THE STORY OF US PART FOUR

The Story of Us

THE STORY OF US PART FOUR

It is important to explain that Alex had been gone for six months. He came home, in October, from Season One of Znation. Our focus was supposed to be on our wedding. That was supposed to be the only thing we thought about.

We decided that I would fly to Spokane and meet Alex and we would drive North to Vancouver and then slowly, over three weeks, back down to LA. It was a strange period in my life. It was almost a year ago that I had found out I was HIV positive. Alex had been gone for six months. I would be getting married. Life was changing in strange and mysterious ways. Just three years ago I was still a drug addict. October is a heavy month for me. It is the month I got sober and the month I found out my status.

In a strange way I like to link these things to Rosh ha Shanna and Yom Kippur. I am not religious and I certainly don’t believe in the kind of God described by Judaism, but there is something healing in the idea of a new year and redemption, forgiveness.

I once asked a Rabbi why the Jews blow the shofar at Rosh ha Shanna. He told me the Jews have a contract with God, and every year, for Rosh ha Shanna, we renew that contract. That each year mankind’s fate hangs in a sort of existential balance. Will this be the year God finally gives up on us? Or will he find something beautiful, something worthwhile in man, and be our King for one more year?

One of my favorite things to do is go listen to the Rabbi blow the shofar. The sound does something to me, conjures something up inside me: it reminds me of something I think I have forgotten. There is a magick to it. The Rabbi told me that we blow the shofar in order to cry out to God, imploring him, reminding him that we are worth another year of existence. Begging him not to give up on us: to renew the contract between man and deity. But it is also the cry of humanity into the great darkness, the void, the endless scream, howling for our creator: because we have been severed, cut off from the source, and the cry of the shofar is the cry of our pain, calling out to God to know us. To believe in us. To have faith in us.

In some strange way I believe this. The sound of the ram’s horn blowing, the Rabbi standing there, dark and mysterious and wrapped in cloth: it is desolate, full of despair and pain, full of loneliness and terror: the sound pierces me. For one brief moment, wrapped in that wail, I am the one standing alone, trembling, shaking, waiting for God to decide: am I worth it? Am I worthy of this existence?

In Seattle we fucked a sexy bartender we had met on Scruff. We had spent the night wandering around Seattle’s Capital Hill, eating dinner, checking out all the bars: we flirted with a sexy bear couple, watched a drag queen do karaoke, sat on stone walls and watched as people walked by, the endless parade of humanity that fills cities on weekend nights: are we happy? Is this fun? Is this it? Is this everything? Is there more? Can I be more?… a silent chant flickering in the eyes of everyone we saw.

We had seen the bartender at one of the many gay bars we had been to. I was unclear on how sexy I thought he was until he sent us a picture of his ass: he had one of those asses that you don’t say no to.

It was four am. We were staying in a studio we had rented on airbnb. Alex was drunk. I told the guy to come over, get naked, bend over the couch, and just let us do what we wanted. He seemed to like that idea. I went down stairs to let the guy in. When we came back, Alex was sitting on the couch, a drunken silly-sexy smile on his face, completely naked, hardon sticking up proud as ever. I fell so madly in love with him in that moment. He was outrageous and funny and ridiculous and stupid sexy all at the same time.

We fucked that bartender with the amazing ass until none of us could stand, and then we sent him home, Alex and I curling up in the small loft bed, the sun coming up, birds loud and obnoxious out the window, and held each other as we fell asleep.

I tell this story because it stands out for me as a visceral and gorgeous testimonial to my love for Alex. He was the first guy I was ever able to truly be myself with. In all aspects. I didn’t have to hide my sexual sides: the dirty dog who wanted to fuck some dude bent over the couch at 4am and than send him home, barely speaking two words, and then cuddling with my lover, wrapped in sweat and cum and ass funk, and laugh at how amazing our lives were. I could be vulnerable with him and stupid with him and scared: he has never rejected me, never looked at me like something was wrong inside me, never found a flaw with my desires or fears or insecurities, he has never made me feel dirty or unworthy. And it makes me think of that shofar: the two of us standing on a mountain top, the world vast and endless, the sky above us eternal: infinite in its alien intelligence, and suddenly I no longer feel so alone: together we will wail and scream and howl at the world, at God, at the terror: and together we will celebrate ourselves: in all our dirty, shit mongering, diseased, beautiful, disastrous ways.

And it will be okay. We will all be okay.

The next day we drove to Vancouver. We had rented an amazing one-bedroom apartment at the End of Davie, at the sea-wall, on the 18th floor overlooking the beach and the ocean in one direction, and the city and the mountains in the other. We spent three days in Vancouver eating bagels on Granville, wandering the City, meeting new friends and fucking on the couch overlooking that incredible view.

