Feb 18, 2012 1 Share

Love Yourself First: Part II

Illustration of author holding a flower and a time bomb. Three panels of same.
Artwork by John Scott Holman

He had orphan eyes. For the moment, they were closed. I liked watching Sergey sleep. All the walls came down and I saw him for who he truly was—a runaway child, cold and frightened, yet too proud to ask for help.  

I lay my face against the warmth of his bare chest and listened to him breathing. In love we count each other’s every breath, knowing that love and life slip away with every exhalation. 

Sergey and I were not in love. Autistic people think too much and guys get horny a lot. Get it? I was, however, quite infatuated with him. 

Sergey was adopted from a Russian orphanage when he was 18 years old. His accent was like perfectly chilled top-shelf vodka filling me with a warm rush. I felt flushed and dizzy whenever it tickled my eardrums.  

Though technically the foreigner, Sergey had sewn more than his share of wild oats on American soil. I was hopelessly naïve. Having just begun my quest for love in the gay scene, I was in desperate need of a guiding hand … that wouldn’t try to undo my pants. 

The “coming out” part was easy enough. I came home to find my father standing in the kitchen, slurping a bowl of cereal. 

“Hey butthead, what you been up to this afternoon?” he asked between slurps. 

“Not much really. I made out with a boy named John. Hey, are we out of milk?!” 

I didn’t shed tears or give hugs. I failed to notice any weight lifted from my shoulders. I’m here! I’m queer! Where’s the milk?! Coming out was a bit underwhelming. Being out ... of milk, however, is truly cause for emotion.    

OK, so I’m gay … now what? Thanks to the prancing, quick-witted fairies of “Will and Grace,” I’d come to believe that gay guys are just about the friendliest people in the world. The first item on our menu is Rude Awakening with a Side of Spirit Fingers.

I just want an intelligent, compassionate guy eager to hang on every word of my longwinded monologues, keep track of my schedule, drive me to my appointments … and model underwear for Calvin Klein on the side. C’mon, is that so much to ask for?! 

Autism complicates relationships something fierce. I try to educate potential boyfriends upfront. They typically sit through my cautionary lectures in a charmed stupor, admiring my quirkiness, intelligence, and uninhibited lust for life. Every guy I see is fully convinced that they have the balls to handle autism.  Several weeks later, however, my “wonderful quirks” are driving them to the verge of homicide. Some last longer than others, but they all run, hollering their goodbyes into the growing space between us, “I have balls! I can handle autism, but that’s not autism! You’re just a jerk and a freak!” 

Same old song and dance. Every potential relationship is a ticking time bomb. Tick … Tick … Tick … MELTDOWN! Then I’m back where I started, confused, lonely and ashamed of my beautifully singular mind. Then I laugh. “I have balls,” I mutter to myself. C’mon now, is he really much of a loss?

Sergey was the first of my time bombs. I was so excited for our first date. Somehow, I just knew we would be together forever. We would talk for hours and form a lasting love grounded in our mutual social ostracism … and sexiness.

“So where are you taking me?” I asked eagerly, as I climbed into the passenger seat of his car. 

“A drag show!” he said.  “We gonna get DRUNK!”  His accent was so glorious I didn’t even bother to pay attention to his words.   

To Be Continued …. 

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good writing

Your writing is excellent. Your content is wonderful. I love when a person can be a full person - embracing sexual orientation and life condition - I say life condition because all "diagnosed" conditions are not disabiling, they are just parts of our lives. I cannot for the continuance of your work.