”...Wouldn't miss it. I stole a tank of gas from the Exxon station in Milford to get here.”
Cwellan says I’m not an easy person to keep up with. This is a kind way of saying that my moods are as wide and unpredictable as the action of storms in the Atlantic. Will she come to shore or will she burn off into the blue? Do we need to proceed with disaster containment? Mitigation?
Sometimes we play a game. The game is called “Nice to meet you.” Polyamorists (and others, no doubt), often use the phrase “new relationship energy” (NRE) to describe the pheromone-endorphin-adrenaline high that one feels during the infancy of a relationship. Apparently this stage of romantic infatuation can last from a few months up to a few years. Some claim it can last indefinitely. I want to believe them, but sometimes you need a catalyst.
”Nice to meet you” is a pretty simple game. When we are looking fine, dressed up and wandering around in a public and preferably crowded place, we might have a reason to drift apart. For example, my sister’s (hypothetical) wedding. “I want to go get a tampon from our hotel room, honey, I’ll meet you in the reception hall in 15 minutes, okay? Love you, Bye!”
I head back down to the appointed meeting place, but in stealth. I don’t want him to spot me first, and come over to kiss me hello. It would give away the game. When I’ve seen him, I walk past him, near enough to smell, and do that “eye contact-averted-eye contact again” thing that girls do when they want you to buy them a drink. Then I keep walking. If he hasn’t realised what’s going on, he might stand there annoyed, but after a moment, he’ll follow me over to the punch bowl, and I’ll say “Hi, I’m Angela. How do you know the lucky couple?” Then we lie to each other.
“Oh…I don’t even know the groom. Danielle is my stylist. Has been for 10 years.”
We work on our intonation, the credibility of our stories. I tell him what color my wedding dress will be, and he is never surprised that it will be crimson. I tell him that my children will have red hair, because my mother had red hair, and the trait always skips a generation.
“I met this guy a couple weeks ago, Adam. He lives in a van, travels around the country in the summers. Right now he’s in college in Ohio. Skin and bones and all of 19. Sometimes I wish I could just cut my ties with this life and be a traveler, you know? Default on my loans and sell the hatchback for a year's worth of bus fares. Unload all my possessions on ebay.”
So, yea, sometimes we tell the truth, too.
Sometimes I'm gay, and I have a partner, Mia, at home. I'm still closeted to my ultra christian folks and she is so mad at me about it. She refuses to come around with me to family events as my roommate...friend. I'm afraid that it's really falling apart this time. Sometimes he tells me about a girl he used to date who kept him as a secret from her parents for almost a year because of their age difference.
It has to be a public place. You see, in private, we just feel silly role-playing. We’ve tried it, but invariably, one of us falls into the other’s lap, and we hunker down on the couch, the evening turns back into Tuesday night. We do the dishes, repair the broken towel rack in the bathroom, remove the lint from the lint-trap on the clothes dryer.
Sometimes our alter egos make us cry. It's better than nothing.
"Aren't you afraid the cops are going to find you? You know they have cameras at those Self-Serve places, right?!
"Well, yea, but it's okay. It's not my car, and I had a hood on."
"I'm glad I got to meet you before you go behind bars."
"Besides, my dad's a detective in Milford. Nice to meet you, too, mister."