Then we drove the long drive to Portland: I don’t really get Portland as a City. It feels strangely detached and cold to me, sexless in an oversexed way, but the food was fucking amazing. Seriously, I’ve had some amazing meals in that town.

In San Francisco we became friends with our Uber driver: I still regret not inviting him up to our apartment and fucking senselessly: it was so obvious we all wanted it, but it just didn’t happen. He did meet us later that night and we’ve all become friends, but have no doubt: I plan to fuck that Uber driver into the ground the first chance I get (or maybe let him fuck me into the ground, Alex and Jon holding me down). We made out with a sexy bearded man at the Eagle, and stayed up all night sitting on the balcony of the house we rented in Twin Peaks and watched as the fog devoured the City, enshrouding it in a kind of ecstatic gloom. During the day we drank Phil’s Coffee and wandered used book stores and magick shops and bought a new dildo for me: I love the reverence Alex shows towards my ass, an idolatry toward it: this makes me want to show it off for him, put myself on display: offer myself up to him: when it is just us my whole being becomes focused on his pleasure: submissive and hungry and madly in love.

We decided on a wedding date. February 21. I had grand ideas about our wedding at first. I thought about renting a house in Cambria or Big Sur. I considered Ojai and Idylwild. Moroccan estates in Palm Springs. Beach front properties in Malibu. Then we decided maybe just have it at the house. We have this tiny but amazing 1910 craftsman with original detail in Hollywood. A cute little back courtyard. Why spend thousands of dollars on a wedding when we could save it all for a grand honeymoon adventure…we love travel adventures.

The future was open. We thought we knew the course of things. We had no idea that in a few weeks we were going to meet Jon, fall in love, and invite him in to our adventure.

The Rabbi told me another story. This is when I was 22, in the midst of a dark and heavy heroin addiction. I had been sent to him for counseling. Rehab and AA and therapy hadn’t worked. Maybe a man beholden to a mythical God could save me. He told me about a boy in a small Russian village who had been very sick and was dying. His parents went to the Rabbi and asked for his help. The Rabbi prayed and prayed to God, and still the boy was sick, dying. He brought together all the elite holy men of the village, and they prayed to God, begging for a reprieve, but the boy only got sicker. Then the Rabbi went to the other side of the village, where the thieves and murders and whores lived and he brought them to the boy’s bedside and together, with those thieves and murders and whores he prayed to God. And the boy got better.

“Sometimes, Jeff, it isn’t the good or the holy who save the world. Sometimes we need a thief to break into the kingdom of Heaven and get God’s attention. Sometimes we need a whore to remind God how beautiful we can be. This path you are on, it is your path. We can not judge you for it. We can not condemn you for it. It is the path that you must walk with your Creator. Find a way to make it wondrous, find a way to make it a testament to God.”

When people ask me why I write I think back to that Rabbi, and I think, this is my testament to God. Together my Creator and I wallow in filth and debauchery, in sex and in vile beauties, and together we redeem ourselves, and together we grow: hand in hand, each of us completely dependent upon the other.

TO BE CONTINUED….

TRIAD LIVING PART FOUR

Triad Living

My Best friend, Andrea, is a successful journalist. She writes for places like the New York Times and Huff Post and other big name venues. She gave me one piece of advice when I told her about my Vice article, “Don’t respond to the trolls who are going to attack you in the comments section. Read it if you want. Read all of it if you want. But don’t respond.” She told me to stay out of the conversations that were going to arise. On Facebook and elsewhere. If someone wrote me personally, or on Twitter, and they were being nice, or at least trying to be nice, respond. “But ignore the assholes. They aren’t talking to you anyway.” Andrea has a lot of experience in this. She’s waded into some pretty controversial territory. I trusted her.

And she was right. There have been some assholes. People who want to tell me why my relationship with Alex and Jon can’t work. Why it is wrong. Some talk about Christianity, some talk about exploiting gay marriage. Everyone has an opinion and they feel those opinions intensely.

When I wrote the piece for Vice my goal was not controversy. I was naïve. It didn’t even really occur to me that this piece, about love and friendship: about learning to be happy could possibly be controversial to anyone. I mean fine, besides the gay aspect, which is always controversial to someone, I just didn’t think most people would care.

I was wrong.

There was one scathing comment from a gay guy who lives in LA, someone I kind of know indirectly, who told me I was being selfish. That it was hard enough for him to find one decent gay guy in LA to date (he’s single) and that here I was taking two, and in the process ruining my marriage because there was no way this could work, as well as ruining his chances at finding true love. He told me my whole article was just selfish justification. Another woman said that no one will take gays seriously now. I was proving everyone right: that we were over sexualised, promiscuous, etc. Some people wrote, Ewww, or just Gross.

