I bowed over pulling my head to knees, feeling proud. Stretching had always been my strong suit. Out of the corner of my eye I watched the other dancers. Apparently everyone wore the same suit. Tiny girls were practicing splits while everyone older seemed to surpass my flexibility.
The room was full of Cirque du Soleil talented individuals. As soon as we were all finished stretching one of them came up to me. He introduced himself as Aaron before the teacher assigned everyone silk ropes to climb. We shared the same one.
“Have you ever climbed before?” Arron said to me. I shook my head and explained that this was my first dance lesson, ever. He guided me around the room with his finger. The little girls that were climbing had been in a Christmas show. The two teenagers holing steady the silks were also teachers. Arron himself, however, was a first time participant like me.
“Up you go!” the teacher directed me. She was the same woman I had met out front of the building. I walked over to the ropes feeling a knot in my stomach.
“Don’t be afraid.” the teacher said gently. “Feel excited! This is your first time trying something.” I smiled. I lifted my arms up and around the silks, tying them secure. Soon my feet were above the ground.
That’s when I head the song. “Human,” by Christina Perri. The soft tone filled my hollow insides. If I believed in chakras then all of them felt aligned. The floor looked miles away as if it had always been. I didn’t remember locking my feet into the silks or that I was a college drop out.
I felt good. I felt like a beginner.
The teacher applauded my effort. I unlocked myself and came back to the floor. It was the happiest I’d been in months. Everything was new again. Like I could try anything without the worry of being good.
Aaron patted me on the back before taking his turn. Soon he was all locked in and learning to tumble. I cheered him on. When he dismounted I began climbing agin. I asked one of the teenagers to teach me to tumble like Aaron. At first it was hard but eventually I hoisted my feet over head.
Somewhere in mid-flight I wondered what would be next. Could I learn to sing? Was writing really that hard? If it was then I shouldn’t worry. Adventures are fun. The only failure in it would be not to try…(To Be Continued.)
To my fellow readers, I want to apologize for not posting anything this past week. The truth is that I took the time instead to do some self-reflecting. I really want to grow this blog into something more because I believe it has the potential. I see it as an form of self-expression for both my past and future. So I’ve been collecting some new material that I think will broaden the experiences for both you and me. Until I feel it is the time to unveil such material I will still write my adventures in romance, as well as continuing my Stepping Out series. To tie you over until then here is the rest of my Cop story…
The weeks passed with Peter and I following the same routine. It would be me sleeping over and in the morning going home. Communication between us was still strictly physical. He was the man I imagined wanting but somehow the fantasy seemed boring. I wanted chemistry that had words, ideas, and sexuality. These things are very important to me in a relationship. The word “relationship” though was still the the furthest thing from Peter’s mind.
“I’m just looking for someone with no drama.” Peter told me one day when discussing his ex-boyfriend (again). I understood what he meant. The gay community isn’t exactly a drama-free zone as it’s partly known for having Divas & Drag Queens. Apparently his ex-boyfriend was one of the two. Knowing this I felt like I had a chance, because I am anything but drama.
Later that same day I found myself in Peter’s bed again. We were in our underwear kissing. Rolling our bodies from one side of the bed to the other. Beneath my fingers the muscle of his back rippled and inside I felt sexy. Sexy because this was a man that wanted to be held. Our chemistry was in kisses. They weren’t sporadic but instead like an electric whip. The charge would begin from the back of his head and then pulse into the back of mine.
My head was pounding so I rolled us over to where I was on top. He asked me if I wanted to have sex. I didn’t say anything. There wasn’t enough of myself to give that I knew would be returned. That was when I knew there was a question rising out of me.
“I do, but I want to know something first. I know it’s bad timing and I’m really sorry. I need to know though. Do you like me?” I asked. I felt his belly sigh and knew what was coming.
“Well yes I like you but…” He said. That was all I needed to know that there was nothing more to give.
“It’s okay. I know it’s bad timing. It’s just… whenever I come over this is all we seem to do.” I said. He agreed and apologized if things seemed that way. We were just two people caught in the moment. Like a needle my question popped the bubble. I climbed off him so he could hold me. We fell asleep and in the morning I said goodbye.
Peter the Cop continued to invite me over to his house on weeknights. We would watch TV, sometimes talked, but usually cuddled in bed. I still enjoyed holding his hard masculine body in my arms while he slept. In the gay community men usually seek partners that are as manly as them, if not more so. Hardly had I ever come across a guy like Peter who enjoyed sports and my company. It’s not that I’m disinterested in athletics but my attention is usually concerned with art and books.
“You have such beautiful skin.” He said to me one night. He was laying on my chest and kissing my hands. I humbly accepted the compliment. It’s one I get often but it means more when coming from an attractive guy. I kissed him, inviting some play time before sleep. We still didn’t have sex. In the morning while getting dressed he made another compliment about my skin. He expressed jealousy about the natural tan I had.
“Not like me. I’m a gringo.” He said. I paused from tying my shoe. I didn’t know what to say. Even though I’m Latino the terms like “gringo,” are very foreign to me. I grew up in a biracial household where my parents were Caucasian and my brother also Hispanic. The Spanish Language was minor in learning while growing up. Present day, whenever guys try to pick me up with words like “Papi” or “Chico”, I cringe. It feels uncomfortable in so many ways.
I ended up not saying anything in response to Peter’s lingo. We went for a drive. We talked about what Orlando had to offer the gay community. In truth it has a lot more than my hometown which was a single bar. Here there are clubs, cafes, baths, and art shows that all affiliate with GLBT. However, no matter how much bigger this community is every guy still knows one another’s business. A city doesn’t seem to have much to offer after repairing a couple of broken hearts.
Peter went on to tell me that a lot of places were haunted with memories of his previous relationship. My romantic feelings started then to dwindle. In that past I’ve dated a guy who was haunted by an ex (as long as four years). In the end I learned that I shouldn’t have gotten involved. You can’t help someone move on if they aren’t ready. Peter explained that their relationship hadn’t been a healthy one. The two men had gone back and forth with one another numerous times until finally Peter called it quits. I didn’t ask too many questions as I wanted to enjoy what was left of the ride. Eventually Peter said, “We still keep in touch though.”
Later that same day, I was back in my own bed thinking. Peter and I are spending time together but is he really there? As far as I could tell he wasn’t. My proof was that our time together was spent either sleeping or touching one another. Granted we never have sex but I don’t want to be some Latin-bed-warmer. I was angry and confused. I felt used but at the same time it wasn’t like I was protesting the situation. In fact, some of the times I invited myself over. I realized that I was being brash. It was inconsiderate of me to think such thoughts about a guy who respected my intimate boundaries. I guess that I was having trouble respecting his romantic ones.
It was the during the first week of attending University when already I started feeling boxed in. Nobody knew my name. Every night so far I had stayed in reading about people’s journeys instead of taking them. The spiritual adventure about fulfillment that Elizabeth Gilbert took in “Eat, Pray, Love” was one I truly admired. It wasn’t just the places she went to, but the risks she took in facing down her demons through meditation that I loved reading about. Inside myself there were arguments I was unwilling to have at the time. The most important ones were about love, loneliness, and creativity. I needed help expressing them so I started searching for a guru. Every day on campus I noticed there were groups of faith located in the courtyard. Some were about Jesus while others were about Atheism. I had a particular attraction to the one with a swami and three male disciples. I decided to sit down and talk with them about their beliefs to see how they could help me. It wasn’t like I was prejudiced against any of the others but this was a faith I had never heard of. Bhakti Yoga. I learned that they were vegetarians whom worshiped Lord Krishna through meditation. I pictured them sitting and chanting thoughtful words until reaching Enlightenment. Looking back now this was ignorant of me to assume. That was what I wanted so I accepted their invitation to visit temple the following evening. “I think there will be lots of students there.” I told my best friend Patootie (Alias). Patootie was going through a rough transformation at the time and agreed to come along. I think he pictured Meditation the same way I had. The next day though we found ourselves ready more for the gym than prayer. Outside, the temple looked like a regular person’s house with a vegetable garden. Inside were glossy wood floors, a monk, and a stage altar. The Monk welcomed us and offered a seat after Patootie and I took off our shoes. He told us about how faith was something he relied on to carry him through the darkness. I couldn’t really relate because I felt that darkness was still something I hadn’t opened myself up to. I didn’t know what my challenges were. Halfway through the Monk’s explanation of Prayer was when a group of them entered with the Swami. He was an older gentleman with a shaved head and draped in an orange robe. Patootie and I were welcomed to a half hour long dance/music circle. I shook a tambourine while chanting “Hari Krishna” over and over again. I remember thinking: Even though this isn’t what I wanted this is still exciting! And it was. After the dance the Monks pulled out their texts to review with the Swami, like a sermon. I took this time to watch Patootie. He seemed nervous when everything began but by now he was perfectly relaxed. I was happy.
An hour later we were on our way home discussing what just happened. Patootie expressed that he had been afraid at first. He hand’t expected something of Faith but a group that could help quiet his mind. I agreed but noted that what just happened never could have taken place in our hometown. That’s when I realized there was so much to explore. The reason I’m so boxed in is because I feel empty, I said to myself. I wanted more experiences inside of me. If they weren’t exactly similar to the ones in “EPL” I had to be okay with that. You can’t recreate other people’s experiences. And you shouldn’t. So I vowed to build a nest of my own interesting things. After dropping Patootie off at his house I went back to my own. I grabbed a couple of paint brushes, pastels, a canvas, and played some Lady Gaga on my iPod. This was my hymn and altar. I loved art. I loved music. I loved color. Maybe that day I hadn’t reached Enlightenment but I’d be damned if I stopped trying.