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….

IMG_0770

The Story of Us (Part One)

The Story of Us

IMG_1235

Lately there have been articles all over the internet, on Vice, or in the New York Times, about Poly-relationships.

“Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of intimate relationships that are not exclusive with respect to other sexual or intimate relationships, with knowledge and consent of everyone involved.” Wikipedia.

Polygamy makes me think of Mormons, or rich old white guys with a hundred adolescent wives: the word sounds so ugly, so unglamorous, so unlike what I am involved in.

I am in a triad. I have a husband and we have a boyfriend and the three of us all live together in our tiny yellow Craftsman in Hollywood with our three cats and dog and our roommate Rene and somehow, against everything I believed in, we have, and are in the process of, falling in love.

This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I have been against the idea of this kind of a relationship ever since I first heard of them. I’m not the guy who can handle an open relationship. Threeways took a while for me to warm up to. I get jealous. I’m controlling. I want all the love and all the affection. I want everything to be mine always. I don’t share well. I never have. I am volatile and competitive and basically, if I’m not careful, an all around fucking nightmare.

I’ve been in relationships where we had threeways. I’ve had lovers spend the night with me and my boyfriend. I’ve enjoyed waking up to my boyfriend blowing me and some dude we invited over to spend the night. It was hot watching the guy I love get off on some other guy. I even  remember once having to drive the guy we were fucking back to Tustin in Orange County, and having my boyfriend at the time, get in the back seat and make out with him. The two of them ended up fucking while I drove him home. I almost killed us all; I couldn’t stop looking in the rear view mirror.

But then we would fight. And I would get jealous: that ugly kind of jealousy that turns your whole world black.

Or some guy would want him more than me, or me more than him. It was hard to find the perfect match. And I always wanted reassurance. That I was the one loved, that it was me he wanted, that they all wanted.

When I met Alex a lot of that changed. I’ve always felt safe with him. Loved by him. I’ve always known that he wanted me. We had threeways. Lots of threeways. We’ve picked guys up in bars and fucked them in the bathroom. We’ve gone to bathhouses and made out with rosy-cheeked Canadian boys in Vancouver hot tubs, we’ve fucked around with other couples. We’ve done a lot together. We’ve had some amazing adventures as a couple. And mostly it’s gone really well. And sometimes it hasn’t. Sometimes it’s gone really weird (there was that guy on the way to Sedona who wanted us to fart on him, or the dude who turned out to be homeless….even though, honestly, he was super cute, and times when I got mad or he got mad or times when it just didn’t happen, didn’t work out), but mostly it’s been fun. A lot of fun. And now I can’t imagine my life without those adventures.

We aren’t open. We’ve never been open. We have very clear rules. We are allowed to do whatever we want together. Once I sent him to fuck this fuck-buddy of ours without me, but he had to tell me all about it, so it was like I was there. Because I initiated it, I am in control of the situation. He wasn’t just fucking some guy. He was fucking a guy I picked out, a guy I arranged. He was living out my fantasy.

And for us, this has always been monogamy-ish. For us this has been the truest way to honor our own individual sexualities and yet still remain a couple, involved in each other’s sexuality. I never wanted Alex to just go fuck some guy and not know about it. I want to know. I want to fantasize about it, to play with it in my head. I love watching Alex with another man. It turns me on so much. I love watching him kiss another guy. Suddenly, in that moment, he isn’t just my boyfriend: he is more than what I think he is: suddenly he is himself. He is this sexy man, and I get to watch, I get to participate, I get to be there and see who he is with someone else. And that really is the amazing thing: I get to see him in ways most of us never allow the ones we love to be.

He’s different with me, not in any way I can express clearly in words: it’s just something I feel, something I know. Alex is different when he is fucking me. But, and this is key: he is a stud when he is fucking someone else. Three years in and I still think my boyfriend (Now husband) is a stud. Because I’ve seen him. The way he fucks another bottom. Alex is the kind of top who wants his bottoms to love it. He wants them to beg. He wants them to get off on it.

When we met Jon I don’t think any of us saw the changes that were coming. Jon was supposed to just be another adventure, a threeway with a guy we could eat pizza with and watch a movie with. Maybe a friend. We decided early on Jon wouldn’t sleep over. If it moved to “far”, if we began to have feelings, we would end it. Those were the rules we had. If we wanted to negotiate them we could. I think maybe we made those rules because we knew: this was different. And if we continued it would change everything.

The first day we met Jon I was working at the Faultline Bar in East Hollywood. It was a Sunday Beer Bust. The bar was packed. He pulled up in his silver Volkswagon Bug. I remember watching him get out of his car. The way he moved, his shoulders slightly hunched, kind of lost looking, beard and hair writerly unkempt, his lopsided smile when he saw me waiting for him, his off centered crooked nose I learned later was like that because he had broken it.