I was surprised at how mostly these people didn’t bother me. I felt sorry for the gay guy. He seemed really sad. I thought it was strange that he made my being happy about his being sad. But I could almost understand what he was saying. He was lonely. And the woman: well, I don’t really know what to say to her. Yes, I have fucked a lot of guys. Yes, the three of us have fucked A LOT of guys and honestly, I hope we fuck a hell of a lot more guys. Fucking is fun. I don’t know why anyone should feel ashamed of enjoying sex. It’s one of those rare win-win situations as far as I can tell. I’m also not a fan of slut shaming. If you want to be a slut, go be the best fucking slut in the whole world. I am incredibly grateful to some of the sluts I’ve met. I’ve really enjoyed them.

Monogamy is not bad. Trying to build that kind of deep, intimate, relationship is amazing. And I support that. I’m just not sure it’s right for me. I have been in enough relationships where I failed at it, or the guy I was with failed at it, and we all felt betrayed and sad and it hurt. We lied to each other. I became someone I didn’t want to be.

I’ve decided I’m no longer willing to be that person. I know who I am and I can accept that and be happy with it.

When Alex and I first started talking about all this stuff, he said to me, “I really want to honor your sexuality. I don’t want to make you be something you aren’t. I want to share in it.” And that is what we did. We aren’t open. Necessarily. Our goal is a version of monogamy. We fuck other guys together. We have fun. We share our sexuality, the three of us now, together. We explore together. Sometimes, based on circumstances, the rules are looser and sometimes they are tighter. We are fluid. We try to take everyone’s needs into consideration.

Sometimes this is easy.  Sometimes it is fraught with peril.  But mostly we have  found it works, for us.

What amazed me about the negative comments wasn’t that they disagreed with me, or that they were uncomfortable with my choices, but that they were so sure I was wrong. They wanted to hurt me. Tell me we would fail. That I was gross. That my choices, Jon’s and Alex’s choices, weren’t acceptable.

Instead they could have just been happy because we were happy. They could have just believed what they believed but hoped for a better outcome.

But we are all fragile and hurt. We are all scared. Life has a way of breaking us down.

At first I was mad at the comments. Hurt. I thought, shit, if this upsets them wait till I write about being HIV positive, I’m going to prove them all right: Slut gets AIDS. Than I thought, this isn’t about me. What they are saying isn’t about me. I’m happy. This is my life. And look at how amazing it’s turned out. I got to marry the man of my dreams. I got to date this awesome fucking brilliant guy. The three of us get to live together in this amazing home in this amazing city and we get to share each other’s lives and be best friends and lovers and to explore the world and to grow together, not to cage each other, but to really support each other.

I suddenly realized: I am the luckiest fucking guy in the world.

And I got to do what I love best: I got to write and get paid for it and thousands of people read it. And the most amazing thing, besides the few negative comments, was the outpouring of love and acceptance and wonder. I woke up this morning to 57 emails thanking me and congratulating Alex and Jon and I. Asking me questions. Telling me their stories. Yesterday was 196! On twitter my account has 234 notifications at this moment. These are all wonderful, amazing stories, people saying the most incredible things.

A whole world of other happy people!

I am completely blown away. Straight people, gay people, young , old, people from all over the world. I met a triad who’s been together 11 years. Another who met in high school, all three of them, and they are still together 8 years later. They’ve shared their stories with me, their experiences and their truth: that this does work. That love does actually win if you want it to.

There is so much to hate in the world. And there is a lot of fucking pain and misery. It’s amazing to read these emails and think, Look, these people have found happiness, they found joy, they found a way to carve out a life of their own. Because this is our life. This is fucking it. And man, terrible things will happen. I talk to my mother, who has stage IV Cancer every day, and every day I get off the phone I sob. I literally sit there and cry almost hysterically. It isn’t fair, I think. That this amazing woman, this beautiful person, should suffer.

And then I think about all the amazing friends she has. About her partner, and all the people who come together and visit her and take her to lunch. All the love she has in her life. My mother would never say that it wasn’t fair. She says she’s lucky. That her life has been filled with love and friends and happiness.

She loves to ask me questions about Jon and Alex. My mother has no problem asking me intensely personal questions about our sex lives. She likes to hear me tell stories.

When I found out I was HIV Positive my friend Kevin drove me straight to Alex. I walked into the house and before I could even speak I was sobbing. I had no idea what was going to happen to me. To him. To us. To the world. And he held me. He wrapped me in those big arms of his and just held on, keeping me safe. And he cried with me. And he told me, over and over, “This is okay. We will be okay. We can do this. Together.” And he was right. We did. He went with me to my doctors appointments. He reminds me to take my meds. And he still loves me. I was safe. Even in all that fear about what was going to happen now: I was safe and he was with me, and together we were going to be fine.

There are no guarantees in this life. Life is exactly what it is. Maybe I just got a bigger, sweeter piece of the pie. Maybe Alex is right and I am eternally optimistic.

