Saturday, January 16, 2010

I already knew....

The room smelled of cigarette smoke, the sheets were rough, and the air conditioner didn’t do a very good job of cooling the room. Todd had thought in advance and brought some beer and margaritas. We were both nervous and I remember half jokingly asking him, “So – does this mean that we are officially having an affair?” After a few nervous laughs he said, “I think so.”

After our three hour “visit” in the back of my SUV, I couldn’t have imagined a more intense love making experience. Our first afternoon at Motel 6 shattered all conceptions that I had ever had about how a man should make love to me. I have always been sexually dominate but with Todd I found myself to be submissive, almost demur. He connected with something in me that I have never dared tap into and he made me feel safe enough to let him in. From the moment he slid inside of me – through each successive thrust – Todd gave more and more of himself. Never had I felt such emotion and passion from a man. It made me wish that I had never been with anyone else. His eyes never left mine and he held me tightly. That afternoon we made love four times and each time was more powerful than the time before. Each time I would climax it felt as if my head was going to explode from the intensity of the sensations gripping every surface of my body and deep into my soul. When we had, again, exhausted ourselves, we lay in each other’s arms and talked while drinking margaritas. Todd told me that he had married his high school sweet heart and they had been married for 25 years. He was 44 (to my 38) but looked no older than 35. He had two kids; ages 18 and 15 and he loved his wife deeply. He described his marriage as very happy and one in which his friends and family were envious. I felt his pain as he spoke of how he’d messed around with guys before but had always been able to push his feelings down. When he was done telling me about his life he looked down at me and said, “I just can’t believe this.” “Where did you come from?” To which I replied, “I can’t believe it either and I’ve always been here.”

At this stage I was still very guarded with Todd. I was afraid of letting myself feel too much. Mostly because I had always been of the opinion that sex was just sex and if Chad had messed around with another guy and it was just sex I could deal with that – or so I thought. I still hadn’t told Todd my real name. As far as he knew my name was “Jason” but as he continued to talk about his life and his family I could feel my guard coming down. I looked up at him and I said, “As you get to know me I’ll share more of me with you but I’m just not ready for that yet.” He said he was fine with that and told me that he couldn’t wait to learn all about me. As Todd told me more and more about himself it became very clear that he was the kind of man that any woman would be lucky to have. He was deeply committed to his family and ran his business with integrity and understood that several families were counting on him to keep things going. The weight of his responsibilities seemed to melt away when he was with me and his spirit was light – happy. He loved his wife and his children were very clearly his pride and joy. What stood out most to me was that it appeared that Todd ha spent his entire adult life putting everyone else before himself. He single handedly takes care of his aging mother despite having five siblings. He watches over his mother-in-law who just so happens to live in the house next door to he and his wife. He takes care of the house, the animals and makes sure that his family is well provided for. Now, here he was staring his worst fear, deepest secret and strongest desire right in the face. His sexuality. He thought he could live his entire life running from what was in his heart and then he met me.

As Todd and I gathered our things and prepared to say our goodbyes I wasn’t sure what to expect. He reached around from behind me and said, “So – do you consider yourself gay or bi?” The question caught me off guard but I was surprisingly honest. I said that I considered myself to be gay to which Todd looked shocked and a little puzzled. I told him it was complicated and would tell him more as he got to know me more. He seemed okay with my answer but I sensed a great deal of remorse in him and I had an equal amount of it myself. Still, Todd told me that he wanted to see me again and I knew that I felt that same. He told me he’d call me in a few days and we’d try to figure something out. I drove Todd back to his red truck and he leaned over to kiss me as he got out. This was the first time he kissed me that I can remember not wanting to let him go. He thanked me for an amazing afternoon and I thanked him. As he got out he said, again, “I just can’t believe this.” This was becoming a recurring statement in our relationship.

As I drove home I found myself considering the possibility of opening up to Todd. I wanted him to know my name and more importantly I wanted him to know the truth about my marriage. When Todd and I first met in the Home Depot parking lot, I had told him that I was also married to woman. In retrospect I suppose that my justification for this was that I didn’t feel that he would take my marriage as seriously if he knew that it was to another man. Now I found myself feeling both guilty and scared for not having told him the truth when he had been so open and honest with me. When I was about 15 minutes from home my cell phone rang. It was Todd. He was calling to thank me again and he wanted me to know that he really liked me – much more than he was prepared to and he was having a hard time. I told him that I understood and assured him that he could trust me. I told him that I was beginning to feel things for him that I had not been prepared for and I understood that we both had a great deal at stake. This seemed to make him feel better.

