Eric was everything you’d want a potential boyfriend to be. He was handsome and well established, so when he asked me out I couldn’t help but be hesitant and insecure. I’ve seen him walk his dog by the lake a few times, but I don’t think he ever noticed me before he saw my online profile. That Monday, I walked to the coffee shop where he wanted to meet and I was so self-conscious that I kept checking myself out in store windows, reassuring myself that I looked good as I made my way there. I kept thinking that he wouldn’t like me, and that the date would be extremely awkward for both of us. When I arrived, he was sitting outside, his dog lying on the ground by his side. As I approached him and he saw me, he completely turned and waved at me. We talked for an hour before walking to the lake where we shared a kiss, and I can still recall how heart-stricken I was when it happened. I still can’t believe it did.
During our second date at Kyoto, my now-favorite Japanese restaurant, two guys walked by the restaurant’s patio at different times and made eye contact with him. He uncomfortably smiled at them, and I could tell something was up. I immediately figured out they were guys he dated in the past and so I understood his reaction, but the looks he gave them was unsettling. It’s like he didn’t want to be seen. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because I had no idea what had happened between them, and I didn’t want to ask about it because it was none of my business. I didn’t want to make the situation any worse for him. Minutes later he got a call from a fellow doctor and he ended up taking the call because it was an emergency. The reason for the call was apparently an unpleasant one. Eric checked on this doctor’s patient when he had no right to because he wasn’t assigned to treat him. Eric apologized but when he hung up, he was furious. When I showed some concern he immediately shifted back to normal, smiled and said it wasn’t a big deal. After dinner, we walked his dog Tristan around Belmont Harbor and watched him chase after a seagull. Eric and I kissed under the full moon and on the way back to his place he held my hand. When we got to his building he said that he’d ask me to come up but would prefer if we took things slow which I respected and appreciated. He kissed me good night and I walked back to my place.
Nice and flirty text messages followed the second date and he was eager to see me again so we made plans to have dinner at his place for the third date. He bought a rotisserie chicken and I took care of picking a bottle of wine. However, not being a big fan of alcohol, I didn’t know which one to get, so I looked up reviews online and picked the red zinfandel because it’s known to go with chicken. Of course, and as usual, I screwed up. Eric laughed when he pulled out the bottle out of the bag, and I felt bad about it. He said he’ll give the bottle to his neighbor as a “Thank You” gift for watching his dog when he was out of town the week before. After we ate dinner, we sat down on his couch and watched TV. Then we started kissing, and part of me just wanted to do that. I didn’t want things to go any further because I had a feeling it would all be over afterwards. He showed some disappointment when I backed out and walked to the door to leave when it got late. As I reached for the doorknob, I could feel him staring at me. He approached and kissed me so hard before pushing me against the wall and taking my shirt off, and I took off his.
“Take off your clothes,” he insisted. So I did.
In that very moment, I thought to myself, “If that’s all he wants, then I’ll just do it and find out instead of questioning his intentions and getting more attached to him.” I took off my jeans and followed him to his bedroom where he was laying on his bed, completely naked. I jumped on top of him and my my chin ended up hitting his mouth. He showed a bit of discomfort because I hurt him, but we kept going at it anyway. I sucked him off and swallowed his load, and he reciprocated. However, when I came inside his mouth, he backed off and ran to the bathroom to spit it out; he said he’s never done it before and that he suffered from a gag reflex. We laid in bed together and he mentioned his interest in me and asked me if I was into role-playing (he came up with this scenario where show up as an escort and he’d have an envelope full of money waiting for me on the counter by the door). I said I didn’t mind it, and he said he’d want to try doing something like that the next time we saw each other. Little did I know that would’ve been the last time we’d see each other.