But one thing I do know, it’s something my mother once said, “You can’t control the shit storm that life is, so you might as well have as much fun as possible while dancing in the middle of it.”

I am definitely having fun. I got the biggest, sweetest piece of pie ever. And I have two fucking incredible men to share it with. And this whole thing, all of you out there, have just reaffirmed that for me.

Thank you for all the amazing emails and letters and comments. You have made my life just that much better. We are all fucking awesome.

THE STORY OF US PART THREE

The Story of Us

The day I found out I was HIV Positive I was working security at the Faultline for a Sunday Beer Bust. It was October 13, 2013. I’m sure there is some kind of numerological magic to the date. A testing truck was parked in the parking lot. I don’t know what made me think to get tested. It just seemed like the thing to do. The tester was bored. He wanted to be inside getting drunk. He looked at the results and then at me and he said,

“Oh, I’m really sorry.” Then he looked outside and waved to someone in the parking lot.

“Excuse me?” I said. Looking back, I’m not sure why I was so surprised. There had been clues. Choices made that should have made this less of a surprise, but still…I just didn’t think I would find something like that out from such an uninterested asshole in the parking lot of the Faultline.

I think it was the banality that upset me more than anything else. And the fact that he was so unattractive. It just didn’t seem fair.

“I’m sorry,” he said, and kind of shrugged. “The results are positive. Would you like me to make you an appointment with someone?”

“Other than you? Yes. Please.”

I made up some excuse to leave work. I think I said that the sink exploded at the house, or that Alex had set himself on fire, something outrageous. I had to get home. Away. Just for a few minutes. I had to see Alex.

If I could just see Alex than maybe this might make some kind of sense.

And I had to know if he would still love me.

We had guests staying at the house. I told Alex I needed him to come outside. I needed to talk to him. And I stood there, on our front porch, and I looked at him and my heart broke. I burst into tears. He wrapped his arms around me, holding on to me and he kept saying,

“Baby, what is it? What’s wrong?”

I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to answer. I just wanted to stay like that, wrapped in his gigantic arms, forever, safe.

But if I have learned anything in life, it is that the world will keep going: life will keep flowing, and that we are never safe from the inevitable. When I found out that my mother had cancer I learned about inevitabilities: everything I love, everything I hold dear, everything that I find beautiful and wonderful will one day die. That is inevitable. It is a rule of life. When I found out I was HIV Positive I learned that I too will die. Like everything else. One day I will die.

But I also learned something else. I learned that Alex did not pull away from me, he did not tell me to leave, he didn’t yell at me and he did not reject me: instead he held me tighter, and he cried with me, and then he said,

“Okay. We will be okay. We will take care of this.”

And we did. We found me a doctor. We learned that HIV never really leaves the body, it just hides out, in the belly or the brain, always vigilant, so I have to be vigilant too. Every day I have to take my pills. Every day at two Alex sends me a text to remind me. He has been doing this for a year and a half. Together we are vigilant. Together we stand guard.

And I made a decision: that day, October 13, 2013, will have power for me. It will have meaning for me. This thing that lives inside me: it will matter. I will let it change me. I will let it affect me and alter who I am: I will take my inevitable death and I will do something with it: because what is not inevitable is happiness, or success, or beauty: I could fail. It is possible to lose everything. To end up alone. I might relapse, shoot dope, become homeless: these things are all possible with a man like me. But I decided that the world would be different for me: even if I failed I was going to try, I was going to succeed in the doing: my life would have meaning because I was going to give it meaning.

I hear a lot that being HIV positive in this day and age doesn’t mean anything: it’s manageable, it’s not important: it doesn’t mean I will die or get sick, not anymore, and they are right. I am healthy. I am strong. I am not sick, and for today, I am not dying.

But it does mean something. It is like a sign along the way: a reminder: none of this is forever. My mother will die. Alex will die. Jon will die. You will die. Everyone will die. It sounds like such an obvious thing. Of course. But feel it. Really know it. And it changes you. At least it changed me.

I am lucky. I have always been lucky. I have a beautiful life. I am surrounded by love.   I’m happy. Happiness is one of those things that comes easily to me. I want to be happy. I like it. It feels good.

Recently, when the three of us are all together: Alex is gone right now, in Spokane, working on season two of the TV show he is on: But when we are all together I like to lay in bed and listen to the two of them while they sleep. Their breathing encases me, it wraps me in warmth and love. There is a magic in those moments, a power, that is another one of those signs along the way: Yes, you will die, but you will also live. This is living. This is it. Right now.

Sometimes all we are doing is watching TV. Sometimes I am sitting at the desk writing and they are on the couch showing each other stupid tumblr cat gifs and giggling: they do that a lot: look at cat gifs and giggle, sometimes we are arguing or we are fucking, sometimes we are eating ice cream and pop tarts till we are sick, sometimes we are cleaning up cat piss or dog puke or stressing the fuck out or going for a walk: sometimes we are doing nothing and I will see them, or I will catch the light as it falls across them, and I will think: I am the luckiest man alive.

