Friday, March 28, 2008

February 15, 2006, and February 16, 2006: The Thirteenth And Fourteenth Days I Knew Andrew

This is the text of an email message I sent to a friend of mine early on the afternoon of Friday, February 17, 2006, telling him what had happened on Wednesday, February 15, 2006, and Thursday, February 16, 2006, the thirteenth and fourteenth days I knew Andrew.

These events occurred only two years ago and yet, when I read these old email messages now, it seems like these events happened over a hundred years ago.

One thing is clear: I have learned to write much more precisely over the last two years!


Andrew left early Wednesday morning in order not to miss any more classes. He stayed in bed with me for fifteen minutes after the alarm clock sounded, fully laying on top of me and with his arms around me and nestling against me and kissing my ears and neck and rubbing my cheeks with his stubble and rubbing my head and hair with his hands.

Finally, he said to me "I have to go now. Call you at 2:00" and he kissed my cheek and he got up and got dressed.

Before he left my bedroom, he asked me whether he would see any of my roommates. "No" I said. "They won't be up yet."

"But what do I do if I happen to run into one of them?" he asked me.

"Say 'Hello' and keep moving” was my response. And he came over to the bed and kissed me on the cheek again and left.

Andrew called me at 2:00 and said he would pick me up at 4:30 to go to Judy's. I told him, Silvio, that I thought we should get together earlier and get a dessert or something to take to Judy's. However, my greatest wish, Silvio, was to have more time to talk to him, alone, before we arrived at Judy's place.

"Ok, I'll come at 4:00 and we'll stop somewhere along the way" he said.

When he picked me up, there were so many things I wanted to ask him and so many things I wanted to talk about, but somehow the timing did not seem to be right for such a talk, and I did not ask any of my questions and I did not say any of the things I wanted to say. Andrew was polite but I sensed just a slight whiff of diffidence (to use his word) or remoteness (to use Judy's word) and I decided to keep my mouth shut.

We stopped and got a dessert, and we also stopped and got some flowers for Judy. When Andrew got the flowers, he also got a white rose. When we got back to the car, he gave me the rose--without saying a word--and kissed me.

Then, a few minutes later, while driving, he said to me "I preferred the white to the red. I thought the white was more beautiful. I also thought it suited you more." And that's all he said.

Dinner at Judy's place was completely different from my expectations.

First, her treatment of me was totally different from her treatment of me at Saturday night's party and her treatment of me Tuesday night. She didn't call me "baby" or "child" or "poor little thing" or "sweetheart" or "cutie" or "darling" or any of the other assorted names she had used before. She always called me Joshua.

Second, she treated me, not as some poor dope who had come to her for advice and help, and not as some piece of candy (which is how she treated me at the party), but as an adult and as a peer. She treated me as if she had known me for years. She made no references to any of the events of the previous day, and acted as if yesterday had never even happened.

Third, she dropped the colorful, even dramatic, way of talking that she had used with me on Saturday and Tuesday, and talked very simply and directly the whole evening, from the moment we walked in the door. She acted as if I had been there a hundred times before and as if I were family.

Judy had Andrew and I help her prepare dinner--in fact, I think we did more of the preparation work than she did--and it was as if this was the 50th time we had all done this routine.

She was very relaxed, and Andrew was very relaxed, and I quickly became very relaxed. We really didn't do anything all night, Silvio, except talk and prepare dinner and watch the McNeil News Hour and eat dinner and talk some more and clean up and talk some more. We talked about our studies, primarily, and a few other things. All in all, it was a very quiet, mellow evening.

Toward the end of the evening, around 10:45, Judy got up and asked "Don't you gentlemen have any envelopes to present to me?"

I went and got my letter to Andrew out of my coat pocket, and Andrew also went and got something out of his coat pocket. We gave them to Judy, and she crossed hands and gave each of us back the other's envelope.

Silvio, Andrew gave me a Valentine card. It was a nice but simple card and he had written on the inside of it. He wrote what a joy it was for him to have met me, and how much he looked forward to getting to know me better and how much he looked forward to spending "serious and meaningful" time with me and how it was his hope that we continue to grow closer and closer to each other and be able to find happiness with each other. He signed the card "With Great Love And Affection, Andrew".