The texts kept coming the first few days after we had sex, and then they slowly died off. One thing I’m grateful for now is the fact I’ve never fully given myself to him. I showed as much interest in him as he did in me. Although I felt like I was falling in love with him I made sure to keep my emotions in check, never showing him how crazy I was about him. The last time he texted I asked if he wanted to hang out again and he said work has been keeping him busy and that he had to leave in the weekend for San Fransisco to attend a friend’s birthday. After that, nothing. It’s like he vanished from the face of the earth. No texts, no calls. Nothing. It’s like I never knew him. It’s like he never existed. It’s like whatever it was that we had meant absolutely nothing to him. I have to admit that that upset me. I knew deep inside that it was over, but I had to have him confirm that. I needed to hear the words. Not knowing what I meant to him almost drove me insane. So I decided to find someone I could hookup with to distract myself from the stubborn thoughts.
This guy, Craig hit me up as soon as I logged into my account on the hookup site. He lived close by and asked me to come over. As I came to terms with the fact that Eric was gone for good, I went with it. He suggested a meet up at the lake before going back to his place, and I agreed to meet him. When we both got there and introduced ourselves, Craig started telling me all about his life. He was born in a small town in Louisiana and didn’t come out until later in life. He briefly became a pastor after graduating from college with a degree in Theology and now works as an editor in chief for a LGBT magazine. He was married to a woman with whom he had a kid, a fourteen year-old boy named Kevin. His first relationship with a man was when he was thirty. The conversation then shifted to this great guy he was seeing the previous month. They were both into each other and he saw himself falling in love with him. But the guy backed out after he found out about Craig’s son. Craig said he was so uncomfortable that things between them ended abruptly a week later. However, the guy never mentioned the issue being the son, but rather expressed how heartbroken he was when the previous guy he’s been seeing turned out to be a jerk to him, and moving on from that didn’t seem to be going well for him. So he backed out completely, ending things on good terms. After our walk by the lake, we walked to Craig’s place where he showed me pieces of art he’s made. He offered me sparkling water and a bowl of fruit, and we sat together on his couch and chatted for an hour before things started to get more intimate. He grabbed me and started kissing me all over. I thoroughly enjoyed that. Older men just seem to know how I like it, and I don’t mind them taking charge. As his hands made it under my shirt, his phone went off. It was that guy calling. Craig immediately flipped out because he never thought he’d hear back from him, but didn’t want to take the call because I was there. I could tell how hung up he was on him because his mood totally shifted right after that. He was no longer interested in me being around, and I felt like an inconvenience to him, so I left.
The following week, I get off work early and take the train back home. For some reason, I didn’t end up walking straight home when the train got to Lincoln Park. I walked toward Eric’s apartment building instead. I wanted to know if he was back, and I was hoping I would run into him somehow, although that seemed very unlikely. But it did. It happened. After walking by his building and seeing the lights on in his apartment, I kept going and took a turn to the right, making my way back to my place. And there he was walking in my direction. Tristan was with him too. When he saw me, I could tell he wasn’t very pleased. He was caught off guard, and apparently it pissed him off so much. It’s exactly the look he gave those two guys who walked by us that day we were having dinner. I could tell he was annoyed. I acted cool. He said he was sorry for not texting, saying that he lost his phone in a cab in San Fransisco. That was hard to believe but I went with it. I didn’t try to confront him about his lack of communication nor questioned his interest in me, but I did ask him where I stood for him, and he said he didn’t know. All he did say were things like “We’re at different places in our lives”, “I’m busy with work”, “I need to think.” All of which totally sounded like typical ways to blow me off, and that’s when I finally knew it was over. However, I still wanted him to say it. I asked if I could come up his apartment for a few minutes so we can have a decent conversation, and he said he needed to sleep. I asked him if he had something to say to me and he said he didn’t. The last things I got from Eric were a kiss and a hug — and another kiss. He moved away after that, smiled and said: “You smell nice.” I laughed at his compliment because I had no cologne on and was all sweaty and tired after a long day at work, and then he added: “You smell like yourself.” Those were his last words. I kneeled down and gave Tristan a pat on the head and walked away and he did the same. It’s like we went from being strangers to being strangers.