A gay indie boy living in suburban South West London recounts his trials and tribulations dealing with sex, sexuality, growing up and getting older

Monday, September 22, 2008

I've more or less come to the conclusion that I am an idiot.

It seems that no matter how many times one thing can happen, we still end up like the proverbial lemming throwing itself off a cliff and into the murky unknown below. The past four months, if I'm honest, have not been amazing and I'm so glad that I have come on the upturn from all of that. I changed jobs, broke up with a very close friend of mine, moved house and then my dad went to hospital- all part and parcel of the 'turbulence' on this airplane ride we call life.

So now, looking back at the past 2 years through the whole time I was doing night shifts and feeling like crap the whole time, I have to think, "What the fuck was I doing?"

I guess in a lot of ways, I need to talk about this one friendship, just to get it off my chest. He was younger- much too young. 18 when we first met. He came from a town near me, and I guess I thought I could be some kind of 'gay mentor' or role model for him. And, in the beginning, he did idolise me. Partially I think it was because he had never met anyome quite like me and partially because I believe there was a very strong mental and intellectual connection between us.

But for me, unfortunately, that was it. I wasn't physically sttracted to him, and despite his persistence and constant calls asking me why, I had to diplomatically turn him down every time.

We can already see two classic mistakes here- 1) I thought I could somehow 'save him' and 2) I should have just stopped answering his calls and nipped it in the bud. Surprisingly this arrangement lasted quite well for about 2 months, then on Christmas Eve we got drunk and ended up having sex in a back alley.

I was understandably confused because by this point I believed that we had a genuine friendship, and having sex with your friends always fucks it up. Are we just friends? Are we more than friends? For him, the conclusion was already foregone, but for me... I succumbed, hesitated and then completely withdrew. I went back to position 1- we cannot be together.

But now, of course, the plot thickened and he started throwing the word 'love' into the mix. I did not love him- not in that way. Unfortunately for me, passionate and romantic love come instantly. I, however, did start to develop such strong, caring feelings towards him- probably owed in part to envisioning myself as this 'mentor' who was looking after him. And, of course, we continued to have sex.

Cue conscience, and constantly flitting between "we can't do this anymore, I hate myself for fucking you around" and "fuck it- we're friends and this is an expression of how we feel for one another." I put a lot of blame on myself. Maybe I felt responsible because I was older, but in the process I started to let his behaviour seep through the cracks and use his age as an excuse. "Oh, he's only young. One day he'll grow up and realise what he's doing." But I guess I forgot all that time that age doesn't excuse you from being an arsehole. So generally being friends with him made me hate myself a lot as I continually blamed myself for fucking him around, for the mistakes he would make and for being 'the bad guy'.

All the time, I was amazingly honest with him, but I knew how it appeared- it appeared to other people that I was a complete bastard. Perhaps I was. I can hold my hands up and say that shit happens, but it was such a complex friendship that I don't think it's entirely fair to blame either of us, even though I often do try in some misguided hope that it will somehow stop the hurting. Anyway, I was up front about everything, which is why I appeared so cold to people who were outside the friendship.

On the other token, my friends were constantly warning me off him, saying he makes you feel bad about yourself, and I just spend half my time cleaning up after his mistakes instead of taking care of my own shit. It was draining being friends with him- he was one of those people who would just 'take' and didn't have a lot to offer me in return except for being there. And I guess that was the crucial thing- we were both pretty lonely at heart, and that was what kept us together. I needed that someone who wasn't telling me I was going crazy and to keep spurring me on, and he needed the illusion that someone cared about him in that way.

I feel that now he was pretty selfish, in all facets. From wanting to 'possess' me to his bedroom antics, he was selfish in all ways, and eventually came the time where in this battle of egos he wanted to usurp me. The main thing that kicked off this whole and concluding era in our friendship is one night where we got very drunk and had a physical fight. I ripped his shirt to pieces, the police came... We broke the fight up. He still came back to me that night eventually after wandering around London with hurt pride. He then got in a dig about his shirt which really took me aback. It was like, we've just had this massive argument that got so heated we raised hands, and all you care about is the your £25 shirt?

This is where the main tousle arrived and when push comes to shove, I'd rather shove and be done.

He went to uni, and I knew that he would start to find other friends. I tried to give him a bit of space... It didn't really work. And as he was telling me about his 'exciting new life', I didn't want to hear about it- I'd already done it, and to hear him talk about it made me... Well, sad i guess. Not nostalgic, just sad that there was so much crap going to hit his way in the next 3 years and, in turn, that would hit me in the same space of time through him.

There was a lot of push and pull in this period till one day we were supposed to go to a gig together, but I realised I just didn't want to be around him- that his company was starting to irritate me rather than excite me. By now, though, I had become very dependent on him. I am ultimately extremely foolish because, for all my faults, I am a loyal friend and you can push and pull me but if you have won my love as a friend then I will defend you to the hilt and I will always welcome you back with open arms.

You can kind of see now why I might get hurt a lot or screwed over by my friends. It was also around this time that things were starting to take their toll on me. I was working constant nights and I had nothing in my life except this friendship that was destroying me. I became very depressed, and considered suicide quite often. There were times where I really couldn't see why I should continue living, or how life would get better. I fell out with another friend as a consequence, but this felt more like someone who fell by the wayside.

Anyway, the day of this gig I had to go round and see him to see what the lay of the land was. He was "too sleepy" to bother with me (again, another "I'm not taking this seriously, I am too selfish" moment), so I slammed his Christmas gift down on the desk and said "Merry Christmas" and walked out.