As promised, Todd called a few days later. He sounded a little stressed and tired. I had already learned to read him very well. I knew how he was feeling simply by the tone of his voice and the look on his face. I asked him if he was okay and he told me that he hadn’t been sleeping very well. He’d been running the “what ifs” through his head over and over. I told him that he had to stop doing that or he’d go crazy. “I just don’t think I can stop seeing you,” he said with torment in his voice. “I know, I feel it too,” I said. “I never thought I could feel this way about another guy,” he said. “This is all new and sometimes I feel so guilty that I don’t know if I can go through with it,” He continued. Of the things I loved most about Todd it was his deep sense of devotion to those that he loves. It was starting to get very clear to me that I was quickly becoming one of those people. As I listened to Todd struggle through his emotions I reminded him that we were both married and that our “wives” and children will always be the priority. I promised him – and meant it – that I would do everything in my power to keep him safe from himself. We talked for about an hour that afternoon and when we were about to say goodbye Todd said, “Whenever I talk to you I always feel so much better.” “It’s just amazing” He asked to see me again and I, of course, agreed. I would be working from home in a couple of days and we could meet then. This meeting would be the meeting that I began to see, very clearly, what was to come.

This time Todd arrived at the motel before me. We had already agreed that I would get the room in my name. He smiled his broad, happy smile as soon as he saw me. Whenever Todd smiled at me it was the type of smile that took over his entire face and shot right at me through his eyes. One of the reasons we agreed I would put the room in my name was because of the “what ifs” that Todd had been driving himself crazy with was over “what if” the motel were to call him or send him something to his house. I knew that wouldn’t happen so I said that I would happily take that off his stress meter. He handed me his share of the money for the room and I went to pay. Check-in was smooth and we went immediately to our room. The next four hours were even more passionate and intense then our previous encounters. With each of the four times we made love that afternoon I could feel the barriers I had put up around my heart crumbling. I didn’t think he could give more of himself but he was, again, stunning me with his level of emotion. I could physically feel him falling in love with when we made love. It was the most powerful and overwhelming feeling I have ever felt. His love felt like the safest place in the world. I didn’t want to let go of my “control” but I was horrified at the prospect of giving him as much of myself as he was giving to me each time we made love.

That second afternoon at the motel Todd must have said, “I just can’t believe this” at least five times and all I could think about was that he still didn’t know my name or that I was married to another man. He said everything to me EXCEPT that he loved me but I already knew that he had fallen - and fallen hard. Never before had I been so sure of how another person felt about me but I also knew that if he were to ever say it out loud it would be a difficult realization for him. I understood that, for him, telling me that he loved me would mean that he was facing things that he had spent his entire life running from. I wouldn’t plant anything in his head so I would wait until he was ready and never let on that I knew how he really felt about me. As we lay in one another’s arms, I looked up into his eyes said, “Eventually I will tell you more about me, I just need some time.” With his kind deep brown eyes looking down at me he said, “I know.” “When you’re ready.” And he held me tight as he said, “I still can’t believe this. It’s just unbelievable.”

Saying goodbye this time was even more difficult – actually it was bordering on excruciating. After we’d showered together and gotten dressed, we lay on the bed holding one another tightly. Todd rubbed my arms as he looked into my eyes and repeated what had now become expected, “I just can’t believe this.” Eventually we had to relent and I drove him back to his red truck. He leaned over and kissed me as he got out and I suddenly felt a surge of emotion. Thankfully I had my sunglasses on so he couldn’t see the tears that were welling up in my eyes. “I’ll talk to you soon,” he said as he climbed down out of my SUV. “Okay,” I replied softly.

That night I had to go shopping for some clothes. Clothes shopping is not something that I enjoy doing but I actually was looking forward to the time alone because I had planned to call Todd on my way. Todd picked up on the first ring and we had the conversation that made things much more clear in my head. Todd told me again that he’d never felt like this way about another guy before and it was all very new to him. He couldn’t stop thinking about me and wanted to see me all the time. I told him that I completely understood how he was feeling because I was going through (most of) it too. I told him that I had never expected to feel so connected to him. Todd was very stressed out about his wife finding out and I assured him, again, that I would never tell her and that I would do whatever I could to keep him safe. That’s when he told me that I didn’t even need to say the words – he trusted me – and he knew I’d keep him safe.

