pointed out to Andrew that his "freezing" during my attempt to engage in lovemaking was a perfect example of his incapability of making a decision.

Andrew told me, again, that the issue of love-making was, for him, vitally connected to a deep love, and that he would never enter into love-making without a deep emotional nexus to the other person. Besides, Andrew added, where were we supposed to go to make love? "Have you identified a particularly fetching sleazy motel?" (Andrew was getting more and more irritated with me.) Then Andrew congratulated me on no longer needing diapers and being weaned from the bottle, adding that "I guess the next big step for you is to be weaned from your parents' checkbook".

I told Andrew to keep his wit in his pocket, right next to something else that is afraid to come out and see the light of day, and to focus on essentials: that he was going to have to decide, very soon, what he wanted, and that if he could not decide, I would decide for him, and that my decision would be not to waste time on someone incapable of making a decision.

His only response, Silvio, was "And what sort of a time frame do you think is reasonable for arriving at a decision of this magnitude? Today is the 13th. I only met you on the 3rd." He looked like he was going to cry when he said that to me.

The only thing I could think of to say, Silvio, was "You have to arrive at that conclusion yourself, Andrew".

Then I got really bitter, Silvio, and I told him that the reason I had wanted him to take me to Barnes And Noble was so that I could get him a Valentine's Day gift, but that I had changed my mind and no longer wished to get him a Valentine's Day gift and that I was ready to leave the store and get something to eat. And I added, Silvio, just for extra nastiness "And, Andrew, if you got me anything for Valentine's Day, please do not give it to me, as I would be deeply offended." Yikes, I was so mean to him!

We went to a Cuban place for dinner, and I don't think he said five words to me during the entire meal and he barely touched his food. Then he took me home, and the only thing he said to me, in a broken voice, as I was getting out of the car, was "You can call me if you want to get together." This was the first time, since I met Andrew, that he did not ask me whether I wanted to make specific plans for the following day.

"Sure, I'll call you sometime" was my affectedly-indifferent response and, without so much as looking at him, I shut the car door.

Silvio, when I got in the house, I went straight to my bedroom and collapsed on my bed and tried to fight back tears. I was trying to figure out why I had been so blasted mean to Andrew and I was trying to figure out whether our time together would ever be the same again, or even whether there would be any more time together.

I am still trying to figure out the answer to the first question, but I had already decided on that Monday night that the answer to the second question was "no", things would never be the same again.

It was 9:30 when I got home, and I was running things back and forth in my mind, over and over, trying to figure out what to do. I knew I could never sleep that night, even though I was physically and emotionally exhausted, if not tormented.

At 2:30 I called Andrew's cell phone. There was no answer. I was getting ready to call his house phone when my cell phone rang. It was Andrew.

"You called" he said.

"Yes, I did, and you did not answer the phone" I said.

"I had to turn the ringer off, or it would have awakened everyone, and then I had to make my way to the kitchen to talk" he said. "By the time I got here, you were no longer calling".

"Were you in bed?" I asked.

"Yes, of course" Andrew answered.

"Were you asleep?" I asked.

"Yes, I had just fallen asleep" he said.

Silvio, I went berserk. "Andrew, I cannot believe that you could sleep at all on a day like today. I just cannot believe it. Do you know what you are? You are a son-of-a-bitch!" And, Silvio, with that, I hung up the phone.

Andrew must have been waiting to see if I would call him back, because in exactly five minutes he called me again. "Did you want something, Joshua"? he asked.

"Yes. I want you to come over" I said.

"Now?" Andrew asked.

"Yes, now" I said.


"Because I can't sleep. I need you to come over so that I can sleep." I said.

"Why don't you try reading in bed for 30 minutes. Read something boring and you will be able to fall asleep" Andrew said to me.

"I already tried that, Andrew" I said. "It didn't work. I won't be able to sleep unless you come over."

"Josh, it's 2:45 in the morning. The earliest I can get there is about 3:20. You probably will already be asleep by then" Andrew said.

"And don't forget to factor in the extra time it will take you to make a decision, Andrew, which will push it back far beyond 3:20" I said.

Andrew ignored my jab at him. "Joshua, you have to get up at 6:15 for your 7:30 seminar. Maybe you should just stay up, go to class, and then go home and go to bed" Andrew said.

