Friday, March 28, 2008

February 14, 2006: The Twelfth Day I Knew Andrew

This is the text of an email message I sent to a friend of mine, covering Tuesday, February 14, 2006, the twelfth day I knew Andrew.


On Tuesday morning we both first woke up around 9:15, and Andrew said "Oh, no, I'm gonna miss my first class. I gotta bolt or I won't even make my second one."

"Stay here" I said. "My roommates are still here, but they'll be gone by 12:00. Then we'll get up. Go back to sleep."

And I rolled over and laid on top of him, and we did go back to sleep again.

We woke again at 11:45, and stayed in bed, snuggling, until 12:30. Then I got up and told Andrew "stay here" and I went downstairs to make coffee. I came back upstairs while waiting for the coffee to brew and I jumped onto the bed. "Are your roommates gone?" asked Andrew, and I said "Yes". And Andrew started to get up, and I said, again, "Stay here. The day's already shot. We have the whole house to ourselves for four hours, and then we'll leave before the guys return."

I went downstairs to get the coffee, and brought the coffee upstairs. We sat in bed drinking coffee, and I pointed out to Andrew that neither of us woke up during the night, unlike the two nights we had spent together at his house, and he said that was because the bed was much larger than the sofa and that we had much more room to move around in during the night.

"No, you're wrong, Andrew" I said. "It wasn't a case of the extra room. You slept on top of me most of the night. You were always at least half on top of me. That's the way we should always sleep."

I didn't like Andrew's response: "You're going to have to learn to sleep alone, Josh. We can't do this very often. I don't even think we should do this ever again."

"Why not? It's beautiful when we sleep together" I said.

"It's all the emotional ups and downs, Josh. I never know where you're coming from, and what will trigger an outburst. You seem to get mad at me every couple of days. I never know what to say to you when you go crazy, and I think that anything I say will only make matters worse. Like last night, on the telephone."

"You mean when I called you a son-of-a-bitch?" I asked. "You know I didn't mean that".

"I know. But, still, you go off on the most innocent things. I tell you I was asleep, and that sets you off. It just gets too exhausting."

"That's because you drive me crazy, Andrew" I said. "You make me completely loony."

"Well, that's not a good thing" said Andrew. "Until yesterday, I was thinking, what with the three-day weekend coming up, that I should take you to New York next weekend. However, I can't have you acting like this around my brother, and subjecting him to this. What would he think?" [Andrew has an older brother who lives in NYC.]

"You really were thinking of taking me to New York, and staying with your brother, and letting him meet me? I would like that. But wouldn't he report back to your parents?" I asked.

"It's not like we would do anything at his place, Josh. We would not even be in the same bed. It was just a thought, and not a very good one."

"Well, I would like to do that" I said.

"Now, I'm not sure it's a good thing. In fact, I think it's a very bad idea now."

"Well, I would like to do something special next weekend. We could have three wonderful days together" I said.

"Or three intolerable ones" said Andrew.

That remark killed me, Silvio. I couldn't even say anything in response. So I put my head on Andrew's chest, and started playing with his chest hair and the hair in his armpits.

He didn't say anything for like 15 minutes. Then I moved up and lay down on him completely, and put my head on his neck, and put my arms around him.

After a few minutes I started kissing Andrew. He was in the mood for a light kiss, but not for a heavy kiss.

I rolled over onto my back and pulled him over me. "I need you" I said. "I need you in my life. I need you to make me happy. We were meant to be together."

Silvio, he did not say anything in response to what I said. He just lay there, on top of me, but his head was against mine, and I could not see his eyes or his facial expression.

I shifted so that I could see his face. 'Your three conditions--remember your three conditions for lovemaking? Two of them are satisfied, aren't they? That you love me and want to be with me. That I love you and want to be with you. The only outstanding one is whether we can be happy together. How will we ever know the answer to that one until we try?"

Silvio, again Andrew did not say anything. He looked right into my eyes, and he did not say a word. I tried to read his eyes, and all I could read was uncertainty, and perhaps a bit of sadness.

"What are you thinking?" I asked.