This life is a kind of magic. It is a spell: we are like magicians: conjurers. My mother once told me, you have two choices in life: You either believe in magic or you don’t. It doesn’t matter if it is real. Just choose. Which seems more interesting to you?

Three weeks before we got married we asked Jon to move in. This, in retrospect, seems like a strange choice. Maybe we should have waited a few months, let married life settle in: not just for us but for our families. But things were moving: life was moving. So we kept going with it.

We decided that we would introduce Jon to our families at our wedding. This made a kind of sense at the time: I wonder though, if maybe a pizza night before hand would have been easier. I can still see Jon, in a corner, surrounded by all our family and friends, a little lost, so handsome, and people asking him, “How do you know Jeff? How do you know Alex?” And he would say, “I’m Jon. I’m their boyfriend.”

…TO BE CONTINUED

TRIAD LIVING #2

Triad Living

Recently I found myself in a discussion about sex. It was with a few guys talking about the kinds of sex they were having with their boyfriends: about opening their relationships, or closing their relationships, about movie nights and ice cream. They were sharing recent exploits and adventures. I, admittedly bragging a little, told them about this muscle bear Alex and Jon and I had gone to fuck together one night. The three of us all taking turns on him. He told us, when it was all over, that he had been so drunk on dick he had forgotten where he was. It had been a really hot night.

One of the guys looked at me and said, “When is it ever enough? Maybe the straights are right. Maybe we shouldn’t be allowed to marry. Soon you’re going to be living with twenty different guys. And then a hundred. At what point do you stop and say, ok, enough. It’s time to grow up.”

I was shocked. I hadn’t expected this outburst. Especially from a guy who had just told a story about him and his husband switching partners with another couple. I expressed this to him and he said, “Right, but it isn’t the same. Three-ways are now four ways. Four ways become five ways become fucking orgies. When is it enough?”

Later that day I called my best friend, Natasha, and told her the story and asked her what she thought. “Was everybody legal?” She asked. “Of course.” “And did you all have fun?” She asked. “Fuck yeah.” “Then who cares? It’s enough when you decide it’s enough. Fuck the whole world if you want. Now, can we talk about my wedding? I’m getting married in two weeks.”

I have had a lot of sex with a lot of different guys in a lot of different ways. Every time my boyfriends and I have sex it is a three-way. Sometimes we invite a fourth in. I’m really into the idea of finding another triad and having a six-way. Maybe I will want to fuck a hundred guys. Who knows? Who cares? That’s the question I’m left with. Who really cares and why do they care? I hope you get laid all the time if that’s what you want. I hope you find love and happiness and plenty of dick and butt. Why does anybody care?

Yes. I was bragging. But honestly, it was a good story. That line about being drunk on dick still gets me hard. It was a fun time. It was an appropriate story for the group of guys I was with. It was in context.

A few days later I ran into my friend who asked me when will it be enough. This is what he said,

“I think it’s just getting out of hand. Triads and Poly-relationships. Now guys are talking about forming packs. Guys are getting collared as pups. I know some guy in Long Beach who’s starting his own kennel. A fucking kennel of dudes who pretend they are puppies. What’s wrong with just getting married and staying married and being happy?”

“Nothing’s wrong with that. But what’s wrong with doing more if that’s what you want?” I found it strange that I was defending puppy kennels. I thought the whole pup thing was ridiculous: showing up at the Eagle in a $500 leather puppy mask and barking at people just looks idiotic. But if that’s what turns them on why do I care?

“What next? Real bestiality? Pedophiles suing for the right to marry little kids? Where does it all lead?”

I was stunned. I tried to see how my relationship, and the consensual sex we had with other consenting adults could lead to bestiality and pedophilia.

We have a profile on Scruff for the three of us. In it we state that I am HIV positive. A guy messaged us, attacking us for being whores and sex addicts and me for infecting others with my “sickness”. He said that if i really knew what love was I would go off by myself and die alone.  When I first found out I was positive I tried to talk to these people, rationalize with them, educate them, now I just block them. There is no point. They are upset about things I can’t even begin to imagine. They are furious and it has nothing to do with me.

But I still think: so what if we are whores? Why do you care?

“When do you start feeling ashamed of your behavior?” My friend asked me. “When do you start caring what other people think?”

Maybe I am a sociopath. Maybe I am amoral. Because honestly, I don’t really care what other people think. At least not when it comes to who I fuck. Or love.

I am thinking about shame. As a tool. As a device. As a weapon of control. Because that is what it is. My friend was using shame to try to control me. To try to force me to live in a way he thought I should live.