He called and told me to come back. I almost didn't but then I decided to just 'have it out'. We talked... I really couldn't see a resolution and so I decided to draw a line underneath it. He contacted me on MSN Messenger later and said "Don't be silly- come to the gig". He didn't take me seriously when I said 'it was over'.

I decided that, no matter how unseasonable the job market was in Dec/ Jan, that I had to find a new job and I ploughed a renewed effort into the job search.

We didn't speak until around Valentine's Day (so Xmas-Valentine's, you do the math) when I had a gig, and he came. We ended up having sex and I just got way too uneasy with the power play... I went to Canada for just over 2 weeks.

After I came back, I remember planning on seeing him- I still have his gift from Montreal in the house- but obviously due to his 'wonderful new great fantasgasmic' life at uni, I didn't see him. I became deeply resentful. Luckily, my efforts paid off, as the day I returned from Canada, I got a call from a place I had a second interview with- I got the job and it was something that had been worth waiting for. I was finally going to be working on an editorial team as a web editor and staff writer for a magazine.

I handed in my notice, but due to the frequent nights and the long "overdue-ness" of my notice, it almost felt expected. In the meantime, I had started to drift away from this guy with the deep resentment making me fear I would do something I would regret if I saw him (like hit him again- you have to understand that it was a dark period in my life and I think that I just couldn't deal with it and rather than be a person who resorts to violence, I'd rather be bitter and brooding). He started texting me wondering when we could meet up... I started putting it off, or returning with non-committal statements. He tried to ring me one Friday night when he was most probably drunk, so I let it ring off, sick of being 'the drunk dial' or second best.

He finally cornered me at some point and we ended up going to see a play I had a spare ticket for.

When we went to see the play I got him and me a drink at the interlude, so when we got a drink afterwards, the final straws started to play out. Firstly, he bought a drink and complained how expensive it was to get us both a drink after getting not only a free ticket from me, but also a free drink. And then I mentioned saidf phone call I let ring off and he said- "I didn't ring you."

Now, if there's one thing I can't stand and absolutely despise, it's lying. I got up out my seat, I left my drink and walked out. He didn't follow- it was probably better for his own safety.

He messaged me on Facebook saying that he still wanted to be friends, that he genuinely didn't remember making the call (this I do believe, but at the time moral outrage can get the best of you).

I waited it out for 6 days... I didn't even know how to begin speaking to him. I talked to a lot of my friends about it. I suppose he thinks I was just really flippant, but it was a careful and considered decision when I messaged him back. It was a long message explaining why I thought our friendship had outlived its function and that I thought it was over.

He didn't reply.

On my birthday, he sent me a text saying "Happy Birthday". I sent him a thank you and realised how difficult it must have been to say that. Apparently not, as I realised he was not taking me seriously yet again. This point was further proved when he texted me asking if I wanted to "meet up" a few weeks later. I didn't reply until a few days later. I know that was cowardly, but I said it was 'too soon' and i was taken aback by his message.

Lastly, I tried to contact him and suggest that we open a dialogue. He said it was "great I got in touch" but that I "do pick my moments. [he's] moving house and doing this and blah blah blah"... So, you know, I was making a serious attempt to be civil and it was met with his token "I'm too selfish" attitude. I was stupid to think he may have changed, and I just messaged him saying "All I meant was if i see you, I'll be nice to you".

It took a really honest conversation with my mum to make me realise I had made the right decision. I told her everything and, in that surprising way that mother's do she recited all the examples in the past where I had done the same thing, and showed how much she 'knows' me. Then told me she was worried about me and that she was glad I didn't have such a draining influence in my life anymore.

It's been nearly 5 months since I last saw him, and I guess (even though it's taken me a while to get here) what I want to get off my chest is why do I worry about seeing him all the time? All I think about is what would happen if I bumped into him? How would he react if I said hi? If I was nice to him? Would he walk away? Would he be angry? Would I be able to say something without being hurt, or angry? Does it matter? Will it go away? Will I ever stop thinking about him? Can it just go away now please?

And most of all I think I feel so incredibly stupid for letting all this crap happen- for opening up my heart to someone who didn't really deserve it and who has now made me so closed to things. Someone tried to chat me up the other day and I said "I'm sorry- you're too young for me." He was 20, and it's all a consequence of this that I could never trust someone like that with my feelings again.

All I ever wanted from this friendship was for things to be okay. I spent so much time buffering his hurt and pain to try and stop this from happening, and now it just cascading to the thing I tried to stop happening in the first place. What did I do wrong? Why can't things just be 'okay'?

That aside, I am happy to say I have found forgiveness for him about this whole period, and I console myself with "even if he bears me ill will now, one day he will forgive me." Also, I can't help but think he feels exactly the same- a little bit burned, a little bit weary, a little bit wiser... Probably a little bit stronger too.

Sometimes I read things he has written and think "you haven't changed at all". And he hasn't. Which makes me angry sometimes, but also makes me more and more convinced I made the right choice. He has a lot of growing up left to do and it may even take him longer than it took me to get to the right point in life.

I wish all these feelings could just leave me. I don't want them. I have always been a strong, independent person, and I feel so much more back on form than I have done for a long time. The other day I was thinking "I have never posted so many happy photos of myself of Facebook as I have in the past couple of months". One night I was in a club, and some guy I see frequently said, "Are you happy?" and I said "Yeah... I guess I really am".

And he said, "You look a lot happier. I can tell."

And now I just want to shed this final thing. Maybe it's because there was no resolution, but now it's too late to talk to him and I'm too scared of what it will yield. Even anger would be a response- my biggest fear is hearing nothing at all, thus reopening the wound with a serated knife edge.

I guess God is trying to teach me that some things can never/ will never be resolved, and that no matter how far you go in life, you always find yourself making the same rookie mistakes