"I am thinking 'What should I do'--and I don't have a clue. I don't have a clue what to do, and I don't have a clue what to say" said Andrew. "I am a complete blank."

"Then I want to ask you one question" I said. "Do you love me?"

Silvio, he did not answer me! He remained silent, and just looked at me.

"Say something. Please" I said.

Three times, Silvio, Andrew opened his mouth as if he were going to talk, and each time he stopped.

Finally, I said "I guess I really HAVE ruined everything, haven't I?"

After a long pause, Andrew said "You just make things so difficult."

After another long pause, I said to Andrew "Go on."

It took him a while to say anything, and then he said "Last Thursday you agreed to take things nice and slow. I agreed to provide you with any reinforcement you needed." Then, after a pause, he said "That didn't last long, did it?"

I couldn't say anything, Silvio, because he was right. He had lived up to his side of the bargain, but I had not lived up to my side of the bargain. After a minute, I stopped looking at him and pulled his head down next to mine. After another minute, I whispered into his ear "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Andrew. I'm so very sorry. What can I do to make it up to you?"

He didn't say anything, but then he raised himself and looked at me and said "Keep things on an even keel. That's what you can do. Keep things on an even keel. I can't do this if you can't keep things on an even keel."

I didn't say anything for a few minutes, Silvio, and we just kept looking at each other. Finally, I said "That's so hard, Andrew. You have no idea how hard that is for me, since I want you so badly."

Again, Andrew did not say anything, and finally I pulled him back to me, with his head against mine.

We lay there for a few more minutes, Silvio, and then Andrew said "Josh, I think I have to go now."

"Can't you stay a little longer?" I asked.

"I have thinking to do, and I can't do that here" he said.

"I guess this means I won't be seeing you tonight, then, right?" I asked.

"I think it would be better not to" he said.

"What about 'Brokeback Mountain' on Valentine's Day? Today is Valentine's Day. I guess this means no 'Brokeback Mountain' tonight, right?" I asked.

"Would you really want to, Josh?" Andrew asked. "I don't think you would, truly."

And I said "If you didn't really want to go, Andrew, then, no, I wouldn't want to go, either."

"I think that's the best thing" said Andrew.

And he got up off the bed, Silvio, and got dressed and prepared to leave.

"Andrew, I need to ask you one favor. It is very important" I said.

"What's that?" he asked.

"Can you give me Judy's number?" I asked.

"You've go to be kidding" he said.

"No, I have never been more serious in my life" I said.

"Why do you want Judy's number?" he asked.

"To talk to her, and to get some advice" I answered.

"I don't think Judy would be a very good source of advice" said Andrew. "She has never been successful in relationships."

"But I want to talk to her. It's very important to me" I said.

"You don't even like her" said Andrew.

"But I think she can give me the advice I most need, Andrew" I said. "She is the only person I know who really knows you who I think I can turn to. I can't talk to your roommates, but I think I can talk to Judy. And I think Judy would welcome the fact that I want to talk to her."

"I'm not sure if that's a good idea. Let me think about it" Andrew said.

"Can you at least give me her email address?" I asked.

"Let me think about it" said Andrew.

And he gave me a peck on the cheek, Silvio, and he left.

As soon as Andrew left, I called Verizon information and asked for a DC residential listing for his friend Denny, since I remembered Denny's last name (and hardly anyone else's last name from the party, including Judy's last name) and, further, since I remembered that Denny said he lived near the National Cathedral.

I was given a number that probably was Denny's, owing to the address, and I called and identified myself and I asked the fellow answering the phone if he was the same Denny I met at Patricia's party on Saturday night.

"One and the same" he said. "How are you doing, Joshua?"

I said I was fine, but that I needed to call Judy and that I did not have her cell phone number, and I asked if Denny could give it to me. "Sure" he said, and he gave me the number. I thanked him and I told I hoped to see him again soon. "I'm sure we will" he said.