"Andrew, I want to try to get whatever sleep I can tonight" I said. "You had me sleep with you this weekend, you told me that you loved me, and tonight I can't sleep without you. You need to come over now. That's your job."

"Are you just playing with me?" Andrew asked.

"No, not at all" I answered. "If you love me, and I need you to sleep with me, it is your job to come over and help me sleep."

"All right. I'll come" said Andrew.

"I'll be waiting for you" I said.

"It will take me 35 minutes. Then I'll be there" said Andrew. "Is your bedding clean?"

"What?" I asked.

"Is your bedding clean?"

"I cannot believe you would ask such a thing! You son-of-a-bitch! You son-of-a-bitch! You absolute son-of-a-bitch!" I started screaming at him, and then I hung up the phone. (Andrew was making reference to the fact that I had told him that our house was not very clean.)

He tried to call me back immediately, Silvio, but I did not answer the phone. He tried to call me four more times, letting the phone ring about fifteen times each attempt, and then he stopped calling. Then he sent me an email message telling me that he would leave his house at 3:05 a.m. unless I notified him not to come.

He showed up at 3:31. I was waiting for him, and let him in. He hugged me very hard and tight, and rubbed his cheek against my cheeks and neck and ears as he hugged me. Then he kissed me on the forehead, and then he kissed me on the mouth, still hugging me as hard as he could.

"I love you very much, you know" I said.

"I know" said Andrew. "Tonight erased any doubts in my mind on that score. Tonight was the night I realized that you love me as much as I love you. And I hope you know I love you very, very much indeed."

"Yes, I know that" I said.

"But we have to learn to keep things on an even keel, Josh. I worry that you cannot do that" he said.

"We'll have to work on that tomorrow" I said. "Let's go upstairs for now".

Then I took him upstairs and when I closed the door to my bedroom he tried to explain what he meant by the "clean bedding" remark. I said "I already know what you meant. Let's just go to bed" and I set the alarm clock.

"You're sure that works, aren't you?" asked Andrew.

"Yes, of course, you idiot" I said. "Now get undressed. We have to get some sleep."

I told Andrew that I had observed the house rules regarding sleep apparel at his place, and that he had to observe the house rules regarding sleep apparel at my place, and for him not to bother even trying to wear so much as his boxer shorts to bed with me here. "Here, your 'gear', as you call it, is what God gave you" I said.

I quickly got out of my clothes, and I quickly helped him get out of his clothes, literally sending his clothes flying all over the room, and we went to bed. I pulled him on top of me, I on my back and he on his stomach, with his full weight on me. He held my head with both of his hands and kissed me for several minutes. Then we said "good night" and he put his head down and nestled it against my neck and he went to sleep immediately. I lay there with my arms around him, watching and feeling this extraordinarily beautiful man I love so much, for about five minutes. Then I fell asleep, too--but only after turning off the alarm clock.


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  2. I'm sorry for saying this, Joshua, but are you 100% certain of your calling as a lawyer?

    Your style of writing--the construction of sentences, the varied nuances between the lines--is prodigious.

    It is brilliant. Perhaps to be a short novel of some sort.

    I find in reading you what's missing from today's novelists...


    Please, keep on writing, and I'll continue reading you with gusto and admiration.

    Thank you.


  3. I find it very painful to re-read these old email messages, J.R.

    That was a very difficult time for me, and I am not proud of my behavior.

    I am not the same person today I was just two years ago. I have grown and matured a lot since then, I think, and for the better, I hope.

    I also think I can write better now. When I look at these old email messages, I cringe. They are pretty rambling, like my mind was at the time. They are also full of all the raw nerve endings I was experiencing at the time.


  4. But at least now, at a distance, I can appreciate Andrew's jokes.

    "Have you identified a particularly fetching sleazy motel?"

    "I guess the next big step for you is to be weaned from your parents' checkbook."

    I did not laugh at the time Andrew uttered those words, I assure you.

  5. Your confused state at the time you met Andrew reminds me of La traviata's Violetta: She was going mad with conflicted emotions when her most ardent suitor, Alfredo, declared and pledged his undying love for her.

    Well, I'm really glad you and Andrew ended up together.


  6. "Have you identified a particularly fetching sleazy motel?" is pretty funny.

    You have a breathtaking grasp of the smallest details, Josh.