I thanked him and I hugged him, and he did the same. He kissed me on both cheeks, European-style, and then he said "I think it's time that we go."

We left and Andrew drove me home.

On the way home, Andrew said to me "I would like to spend time with you this weekend. I'm not sure yet what we should do--I'm thinking of three or four possibilities--but I'd like you to get three days of clothes ready and on Friday at 3:00 I'll come get you. Have your stuff ready, and we'll decide what to do then. Does this sound like something inviting to you?"

I told Andrew that I would like to spend those three days with him.

Andrew continued: "And, also, Josh, I want YOU to think of some possibilities for the weekend, in case you don't like any of my ideas. Think of three or four places that you would like to go with me. Then, on Friday afternoon, we'll examine all of our ideas, and you can pick the one you like the most. It really won't make any difference to me, so you can select the option that sounds like the most fun to you."

I told Andrew that he should pick, since it really didn't make any difference to me.

"Well, we'll figure it out on Friday afternoon" he said. "Now, Josh, tomorrow I am going to focus on school work. I need to do a little catching up. So I need you to let me do my thing tomorrow. Are you all right with that, and can you get through tonight and tomorrow night OK by yourself, on your own?"

I told him I could--which was a lie--and Andrew said he would call me on Friday afternoon, to make sure the weekend was still on, before he came over to get me.

Then, Silvio, he walked me to my front door. Always, before, I had simply got out of the car and walked to the house by myself, but tonight he walked with me, for the first time. Near the front door he put his hands on my waist, and kissed my cheeks, again European-style, twice, and then he did the same thing again, twice more. Then he said "I'll call you on Friday" and he left.

Of course, I had horrible nights on both Wednesday night and last night, Thursday night, because I was alone. I got an hour's sleep on Wednesday night and 90 minutes of sleep last night. However, I DID NOT CALL ANDREW IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!

Very early on Thursday morning, he sent me an email.

In his message, he said that he thought that he should let me know, in advance, what his ideas were for the coming weekend so that I could mull them over and make my choice or reject all of them outright and pick something of my own. He told me that I did not need to worry about the cost of the weekend, and that the cost was his responsibility.

His message was very funny, and he claimed that all of his weekend ideas were very lacking in imagination but that they were the best he could do.

He offered Williamsburg, which he said he had never visited, and pointed out that there was a naval museum in nearby Norfolk as well as a good art museum in nearby Norfolk to go along with all the colonial attractions.

He offered Westfields, which I had never heard of, a conference center near Dulles Airport with superb sporting facilities and a place, Andrew said, at which his parents had previously stayed. He said it was near the new Air And Space Museum and that there were excellent French, Russian and Portuguese restaurants within reasonable driving distances. He said that if I chose Westfields, I should have sporting clothes ready.

He offered Baltimore, and he reminded me that Baltimore had two good art museums and the National Aquarium.

He offered NYC, but he pointed out that we would NOT be alone there, and that HIS version of "sleep gear" would be required if I chose NYC and, also, that assistance with household tasks would be involved if I chose NYC.

Then, Silvio, he just provided a listing of other places that were possibilities, but without commenting on them: Charlottesville, Richmond, Philadelphia, Bucks County and "even Pittsburgh, which is within a reasonable driving distance."

Andrew also sent me another email last night, before he went to bed, telling me that he hoped I had a good day and a good night and telling me that he very much looked forward to the weekend.

Very early this morning Andrew sent me yet another email, reminding me that he would call me around 2:30 and that he had everything ready to go, including "extra sleep gear" for me in the event I chose NYC.

So I am sitting here right now, Silvio, waiting for Andrew to call and trying to decide what I should pick. I really want to pick NYC, because I am dying to meet Andrew's brother, but I also know that there is no possibility of sleeping with him in NYC and that there is no possibility of lovemaking in NYC.

I really don't have any ideas of my own that he has not already mentioned, and what I may do is refuse to make a selection and ask Andrew to choose.

I hope, Silvio, that you have a wonderful weekend.

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