Silvio, I called Judy's cell phone number, and I got her voice response system. I told her who I was, I gave her my number, I told her I needed to talk to her, I told her that Andrew refused to give me her number and that I got it from another source, and I told her that she MUST call Andrew to notify him that I had called her and that she MUST obtain his permission before returning my call. (I did NOT want Andrew to think I was going behind his back.)

An hour and fifteen minutes later, she returned my call.

I told her I needed to talk to her and I asked her whether she was willing to have coffee with me.

"Any time. Any time at all" she said.

"What about now?" I asked.

"Where are you?" she asked.

"I'm at home" I answered. "I live near AU."

"Oh, I know where you live, darling" Judy said. "I'm at home, too, and I live in Crystal City. Where do you want to meet?"

"How about Pentagon City?" I asked.

"What time?" Judy asked.

"In an hour?" I asked.

"I'll be there" she said. "You poor baby--being abandoned on Valentine's Day. That mean old Andrew!"

So I met her, Silvio.

I began by asking her what Andrew had said to her when she called him for permission to return my call. "Basically, he was not enthusiastic but he said 'I guess it won't do any harm', so, like any doctor, my brief is 'first, do no harm' to the patient" she said.

And, Silvio, I laid everything out to her, for about two hours, and at the end I asked her what I should do. During that entire extended spiel of mine, Judy only interrupted me twice to have me clarify something for her.

"Difficult question" was Judy's response. "Because right now Andrew is mulling over in his mind whether he should continue to see you."

"He told you that?" I asked.

"Yes" she answered.

"When did he tell you that?" I asked.

"Today, when I called him, to get his permission to talk to you" she answered.

"So, what repair work can I do?" I asked.

"I would have to think about that one" said Judy. "I really don't know, offhand."

She continued "It's dinnertime. I'm hungry. Have you eaten yet?"

I said I had not.

"Shall we get something?" she asked.

"I can't. I don't have much money on me" I answered.

"Oh, this one's on me, dear--I insist" she said. "We shall plot a grand strategy over dinner. A virtual military campaign, to use an analogy you and Andrew both would appreciate."

So we had dinner, Silvio, and she asked me numerous very detailed questions, all of them very interesting but none of which had any discernible meaning to me. Judy's questions were of three sorts, by and large: (1) exactly what had Andrew revealed to me about his family; (2) exactly what had Andrew revealed to me about his roommates and his school experiences; and (3) exactly what had Andrew revealed to me about his plans for the future.

When she was done with her questions, Judy said "Well, Andrew has been phenomenally open with you, but with some pronounced limitations. It would violate a confidence if I told you what those limitations were, but just let me say that he did not withhold anything relevant from you. And there are certain things about which, it is obvious, you know far more than I do."

"Do you mean he has been with someone before?" I asked.

"Oh, heavens, no" said Judy. "Pure as the driven snow. I just mean that there are some things, about law school and his career plans, that he has not addressed in much detail with you. That sort of thing."

She went on: "However, what you want to know is 'what can I do to get Andrew to continue seeing me', am I correct?"

"Yes, exactly" I said.

"That may be difficult" she said. "He may have decided, or may be in the process of deciding, that it is unhealthy to see you. He doesn't like emotional storms, you know."

"Well, I can understand that" I said.

"There are several things you must always keep in mind about Andrew" Judy said. "He was phenomenally well-raised, as you can observe. He was given lots of love and care and attention. He is extremely close to his family and he has lots of unconditional love to give, because he has always received lots of unconditional love at home. Consequently, he is very giving.

"But you, Joshua, may be subjecting him to burns. He may be giving unconditional love to you, but what he is getting back from you is not unconditional love--it is nothing but scorch marks. If he keeps giving you unconditional love, and you keep blowing that great gift of love away by making unreasonable demands you know he cannot meet, he may very well decide that he doesn't need this, or that you are inherently incapable of offering unconditional love in return, and unconditional love is the only kind of love he has ever known and probably the only kind of love he understands. He is actually very fortunate in that regard, if not unique.

"So you need to try to repair the atmosphere, Joshua, and from there start to demonstrate to Andrew that your love for him is also unconditional.