Alex was bartending at the time.

Jon was so shockingly handsome I wanted to kiss him right then and there, but I knew I had to go get Alex so I did. This was just supposed to be a quick “hi nice to meet you” hug. Jon was driving back to Orange County from his mom’s house in Bakersfield. Hollywood was basically on the way.

We took him into the green room (that’s the room where the strippers prepare themselves) and took turns kissing him. It was all very quick. Alex had to get back to the bar and I was in charge of security. And Jon had to get home to his ex-boyfriend and his cat, Dorian.   We made plans to meet later in the week to watch a David Bowie Documentary, Cracked Actor, and eat pizza, than the two of them were going to fuck me.

I proposed to Alex in May of 2014. We had taken a day trip to Laguna to go for a walk along the coast and then have dinner. Sitting in the middle of town, on a bench at a cross section, I said,

“Look, I know we’ve talked about this a lot, and I don’t know…I love you. And I’ve been thinking off all these ways to ask you this, and honestly, now seems as good of a time as any, right? So maybe…what do you think about getting married?”

I had had all these romantic ideas about how I was going to ask him to marry me. Huge and elaborate plans. Filled with poetry and beauty, but suddenly, there in that Laguna cross section, a fog rolling in off the Pacific, traffic building up around us, I suddenly understood something: I was in love. Deeply and truly. Spiritually. I was awesomely and completely in love and I suddenly knew that I couldn’t wait one more second, I couldn’t wait for that perfect moment because every moment with him was perfect and I wanted him to know, in his fucking bones, how much I loved him.

He laughed at me. And he said, “I’ve been waiting for you to put a ring on it.”

I didn’t have a ring. I hadn’t even thought about rings. I had once given my mother’s wedding ring (she gave it to me when she thought she was dying of cancer) to a boyfriend of mine, and had asked him to marry me, only to later, in a fight, throw it into the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard, losing my mother’s dying (she didn’t end up dying) gift. I was drinking back then and a mess, and throwing my sick mother’s wedding ring into the middle of a busy street was just the kind of thing I would do to punish my boyfriend.

“I’ll get you a ring. I’ll get you whatever you want. I just…I fucking love you.” In retrospect I must have sounded like an idiot. I should have at least waited till dinner. Or till we were on the cliffs over looking the ocean. Or somewhere more romantic than a busy Laguna intersection: Paris or Rome, or maybe on one of those arched bridges over some forgotten Venice canal that my mother and I used to find ourselves on, talking about the future and the past, she would always channel her spirit guides out there, staring into those darkly flowing waters: her face changing in strange ways, her voice growing deeper: Venice made her darker somehow; but like I said, I didn’t think I could make it one more second. It was that kind of a moment. Most moments are like that for me. Urgent. Impossible to withstand.

I am continuously aware of my impending death. And of the death of those I love. These things happen. Guns shots and cancer and car accidents: at any moment one of those Laguna BMW’s could have driven wildly toward us, hitting Alex and killing him while I stood there, helpless, or maybe he would be struck by an aneurism, or a comet would appear in the sky, or an earthquake, the big one finally taking out Southern California and I would not have asked him. Any moment could be our death. Death is like that.

And I would have rather died knowing I had asked him than not.

It was that kind of fucking moment.

When I was a child there was a tree that grew outside my bedroom window. At night, if I opened the window, I could reach out and touch the branches. I once dreamt of a little old man who lived inside that childhood tree. He knocked on my bedroom window, three soft raps. My room was exactly as it had been as a child: bunk bed, purple rug on the floor, my stuffed zebra, the only thing not the same was me: in my dream I am grown, my legs to long for the child-size bed, my feet hanging over the edges. The window glass is cold, frozen with frost. The little old man was dressed in a navy-blue suit and an orange tie, red shoes and a yellow fedora. His ears were pointed and his eyes were slanted like a cats.

I opened the window and stuck my head out into the cold darkness of the night. And the little old man told me a secret. He predicted the outcome of my life only he did it in a language that made sense only in my dream. When I woke up I had no idea what any of the words meant, and I found it impossible to recollect the visions that flew through my mind as he spoke to me.

But I do remember clearly the feeling I had as I struggled back to consciousness, sleep fading away: I had the sense of possibility, that the world was open to me in ways I had never imagined: and I was excited.

This is exactly what I felt the first time I met Alex in person, as if he were the prediction made to me in my dream: as if here the manifestation of all my dreams.

TO BE CONTINUED….