Inspired by a friend's blogpost today, I decided to look up my first boyfriend. He lives in Florida now; I found him on the staff webpage where he works, along with a pic. He's still cute.
The story of how we met is a good one.
Picture it: Manhattan, 1994. Labor Day Weekend.
I was a student at Manhattan School of Music, was working part time at Satan's Gift Shop (er, um, I mean The Shops at Lincoln Center), and had just moved in to my first apartment. It was a good-sized, spacious studio with a walk-in closet. Unfortunately the building's boiler was totally unreliable, so there was often no hot water and sometimes no running water at all.
Columbia University used to -- and still might, I don't know, I'm a little old now -- have LGBT dances the first Friday of every month. I didn't often have a lot of "luck" there, but on this particular evening I caught someone's eye, and he caught mine. I was 20, he was 23, and in law school out on Long Island, and had driven in with some friends for the dance. He had the thickest Long Island accent (what did you think I was going to say?) I'd ever heard. I was in love. He drove me back to my apartment after the dance, but nothing happened, as he was also chauffeuring all his friends back to the Island. But we did exchange numbers and I promised to call.
The next morning I had an appointment in Newark to greet a friend of mine who was flying in for a one-year internship with the U.N. He was nervous about finding his own way into Manhattan so I volunteered to help. Naturally after a hot, humid fall night where I'd been out dancing and hanging out with a bunch of smokers, I woke up sticky and stinky...and there was no running water. I ran out and bought some bottled water to clean myself up with, and headed out to EWR.
I met Mike at the airport and got him settled in his room at the Vanderbilt Y. We went to dinner, and then when I got home I discovered that a) the water still wasn't running and b) there was a message on my machine from Louie. (Yeah, Louie. Remember answering machines? Oh, and the other thing about no running water is that once you flush the toilet and the tank empties, it doesn't refill...so I had no toilet, either. At least, not one I could flush.) Louie was going to be in the city the next day, and would I be free to meet?
Well, I had to work on Sunday, and I didn't fancy showing up at Lincoln Center after two days in hot, humid weather without a shower. So I called a friend of mine and asked if I could crash at his place so that I could have a shower in the morning on my way to work. I called Louie back and left a message that I had to work until late afternoon, but that he could call me and hopefully we could meet up afterward. (This was before cellphones.)
So it was about 10 p.m. and I was waiting for the 1 train in the station at 190th Street. A guy came and sat down on the bench near me and started talking. I didn't really pay any attention to him until he said, "I'm real hungry, do you know what I mean?" as he pulled back his coat to reveal the handle of a pistol tucked into his belt. Fortunately he let me keep my wallet in exchange for my cash.
Then he asked my name. "What for?" I wanted to know.
"You seem like a good guy, I want to pray for you." (This coming from an armed mugger.)
I said, "Just tell God, 'the blond in the subway station,' I'm sure he'll remember." Just then the train came and I walked far away from him. No, I never reported it.
When I got to my friend's apartment he said, "Jeez man, you look like hell."
I said, "Well, I haven't showered in two days and I just got mugged at gunpoint." I wasn't sure if "at gunpoint" counted since I only saw the handle, but I didn't feel like being technical.
The next morning I had to borrow $1.25 (!) from my friend in order to buy a subway token to get to work. I had also just switched banks from Shittybank to Chase and Chase had put some sort of 14-day hold on my deposit so I wasn't able to withdraw any cash. I hadn't really figured out what I was going to do; I surely wasn't going to tell my parents I'd been mugged by a guy with a gun. They didn't need to add that to their anxiety.
At some point in the afternoon, Louie called. Yeah, it was a major violation to be receiving personal calls on the job, but he was worth breaking rules for. He asked how my weekend was going and I told him. "Oh my God!" he said, "God" coming out kind of like "Gwawd!"
School didn't start for me until Wednesday, and I didn't have to work again until Wednesday night, so he invited me to come spend Labor Day with him at his house on Long Island. I could at least be guaranteed of a shower. He met me at Lincoln Center as I was getting off and we traveled back up to my very humble apartment in Washington Heights (not the one I have now).
"Oh my Gwawd, you don't even have a bed," he said. (Or running water, for that matter.) I packed some clothes and we headed back downtown and got on the Long Island Railroad bound for Mastic-Shirley.
When we finally got to his house, out in the middle of frickin' nowhere, there must have been 20 cars parked in front. A teenager was throwing up alongside the front walk. "Waw, fuck!" said Louie. His sister Dawn (pronounced, "Duwawhn") was throwing a big party with all her high school friends.
"Oh my Gwawd, Duwawhn, what are you doing? Mom and Dad are gonna be here any minute!"
"Wah? I thought they were coming back tomorrow?"
"No, shithead, they're coming home tonight!"
"Waw, fuck, okay, everyone, out of my house NOWWWWW!"
Of course, Louie knew full well that his parents weren't coming back until the next day, but it worked like a charm getting rid of his sister's friends.
I spent the night in Louie's bed. Nothing happened! I was a good boy. I was determined to wait for "the one."
That day we went out to Fire Island. I had never seen anything quite like it. It wasn't really beach weather; as I recall the temperature had plunged and it was extraordinarily windy. Still, I thought it was very romantic. I remember a beautiful sunset as we took the boat back to Sayville. Back at his house, he tried to get me to smoke pot. I declined.
I spent the night in his bed again. I guess I had decided he was "the one." Something happened.
His parents had come home sometime the day before. His father was ill with some condition or other, so I never actually saw him. He was a Titurel-like presence, a disembodied voice emanating from the back bedroom. His mother looked like Charo and sounded like Patty Bouvier impersonating Harvey Fierstein. I had been warned not to let on that Louie and I were "together." My cover story was that I was just a friend from college visiting for the weekend.
"I like you," rasped out Louie's mom. "You're not like Louie's other friends. He's always bringing around faggots." She made us waffles with cigarette ash for breakfast.
Louie and I drove around Mastic-Shirley running errands for a while. Everywhere we went, I felt like people were staring at me. The little old lady in line at D'Agostino's seemed to stare at me knowingly, "You took it up the ass, didn't you, you little whore."
Anyway, I went back to the city late that afternoon, and indeed the water was back on.
Louie and I broke up a few weeks later; the "distance" thing was an issue, plus he smoked and liked to go clubbing and smoke pot. And he was stupid. Very, very, very stupid. Nice, but...sometimes that's not enough.
He hadn't returned my calls for over two weeks, so I wrote him a letter announcing that I was breaking up with him. I was too naive to realize I'd already been dumped.
I still have the mix tape he made me, though.