"My belief is that the first thing you need to do, Joshua, is to forget about sex. Simply forget about it. Get it completely out of your mind, at least for now. Andrew is not interested in sex; what Andrew is interested in is love. With genuine love, sex will follow, but in his case the reverse order of business has no appeal. Harping about sex, with Andrew, is not going to get you any. So tell him that you are not going to bring up the subject of sex again, and that you are going to place that item exclusively in his hands from now on.

"The second thing you need to do is to apologize to him. And I mean profusely apologize to him. You have been horrible to him. What you did yesterday was inexcusable. It also suggests that you are too immature to have a genuine relationship and it also suggests that you lack the necessary self-esteem to have a genuine relationship. Everything you did yesterday, everything you said to him, positively screams "low self esteem". You need to ask for Andrew's forgiveness.

"I think your act of asking for Andrew's forgiveness is the most important thing you can do right now, and asking for his forgiveness would--more than anything else--demonstrate to him that you are going to do everything within your power to get your act together. And then you have to follow up on that request for forgiveness with some actions on your part--in other words, back up your words with deeds.

"There are other things you can do, but I can't go into them right now because I have to go home. We've already been talking for over four hours, almost five hours! I have to go home and call Andrew now. I promised him I would call him before he went to bed, and let him know all about my little tete-a-tete with you. It's 9:00 and I have to go home and call him right now--he said he was going to bed at 9:30. You must have wrung him through the ringer yesterday and last night! You heartless beast!

"So come home with me, and we will call Andrew together. I will talk to him first, and then you will talk to him, and then you will have to go home and you MUST behave yourself at home tonight. Judy will not be there to babysit with you or to run interference. No 2:30 a.m. phone calls tonight, no name-calling tonight. Otherwise, you will have cooked your own goose, in which case it was nice knowing you and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors."

And, Silvio, Judy took me home.

As soon as we got to her apartment, she sat me down at her dining table and she called Andrew.

"Hi" she said into the phone. "I just got home. I took baby out to dinner--he was so sad, being abandoned on St. Valentine's Day--that I just had to do something for the poor little thing.

"However, he knows that he's been incredibly naughty and must mend his ways. He is sitting here with me now, having been severely chastised, and he is intent upon making up for his atrocious behavior. He is completely abject now, and positively whimpering.

"Now, love, I am going to switch tones and to be serious. Are you listening, Andrew? And are YOU listening, Joshua? Now, Andrew, did you hear Joshua say 'Yes', he was listening?

"Fine. Andrew, Joshua has some very important things to say to you, so listen closely."

[Now, from this point on, Silvio, Judy just made all of this stuff up. This was not what we had agreed to in advance or planned, not at all.]

"Number one, Joshua readily admits that his behavior yesterday--and last night--was completely inappropriate. His behavior was childish, it was selfish, it was thoughtless, it was discourteous, it was ungracious, and it was fundamentally inexcusable.

"While this behavior would have been disgraceful in normal social discourse, it was positively scandalous, coming, as it did, from someone who purports to love the object of his scorn. To show you how much Joshua regrets his behavior of yesterday, he is going to go home tonight and write a fulsome letter of sincere apology to you and deliver it to you tomorrow, as soon as Judy has approved the text and corrected any spelling and grammatical errors.

"Number two, Joshua asks you to bear in mind that he is completely immature and has not been adequately schooled in how to act like an adult. He begs your understanding in this regard, and hopes that you realize that not all of the responsibility for his immaturity lies within himself, as much of the responsibility for his lack of maturity clearly resides WITH HIS PARENTS. Nevertheless, Joshua is going to strive to make great strides in the maturity department, and certain third parties, including Judy, are going to be monitoring him very closely, if not gruffly. Noticeable improvement is expected.

"Number three, Joshua asks you to bear in mind that his inappropriate behavior exhibits a severe lack of self-esteem, a problem that cannot be corrected easily or overnight. It is to be hoped that three years in law school will provide assistance in correcting this deficiency. It is also to be hoped that spending quality time with Andrew, and learning to behave, with Andrew leading the way, will add to his self-esteem immeasurably.