I’ve never understood gay guys who wanted to be straight, or to live a “straight lifestyle”. I like being gay. I like the freedom it gives me. I like feeling like I can create my world and my life and my relationships in anyway I want. I do not want to have to live according to someone else’s guidelines. That was never the point.

When Alex and I got married I had people telling me it was time to settle down now, time to grow up, time to behave in certain ways, as if it were them I were marrying. As if some how by getting married I was now giving something up instead of gaining something. I married Alex because I love him. Because I know he is the man I want to spend my life with. And because it sounded fun. And because it is political and because I want to be married to Alex. Not because I want to be married to an institution. It is our marriage. Our life.

When we decided to move Jon in people said, “So soon? But you just got married? Do you still love each other?”

Another friend told me that we should have our fun now, because he’s never seen a triad last. Then he told me they tend to ruin relationships. That they are indicative of some inherent problem.

Or maybe we are just sex addicts. Or maybe I want to infect more people with my disease. Maybe because we want to be in love and to be open about that we are monsters.

Clearly, because I took the time to even write this rant, I care what people think. I want to be accepted. I want to be okay with the world I live in and I want the world I live in to be okay with me. And I think for the most part it is. I am lucky. I live in a pretty tolerant world. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live somewhere under the pressures of a society that did not allow me to be who I am even if it didn’t agree or like my choices.

No one has to agree with the choices I have made. They are my choices. I don’t necessarily understand having a kennel of collared pups. I don’t understand a lot of things. But that doesn’t negate those experiences.

I am probably not very tolerant of someone trying to shame me for being HIV positive, or trying to tell me I am diseased or infected. If that guy had said that to my face I would have hit him. I don’t claim to be tolerant. I’m just claiming to try.

And honestly, what is wrong with fucking six guys? Or twenty? Or a hundred? Sometimes a really slutty, over the top night is just what you need to get on with your daily life. I’m all for it. I think we should all fuck a little more. I know I’d like to.

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THE STORY OF US: PART TWO

The Story of Us

THE STORY OF US PART 2

For much of my life I had been a heroin addict, and then, in 1998, I stopped. I had been living in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn next to a dominatrix named Zanny. Zanny was saving up all her money working in a Dungeon in Chelsea to move to LA and be a movie star. At least once or twice a week I would sneak across the fire-escape that connected our two apartments and crawl through her window and steal a couple hundred dollars from the shoe box she saved her tips in. I would use this money to buy heroin.

One morning I woke up to find Zanny standing over my bed. She had a gun in her hand. It was pointed at me. In her other hand she had the number to AA. Zanny gave me an ultimatum.

She had this amazing red, curly hair, and a southern accent that reminded you of peaches and cream and sugary deserts, and pale white tits and she laughed a lot and shared her whiskey with me and she loved me and still I stole from her: I can tell you this, the fact that I loved her and the fact that I stole from her never seemed to conflict in my mind. I did love her and I did steal from her. I am surprised at how little these two realities converged until that day I woke to find her pointing a gun in my face.

It was summer when Zanny gave me my ultimatum, July. A week later, broke because of me, the man who stole her dreams of moving to LA, she moved back to North Carolina. And I had seven days sober.

Two years into my sobriety I moved to LA with my partner Jordan. I had convinced him that we needed to be in LA to get our careers started. Jordan bought a beautiful apartment in Los Feliz overlooking the park and downtown. A month later I broke up with him for a guy I met in AA.

I remained sober for 11 years. And then, a week before I was to fly to Amsterdam to meet my mother, I decided maybe I could drink. I spent weeks wandering Paris and Amsterdam and Venice drunk.

That four year relapse was the coldest, darkest place I have ever been. I met strange and captivating demons, monstrous entities inhabited my mind: a darkness flowed through me that was insatiable: I hungered for my own destruction and created palaces of despair, a life of loneliness and isolation. I believe that I had allowed a demon inside me: that I became possessed. My mother told me that she thought maybe I was cursed. It was the only thing she could think of. Someone had cursed me. She believed that by relapsing I had forfeited whatever good will I might have gained in those 11 years sober: and that I would fail. I have a clear memory of some hallucinogenic night standing in front of my bathroom mirror staring at my reflection and a voice telling me to smash my face into the mirror. To jump out the window and fall to the street. To pick up a knife and stab myself with it.

I was possessed by darkness during that time. I lost everything: my home, my mind, my life, my friends, my job, boyfriends and family, all in ways so unexpected and shattering, so horrifying that the very fact that I was eventually able to get sober again and regain even a small percentage of what I once had is mind boggling in its mythic miraculousness.

