When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Between The Moon And New York City II

(Originally 4/17/07)

High. Life.

The beginning component was that I trusted what I'd heard from Childhood Bud II to believe that she wouldn't make the night difficult after reading what I'd written. I think she was flattered, actually. Plus, upon re-reading it, I didn't actually propose marriage, so I guess it was okay after all.

As for a narrative on the night in question, I'm actually at a loss for words. I might not be completely primed to give the telling yet, even though it's four days prior now. I guess it was all sweeping grandeur that kept me breathless for a little while. And then there are questions I have which I'm afraid of asking. They come under the heading of, What Do I Do Wrong?

Thing is, I haven't heard from Childhood Bud II since Saturday. That was the next day and I was supposed to reconnect with them and go see "The Color Purple" on Broadway, which was an invitation made by the trip originator --Childhood Bud II's boss. We were getting along pretty well and they all seemed to enjoy my company, and from that came the invitation. So I was feeling accepted and liked and thought I'd found a new social outlet. But when the next day came, and I was in NYC looking for parking, Childhood Bud II texts me and says, "I think my boss forgot to get you a ticket." This was about two hours before the show started. So yeah, I was not going to the play.

So the whole Friday seems lost in a bit of Saturday seaspray. The waves of doubt are lapping on the shore, repeating the susurrus of "What did I do wrong?" Should I have met up with them anyway, even though I wasn't going to the play? Should I have tried to kiss Childhood Bud II goodnight when we went back to the hotel? Should I have spent the night in her boss' nephew's room? Or Childhood Bud II's room? Should I have tried to kiss her when we danced?

Always the mystery of "What did I do wrong?" What misstep am I guilty of now? At what point did I fall short of the knight in armor, bright, faithful and true?

And in these foamy regrets come the time when I think I really should just switch orientation and take the passion of my hero-worshipping into that last forbidden arena. Because when I'm in the moment with a woman, I always seem to pull away. That last bit of energy that seems to propel others into those memorable embraces usually feels to me like fear, doubt, and faintheartedness. A gray miasma that enshrouds my heart and brings the corners of my face down.

But what would it be like with another man? How would it be any different? How would my admiration of masculinity translate any better into a physical relationship than what I've done with women? Am I proposing that the presence of breasts and the tucked-away promise of a vagina is what makes me lose heart? But the presence of chest hair, rock-hard abs and broad shoulders would be my impetus?

That doesn't seem to gel. The problem I have is with intimacy and trust, not body parts. There are guys who I could just as easily make a pass at, as I could have done with Childhood Bud II (to get my face nice and slapped), which I haven't done. Mostly because I don't want to be homosexual (not, though, because I'm disgusted by it--except for that whole anal aspect wherein doody lives, so maybe yeah, a little disgusted). But then again, also mostly (how can there be two "mostlies"?), I'm just as afraid of the rejection from a dude as I am from a gal.

That's what it is. The rejection. The several thousand different ways the other person will be able to wrinkle their noses at me and laugh. Why I didn't rate enough of a presence for Childhood Bud II's boss to have remembered me the next day and get a ticket for me to join them. Why Childhood Bud II has not responded to my e-mail, or stopped by here to read all this.

Bleagh. This was supposed to be about the good time I had Friday night. Ashford and Simpson sang. The Rev Al Sharpton spoke. When he arrived he took some attention away from Yolanda King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter. Commissioner Ray Kelly came and spoke. Senator Chuck Schumer opened the night.

The honoree was Dr. Suzan Johnson-Cook, having her 50th birthday and they really rolled it out for her. Within limits. For instance, it was black-tie, but there was a buffet for food. In was in The Supper Club, but the building seemed old and coated in too many layers of bright gaudy paint. There was a live band, but we didn't escape the night without doing the Electric Slide, which transformed the dance floor into a choreographed marvel, I must say. And Dr. Sujay (as those in the know called her) came off her pink lounge chair to lead our table in the last dance. (Childhood Bud II's boss must have made a hefty contribution to own that table, and so the honoree honored her publicly).

To have all these people come to see her and speak for her tells of crazy mad influence. The woman, according to speakers, broke a lot of barriers and garnered a lot of admiration. First NYPD black female chaplain. Appointed by Clinton on a race relation White House committee. Etc, etc, etc. All before 50.

As for us, we arrived fashionably late in an Escalade. My "date" let me tempt her to the dance floor at least twice. She liked dancing and her biggest complaint were the shoes she'd bought the night before. She had pretty red toenails. We rode back to the hotel in a pedalcab, taking our lives literally into our own hands. It was like dashing into traffic blindfolded. We laughed and screamed and laughed some more. In the entourage was the author of two books--books about relationships! She's in her thirties and very pretty. Since my "date" wasn't having any of me, I considered this woman as a maybe.

Yet, without that Saturday follow-up, it's all gone in a haze. I'm now neither here nor there on the matter. Nothing lasting seems to have come out of it.

But it was nice while it lasted.

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