Today is the one year anniversary of the day I packed up the Uhaul and drove the 100 miles from Philadelphia to New York. Ok..Ok…I really didn’t do the driving, one of friends did that for me. Thank god. Driving in the Philadelphia gave me agita, I am sure driving in New York would have sent me way over the edge. Nevertheless this is the day that I arrived in this great city. Yes, on April Fool’s Day.
In honor of this blessed day, let us take a moment to remember Philadelphia and it’s abundance of fools. I am sure that I will tell many stories about my time in that city, but this is one of my favorites.
I never was an athletic person. I took ballet for a couple of years, so I was slim but not really bumpy. To help myself get over a recent breakup I decided to start going to the gym. Fueled by the fact that my Ex told me that I would never step foot in a gym. He was a competitive swimmer. Very pretty. Not very smart. In a fit of rage I told myself I can be the smart one and the pretty one! The gym was working. I was beginning to be noticed by boys who had never even looked at me before. Once I was even stopped by a gym rat “Did you just move to Philadelphia?” “No, I have been here for almost 10 years. You are only noticing me now because of my bulging biceps, you douche bag!” Ok, ok, ok, I didn’t say that, but I wanted to. Even though the gym scene was completely shallow and narcissistic, it was quite the confidence booster. I loved it! (and still do)
One day I spotted this gorgeous guy: dark hair, blue eyes, and a great body. He seemed very shy and didn’t talk to anyone. I don’t know why but I found this quite appealing. Oh, I forgot to mention that he was all tattooed up on his budging biceps. Le sigh. Every time I walked into the gym I hoped that I would run into him and one day I literally did. Sometimes being clumsy isn’t a curse. I was walking from one room to another, fiddling with my iPod and then WHAM! there he was. We both stammered and smiled. I had to muster all of my strength to not allow my knees to buckle.
The following weekend was Halloween and I was going out with my good friend Corb. Everyone knows Corb and it isn’t because he is a wheelchair bound paraplegic. He is quite attractive, amazingly funny, has a great southern accent and he can drink a truck driver under the table. I call him Wheels.
Wheels needed more time to finish his costume so I stopped over at his place for a pregaming cocktail. I was going as a paper boy, ala Newsies, so I did not need that much preparation as he did. Just picture it: A six-foot something boy in a wheelchair dress as Karl Lagerfeld. It was genius! This wasn’t his best costume. The Halloween after we first met it was the year Christopher Reeve died. Wheels paraded around town, entered a costume contest and got totally wasted dressed up as Superman. From that moment on I knew we would be the extremely close friends.
We decided to start out low-key and we grabbed a drink at cozy cocktail bar. Within minutes, I saw the boy from the gym. Gasp. He started to walk directly over to Wheels They hugged and kissed. My gym crush looks up at me with his disgustingly messed up face (he was a zombie) “Hey, I’m Peter. Don’t I know you from the gym?” All I could say was, “Uh Huh.” We start talking and he puts his arm around the small of my back. There they go again, the knee buckling.
Peter had to meet some other friends, but we all planned to see each other at another club later that night.
Cut to a couple of hours and a lot of drinks later. Karl Lagerfeld and I relocated to the other bar. I was desperately waiting for Peter’s imminent arrival. As soon as I saw him I pushed away three poorly put together drag queens, a naughty nurse, and a latex wearing cop and made my way to the zombie of my dreams. As we started talking, he put his hand on the small of my back again. We chatted for a bit. I don’t know what about and really, I couldn’t have cared less. Then, out of the blue he kisses me. This time I allowed the knees to buckle, I was his and I didn’t care who saw. “Do you want to get out of here.” “Ah huh.” I really need to work on my vocabulary skills in moments like these.
The zombie and the paper boy walked out of the club hand in hand. It was a Halloween miracle.
I thought that this seemed different from just any old hook up. He gently held my hand all the way back to his place. Could it be something more? Could my zombie gym crush really be my Prince Charming? We ran up the stairs, stopping at intervals to maul each other. When we got to his tiny studio apartment, we tore of our shirts and kicked off our shoes in a fit of passion. We made out like rabid teenagers. All awhile I knew I had a very short window of time to tell him before things got any more serious.
“Wait, before we go any further I need to tell you that I am HIV positive.’
He went cold and there was the bout of silence that I have ever witnessed.
“Umm I have never known anyone who was…” His voice trailed off.
More silence. I just stared at him, shirtless and red-faced (the product of heavy kissing. One might assume now that my costume is that of a clown). Much like him, I was at a loss for words.
The silence continued. It was almost like he was in some sort of catatonic state. Is this a product the zombie costume? Should I call an ambulance? Damn, I should have paid more attention in my CPR class.
Even more silence.
After about, what felt like an eternity, I said “I think I am going to leave.” I was hoping that this would wake him from his unconsciousness. Alas, he did not stir. I picked up my discarded costume and made my way back home, defeated.
As I said before, I totally respect anyone who turns me down because of my status. God knows I have done the same thing before I tested positive. It’s a personal choice that everyone has to make for themselves. But, for God’s sake, have the decency to use actual words. Do not let the act of falling into a self-induced coma do the job for you!
I was completely crushed. I thought he could have been the one. I should have known better, a zombie and a paper boy would have never worked out. From that moment on I would saw Peter everywhere and for some reason he lost the ability to make eye contact with me. It must have been a side effect of the coma. Of course I had to tell Wheels about the incident. The only thing that he said was, “Don’t worry about it. I heard that Peter doesn’t have a very big…well, peter.”
Well, that information didn’t make me feel entirely better but it was a small consolation.