I have learned something very important from that four year relapse: inside me there is a demon, and he is growing stronger every day. The longer I am sober the more vicious he becomes: and he is waiting for me to fuck up, to make one mistake, so he can pull me back into his darkness. And it is possible that I will fuck up. It is completely possible that one day I will convince myself that I need a xanax or a joint or a glass of wine: something small and innocuous, something harmless in appearance: just to cut the edge, to smooth over the blandness of daily life: I am fucking apocalyptic and if I am not careful I am capable of destroying everything.

I can’t tell you exactly what made me get sober. I had broken up with my boyfriend. I had been evicted and was living in a strange and dark apartment in the building next door (I had created an elaborate lie that lead me to court where I was able to sue the landlord who was evicting me, giving me enough money to move and to live for a few months), my car had been repossessed, and my family was basically done with me. My father, who had been supporting me for years had finally decided, at 43 years old, to cut me off. No more new cars or rent checks or allowances. No more grand trips to Europe when I felt trapped. I would sit in my apartment alone reading old interviews with Allan Ginsberg and jerking off to gang bang porn online. My friends had all moved away. Or were just as fucked up as I was. My life was small and it seemed to just keep getting smaller.

So I went to an AA meeting and I found a sponsor and somehow, a few months later, I got sober.

I was also evicted again and ended up, in some kind of magical moment of grace, moving in to a large and beautiful Silverlake Mansion in the junction with views of the Hollywood Sign and the Observatory and on those incredible clear LA days maybe even a glimmer of reflected sunlight off the Pacific.

And here is the other thing I know about sobriety: there is a grace to it, something strangely magical and miraculous. If I can just get out of the way and let it happen: life seemed to fall into place for me. I went to meetings. I did step work. I meditated and jerked off endlessly and watched a lot of TV and went on epic midnight bike rides through Los Angeles. There were some nights, still detoxing and unable to sleep, that I would ride my bike all the way to Santa Monica and back. Or through the hills of Silverlake, my calves burning. Anything to escape the screaming panic that was my head. For me, that bike, was faith. It was God. It was magic. I rediscovered the world: I rediscovered color and hope and beauty on that bike.

That period in my life, when I was just getting sober, was incredibly magical. But no more or less magical than the dark magic of my relapse. Both events, relapsing and getting sober again, opened me up to a world of spirituality and magic and endless possibility. I learned that I am capable of things that even I, on a surface level, can’t understand. That I make choices and bring about futures that seem unimaginable to me. Every single day I choose between annihilation and success. It is that simple. But around me there are forces rooting for me, pushing me ever forward, hoping for my happiness: just as there would seem to be forces rooting for the opposite: parasitic entities: leeches that have latched themselves to me, feeding off my pain.

Three weeks before my relapse I was walking home from work, east on Sunset Boulevard, toward Silverlake. I was happy. I felt free. I felt connected. I had been meditating and casting spells of intention and I thought I understood the world, I felt strong and good. I looked up into the sky: blue, cloudless, and I watched as a large black bird soared: wings expanding and merging with that endless blue, and for a moment it was as if the layers of reality were pulled back and I could see behind the curtain: an endless flow of energy where time and matter were the illusions, creations of thought. I stumbled and fell, and all the world melted into color: shifting forms, people like burning stars exploding and reforming before my eyes: the street was a river of golden light. In the distance the hills shimmered like diamonds: the world was aflame in light and color and I could feel it all move through me, become one with me and than separate: I understood that that was the constant play of the Universe: becoming one and separate, endlessly moving between the two.

When I got home I sat on my couch and tried to understand what had happened to me. I was completely sober at the time. To this day I sometimes wonder if I had a glimpse at God, at who we really are.

It is strange that three weeks later I decided that I could have a drink. A glass of wine at Stella’s Café with a friend of mine, a new ageist who affirmed for me what I already knew to be true: I didn’t need AA or some God outside of myself: all I needed was will power and intention and to believe in my personal strength: she kept saying, over and over, “The world is what you believe it is. What you say is what you are. We create our realities.”

I now know this is absolutely true and complete bullshit at the same time.

When I met Alex I was a week short of seven months sober. We met on Scruff. He was supposed to be a trick: just a fuck: a really dirty fuck. The first thing we established was that we were both tops. Alex said he was versatile, which, I was later to find out, was a lie, but he has a seduction tool: he has one of those famously large Dominican dicks, what I’ve come to think of as his bottom maker.

We spent a few days talking on scruff. Alex was working on a movie for SciFi at the time: he does special effects make-up and I was spending a lot of time in prisons and jails talking to criminals. We made a plan to get dinner: he insisted we go on a date, I had been hoping we would fuck right away. I like to get the fucking out of the way first: how else do I know if I even want to go on a date with you if I haven’t fucked you? Somehow, over the course of those days, I went from being the top to being the bottom. We had a solid plan: dinner than sex. I hadn’t been fucked in over a year. He sent me a picture of his dick. It made me nervous. But it also turned me on. I liked the idea of getting owned. Of being dominated. Taken.

