He finished inside me. Got up, pulled off the condom and took it with him to the bathroom.
I lied there naked, alone in the dark. I heard the shower turn on.
As he washed himself off I pulled my clothes back on. I tried to find my underwear but it took me a second to locate them in the darkness. I pulled the curtains open just a bit to let the moonlight pour in. I found them, next to my side of the bed.
He came but I hadn’t yet. He didn’t help me out there. But it’s OK. He’s the best I ever had. I don’t know any better.
When he comes back to bed, he no longer wants to hold me. He turns away.
I lie back down and find myself staring through the crack I made in the blinds, drawn to the moon glow illuminating San Francisco. He’s quiet. And within a few minutes, I know he’s asleep.
My heart is full but my mind is clear. He’ll be the worst thing for me yet.
* * *
We arrived on a cool December day.
The kitchen of our AirBnb was what dreams are made of (or at least the dream kitchen I have in my head).
The black and white checkered backsplash charmed me and the large oak cabinets drew me in to find all that it could hold. The gorgeous marble countertops were perfect for the Instagrammable moment of morning toast with grape jelly and the light poured in softly but brightly, illuminating what would be our home for the next few days. I hadn’t seen him since the night we first met three months earlier, but we talked every night, sometimes calls lasting well over four hours, never under one hour. I loved talking to him; he had become a great long-distance friend of mine.
Two of my friends voiced that David and I might have sex on our first night. We were sharing a bed after all. But I wasn’t so sure. Yes, we talked every day and were absolutely obsessed with each other, point proven as we planned a five-day trip to San Francisco together. But still, while I could open myself up to having feelings for David, I didn’t want to. I had gone through this twice before. I’ve been part of close friendships that seemed closer than friendships and each time I found myself pining for them to tell me “yes, I love you too and in the way you want me to.” I drew the line at seeing David and I as anything more than friends, there would be no crossing it.
“Don’t you think it’s better to have sex with your friends than with strangers?” David asked the question in between sips of hot chocolate, seemingly out of nowhere. This question wasn’t asked with the intention of understanding my answer, but rather to get the answer he knew I would provide and then immediately prove why my opinion was not the same as his.
“No I don’t think so, really. It can complicate things.” I said.
“Well I just think friends make better sex partners, it’s more comfortable, it’s…” David went on but I don’t remember much else he said beyond that.
But I do remember how it made me feel.
1) I felt David was planting the seed in my head before the night came, letting me know that he’s open to sexual activities with friends. I enjoyed this thought, he is quite attractive but then 2) means that while David has made me feel like such a special person in his life, I would no longer be as special if we had sex. I would be another friend he does this with. Another friend to fuck.
This was how I felt then, but there was another thing that David was trying to figure out that I just couldn’t see at the time. His wanted to have sex, but his real question was, “Is Robert the type to get attached to people he has sex with, or nah?”
* * *
Cooking dinner in this beautiful kitchen brought me great joy. I was here to take care of us.
“We already act like a married couple,” David said.
While David mapped out our trip with back-to-back activities, laying out transportation routes and ways to save money, I cooked dinner. This is where I shine, I thought. I’m not the best at making plans anyway because I’m always afraid that what I think is cool is not cool to anyone else, and then I would end up being the one who’s boring and stupid and not cultured at all. So I am open, always. Open to possibility and open to what other people want to do. It helps me experience things I wouldn’t normally. I adored how David got so excited about planning these things. I was excited about cooking dinner.
As I pulled our pasta dish out of the oven, David set the table. He laid out plates and silverware and lit two white candlesticks in between each place setting. This wasn’t our house but David felt like home.
As we sat down to eat, I popped open a bottle of champagne. We sat across from each other enjoying the dinner I had prepared at a table lit for two. I didn’t need to have sex with David to know how he felt about me. And he knew exactly how I felt about him, but mostly because I make it quite easy. Seeing him enjoy the food was enough for me to feel like my pocket-pasta dish was an all-time slayer. We talked, we laughed, we finished dinner. He took the plates and began washing. This was everything. I had never been with anyone like this before. It’s not live I’ve ever been in a relationship. And while this was just friendship, it was a special kind I hadn’t experienced in my earthly lifetime.
* * *
Perhaps the champagne had an effect us, perhaps not.
All I know is, at 3 in the morning I found my ass pushed up against David, I could feel him harden. Our legs rubbed against each other, we stroked each other’s arms, me facing the window, him facing my back. Soon I felt David take control, I relinquished my power and gave it to him. I would receive his power to bring me back to life. Our clothes came off, he reached into the nightstand and grabbed a condom—I thought back to our conversation about having sex with friends.
This was the moment. It was happening.
I closed my eyes and was transported to another planet. Damn man, he was fucking good.
* * *
Post-sex, the transformation of our friendship began whether we were conscious of it or not. And even beyond just our friendship, I could feel myself transform. I didn’t know if I was transforming into a butterfly or a frog, but every new experience has the power to spark a rebirth–the end result isn’t as appreciated if you don’t appreciate the caterpillar or tadpole phase.
The last person I fell in love with was nothing more than a best friend, and so was the person before him. Both told me, “I love you, just not in that way.” I internalized their words as a message that I was unworthy to be loved romantically, that I was ugly. Both of them pursued me aggressively, they sought out for a relationship with me, raised me up on a pedestal and praised me. And with each raising of their hands to worship the ground I walked on, I made myself smaller, I dug deeper and grew dependent on their love. But when I would confess my feelings, they made it clear that I was not the one.
With David, I thought that perhaps I had won. I pondered the notion that David was the same man returning as different people, and this person was here to finally validate what I had wondered all these years:
“Am I worthy of being loved?”
Letting him inside me was like smoking a cigarette. I craved it habitually, tried to find the answers through the clouds of smoke and high of nicotine, and each time I got to the finish, I didn’t want it to be over. But then afterwards I would lie down, still with no answers, feeling tired and foggy with nothing tangible left for him to give me. He grew distant from me, he got what he wanted. We weren’t just precious friends anymore who acted like a married couple.
David no longer felt like home, he felt more like the house we were staying at: it didn’t belong to me, and I wasn’t meant to stay.
To be continued…