"Number four, Joshua asks for your forgiveness. He knows he does not deserve it, but he hopes that you, a very sweet and noble and gentle soul, will be sufficiently generous-spirited to forgive someone who does not know how to control his impulses. He asks you, once again, to keep in mind that much of his unsuitable behavior would never have occurred had HIS PARENTS DONE THEIR JOB and learned to quell such tendencies in his youth. To make things up to you in future, Joshua intends to focus on deeds, not words. Joshua is henceforth going to focus on the Golden Rule, and whenever he thinks a bad thought is about to cross his lips, he will first ask himself 'Would I want Andrew to say such a thing to me?'

"Now, Joshua, repeat that last sentence, right now, loud enough for Andrew to hear you."

And, Silvio, Judy made me repeat that last bit into the phone, twice.

"Number five, as a peace offering, Joshua would like to invite you over for a home-cooked dinner tomorrow evening, featuring a menu of all of your favorite foods: Amish Pot Roast with cream, mushrooms and green onions; mashed potatoes; homemade noodles; wild rice stuffing; baby glazed carrots; green beans; white corn; and your grandmother's special apple salad. Please come at 5:00. Dinner will be served at 8:00.

"Now, Joshua, did I leave out anything?" Judy asked.

I said no.

"Then you come take the phone, Joshua, and tell Andrew 'Good Night'. Don't bother him very long. Andrew has to go to bed very soon. Someone he loves was mean to him yesterday."

And I got on the phone, Silvio, and I told Andrew I was sorry for acting like such a jerk and that he deserved better. I told him I would really try to mind my "P's And Q's" in the future. He told me to forget about it, and to make sure I got some sleep tonight, and he said he would see me tomorrow.

"You're going to call me, then?" I asked, wanting to make sure I understood everything correctly.

"Yes, I will call you at 2:00" he said.

So I said good night, and I hung up the phone, and I turned and looked at Judy.

"Well, I think the repair work is started" Judy said, "But it's up to you to see that it stays well under way. There is only so much I can do--the ultimate responsibility lies with you. Now it's in your hands, and my advice to you is to abide by the Golden Rule, just as the Good Book says. Use the Golden Rule as your guide; don't use your impulse as your guide. And use your head, child!"

And I thanked Judy for her help--I told her she was a real lifesaver--but I told her that I hoped she realized that I would need some serious help with all of the food preparation tomorrow, including the basic recipes.

"Oh, don't be ridiculous, silly boy!" said Judy. "Dinner's over here tomorrow night. Andrew understood that, and I thought you did, too."

"Well, I look forward to it, then" I said. "Can we bring something?"

"You and Andrew may pick out a dessert and bring it, but only if you want" Judy said. "I don't eat desserts, so make sure you get something you and Andrew like."

"You know, you didn't say to Andrew over the phone any of the things you said you were going to say" I said to Judy. "And you didn't make me repeat them to Andrew, and Andrew didn't make me repeat them to him, and you totally left out the part about not asking for sex anymore."

"Darling, I went with what I thought would work" Judy said. "And after hearing it once, Andrew didn't need to hear it twice. He knew you and I had already talked, and he was able to understand the sentiments, no matter who uttered them. But the ball's in your corner now. Don't drop it."

"Thanks" I said.

"And may I offer a comment on that other issue, the one I ignored during the phone call?" Judy asked.

"Sure" I said.

"Listen to a woman's intuition on this one" she said. "Between Andrew and you, don't be the pursuer; be the pursued. I have no idea what you guys have in mind in that department, but my sense--and it is very keen--is that you should let Andrew be the pursuer and let him take the lead. I think your prospects of success will be much greater if you do."

"OK" I said.

"And, another thing, Joshua. There is something I want to make sure that you fully understand. My primary allegiance is to Andrew. It is important that you understand that. I can try to help you a little, offer a bit of assistance now and then, but my primary allegiance is to Andrew. Make sure you keep that in mind."

"I pretty much understood that" I said. "But I also thought I could come to you for help on this matter. There was no one else I could turn to, and I got the impression at the party that you would not mind hearing from me. I also got the impression at the party that you had no objection to Andrew and I dating."