I was suddenly in the mood to be seriously and righteously fucked.

Alex showed up and still insisted on dinner. This was a date. Later he told me he knew that I was going to be more than just another fuck. He had a feeling about it. I was living in that run down, decayingly beautiful Silverlake Mansion.

We went to a Thai Restaurant in Hollywood.

While at dinner he gave me his card. Which I thought was strange, but somehow endearing. I had recently had some interest in a horror script of mine. He was learning how to network. Looking back, of course, he was networking with me. Months later he told me he thought I was out of his league, “I kept waiting to step into some bad lighting and for you to see me clearly and realize you’d made a mistake.” This idea, of course, is ridiculous. Alex is stunningly handsome. Breathtaking.

Alex insists that two weeks later I gave him the keys to my house. I’m pretty sure I made him wait at least three weeks. He also likes to remind me that I didn’t invite him to my birthday party. We met on May 4th, my birthday was May 8th. I had decided that I couldn’t invite him: what if he bought me a shitty gift? I could never forgive that. It was safer to just not invite him.

I still think that was the right choice. And I still think I made him wait three weeks to give him the keys to my house. Either way, I definitely made him wait 8 months before he could move in.

Magic is strange. The way the world works is strange. Somewhere in the middle of my relapse I met a Persian boy named Arman. He was a dark and violent young man: painfully beautiful. I believed he was going to be the love of my life. The first time we fucked I woke up covered in bruises. Arman liked to hurt me. He enjoyed it. He had a long fat dick that I loved to feel inside me: at first the biting and the brutality seemed sexy, passionate, but there came a point where I thought: can’t we ever just fuck? Like people? Can’t we just have fun and kiss and get off and then go to bed? Does everything always have to be so fucking epic? Sometimes, late at night, I would wake up to hear him in the living room of his West Hollywood apartment talking to himself. I would walk softly to the door and listen to him madly whispering to ghosts or demons; I was never sure which. We spent a weekend at a friend’s family’s estate on Lake Tahoe where we dropped acid and sat on a dock in the lake, looking up at the stars. Arman held me tight, telling me strange stories and somewhere in the middle of that night I knew: he was not mine. He was dangerous. This knowledge flew through me in shadows: as if I were seeing a reflection of the future; I could see the future the way it would play out with us. It was a future neither of us would survive.

Arman’s family was wealthy. They were art dealers and he spent a lot of time with his father in Tokyo and Hong Kong, Paris and Rome. Once, after a trip to Lisbon, he returned to meet me in New York City.

“He’s evil,” my mother said, and I laughed. She said things like that sometimes. Hyperbole was a way of life with us. “He’s dark. Susan saw him standing over you. A knife in his hand. Bloody. You were gasping on the floor, dying.” Susan was my mother’s psychic. She channeled an entity named The Omega. While the name was stupid, something about Susan’s predictions always came true. She had a way with the future. Omega said that time was like a flat plane. It was like looking out over my front yard. That is how he saw our lives. Like blades of grass flickering in the garden: whole existences existing simultaneously: all time like a magnificent pond, shimmering in the afternoon sun. “He will kill you if you stay with him.”

Two nights later he pulled a knife on me. I ran onto the street, and east toward 7th Avenue. I called my mother. I was terrified. She told me to keep heading east, toward the River, where she would meet me. You’d think that would have been the end of Arman. But it wasn’t. He bought me Rayban sunglasses and a beautiful Cartier watch and cried and told me he loved me. We flew back to LA. For a week he was amazing. Gentle and loving. But then the voices came back, the late nights locked in the bathroom, chasing me through the apartment with scissors.

I bring Arman up to say that I was not always the best judge of men. Sometimes, if they fuck me right, I can lose whole years of my life to a man. But Alex…he was different. I felt it in my soul. He was my partner from the beginning.

I have thought a great deal about the idea of a soul mate.  The idea that one person can be everything to me, that there is one person who is magically created to fit me perfectly.  My other half.  This idea gets even more complicated when you know the future and know that we end up with Jon, the three of us coming together to form something new, something larger: but still…I can’t seem to shake the magic that surrounded the events that lead me to Alex.  He protected me.  Sheltered me.  Carried me.

Maybe I believe that there are souls that call out to each other, and once united they are stronger together than they are alone.

I became stronger with Alex.

This is not to say that there hasn’t been darkness.  Remember, I am possessed.  I have a demon living inside of me.  Gnawing at me.  Chewing at me.  Clawing its way out.

But I also have a lightness in me.  And sometimes, in those darkest moments, if I stand really still: I can feel Alex’s love for me and I feel that maybe there is a purpose to all this.  That maybe love does matter.  And that maybe I might find some kind of redemption for my past.

It was almost a year and a half into the relationship that I found out I was HIV positive. And again, I think, the world moves in strange patterns.

To Be Continued….

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