“Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country.”
- Zachary Quinto
*Note: This is your fair warning. I know I warned you in the previous installment that we’d be talking the one fella I was in a serious relationship with. I will NOT be discussing details of my sex life, I case you haven’t noticed on the several hundred essays preceding this one let me sate it in bold and irritating capital letters, ahem…
I RESPECT THE PEOPLE I’VE BEEN WITH AND I DO NOT KISS AND TELL!!!
Alright then, let’s get on with this tale. I think I’m only going to tell it once.
His name was Brandon.
Okay his name was not Brandon or anything close to Brandon, but I feel the need to keep his identity secret despite the way our “Relationship” ended. I’ve mentioned Brandon before and I’m certain I used another name but it really doesn’t matter. I’ve only had one SERIOUS boy/boy relationship in my life so when I talk about him there’s no chance of confusion.
I think I’m stalling.
I’ve never really addressed this outside of my close circle of friends and family. There was a lot of confusion and pain involved in my relationship with Brandon. It took a long time to work through the pain and anger and find the soft memories that leave me feeling good in spite of everything.
I met Brandon in my junior year of high school. He was a senior and I was brand new at the school. The first thing I noticed about Brandon was his smile. It was a million watt spotlight that was able to stop my heart when it washed over me. He was also really fucking funny. Seriously he had me cracking up on a daily basis. We had a class together all year, not going to say which one, and we hit it off pretty quickly.
I was a puppy dog… it kinda kills me to admit that.
I followed Brandon around. I hung out with him whenever the situation allowed it without making me look suspicious. I called him daily. This was before cell phones kid so that meant I monopolized the home phone just to hear his voice. I never went so far in those early months to try and get a clandestine picture of him… but I did think about it.
I probably would have been okay with him being my friend and nothing else. I am NOT saying I would have been happy about it but back then the idea of telling anyone that my door swung both ways was enough to make me vomit in terror. I had no idea if Brandon felt the same way about me that I felt about him and there was no way sixteen year old Josh was going to posit that question.
Brandon settled the situation.
One night he met up with me after work and we went to Taco Bell, I worked at McDonalds all through high school and took much pleasure in giving money to our competitors. We got our food and headed out to the airport.
Yeah you read that right.
We both lived near the local cargo airport and there were lots of places to park there. Yes maybe when Brandon said we should stop there I ought to have had a clue. We were shooting the shit about some of the people in school when he leaned over and kissed me. I was shocked… pretty sure if my bladder had been full I’d have been screwed.
I wish I could say I have a complete memory of what came next. I also wish I could write as well as Stephen King. But tell the truth and shame the devil, the rest of that night is a serious blur. When I went home I dropped into a night of fitful sleep.
How do you think this ended?
Seriously, it was 1993 in South East Michigan in a pretty religious area. Do you think we had an amazing high school relationship that I look back at with fond memories after twenty years and fifty pounds?
No, that was me and Renee.
What happened with Brandon was months of stolen kisses, hands held when we were sure nobody was looking, a lot of sidelong glances, and emotional confusion. Maybe if it was just a high school relationship I could have handled it. Maybe if it’d just been a same sex relationship I could have handled it. Maybe if the only issue had been the age difference I could have handled it. But all three factors together coupled with the time and the place?
Yeah… we were screwed, and not in the good way either.
In the end it all fell apart. We never actually broke up we just quit talking and started avoiding one another like the proverbial plague. Maybe I was too clingy, okay I KNOW I was too clingy, and he was damn sure a little ashamed of our relationship. But we were both young and confused. When Brandon’s school year ended, about a month after our relationship fizzled, he left town.
It was nearly a year before I heard from or saw him again.
My senior year was a stellar improvement over my junior. After getting sprung from the booby hatch I plunged into enjoying my life despite what my Step-Monster wanted and spent a large chunk of the year involved in a serious shadow war with her. I really wish I could say that is hyperbole of the plot to a bad B Movie, but I shit you not we were in a serious fight that, considering the way things have shaken out in my family, I can only call a draw at best.
Bravo queen bitch… hope you’re miserable.
Spring of that year Brandon did what a lot of new graduates do, he came back to the school to visit. He did NOT come to see me and I am convinced if he’d known I was in the class taught by one of the teachers he was popping to see he would have skipped that room till later. He saw me and quickly looked away as he regaled the teacher with tales of his freshman year at college.
I hunted him down after school.
Despite a year apart I knew Brandon and knew where he would go when school let out. I showed up at the diner and there he was with a few of his friends. Eventually he saw me and when he realized I wasn’t leaving he made an excuse and joined me outside.
There was no fight.
There was no reconciliation.
There was no heartwarming moment.
What happened was Brandon informing me that our relationship “Never Happened” and that I was not to ever contact him. Then he reentered the diner and continued to visit his friends. And that was the last time I ever saw, spoke to, or had any contact with him.
Gee, I’m kinda depressed now.
Did you ever see that episode of That 70’s Show after Eric and Donna break up and Newman from Seinfeld shows him what his life would have been like if he’s never been with her? That’s how I feel about my relationship with Brandon. Ultimately my life is exponentially better having been with him than if I had not.
I love my life.
I love my family.
I love my friends.
I love my career.
I believe with every fiber of my being that I would have none of this without every experience that preceded it. I needed to have my heart broken, more than once, before I could find the place it needed to be. I am better man because of the people I’ve loved and NOT despite them.