After about 30 thirty minutes on the phone I made the decision to tell him my real name. I was a little nervous but when I told him he started to laugh. He said, “I do the same thing but I tell guys my name is Joe!” He told me that he completely understood and appreciated that I had told him. We laughed about how ridiculous it all was to lie about our names and I told him that he was the first guy I had given my phone number to. I still couldn’t believe that I had but I was truly happy that I did.

The next time Todd and I were together was in the back of my SUV because it was planned last minute. We spent three hours making love over and over again – each time we finished, Todd would lay exhausted in my arms. He continued to give more and more of himself and I found myself falling deeper and harder for him. It was around this point that I simply gave up trying to resist. When it came time for us to say our goodbyes we agreed that we needed to get a room again. The back of the SUV was fun but we enjoyed the privacy and intimacy of a room far more. Todd said several more times that he just couldn’t believe that he had found me. He also spoke often about how much of a struggle it was for him. He was so used to doing everything for everyone else that doing the one thing that truly made him happy was a completely foreign concept to him. I tried very hard to help him work through it but I soon began to realize that all I could really do was listen and hold him while he worked through it. As happy as it made Todd to spend time with me, I could see that he tried as hard as he could to fight what he was feeling. I knew he didn’t want it and he had spent his entire life running from it. I understood that what we were building was his deepest desire and one of his worst fears. The struggle was evident throughout the time we were together as Todd would dart in and out of our shared reality.

A week later, the week before Father’s Day. We met at the motel again. To ease Todd’s anxiety, I put the room in my name again, and we spent five hours this time making love, talking and drinking margaritas. His passion was so intense that this time I knew –without a doubt – that he had fallen in love with me. After the second time we’d made love, I was laying in his arms as he told me, again, how he never thought he could feel this way about another guy. He told me that being with me felt right, it felt good, and it made him feel like he was safe. Then he went on to say that he couldn’t believe it but, if anything were to ever happen to his wife he didn’t think he could be with a woman again. It felt as if he’d just hit me in the stomach but I didn’t let on. What he was really saying –without even realizing it – was that he was gay. I just held on to him as tears began streaming down his face – he looked down at me and told me that he loved me. I felt like time stood still. The words echoed in my head and I could feel the tears pooling at the base of my eyes. I buried my face in his neck and began to sob. Todd reached down and gently pulled my face up so that we were looking eye to eye. He asked me if it was okay that he said that and I chuckled and said, “Yes – of course” “I already knew though” Todd just smiled and held me tightly.

“There’s something I need to tell you though” I said very nervously. I stammered and stumbled to find the right words…… Todd looked down at me and told me that I could tell him anything, anything at all. I was crying as I told him that I was afraid he’d think less of me for having not told him the truth. He told me that he wanted to know everything about me and that’s when I blurted out that I wasn’t married to a woman…. Todd finished the sentence with, “you’re married to a man.” He was smiling down at me as if he’d already suspected this but I asked him to make sure. Todd said he kind of thought so when I had told him that I was gay but figured that he’d let me tell him when I was ready. I did explain to him that I felt that he wouldn’t take my marriage as seriously as his if he knew I was married to a man. I also explained to him that keeping that from him was my last hold-out. My last resistance to the feelings of falling in love with him that I had tried so desperately to fight. “God help me,” I said. “But I am falling in love with you and I can’t stop it!” At this point we both had tears in our eyes. I had done it. I had let him into my heart completely and there was no going back. He was hooked and so was I. We were both terrified but we just didn’t want to, or couldn’t, let one another go.

The following weekend was Father’s Day weekend and Chad and I had invited his parents to our house for a BBQ. Todd was headed to his family’s house at the lake to spend Father’s Day weekend with his wife and kids. Chad and I had a very nice time with his family but I felt detached and confused. I had learned how to read Todd very well and as we were saying our goodbyes a couple of days before I sensed that Todd would have a very difficult time on Father’s Day. It turned out that I was right.

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