"No, I don't mind hearing from you at all, I have no objections to your dating Andrew, and I was happy to try to help" said Judy. "But remember, Josh--may I call you Josh?--that there is only so much I can do. It's really up to you now."

"I know" I said. "I go crazy because I love him so much. He drives me out of my mind."

"Then think of it this way, then, and maybe this will help" said Judy. "He is not seeing anyone else. He is not interested in anyone else. No one else is going to catch his fancy. You have his full attention. I assure you of that. You are commanding 100% of his attention right now. So let him come to you. Don't scare him off, and let him come to you. That is your best bet."

"OK, thanks" I said.

"You need to go" Judy said. "Get me that email by midnight if you can."

"What email?" I asked.

"The note of apology" said Judy. "I want to see the text."

"Oh, you were serious about that?" I asked.

"Yes, indeed, I was!" said Judy. "Once I approve the final version, you are going to write it out in longhand, on high-quality white paper, and bring it here tomorrow night. May I assume you have some high-quality white paper and matching envelopes?"

"Yes, I do" I said.

"Well, please get me a draft as soon as possible" she said.

"What's your email address" I asked.

"I'll send you a blank email so that you'll know my address" said Judy.

"Well, here, let me write down my address" I said.

"Don't bother--I already have it" said Judy. "Now get outta here. I have studying to do!"

I kissed her, Silvio, and I left.

So when I got home late Tuesday night, Silvio, I started to work on my assignment for Judy.

Judy had already sent me an email message, informing me that my letter would be only one page in length, "simple, elegant and eloquent", and written from the heart (but "free of sentimentality").

I worked on the letter and got my draft apology emailed over to her before midnight. She sent me back corrections and suggestions, twice, until it met with her final approval. Then I was instructed to write it out, in longhand, in my very finest handwriting, and to write "Andrew" on the envelope, and to bring it over to her place for dinner Wednesday evening.

The previous 24 hours had been a wild time for me. I was full of disappointment (because of my own actions and my fear that I would be abandoned by Andrew) and I was full of hope and expectation (because I knew I would see Andrew again, at least for one more day).

I was really keyed up, and I could not sleep. I sent you emails up until 2:00 a.m. or even after. I did all sorts of things, so that I would focus on not calling Andrew in the middle of the night and ruining everything all over again. However, Silvio, what I most wanted to do WAS to call Andrew and ask him to come over and sleep with me--again, like Monday night, I knew it was my only prospect for getting some sleep. But I knew if I did it would spoil everything.

At 2:25 a.m., Andrew sent me an instant message. He had never sent me an IM before--never, not even once.

"What are you doing up?" was the message.

"What are you doing up"? was my response to him.

"I slept for a few hours, and woke up. I think my sleep cycle is all screwed up. What about you?" Andrew asked.

"More or less the same" I said. I did not think, Silvio, that I could tell him that I could not sleep unless he were here with me. I didn't think he would want to hear that.

"Have you been to bed yet?" asked Andrew.

"No" I answered.

"Do you need me to come over?" he asked.

"I'll get by" I answered.

"If you need me, you must say so" he responded.

"You are always welcome to come over, anytime, day or night" I answered.

"Do you want me to come over and sleep with you? The only thing is I HAVE to leave at 8:00" he wrote.

"I would love for you to come over and sleep with me" I said.

"But only if you want to" I added.

"I'm leaving now" he wrote.

And he came over, Silvio. I waited for him inside the front door, and when he arrived I took him upstairs to my room. I undressed him, and I kissed him, and I led him to the bed.

He laid right on top of me, he kissed my ears and my neck and my brow and my eyes and my cheeks, and then he kissed my lips for a long time. Then he rubbed his stubble against my face, and then he kissed me some more.

Then he slightly raised himself, and he looked at me.

"I love you very much" he said. "And you were right--this is how we should sleep, always."

Andrew paused, and then he said to me "Good night." I did not say anything to him, but kissed him in response.

And he stayed fully on top of me, and we both went to sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment