NB: This took place about six weeks ago.
I went to Daniel’s. I read while he played World of Warcraft (!) for a bit, and then he joined me on the bed. We cuddled up close, with my head on his chest.
Then Daniel told me he’d been out with a new girl the other night, and that he was going out with her the following Wednesday (Valentine’s Day!) and then on Friday, too, which was her birthday. “She didn’t have anything planned,” Daniel explained, “So I said, ‘We should do something since it’s your birthday…’”
“Wow,” I said, not sure how I felt about this. “This sounds sort of serious… do you think she’s going to be your girlfriend?” On one hand, I know perfectly well that Daniel and I have no future together, and I hope I don’t begrudge him any happiness. But still: that he had found someone he wanted to be romantic and Valentine’s Day-like with … I was envious.
“Well… it’s early days yet,” Daniel said, rather coyly. “I mean, we’ve been out twice and all I’ve gotten is one good night kiss…” Meaning: this girl wasn’t a slut like me, and therefore girlfriend material? Hmmph. “I don’t know,” Daniel went on. “But she’s interested in the same things I’m interested in; she’s bi, and she’s into video games and she’s been in threesomes…”
“Wow,” I said again. I didn’t know what else to say. Does she not want children, too? I wanted to ask.
I was curled up next to him, when Daniel said, “I want to talk to you about something.” Uh oh. Daniel hesitated, and turned so that we were facing each other. “Wendy thinks you might want more from me, that you might want a serious relationship.”
Wendy is one of Daniel’s roommates. I looked up at him: “Wendy thinks that, eh?”
“Do you?” He looked very anxious.
Did that mean Daniel wanted a relationship with me, and wanted confirmation before declaring his love for me? Ah, probably not. “Well, yes and no.” I sat up. “I mean, Daniel, I’m … very fond of you,” I floundered. “But I know that a relationship is something that you can’t give to me…. I know we want different things.” Meaning me: children. Him: vasectomy.
“Because,” Daniel swallowed, “I don’t want to hurt you. I just. You know.” I nodded, to encourage him to go on. “I don’t want to hurt you, but Wendy thinks… she thinks you might want more from me. I mean, with Robin, we knew right from the start that we were just going to be friends. But with you it’s different, and I don’t want to hurt you.”
It was so strange: for a while I had longed to hear that, that he felt more strongly about me than he did about Robin. Sadly, it was moot now. “Wait a second,” I said. I hopped off the bed and took a gift bag out of my bag. “I got you a Valentine’s present. The card kind of explains things.”
“Oh, you didn’t have to get me anything!” Daniel looked wretched. “I meant to get you something…”
“It’s OK!” I meant it.
He pulled out the gifts: a packet of Magnums and a small bottle of KY Silk. I leered at him. He smirked, and opened the card. This is what it said:
I am so glad I met you! Ever since Oct. 21 (a very lucky day for me) seeing you has been one of the highlights of my week [I struggled over that. It should really have been ‘the highlight of my week,’ but I didn’t want to go overboard. I mean, he -- and Wendy too, apparently -- were already worried about my level of involvement and when you added that to the damning fact of a V-Day gift, well…]. I so enjoy talking and fucking and just hanging out with you. Like you said, you’re very dear to me, and I’m so glad you’re my friend (among other things. Ahem!)
“Aww…” said Daniel, looking miserable. “Before you got here I was IMing with my ex, and… she’s not over me, and I don’t want to hurt her, but I can’t stop seeing her without being really mean to her, and I don’t want to do that….” His eyes were irritated; he rubbed them.
Oh: they were tears. “Daniel, don’t cry!” I put my arms around him. “Daniel, please don’t be upset.”
“It’s just sad,” he wiped his eyes. “I’m sorry, I’m such a crybaby,” he laughed and wiped his eyes again. I’d never seen him cry. “I just don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to sound egotistical,” he added.
“Daniel, listen,” I said, then stopped. “Look.” I paused again. “Look, I don’t care if you know or anything, I just don’t want to freak you out. But I love you. I think you’re wonderful and gorgeous and lovely and I love you. But I know we want different things, I know you can’t give me what I want.”
“I love you, too,” Daniel sniffled.
Well, thank God for that, at least. I thought for a minute: “I think I came to terms with it a few months ago. For a while I was really, really jealous… when I found out you were taking Robin to Atlantic City, I was beside myself….” I reminisced; it all seemed so long ago now. “That night we went to the Flatiron the second time, I was going to break up with you.”
“Yeah,” I grimaced at the memory, “But then I got over it. And I think that in a way it’s been really good for me, getting to know you and having a relationship with you, all the while knowing that it wasn’t permanent or monogamous, but still being able to have strong and tender feelings for you: I think it’s been really good for me…” I faltered.
“It’s just…” Daniel stretched, and looked glum again. “I was talking to a friend of mine and she’s getting engaged, and I just thought….”
I cocked my head to indicate: What? He went on: “I just started to think: is there something wrong with me? I mean, I start dating women, and then within a few months I feel restless and I want to break up and I just don’t know if I’m ever going to…”
He was worried that he couldn’t have a serious relationship; I would never have guessed. “Daniel,” I touched his arm. “I know of no one more capable of having a healthy, loving, long-term relationship. You are infinitely capable. You’re great, and I know you’ll have a happy relationship with someone.” How did I end up comforting him? I mean, I certainly believed it all, but still. I wiped away a tear from his cheek.
“It’s just that for the past six months I’ve just been dating and there’s been no commitments but…”
But now he wanted to date someone seriously. I understand that: it was what I’d been thinking about recently. With Jeremy, although that hadn’t been too successful. The timing, both of us wanting more, was a strange coincidence. I think.
“And when I see my ex it’s such a mess, and I don’t want to hurt you either; you’ve been nothing but good to me,” he continued. And now I felt a bit like crying too. “I want us to stay friends,” said Daniel. “I know you’ll be a great mom,” he went on, and I felt a wave of tender regret, because he said the word mom so sweetly, “And I’ll want to meet your kids. And you’ll be really hot, and be a MILF…”
Oh, Daniel. I sniffled, and smiled and wrapped myself up close to Daniel. I wiped away a few tears myself, and almost wished we could stay like this always.